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Cognitive Psychology

Alessandra S Souza, Klaus Oberauer
Articulatory rehearsal is assumed to benefit verbal working memory. Yet, there is no experimental evidence supporting a causal link between rehearsal and serial-order memory, which is one of the hallmarks of working memory functioning. Across four experiments, we tested the hypothesis that rehearsal improves working memory by asking participants to rehearse overtly and by instructing different rehearsal schedules. In Experiments 1a, 1b, and 2, we compared an instructed cumulative-rehearsal condition against a free-rehearsal condition...
October 4, 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Susan A Gelman, Andrei Cimpian, Steven O Roberts
Formal explanations (e.g., "Mittens has whiskers because she's a cat") pose an intriguing puzzle in human cognition: they seem like little more than tautologies, yet they are surprisingly commonplace and natural-sounding. To resolve this puzzle, we hypothesized that formal explanations constitute an implicit appeal to a category's inherent features rather than simply to the category itself (as their explicit content would suggest); the latter is just a placeholder. We conducted a series of eight experiments with 951 participants that supported four predictions that followed from this hypothesis: First, formal explanations-though natural-sounding-were not particularly satisfying...
November 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Zhenguang G Cai, Ruiming Wang, Manqiong Shen, Maarten Speekenbrink
Magnitudes from different dimensions (e.g., space and time) interact with each other in perception, but how these interactions occur remains unclear. In four experiments, we investigated whether cross-dimensional magnitude interactions arise from memory interference. In Experiment 1, participants perceived a constant-length line consisting of two line segments of complementary lengths and presented for a variable stimulus duration; then they received a cue about which of the two segment lengths to later reproduce...
November 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Kalim Gonzales, LouAnn Gerken, Rebecca L Gómez
Human vocalizations contain both voice characteristics that convey who is talking and sophisticated linguistic structure. Inter-talker variation in voice characteristics is traditionally seen as posing a challenge for infant language learners, who must disregard this variation when the task is to detect talkers' shared linguistic conventions. However, talkers often differ markedly in their pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. This is true even in monolingual environments, given factors like gender, dialect, and proficiency...
November 2018: Cognitive Psychology
John T Wixted, Edward Vul, Laura Mickes, Brent M Wilson
Face recognition memory is often tested by the police using a photo lineup, which consists of one suspect, who is either innocent or guilty, and five or more physically similar fillers, all of whom are known to be innocent. For many years, lineups were investigated in lab studies without guidance from standard models of recognition memory. More recently, signal detection theory has been used to conceptualize lineup memory and to motivate receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis of lineup performance...
September 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Richard P Cooper, Catherine Byde, Roberto de Cecilio, Chelsea Fulks, Danila S Morais
We present three experiments using a sequential binary choice task that explore the relationship between two proposed cognitive control functions: set-shifting and place-keeping (i.e., keeping track of one's place within a sequential task). The task involves switching from one stimulus-response mapping to another across trials, according to a predefined sequence and in the face of occasional brief interruptions. Response-stimulus interval, interruption length and interrupting task were varied. The robust finding across all experiments was that varying response-stimulus interval led to standard effects attributable to set-shifting, while varying interruption length led to standard effects attributable to place-keeping, but in no cases did the factors interact...
September 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Eugenia Gianni, Laura De Zorzi, Sang Ah Lee
Children adeptly use environmental boundaries to navigate. But how do they represent surfaces as boundaries, and how does this change over development? To investigate the effects of boundaries as visual and physical barriers, we tested spatial reorientation in 160 children (2-7 year-olds) in a transparent rectangular arena (Condition 1). In contrast with their consistent success using opaque surfaces (Condition 2), children only succeeded at using transparent surfaces at 5-7 years of age. These results suggest a critical role of visually opaque surfaces in early spatial coding and a developmental change around the age of five in representing locations with respect to transparent surfaces...
September 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Neil R Bramley, Tobias Gerstenberg, Joshua B Tenenbaum, Todd M Gureckis
Many aspects of our physical environment are hidden. For example, it is hard to estimate how heavy an object is from visual observation alone. In this paper we examine how people actively "experiment" within the physical world to discover such latent properties. In the first part of the paper, we develop a novel framework for the quantitative analysis of the information produced by physical interactions. We then describe two experiments that present participants with moving objects in "microworlds" that operate according to continuous spatiotemporal dynamics similar to everyday physics (i...
September 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Paul M Bays
The discrete resource model of working memory proposes that each individual has a fixed upper limit on the number of items they can store at one time, due to division of memory into a few independent "slots". According to this model, responses on short-term memory tasks consist of a mixture of noisy recall (when the tested item is in memory) and random guessing (when the item is not in memory). This provides two opportunities to estimate capacity for each observer: first, based on their frequency of random guesses, and second, based on the set size at which the variability of stored items reaches a plateau...
September 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Adam F Osth, Anna Jansson, Simon Dennis, Andrew Heathcote
A robust finding in recognition memory is that performance declines monotonically across test trials. Despite the prevalence of this decline, there is a lack of consensus on the mechanism responsible. Three hypotheses have been put forward: (1) interference is caused by learning of test items (2) the test items cause a shift in the context representation used to cue memory and (3) participants change their speed-accuracy thresholds through the course of testing. We implemented all three possibilities in a combined model of recognition memory and decision making, which inherits the memory retrieval elements of the Osth and Dennis (2015) model and uses the diffusion decision model (DDM: Ratcliff, 1978) to generate choice and response times...
August 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Isabelle Dautriche, Laia Fibla, Anne-Caroline Fievet, Anne Christophe
Even though ambiguous words are common in languages, children find it hard to learn homophones, where a single label applies to several distinct meanings (e.g., Mazzocco, 1997). The present work addresses this apparent discrepancy between learning abilities and typological pattern, with respect to homophony in the lexicon. In a series of five experiments, 20-month-old French children easily learnt a pair of homophones if the two meanings associated with the phonological form belonged to different syntactic categories, or to different semantic categories...
August 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Tomer D Ullman, Andreas Stuhlmüller, Noah D Goodman, Joshua B Tenenbaum
Humans acquire their most basic physical concepts early in development, and continue to enrich and expand their intuitive physics throughout life as they are exposed to more and varied dynamical environments. We introduce a hierarchical Bayesian framework to explain how people can learn physical parameters at multiple levels. In contrast to previous Bayesian models of theory acquisition (Tenenbaum, Kemp, Griffiths, & Goodman, 2011), we work with more expressive probabilistic program representations suitable for learning the forces and properties that govern how objects interact in dynamic scenes unfolding over time...
August 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Junyi Dai, Timothy J Pleskac, Thorsten Pachur
Traditionally, descriptive accounts of intertemporal choice have relied on static and deterministic models that assume alternative-wise processing of the options. Recent research, by contrast, has highlighted the dynamic and probabilistic nature of intertemporal choice and provided support for attribute-wise processing. Currently, dynamic models of intertemporal choice-which account for both the resulting choice and the time course over which the construction of a choice develops-rely exclusively on the framework of evidence accumulation...
August 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Igor Bascandziev, Nathan Tardiff, Deborah Zaitchik, Susan Carey
Some episodes of learning are easier than others. Preschoolers can learn certain facts, such as "my grandmother gave me this purse," only after one or two exposures (easy to learn; fast mapping), but they require several years to learn that plants are alive or that the sun is not alive (hard to learn). One difference between the two kinds of knowledge acquisition is that hard cases often require conceptual construction, such as the construction of the biological concept alive, whereas easy cases merely involve forming new beliefs formulated over concepts the child already has (belief revision, a form of knowledge enrichment)...
August 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Thomas L Griffiths, Dylan Daniels, Joseph L Austerweil, Joshua B Tenenbaum
Some events seem more random than others. For example, when tossing a coin, a sequence of eight heads in a row does not seem very random. Where do these intuitions about randomness come from? We argue that subjective randomness can be understood as the result of a statistical inference assessing the evidence that an event provides for having been produced by a random generating process. We show how this account provides a link to previous work relating randomness to algorithmic complexity, in which random events are those that cannot be described by short computer programs...
June 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Bob Rehder
Although many theories of causal cognition are based on causal graphical models, a key property of such models-the independence relations stipulated by the Markov condition-is routinely violated by human reasoners. This article presents three new accounts of those independence violations, accounts that share the assumption that people's understanding of the correlational structure of data generated from a causal graph differs from that stipulated by causal graphical model framework. To distinguish these models, experiments assessed how people reason with causal graphs that are larger than those tested in previous studies...
June 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Emiel Cracco, Marcel Brass
Although it is well known that action observation triggers an imitative response, not much is known about how these responses develop as a function of group size. Research on social contagion suggests that imitative tendencies initially increase but then stabilize as groups become larger. However, these findings have mainly been explained in terms of interpretative processes. Across seven experiments (N = 322), the current study investigated the contribution of sensorimotor processes to social group contagion by looking at the relation between group size and automatic imitation in a task that involved minimal interpretation...
June 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Roger Ratcliff, Chelsea Voskuilen, Andrei Teodorescu
We present a model-based analysis of two-alternative forced-choice tasks in which two stimuli are presented side by side and subjects must make a comparative judgment (e.g., which stimulus is brighter). Stimuli can vary on two dimensions, the difference in strength of the two stimuli and the magnitude of each stimulus. Differences between the two stimuli produce typical RT and accuracy effects (i.e., subjects respond more quickly and more accurately when there is a larger difference between the two). However, the overall magnitude of the pair of stimuli also affects RT and accuracy...
June 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Paula Parpart, Matt Jones, Bradley C Love
Simple heuristics are often regarded as tractable decision strategies because they ignore a great deal of information in the input data. One puzzle is why heuristics can outperform full-information models, such as linear regression, which make full use of the available information. These "less-is-more" effects, in which a relatively simpler model outperforms a more complex model, are prevalent throughout cognitive science, and are frequently argued to demonstrate an inherent advantage of simplifying computation or ignoring information...
May 2018: Cognitive Psychology
Yi Ting Huang, Jesse Snedeker
Experimental pragmatics has gained many insights from understanding how people use weak scalar terms (like some) to infer that a stronger alternative (like all) is false. Early studies found that comprehenders initially interpret some without an upper bound, but later results suggest that this inference is sometimes immediate (e.g., Grodner, Klein, Carbary, & Tanenhaus, 2010). The present paper explores whether rapid inferencing depends on the prosody (i.e., summa rather than some of) or predictability of referring expressions (e...
May 2018: Cognitive Psychology
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