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Aiyana K Willard, Ara Norenzayan
The spiritual but not religious (SBNR) are a growing population in secularizing societies. Yet, we know little about the underlying psychology of this group or their belief profile. Based on an individual difference approach, we address this knowledge gap by comparing SBNR with religious and non-religious participants. In a sample of Americans (n=1013), we find that the SBNR differ from non-religious and religious participants in a number of ways. SBNR participants are more likely to hold paranormal beliefs and to have an experiential relationship to the supernatural (e...
May 22, 2017: Cognition
Gelareh Jowkar-Baniani, Angelina Paolozza, Anishka Greene, Cho Kin Cheng, Mark A Schmuckler
Three studies examined young infants' ability to distinguish between expected and unexpected motion of objects based on their shape. Using a preferential-looking paradigm, 8- and 12-month-old infants' looking time towards expected and unexpected motion displays of familiar, everyday objects (e.g., balls and cubes) was examined. Experiment 1 demonstrated that two factors drive infants' preferential fixations of object motion displays. Both 8- and 12-month-olds displayed a tendency to look at rotating information over non-rotating, stationary visual information...
May 21, 2017: Cognition
Ann-Christin Posten, Thomas Mussweiler
Comparative thinking is an efficient cognitive strategy that reduces judgmental uncertainty. However, comparisons may be conducted with a focus on similarities or differences. Similarity-focused comparisons seem to facilitate information-transfer, which has been suggested to drive the uncertainty-reducing effect of comparisons. This implies that similarity-focused comparisons reduce uncertainty more than dissimilarity-focused comparisons. Two experiments examine this assumption. In Study 1, a similarity-focus (compared to a difference-focus and a neutral control condition) increased judgmental certainty when the comparison was based on confident standard-knowledge...
May 21, 2017: Cognition
Motonori Yamaguchi, Helen J Wall, Bernhard Hommel
A central issue in the study of joint task performance has been one of whether co-acting individuals perform their partner's part of the task as if it were their own. The present study addressed this issue by using joint task switching. A pair of actors shared two tasks that were presented in a random order, whereby the relevant task and actor were cued on each trial. Responses produced action effects that were either shared or separate between co-actors. When co-actors produced separate action effects, switch costs were obtained within the same actor (i...
May 20, 2017: Cognition
Daniele Romano, Francesco Marini, Angelo Maravita
The representation of the body in the brain is constantly updated to allow optimal sensorimotor interactions with the external world. In addition to dynamic features, body representation holds stable features that are still largely unknown. In the present work we explored the hypothesis that body parts have preferential associations with relative spatial locations. Specifically, in three experiments, we found consistent preferential associations between the index finger and the top position, and between the thumb and the bottom position...
May 19, 2017: Cognition
Jenifer Z Siegel, Molly J Crockett, Raymond J Dolan
Moral psychology research has highlighted several factors critical for evaluating the morality of another's choice, including the detection of norm-violating outcomes, the extent to which an agent caused an outcome, and the extent to which the agent intended good or bad consequences, as inferred from observing their decisions. However, person-centered accounts of moral judgment suggest that a motivation to infer the moral character of others can itself impact on an evaluation of their choices. Building on this person-centered account, we examine whether inferences about agents' moral character shape the sensitivity of moral judgments to the consequences of agents' choices, and agents' role in the causation of those consequences...
May 17, 2017: Cognition
Eilidh Noyes, Rob Jenkins
Face identification is reliable for viewers who are familiar with the face, and unreliable for viewers who are not. One account of this contrast is that people become good at recognising a face by learning its configuration-the specific pattern of feature-to-feature measurements. In practice, these measurements differ across photos of the same face because objects appear more flat or convex depending on their distance from the camera. Here we connect this optical understanding to face configuration and identification accuracy...
May 17, 2017: Cognition
Onurcan Yilmaz, S Adil Saribay
Two central debates within Moral Foundations Theory concern (1) which moral foundations are core and (2) how conflict between ideological camps stemming from valuing different moral foundations can be resolved. Previous studies have attempted to answer the first question by imposing cognitive load on participants to direct them toward intuitive and automatic thought. However, this method has limitations and has produced mixed findings. In the present research, in two experiments, instead of directing participants toward intuitive thought, we tested the effects of activating high-effort, analytic thought on participants' moral foundations...
May 17, 2017: Cognition
Rebecca Brewer, Federica Biotti, Geoffrey Bird, Richard Cook
Contextual cues derived from body postures bias how typical observers categorize facial emotion; the same facial expression may be perceived as anger or disgust when aligned with angry and disgusted body postures. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are thought to have difficulties integrating information from disparate visual regions to form unitary percepts, and may be less susceptible to visual illusions induced by context. The current study investigated whether individuals with ASD exhibit diminished integration of emotion cues extracted from faces and bodies...
May 16, 2017: Cognition
Richmond Campbell
Moral inconsistency is an understudied phenomenon in cognitive moral psychology and deserves in depth empirical study. Moral inconsistency, as understood here, is not formal inconsistency but inconsistency in moral emotion and belief in response to particular cases. It occurs when persons treat cases as morally different that are really morally the same, even from their moral perspective. Learning to recognize and avoid such moral inconsistency in non-trivial but is a form of moral learning that complements and enhances other psychological and social mechanisms through which persons learn how to apply shared moral norms when their applications are uncertain and threaten to lapse into moral inconsistency...
May 15, 2017: Cognition
Anders Petersen, Annemarie Hilkjær Petersen, Claus Bundesen, Signe Vangkilde, Thomas Habekost
Phasic alertness refers to a short-lived change in the preparatory state of the cognitive system following an alerting signal. In the present study, we examined the effect of phasic auditory alerting on distinct perceptual processes, unconfounded by motor components. We combined an alerting/no-alerting design with a pure accuracy-based single-letter recognition task. Computational modeling based on Bundesen's Theory of Visual Attention was used to examine the effect of phasic alertness on visual processing speed and threshold of conscious perception...
May 11, 2017: Cognition
Julie W Hughes, Tatiana T Schnur
Our success with naming depends on what we have named previously, a phenomenon thought to reflect learning processes. Repeatedly producing the same name facilitates language production (i.e., repetition priming), whereas producing semantically related names hinders subsequent performance (i.e., semantic interference). Semantic interference is found whether naming categorically related items once (continuous naming) or multiple times (blocked cyclic naming). A computational model suggests that the same learning mechanism responsible for facilitation in repetition creates semantic interference in categorical naming (Oppenheim, Dell, & Schwartz, 2010)...
May 11, 2017: Cognition
Francesco Della Gatta, Francesca Garbarini, Marco Rabuffetti, Luca Viganò, Stephen A Butterfill, Corrado Sinigaglia
What enables individuals to act together? Recent discoveries suggest that a variety of mechanisms are involved. But something fundamental is yet to be investigated. In joint action, agents represent a collective goal, or so it is often assumed. But how, if at all, are collective goals represented in joint action and how do such representations impact performance? To investigate this question we adapted a bimanual paradigm, the circle-line drawing paradigm, to contrast two agents acting in parallel with two agents performing a joint action...
May 11, 2017: Cognition
Jasmeen Kanwal, Kenny Smith, Jennifer Culbertson, Simon Kirby
The linguist George Kingsley Zipf made a now classic observation about the relationship between a word's length and its frequency; the more frequent a word is, the shorter it tends to be. He claimed that this "Law of Abbreviation" is a universal structural property of language. The Law of Abbreviation has since been documented in a wide range of human languages, and extended to animal communication systems and even computer programming languages. Zipf hypothesised that this universal design feature arises as a result of individuals optimising form-meaning mappings under competing pressures to communicate accurately but also efficiently-his famous Principle of Least Effort...
May 8, 2017: Cognition
Feng Du, Xiaotao Wang, Richard A Abrams, Kan Zhang
The space near the hands, or peri-hand space is a critical multisensory-motor interface between people and the environment. Recent studies have shown that visual processing near the hands is altered compared with stimuli far from the hands. Some results suggest that the changes may be mediated by brain mechanisms involved in evaluating emotional stimuli. Here we show direct evidence for that proposal: we found that both the emotional Stroop effect and the Late Positive Potential (LPP) to unpleasant visual stimuli were enhanced near the hands compared to far from the hands...
May 6, 2017: Cognition
Yanti, Peter Cole, Gabriella Hermon
Cole, Hermon, and Yanti (2015) argue that the empirical facts related to anaphoric binding in two dialects of Jambi Malay undermine the Classical Binding Theory. Reuland (this issue) agrees with this conclusion but argues that the data are easily accounted for by his alternative Universal Grammar-based approach to Binding. In this response, we demonstrate that the alternative proposal for Jambi Malay rests on claims about the language that are incorrect. While we do not, indeed cannot, demonstrate that it is impossible for a Universal Grammar based proposal to account for the facts as outlined in CHY (2015), we conclude that those facts remain an outstanding challenge...
May 3, 2017: Cognition
Delphine Sasanguie, Ian M Lyons, Bert De Smedt, Bert Reynvoet
Symbolic number - or digit - comparison has been a central tool in the domain of numerical cognition for decades. More recently, individual differences in performance on this task have been shown to robustly relate to individual differences in more complex math processing - a result that has been replicated across many different age groups. In this study, we 'unpack' the underlying components of digit comparison (i.e. digit identification, digit to number-word matching, digit ordering and general comparison) in a sample of adults...
April 28, 2017: Cognition
Anna Remington, Jake Fairnie
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has an intriguing auditory processing profile. Individuals show enhanced pitch discrimination, yet often find seemingly innocuous sounds distressing. This study used two behavioural experiments to examine whether an increased capacity for processing sounds in ASD could underlie both the difficulties and enhanced abilities found in the auditory domain. Autistic and non-autistic young adults performed a set of auditory detection and identification tasks designed to tax processing capacity and establish the extent of perceptual capacity in each population...
April 27, 2017: Cognition
Anat Prior, Tamar Degani, Sehrab Awawdy, Rana Yassin, Nachshon Korem
The ability to overcome interference from the first-language (L1) is a source of variability in second language (L2) achievement, which has to date been explored mainly in same-script bilinguals. Such interference management, and bilingual language control more generally, have recently been linked to domain general executive functions (EF). In the current study, we examined L2 proficiency and executive functions as possible predictors of susceptibility to L1 interference during L2 processing, in bilinguals whose languages do not share an orthographic system...
April 27, 2017: Cognition
Konstantina Kilteni, H Henrik Ehrsson
Human survival requires quick and accurate movements, both with and without tools. To overcome the sensorimotor delays and noise, the brain uses internal forward models to predict the sensory consequences of an action. Here, we investigated whether these sensory predictions are computed similarly for actions involving hand-held tools and natural hand movements. We hypothesized that the predictive attenuation of touch observed when touching one hand with the other would also be observed for touches applied with a hand-held tool...
April 27, 2017: Cognition
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