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Cognitive Science

Nicolas Fay, Bradley Walker, Nik Swoboda, Simon Garrod
Human cognition and behavior are dominated by symbol use. This paper examines the social learning strategies that give rise to symbolic communication. Experiment 1 contrasts an individual-level account, based on observational learning and cognitive bias, with an inter-individual account, based on social coordinative learning. Participants played a referential communication game in which they tried to communicate a range of recurring meanings to a partner by drawing, but without using their conventional language...
February 19, 2018: Cognitive Science
Jiushu Xie, Him Cheung, Manqiong Shen, Ruiming Wang
This study examines the spontaneous use of embodied egocentric transformation (EET) in understanding false beliefs in the minds of others. EET involves the participants mentally transforming or rotating themselves into the orientation of an agent when trying to adopt his or her visuospatial perspective. We argue that psychological perspective taking such as false belief reasoning may also involve EET because of what has been widely reported in the embodied cognition literature, showing that our processing of abstract, propositional information is often grounded in concrete bodily sensations which are not apparently linked to higher cognition...
February 17, 2018: Cognitive Science
Arseny A Ryazanov, Jonathan Knutzen, Samuel C Rickless, Nicholas J S Christenfeld, Dana Kay Nelkin
There is a vast literature that seeks to uncover features underlying moral judgment by eliciting reactions to hypothetical scenarios such as trolley problems. These thought experiments assume that participants accept the outcomes stipulated in the scenarios. Across seven studies (N = 968), we demonstrate that intuition overrides stipulated outcomes even when participants are explicitly told that an action will result in a particular outcome. Participants instead substitute their own estimates of the probability of outcomes for stipulated outcomes, and these probability estimates in turn influence moral judgments...
February 16, 2018: Cognitive Science
Julian Jara-Ettinger, Felix Sun, Laura Schulz, Joshua B Tenenbaum
Humans can seamlessly infer other people's preferences, based on what they do. Broadly, two types of accounts have been proposed to explain different aspects of this ability. The first account focuses on spatial information: Agents' efficient navigation in space reveals what they like. The second account focuses on statistical information: Uncommon choices reveal stronger preferences. Together, these two lines of research suggest that we have two distinct capacities for inferring preferences. Here we propose that this is not the case, and that spatial-based and statistical-based preference inferences can be explained by the assumption that agents are efficient alone...
February 16, 2018: Cognitive Science
Laura J Speed, Asifa Majid
Do we mentally simulate olfactory information? We investigated mental simulation of odors and sounds in two experiments. Participants retained a word while they smelled an odor or heard a sound, then rated odor/sound intensity and recalled the word. Later odor/sound recognition was also tested, and pleasantness and familiarity judgments were collected. Word recall was slower when the sound and sound-word mismatched (e.g., bee sound with the word typhoon). Sound recognition was higher when sounds were paired with a match or near-match word (e...
February 14, 2018: Cognitive Science
Matthew W Lowder, Wonil Choi, Fernanda Ferreira, John M Henderson
What are the effects of word-by-word predictability on sentence processing times during the natural reading of a text? Although information complexity metrics such as surprisal and entropy reduction have been useful in addressing this question, these metrics tend to be estimated using computational language models, which require some degree of commitment to a particular theory of language processing. Taking a different approach, this study implemented a large-scale cumulative cloze task to collect word-by-word predictability data for 40 passages and compute surprisal and entropy reduction values in a theory-neutral manner...
February 14, 2018: Cognitive Science
Jessica L Montag, Michael N Jones, Linda B Smith
The words in children's language learning environments are strongly predictive of cognitive development and school achievement. But how do we measure language environments and do so at the scale of the many words that children hear day in, day out? The quantity and quality of words in a child's input are typically measured in terms of total amount of talk and the lexical diversity in that talk. There are disagreements in the literature whether amount or diversity is the more critical measure of the input. Here we analyze the properties of a large corpus (6...
February 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Bruno Nicenboim, Shravan Vasishth, Felix Engelmann, Katja Suckow
Given the replication crisis in cognitive science, it is important to consider what researchers need to do in order to report results that are reliable. We consider three changes in current practice that have the potential to deliver more realistic and robust claims. First, the planned experiment should be divided into two stages, an exploratory stage and a confirmatory stage. This clear separation allows the researcher to check whether any results found in the exploratory stage are robust. The second change is to carry out adequately powered studies...
February 7, 2018: Cognitive Science
Garrett Smith, Julie Franck, Whitney Tabor
We present a self-organizing approach to sentence processing that sheds new light on notional plurality effects in agreement attraction, using pseudopartitive subject noun phrases (e.g., a bottle of pills). We first show that notional plurality ratings (numerosity judgments for subject noun phrases) predict verb agreement choices in pseudopartitives, in line with the "Marking" component of the Marking and Morphing theory of agreement processing. However, no account to date has derived notional plurality values from independently needed principles of language processing...
February 1, 2018: Cognitive Science
Yugo Hayashi
Integrating different perspectives is a sophisticated strategy for developing constructive interactions in collaborative problem solving. However, cognitive aspects such as individuals' knowledge and bias often obscure group consensus and produce conflict. This study investigated collaborative problem solving, focusing on a group member interacting with another member having a different perspective (a "maverick"). It was predicted that mavericks might mitigate disadvantages and facilitate perspective taking during problem solving...
February 1, 2018: Cognitive Science
Mindaugas Mozuraitis, Suzanne Stevenson, Daphna Heller
While speakers have been shown to adapt to the knowledge state of their addressee in choosing referring expressions, they often also show some egocentric tendencies. The current paper aims to provide an explanation for this "mixed" behavior by presenting a model that derives such patterns from the probabilistic combination of both the speaker's and the addressee's perspectives. To test our model, we conducted a language production experiment, in which participants had to refer to objects in a context that also included a visually misleading object (e...
February 1, 2018: Cognitive Science
S Emlen Metz, Deena S Weisberg, Michael Weisberg
Why is evolutionary theory controversial among members of the American public? We propose a novel explanation: allegiance to different criteria for belief. In one interview study, two online surveys, and one nationally representative phone poll, we found that evolutionists and creationists take different justifications for belief as legitimate. Those who accept evolution emphasize empirical evidence and scientific consensus. Creationists emphasize not only the Bible and religious authority, but also knowledge of the heart...
February 1, 2018: Cognitive Science
Brendan T Johns, Randall K Jamieson
The collection of very large text sources has revolutionized the study of natural language, leading to the development of several models of language learning and distributional semantics that extract sophisticated semantic representations of words based on the statistical redundancies contained within natural language (e.g., Griffiths, Steyvers, & Tenenbaum, ; Jones & Mewhort, ; Landauer & Dumais, ; Mikolov, Sutskever, Chen, Corrado, & Dean, ). The models treat knowledge as an interaction of processing mechanisms and the structure of language experience...
January 22, 2018: Cognitive Science
Shaun Nichols, Nina Strohminger, Arun Rai, Jay Garfield
It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, ). This paper examines the relation between attitudes about death and the self among Hindus, Westerners, and three Buddhist populations (Lay Tibetan, Lay Bhutanese, and monastic Tibetans). Compared with other groups, monastic Tibetans gave particularly strong denials of the continuity of self, across several measures. We predicted that the denial of self would be associated with a lower fear of death and greater generosity toward others...
January 22, 2018: Cognitive Science
James E Cutting, Kacie L Armstrong
Hollywood movies can be deeply engaging and easy to understand. To succeed in this manner, feature-length movies employ many editing techniques with strong psychological underpinnings. We explore the origins and development of one of these, the reaction shot. This shot typically shows a single, unspeaking character with modest facial expression in response to an event or to the behavior or speech of another character. In a sample of movies from 1940 to 2010, we show that the prevalence of one type of these shots-which we call the cryptic reaction shot-has grown dramatically...
January 22, 2018: Cognitive Science
Kensy Cooperrider, James Slotta, Rafael Núñez
Pointing is a cornerstone of human communication, but does it take the same form in all cultures? Manual pointing with the index finger appears to be used universally, and it is often assumed to be universally preferred over other forms. Non-manual pointing with the head and face has also been widely attested, but it is usually considered of marginal significance, both empirically and theoretically. Here, we challenge this assumed marginality. Using a novel communication task, we investigated pointing preferences in the Yupno of Papua New Guinea and in U...
January 19, 2018: Cognitive Science
Glenn Gunzelmann, Bella Veksler
Veksler and Gunzelmann (2018) argue that the vigilance decrement and the deleterious effects of sleep loss reflect functionally equivalent degradations in cognitive processing and performance. Our account is implemented in a cognitive architecture, where these factors produce breakdowns in goal-directed cognitive processing that we refer to as microlapses. Altmann (2018) raises a number of challenges to microlapses as a unified account of these deficits. Under scrutiny, however, the challenges do little to discredit the theory or conclusions in the original paper...
January 19, 2018: Cognitive Science
Anna Anzulewicz, Michał Wierzchoń
Fazekas and Overgaard () present a novel, multidimensional model that explains different ways in which conscious representations can be degraded. Moreover, the authors discuss possible mechanisms that underlie different kinds of degradation, primarily those related to attentional processing. In this letter, we argue that the proposed mechanisms are not sufficient. We propose that (1) attentional mechanisms work differently at various processing stages; and (2) factors that are independent of attentional ones, such as expectation, previous experience, and context, should be accounted for if we are aiming to construct a comprehensive model of conscious visual perception...
January 19, 2018: Cognitive Science
Ryan P Blything, Ben Ambridge, Elena V M Lieven
This study adjudicates between two opposing accounts of morphological productivity, using English past-tense as its test case. The single-route model (e.g., Bybee & Moder, ) posits that both regular and irregular past-tense forms are generated by analogy across stored exemplars in associative memory. In contrast, the dual-route model (e.g., Prasada & Pinker, ) posits that regular inflection requires use of a formal "add -ed" rule that does not require analogy across regular past-tense forms. Children (aged 3-4; 5-6; 6-7; 9-10) saw animations of an animal performing a novel action described with a novel verb (e...
January 12, 2018: Cognitive Science
Heng Li, Yu Cao
People implicitly associate the "past" and "future" with "front" and "back" in their minds according to their cultural attitudes toward time. As the temporal focus hypothesis (TFH) proposes, future-oriented people tend to think about time according to the future-in-front mapping, whereas past-oriented people tend to think about time according to the past-in-front mapping (de la Fuente, Santiago, Román, Dumitrache, & Casasanto, 2014). Whereas previous studies have demonstrated that culture exerts an important influence on people's implicit spatializations of time, we focus specifically on religion, a prominent layer of culture, as potential additional influence on space-time mappings...
January 9, 2018: Cognitive Science
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