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Marcel Niklaus, Henrik Singmann, Klaus Oberauer
In working memory research, individual items are sometimes said to be in the "focus of attention". According to one view, this occurs for the last item in a sequentially presented list (last-item benefit). According to a second view, this occurs when items are externally cued during the retention interval (retro-cue benefit). We investigated both phenomena at the same time to determine whether both result from the same cognitive mechanisms. If that were the case, retro-cue benefits should be reduced when the retro-cue is directed to the item that already benefits from being presented last...
December 11, 2018: Cognition
Arie W Kruglanski, Jessica R Fernandez, Adam R Factor, Ewa Szumowska
This paper considers the cognitive underpinnings of violent extremism. We conceptualize extremism as stemming from a motivational imbalance in which a given need "crowds out" other needs and liberates behavior from their constraints. In the case of violent extremism, the dominant need in question is the quest for personal significance and the liberated behavior is aggression employed as means to the attainment of significance. The cognitive mechanisms that enable this process are ones of learning and inference, knowledge activation, selective attention, and inhibition...
December 10, 2018: Cognition
Laurent Grégoire, Steven G Greening
Can mental imagery rather than external stimulation reactivate an aversive conditioned memory for the purposes of attenuating fear with subsequent extinction training? To answer this question participant underwent a three-day protocol: Day 1 entailed fear acquisition training in which two conditioned stimuli were paired with mild shock (US), while a CS- never was; day 2 included imagery-based reactivation of only one of the two CS+ followed by standard extinction training within the reconsolidation ten minutes later; day 3 included reinstatement by the unsignaled presentation of the US followed by a re-extinction phase...
December 6, 2018: Cognition
Yoonsang Song, Youngah Do, Jongbong Lee, Arthur L Thompson, Eileen R Waegemaekers
This cross-modal priming study is one of the first to empirically test the long-held assumption that individual morphemes of multimorphemic words are represented according to a hierarchical structure. The results here support the psychological reality behind this assumption: Recognition of trimorphemic words (e.g., unkindness or [[un-[kind]]-ness]) was significantly facilitated by prior processing of their substrings when the substrings served as morphological constituents of the target words (e.g., unkind), but not when the substrings were not morphological constituents of the target words (e...
December 3, 2018: Cognition
Anastasia Ulicheva, Hannah Harvey, Mark Aronoff, Kathleen Rastle
Substantial research has been undertaken to understand the relationship between spelling and sound, but we know little about the relationship between spelling and meaning in alphabetic writing systems. We present a computational analysis of English writing in which we develop new constructs to describe this relationship. Diagnosticity captures the amount of meaningful information in a given spelling, whereas specificity estimates the degree of dispersion of this meaning across different spellings for a particular sound sequence...
November 30, 2018: Cognition
Muhammad A J Qadri, F Gregory Ashby, J David Smith, Robert G Cook
Categorization is an essential cognitive process useful for transferring knowledge from previous experience to novel situations. The mechanisms by which trained categorization behavior extends to novel stimuli, especially in animals, are insufficiently understood. To understand how pigeons learn and transfer category membership, seven pigeons were trained to classify controlled, bi-dimensional stimuli in a two-alternative forced-choice task. Following either dimensional, rule-based (RB) or information integration (II) training, tests were conducted focusing on the "analogical" extension of the learned discrimination to novel regions of the stimulus space (Casale, Roeder, & Ashby, 2012)...
November 30, 2018: Cognition
Claudia Elsner, Annie E Wertz
Infants must negotiate encounters with a wide variety of different entities over the course of the first few years of life, yet investigations of their social referencing behavior have largely focused on a limited set of objects and situations such as unfamiliar toys and the visual cliff. Here we examine whether infants' social looking strategies differ when they are confronted with plants. Plants have been fundamental to human life throughout our evolutionary history, and learning about which plants are beneficial and which are dangerous is a task that, for humans, cannot be achieved alone...
November 29, 2018: Cognition
Michael N Hallquist, Alexandre Y Dombrovski
In natural environments with many options of uncertain value, one faces a difficult tradeoff between exploiting familiar, valuable options or searching for better alternatives. Reinforcement learning models of this exploration/exploitation dilemma typically modulate the rate of exploratory choices or preferentially sample uncertain options. The extent to which such models capture human behavior remains unclear, in part because they do not consider the constraints on remembering what is learned. Using reinforcement-based timing as a motivating example, we show that selectively maintaining high-value actions compresses the amount of information to be tracked in learning, as quantified by Shannon's entropy...
November 28, 2018: Cognition
Yen Na Yum, Sam-Po Law
Previous studies involving ex-illiterate and young readers of alphabetic scripts have shown that processing of non-verbal visual stimuli may be affected by literacy, which is attributable to intensive perceptual training during reading acquisition. This study examined whether the characteristics of one's native writing system, with respect to visual complexity and overall shape of orthographic unit, would influence the processing of pictured objects using event-related potential (ERP) with linear mixed-effects modeling...
November 27, 2018: Cognition
Susan T Fiske
Political cognitions-particularly impressions and stereotypes along two fundamental dimensions of social evaluations-play some role in explaining social class divides and accompanying resentments. First, the Big Two dimensions (warmth/communion and competence/agency) describe candidate perception, person perception, and group stereotypes. In particular, the stereotype content model and related perspectives show social-class stereotypes depicting elites as competent but cold and lower-income groups as incompetent but warm...
November 26, 2018: Cognition
Christian Frings, Simon Merz, Bernhard Hommel
We argue that stimulus uncertainty induces a cognitive state that can be linked to a concept that has been formerly described as 'curiosity' (Berlyne, 1949) - a state that motivates the agent to reduce the uncertainty by exploring it. In two attention filtering tasks we varied response compatibility and stimulus congruency. In addition, we manipulated whether stimulus congruency was predictable or random. In conditions with random presentation the impact of congruency on compatibility was more pronounced suggesting that stimulus congruency was processed more strongly in a random environment...
November 26, 2018: Cognition
Roman Feiman, Joshua K Hartshorne, David Barner
Do children understand how different numbers are related before they associate them with specific cardinalities? We explored how children rely on two abstract relations - contrast and entailment - to reason about the meanings of 'unknown' number words. Previous studies argue that, because children give variable amounts when asked to give an unknown number, all unknown numbers begin with an existential meaning akin to some. In Experiment 1, we tested an alternative hypothesis, that because numbers belong to a scale of contrasting alternatives, children assign them a meaning distinct from some...
November 26, 2018: Cognition
Courtney E Venker
Numerous experimental studies have shown that infants and children can discover word meanings by using co-occurrences between labels and objects across individually ambiguous contexts-a phenomenon known as cross-situational learning. Like typically developing children, high-functioning school aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are capable of cross-situational learning. However, it is not yet clear whether cross-situational learning is similarly available to children with ASD who are younger and show a broader range of language and cognitive abilities...
November 20, 2018: Cognition
Duygu Özge, Aylin Küntay, Jesse Snedeker
During language comprehension we must rapidly determine the thematic roles of arguments (who did what to whom) in order to semantically integrate the players into a single event and predict upcoming structure. While some languages signal these relations mostly with reliable word order, others rely more on case markers. The present study explores whether Turkish-speaking children use case marking predictively during online language comprehension. Specifically, we use the visual-world paradigm to test whether 4-year-olds (and adults) can use a contrast between nominative and accusative case on the first noun to predict the referent of the second noun in verb-medial and verb-final spoken sentences...
November 19, 2018: Cognition
Alessandro Del Ponte, Peter DeScioli
People's decisions to consume and save resources are critical to their wellbeing. Previous experiments find that people typically spend too much because of how they discount the future. We propose that people's motive to preserve their savings can instead cause them to spend too little in hard times. We design an economic game in which participants can store resources for the future to survive in a harsh environment. A player's income is uncertain and consumption yields diminishing returns within each day, creating tradeoffs between spending and saving...
November 19, 2018: Cognition
Linoy Schwartz, Galit Yovel
Faces convey rich perceptual and social information. The contribution of perceptual and social information to face recognition has been typically examined in separate experiments. Here, we take a comprehensive approach by studying the contributions of both perceptual experience and social-conceptual information to face learning within the same experimental design. The effect of perceptual experience was examined by systematically varying the similarity between the learned and test face views. Social information was manipulated by asking participants to make social, perceptual, or no evaluations on faces during learning...
November 15, 2018: Cognition
Luc Vermeylen, Senne Braem, Wim Notebaert
Task switching refers to the demanding cognitive control process that allows us to flexibly switch between different task contexts. It is a seminal observation that task switching comes with a performance cost (i.e., switch cost), but recent theories suggest that task switching could also carry an affective cost. In two experiments, we investigated the affective evaluation of task switching by having participants perform a task-switching paradigm followed by an affective priming procedure. Crucially, the transition cues of the task-switching paradigm, indicating task alternations or task repetitions, were used as primes in the affective priming procedure to assess their affective connotation...
November 14, 2018: Cognition
Leonidas Spiliopoulos, Ralph Hertwig
The predictive power of cumulative prospect theory and expected utility theory is typically compared using decisions from description, where lotteries' outcome values and probabilities are explicitly stated. In decisions from experience, individuals sample (in the sampling paradigm without cost) from the return distributions to learn outcome values and their relative frequencies; here cumulative prospect theory and expected utility theory require the calculation of probabilities from experience. Individuals, however, may be more attuned to the experienced moments of outcome distributions, rather than the probabilities...
November 13, 2018: Cognition
Michael L Slepian, Evan W Carr
People automatically generate first impressions from others' faces, even with limited time and information. Most research on social face evaluation focuses on static morphological features that are embedded "in the face" (e.g., overall average of facial features, masculinity/femininity, cues related to positivity/negativity, etc.). Here, we offer the first investigation of how variability in facial emotion affects social evaluations. Participants evaluated targets that, over time, displayed either high-variability or low-variability distributions of positive (happy) and/or negative (angry/fearful/sad) facial expressions, despite the overall averages of those facial features always being the same across conditions...
November 13, 2018: Cognition
Markus Kneer, Edouard Machery
Moral philosophers and psychologists often assume that people judge morally lucky and morally unlucky agents differently, an assumption that stands at the heart of the Puzzle of Moral Luck. We examine whether the asymmetry is found for reflective intuitions regarding wrongness, blame, permissibility, and punishment judgments, whether people's concrete, case-based judgments align with their explicit, abstract principles regarding moral luck, and what psychological mechanisms might drive the effect. Our experiments produce three findings: First, in within-subjects experiments favorable to reflective deliberation, the vast majority of people judge a lucky and an unlucky agent as equally blameworthy, and their actions as equally wrong and permissible...
November 11, 2018: Cognition
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