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Annie C Spokes, Elizabeth S Spelke
Considerable research has examined infants' understanding and evaluations of social agents, but two questions remain unanswered: First, do infants organize observed social relations into larger structures, inferring the relationship between two social beings based on their relations to a third party? Second, how do infants reason about a type of social relation prominent in all societies: the caregiving relation between parents and their babies? In a series of experiments using animated events, we ask whether 15- to 18-month-old infants infer that two babies who were comforted by the same adult, or two adults who comforted the same baby, will affiliate with one another...
December 5, 2016: Cognition
Andrew R Todd, C Daryl Cameron, Austin J Simpson
Although reasoning about other people's mental states has typically been thought to require effortful deliberation, evidence from indirect measures suggests that people may implicitly track others' perspectives, spontaneously calculating what they see and know. We used a process-dissociation approach to investigate the unique contributions of automatic and controlled processes to level-1 visual perspective taking in adults. In Experiment 1, imposing time pressure reduced the ability to exert control over one's responses, but it left automatic processing of a target's perspective unchanged...
December 1, 2016: Cognition
Qi-Yang Nie, Hermann J Müller, Markus Conci
When remembering a natural scene, both detailed information about specific objects and summary representations such as the gist of a scene are encoded. However, formal models of change detection that are used to estimate working memory capacity, typically assume observers simply encode and maintain memory representations that are treated independently from one another without considering the (hierarchical) object or scene structure. To overcome this limitation, we present a hierarchical variant of the change detection task that attempts to formalize the role of object structure, thus, allowing for richer, more graded memory representations...
November 30, 2016: Cognition
Anantha Singarajah, Jill Chanley, Yoselin Gutierrez, Yoselin Cordon, Bryan Nguyen, Lauren Burakowski, Scott P Johnson
We recorded visual attention to same- and other-race faces in Hispanic and White 11-month-old infants, an age at which face processing is presumably biased by an own-race recognition advantage. Infants viewed pairs of faces differing in race or ethnicity as their eye movements were recorded. We discovered consistently greater attention to Black over Hispanic faces, to Black faces over White faces, and to Hispanic over White faces. Inversion of face stimuli, and infant ethnicity, had little effect on performance...
November 25, 2016: Cognition
Yi Ting Huang, Kathryn Leech, Meredith L Rowe
Differences in caregiver input across socioeconomic status (SES) predict syntactic development, but the mechanisms are not well understood. Input effects may reflect the exposure needed to acquire syntactic representations during learning (e.g., does the child have the relevant structures for passive sentences?) or access this knowledge during communication (e.g., can she use the past participle to infer the meaning of passives?). Using an eye-tracking and act-out paradigm, the current study distinguishes these mechanisms by comparing the interpretation of actives and passives in 3- to 7-year-olds (n=129) from varying SES backgrounds...
November 23, 2016: Cognition
Yvonne Teoh, Emma Wallis, Ian D Stephen, Peter Mitchell
Past research tells us that individuals can infer information about a target's emotional state and intentions from their facial expressions (Frith & Frith, 2012), a process known as mentalising. This extends to inferring the events that caused the facial reaction (e.g. Pillai, Sheppard, & Mitchell, 2012; Pillai et al., 2014), an ability known as retrodictive mindreading. Here, we enter new territory by investigating whether or not people (perceivers) can guess a target's social context by observing their response to stimuli...
November 22, 2016: Cognition
Rose M Scott
Recent studies suggest that by the second year of life, infants can attribute false beliefs to agents. However, prior studies have largely focused on infants' ability to predict a mistaken agent's physical actions on objects. The present research investigated whether 20-month-old infants could also reason about belief-based emotional displays. In Experiments 1 and 2, infants viewed an agent who shook two objects: one rattled and the other was silent. Infants expected the agent to express surprise at the silent object if she had a false belief that both objects rattled, but not if she was merely ignorant about the objects' properties...
November 22, 2016: Cognition
Christine Cuskley, Claudio Castellano, Francesca Colaiori, Vittorio Loreto, Martina Pugliese, Francesca Tria
Rules are an efficient feature of natural languages which allow speakers to use a finite set of instructions to generate a virtually infinite set of utterances. Yet, for many regular rules, there are irregular exceptions. There has been lively debate in cognitive science about how individual learners acquire rules and exceptions; for example, how they learn the past tense of preach is preached, but for teach it is taught. However, for most population or language-level models of language structure, particularly from the perspective of language evolution, the goal has generally been to examine how languages evolve stable structure, and neglects the fact that in many cases, languages exhibit exceptions to structural rules...
November 20, 2016: Cognition
Mahesh Srinivasan, Sara Al-Mughairy, Ruthe Foushee, David Barner
One reason that word learning presents a challenge for children is because pairings between word forms and meanings are arbitrary conventions that children must learn via observation - e.g., the fact that "shovel" labels shovels. The present studies explore cases in which children might bypass observational learning and spontaneously infer new word meanings: By exploiting the fact that many words are flexible and systematically encode multiple, related meanings. For example, words like shovel and hammer are nouns for instruments, and verbs for activities involving those instruments...
November 20, 2016: Cognition
Maria L Filippetti, Manos Tsakiris
Interoceptive and exteroceptive information are both essential for the construction and update of self-awareness. Whereas several studies have shown how interoceptive accuracy or cardiac feedback influences body-awareness, no studies have looked at the reverse effect, namely how exteroceptively-driven changes in body-ownership and self-identification can influence individuals' ability to detect internal bodily signals. We exposed participants to the Rubber Hand Illusion (Experiment 1) and to the Enfacement Illusion (Experiment 2), and tested how this change in the sense of body-ownership and self-identification affected their interoceptive accuracy (IAcc)...
November 20, 2016: Cognition
Samuel J Cheyette, David C Plaut
The study of the N400 event-related brain potential has provided fundamental insights into the nature of real-time comprehension processes, and its amplitude is modulated by a wide variety of stimulus and context factors. It is generally thought to reflect the difficulty of semantic access, but formulating a precise characterization of this process has proved difficult. Laszlo and colleagues (Laszlo & Plaut, 2012; Laszlo & Armstrong, 2014) used physiologically constrained neural networks to model the N400 as transient over-activation within semantic representations, arising as a consequence of the distribution of excitation and inhibition within and between cortical areas...
November 18, 2016: Cognition
C Daryl Cameron, B Keith Payne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Julian A Scheffer, Michael Inzlicht
Implicit moral evaluations-i.e., immediate, unintentional assessments of the wrongness of actions or persons-play a central role in supporting moral behavior in everyday life. Yet little research has employed methods that rigorously measure individual differences in implicit moral evaluations. In five experiments, we develop a new sequential priming measure-the Moral Categorization Task-and a multinomial model that decomposes judgment on this task into multiple component processes. These include implicit moral evaluations of moral transgression primes (Unintentional Judgment), accurate moral judgments about target actions (Intentional Judgment), and a directional tendency to judge actions as morally wrong (Response Bias)...
November 16, 2016: Cognition
Brianna Ruth Doherty, Eva Zita Patai, Mihaela Duta, Anna Christina Nobre, Gaia Scerif
Cognitive scientists have long proposed that social stimuli attract visual attention even when task irrelevant, but the consequences of this privileged status for memory are unknown. To address this, we combined computational approaches, eye-tracking methodology, and individual-differences measures. Participants searched for targets in scenes containing social or non-social distractors equated for low-level visual salience. Subsequent memory precision for target locations was tested. Individual differences in autistic traits and social anxiety were also measured...
November 11, 2016: Cognition
Julien Barra, Patrice Senot, Laurent Auclair
Human bodies are processed by a configural processing mechanism. Evidence supporting this claim is the body inversion effect, in which inversion impairs recognition of bodies more than other objects. Biomechanical configuration, as well as both visual and embodied expertise, has been demonstrated to play an important role in this effect. Nevertheless, the important factor of body inversion effect may also be linked to gravity orientation since gravity is one of the most fundamental constraints of our biology, behavior, and perception on Earth...
November 11, 2016: Cognition
Adam Bear, Joshua Knobe
People's beliefs about normality play an important role in many aspects of cognition and life (e.g., causal cognition, linguistic semantics, cooperative behavior). But how do people determine what sorts of things are normal in the first place? Past research has studied both people's representations of statistical norms (e.g., the average) and their representations of prescriptive norms (e.g., the ideal). Four studies suggest that people's notion of normality incorporates both of these types of norms. In particular, people's representations of what is normal were found to be influenced both by what they believed to be descriptively average and by what they believed to be prescriptively ideal...
November 10, 2016: Cognition
Athanassios Protopapas, Artemis Markatou, Evangelos Samaras, Andreas Piokos
Stroop interference is characterized by strong asymmetry between word and color naming such that the former is faster and interferes with the latter but not vice versa. This asymmetry is attributed to differential experience with naming in the two dimensions, i.e., words and colors. Here we show that training on visual-verbal paired associate tasks equivalent to color and shape naming, not involving word reading, leads to strongly asymmetric interference patterns. In two experiments adults practiced naming colors and shapes, one dimension more extensively (10days) than the other (2days), depending on group assignment...
November 10, 2016: Cognition
Maria Dolores de Hevia, Margaret Addabbo, Elena Nava, Emanuela Croci, Luisa Girelli, Viola Macchi Cassia
Ordinality is a fundamental aspect of numerical cognition. However, preverbal infants' ability to represent numerical order is poorly understood. In the present study we extended the evidence provided by Macchi Cassia, Picozzi, Girelli, and de Hevia (2012), showing that 4-month-old infants detect ordinal relationships within size-based sequences, to numerical sequences. In three experiments, we showed that at 4months of age infants fail to represent increasing and decreasing numerical order when numerosities differ by a 1:2 ratio (Experiment 1), but they succeed when numerosities differ by a 1:3 ratio (Experiments 2 and 3)...
November 8, 2016: Cognition
Evan Westra, Peter Carruthers
Henry Wellman and colleagues have provided evidence of a robust developmental progression in theory-of-mind (or as we will say, "mindreading") abilities, using verbal tasks. Understanding diverse desires is said to be easier than understanding diverse beliefs, which is easier than understanding that lack of perceptual access issues in ignorance, which is easier than understanding false belief, which is easier than understanding that people can hide their true emotions. These findings present a challenge to nativists about mindreading, and are said to support a social-constructivist account of mindreading development instead...
November 8, 2016: Cognition
Toyomi Matsuno, Masaki Tomonaga
Extracting a cause-and-effect structure from the physical world is an important demand for animals living in dynamically changing environments. Human perceptual and cognitive mechanisms are known to be sensitive and tuned to detect and interpret such causal structures. In contrast to rigorous investigations of human causal perception, the phylogenetic roots of this perception are not well understood. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the susceptibility of nonhuman animals to mechanical causality by testing whether chimpanzees perceived an illusion called causal capture (Scholl & Nakayama, 2002)...
November 8, 2016: Cognition
Xiaomei Qiao, Kenneth I Forster
Studies on the representation of newly learned words in the native language show that after repeated sessions of learning, novel words produce less form priming than nonwords when they are used as primes in a masked priming experiment. This suggests that the newly learned words have established lexical representations, and therefore start to behave more like real words than nonwords (Qiao & Forster, 2013). Since adult language learning normally happens in a foreign language context rather than in the native language context, it is important to see whether similar results could be obtained if bilingual subjects were taught novel words in their second language (L2) rather than their first language (L1)...
November 8, 2016: Cognition
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