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Journal of Experimental Psychology. General

Nicholas Baker, Philip J Kellman
The ability to form shape representations from visual input is crucial to perception, thought, and action. Perceived shape is abstract, as evidenced when we can see a contour specified only by discrete dots, when a cloud appears to resemble a fish, or when we match shapes across transformations of scale and orientation. Surprisingly little is known about the formation of abstract shape representations in biological vision. We report experiments that demonstrate the existence of abstract shape representations in visual perception and identify the time course of their formation...
April 9, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Brett Q Ford, Sandy J Lwi, Amy L Gentzler, Benjamin Hankin, Iris B Mauss
As humans, we have a unique capacity to reflect on our experiences, including emotions. Over time, we develop beliefs about the nature of emotions, and these beliefs are consequential, guiding how we respond to emotions and how we feel as a consequence. One fundamental belief concerns the controllability of emotions: Believing emotions are uncontrollable (entity beliefs) should reduce the likelihood of trying to control emotional experiences using effective regulation strategies like reappraisal; this, in turn, could negatively affect core indices of psychological health, including depressive symptoms...
April 5, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Sushmita Shrikanth, Piotr M Szpunar, Karl K Szpunar
The future of groups of people is a topic of broad interest in society and academia. Nonetheless, relatively little is known about the manner in which people think about the collective future of groups, and whether personal and collective future thinking represent distinct domains of future-oriented cognition. In the present studies (N = 691), we used an adapted future fluency task to demonstrate a novel domain-by-valence interaction between personal and collective future thinking, such that U.S.-based participants were positively biased about their personal future while at the same time being negatively biased about the future of their country...
March 29, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Blair Saunders, Anja Riesel, Julia Klawohn, Michael Inzlicht
Touch is central to mammalian communication, socialization, and wellbeing. Despite this prominence, interpersonal touch is relatively understudied. In this preregistered investigation, we assessed the influence of interpersonal touch on the subjective, neural, and behavioral correlates of cognitive control. Forty-five romantic couples were recruited (N = 90; dating >6 months), and one partner performed an inhibitory control task while electroencephalography was recorded to assess neural performance monitoring...
March 22, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Alysha T T Nguyen, Colin J Palmer, Yumiko Otsuka, Colin W G Clifford
The focus of another person's gaze is an important cue in social interactions, helping us to understand others' intentions, predict their behavior, and allocate our own attention appropriately. The perception of gaze vergence provides information about the distance at which another person is fixating, but has yet to receive much empirical attention. Here, we report that observers display systematic biases when perceiving others' gaze vergence and depth of fixation. Specifically, they perceive others as having convergent gaze and fixating at closer distances, especially when gaze is directed downward or observed under conditions of sensory uncertainty...
March 22, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Elliot A Ludvig, Christopher R Madan, Neil McMillan, Yaqian Xu, Marcia L Spetch
Extreme stimuli are often more salient in perception and memory than moderate stimuli. In risky choice, when people learn the odds and outcomes from experience, the extreme outcomes (best and worst) also stand out. This additional salience leads to more risk-seeking for relative gains than for relative losses-the opposite of what people do when queried in terms of explicit probabilities. Previous research has suggested that this pattern arises because the most extreme experienced outcomes are more prominent in memory...
March 22, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Justin F Landy, Daniel M Bartels
We propose that methods from the study of category-based induction can be used to test the descriptive accuracy of theories of moral judgment. We had participants rate the likelihood that a person would engage in a variety of actions, given information about a previous behavior. From these likelihood ratings, we extracted a hierarchical, taxonomic model of how moral violations relate to each other (Study 1). We then tested the descriptive adequacy of this model against an alternative model inspired by Moral Foundations Theory, using classic tasks from induction research (Studies 2a and 2b), and using a measure of confirmation, which accounts for the baseline frequency of these violations (Study 3)...
March 19, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
David Dodell-Feder, Diana I Tamir
Scholars from both the social sciences and the humanities have credited fiction reading with a range of positive real-world social effects. Research in psychology has suggested that readers may make good citizens because fiction reading is associated with better social cognition. But does fiction reading causally improve social cognition? Here, we meta-analyze extant published and unpublished experimental data to address this question. Multilevel random-effects meta-analysis of 53 effect sizes from 14 studies demonstrated that it does: compared to nonfiction reading and no reading, fiction reading leads to a small, statistically significant improvement in social-cognitive performance (g = ...
February 26, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Motonori Yamaguchi, Ashvanti Valji, Felicity D A Wolohan
Two separate systems are involved in the control of spatial attention; one that is driven by a goal, and the other that is driven by stimuli. While the goal- and stimulus-driven systems follow different general principles, they also interplay with each other. However, the mechanism by which the goal-driven system influences the stimulus-driven system is still debated. The present study examined top-down contributions to two components of attention orienting, shifting and disengagement, with an experimental paradigm in which participants held a visual item in short-term memory (STM) and performed a prosaccade task with a manipulation of the gap between fixation offset and target onset...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Alexis C Carpenter, Daniel L Schacter
Prior research suggests that episodic memory can guide value-based decisions when single episodes are encoded in relation to the specific reward-context in which they were experienced. The current experiments examine the role that a flexible recombination-related retrieval mechanism that allows one to link together distinct events plays in the misattribution of specific reward-contexts across distinct episodes. To determine whether the same recombination-related retrieval mechanism supports both successful inference and transfer of reward-context across episodes, we developed a modified version of an associative inference paradigm in which participants encoded overlapping associations (AB, BC) that could later be linked to support inferential retrieval (AC), where one element ("A") was tied to reward...
February 8, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Lili Sahakyan, Thomas R Kwapil
Negative symptom schizophrenia and negative schizotypy are associated with deficits in episodic memory, which may reflect deficits in context processing. However, studies that rely on summary performance measures such as mean accuracy or latency are limited in the extent that they can examine processes underlying memory impairment. The present study decomposed free recall performance by examining serial position functions, first response probability, temporal contiguity effect, cumulative recall functions, and interresponse times in high-positive schizotypy, high-negative schizotypy, and control groups...
January 25, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Asher Koriat
Can we tell whether our beliefs and judgments are correct or wrong? Results across many domains indicate that people are skilled at discriminating between correct and wrong answers, endorsing the former with greater confidence than the latter. However, it has not been realized that because of people's adaptation to reality, representative samples of items tend to favor the correct answer, yielding object-level accuracy (OLA) that is considerably better than chance. Across 16 experiments that used 2-alternative forced-choice items from several domains, the confidence/accuracy (C/A) relationship was positive for items with OLA >50%, but consistently negative across items with OLA <50%...
January 25, 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Jordi Quoidbach, Moïra Mikolajczak, June Gruber, Ilios Kotsou, Aleksandr Kogan, Michael I Norton
In 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , we reported 2 studies demonstrating that the diversity of emotions that people experience-as measured by the Shannon-Wiener entropy index-was an independent predictor of mental and physical health, over and above the effect of mean levels of emotion. Brown and Coyne (2017) questioned both our use of Shannon's entropy and our analytic approach. We thank Brown and Coyne for their interest in our research; however, both their theoretical and empirical critiques do not undermine the central theoretical tenets and empirical findings of our research...
March 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Kellen Mrkva, Mark Travers, Leaf Van Boven
Why do some events feel "like yesterday" whereas others feel "ages away"? Past research has identified cues that influence people's estimates of distance in units such as how many miles or days away events are from the self. However, what makes events feel psychologically close or distant? We examine the hypothesis that increased simulational fluency, the ease with which people mentally imagine events, makes events feel psychologically close. Simulational fluency was associated with feelings that multiple past and future holidays were psychologically close (Studies 1a and 1b)...
March 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Paul Seli, Daniel Smilek, Brandon C W Ralph, Daniel L Schacter
Across 2 independent samples, we examined the relation between individual differences in rates of self-caught mind wandering and individual differences in temporal monitoring of an unrelated response goal. Rates of self-caught mind wandering were assessed during a commonly used sustained-attention task, and temporal goal monitoring was indexed during a well-established prospective-memory task. The results from both samples showed a positive relation between rates of self-caught mind wandering during the sustained-attention task and rates of checking a clock to monitor the amount of time remaining before a response was required in the prospective-memory task...
March 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Ben R Newell, Mike E Le Pelley
Can judgments be biased via passive monitoring of eye-gaze? We examined this question using a perceptual discrimination task (Experiment 1) and a complex moral judgment task (Experiment 2). Information about the location of participants' gaze at particular time-points in a trial was used to prompt responses. When there was no objective perceptual information available to decision-makers, the timing of the prompt had a small, but detectable effect on judgments (Experiment 1). However, this small effect did not scale up to more complex judgments about moral issues (Experiment 2)...
March 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Arvid Guterstam, Joanna Szczotka, Hugo Zeberg, H Henrik Ehrsson
Characterizing the brain mechanisms that allow humans to use tools to interact with the environment is a major goal in neuroscience. It has been proposed that handheld tools are incorporated into the multisensory representation of the body and its surrounding (peripersonal) space, underlying our remarkable tool use ability. One single-cell recording study in tool-using monkeys provided qualitative support for this hypothesis, and the results from a vast number of human studies employing different experimental paradigms have been ambiguous...
February 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Mark Mills, Paul Boychuk, Alison L Chasteen, Jay Pratt
Spatial components of concepts can influence the speed with which peripheral targets are responded to (e.g., the word God speeds responses to targets presented above fixation; devil speeds responses to targets presented below fixation). The basic premise underlying these conceptual cueing effects is that thinking of a spatial metaphor activates an internal spatial representation which in turn influences the allocation of attention in the visual field. An important step forward in understanding conceptual cues is determining whether the underlying process is bidirectional: Do shifts of attention facilitate activation of corresponding conceptual information? To test this, a peripheral cue was used to induce shifts of attention to a peripheral location, and the effect of this shift on concept processing was measured with a standard lexical-decision task in which participants made word/nonword responses to a letter string presented at fixation (Experiments 1 and 3), or with a modified lexical-decision task in which participants made English/Dutch judgments of a word presented auditorily (Experiment 2)...
February 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Hugh Rabagliati, Alexander Robertson, David Carmel
Is consciousness required for high level cognitive processes, or can the unconscious mind perform tasks that are as complex and difficult as, for example, understanding a sentence? Recent work has argued that, yes, the unconscious mind can: Sklar et al. (2012) found that sentences, masked from consciousness using the technique of continuous flash suppression (CFS), broke into awareness more rapidly when their meanings were more unusual or more emotionally negative, even though processing the sentences' meaning required unconsciously combining each word's meaning...
February 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
Thorsten Pachur, Michael Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Ryan O Murphy, Ralph Hertwig
There is a disconnect in the literature between analyses of risky choice based on cumulative prospect theory (CPT) and work on predecisional information processing. One likely reason is that for expectation models (e.g., CPT), it is often assumed that people behaved only as if they conducted the computations leading to the predicted choice and that the models are thus mute regarding information processing. We suggest that key psychological constructs in CPT, such as loss aversion and outcome and probability sensitivity, can be interpreted in terms of attention allocation...
February 2018: Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
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