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Psychological Science

Jessika Golle, Norman Rose, Richard Göllner, Marion Spengler, Gundula Stoll, Nicolas Hübner, Sven Rieger, Ulrich Trautwein, Oliver Lüdtke, Brent W Roberts, Benjamin Nagengast
According to the social-investment principle, entering new environments is associated with new social roles that influence people's behaviors. In this study, we examined whether young adults' personality development is differentially related to their choice of either an academic or a vocational pathway (i.e., entering an academic-track school or beginning vocational training). The personality constructs of interest were Big Five personality traits and vocational-interest orientations. We used a longitudinal study design and propensity-score matching to create comparable groups before they entered one of the pathways and then tested the differences between these groups 6 years later...
November 8, 2018: Psychological Science
Moshe Glickman, Konstantinos Tsetsos, Marius Usher
Humans display a number of puzzling choice patterns that contradict basic principles of rationality. For example, they show preferences that change as a result of task framing or of adding irrelevant alternatives into the choice set. A recent theory has proposed that such choice and risk biases arise from an attentional mechanism that increases the relative weighting of goal-consistent information and protects the decision from noise after the sensory stage. Here, using a divided-attention method based on the dot-probe technique, we showed that attentional selection toward values congruent with the task goal takes place while participants make choices between alternatives that consist of payoff sequences...
November 7, 2018: Psychological Science
John M Gaspar, John J McDonald
Individuals with high levels of anxiety are hypothesized to have impaired executive control functions that would otherwise enable efficient filtering of irrelevant information. Pinpointing specific deficits is difficult, however, because anxious individuals may compensate for deficient control functions by allocating greater effort. Here, we used event-related-potential indices of attentional selection (the N2pc) and suppression (the PD ) to determine whether high trait anxiety is associated with a deficit in preventing the misallocation of attention to salient, but irrelevant, visual search distractors...
November 2, 2018: Psychological Science
Fabian Hutmacher, Christof Kuhbandner
The question of how many of our perceptual experiences are stored in long-term memory has received considerable attention. The present study examined long-term memory for haptic experiences. Blindfolded participants haptically explored 168 everyday objects (e.g., a pen) for 10 s each. In a blindfolded memory test, they indicated which of two objects from the same basic-level category (e.g., two different pens) had been touched before. As shown in Experiment 1 ( N = 26), memory was nearly perfect when tested immediately after exploration (94%) and still high when tested after 1 week (85%)...
October 30, 2018: Psychological Science
Stephen Aichele, Paolo Ghisletta, Janie Corley, Alison Pattie, Adele M Taylor, John M Starr, Ian J Deary
We examined reciprocal, time-ordered associations between age-related changes in fluid intelligence and depressive symptoms. Participants were 1,091 community-dwelling older adults from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study who were assessed repeatedly at 3-year intervals between the ages of 70 and 79 years. On average, fluid intelligence and depressive symptoms worsened with age. There was also a dynamic-coupling effect, in which low fluid intelligence at a given age predicted increasing depressive symptoms across the following 3-year interval, whereas the converse did not hold...
October 25, 2018: Psychological Science
Nicole Satherley, Kumar Yogeeswaran, Danny Osborne, Chris G Sibley
Real-world tests of the impact of partisan cues on voters are scarce because they require assessing how citizens' attitudes changed toward an issue from before to after it became politically divisive. During the 2015-2016 New Zealand flag referendums, the leader of the (center-right) National Party and then-Prime Minister, John Key, championed changing the flag-a move strongly contested by the (center-left) Labour Party. Accordingly, we measured New Zealanders' attitudes toward changing the flag using national longitudinal panel data collected in 2013, before the change was proposed, and again in 2016 at the height of the debate ( Ns = 6,793-6,806)...
October 24, 2018: Psychological Science
Shalena Srna, Rom Y Schrift, Gal Zauberman
With technological advancements, the desire, ability, and often necessity to multitask are pervasive. Although multitasking refers to the simultaneous execution of multiple tasks, most activities that require active attention cannot actually be done simultaneously. Therefore, whether a certain activity is considered multitasking is often a matter of perception. This article demonstrates the malleability of what people perceive as multitasking, showing that the same activity may or may not be construed as multitasking...
October 24, 2018: Psychological Science
Jonathan Mirault, Joshua Snell, Jonathan Grainger
We report a novel transposed-word effect in speeded grammaticality judgments made about five-word sequences. The critical ungrammatical test sequences were formed by transposing two adjacent words from either a grammatical base sequence (e.g., "The white cat was big" became "The white was cat big") or an ungrammatical base sequence (e.g., "The white cat was slowly" became "The white was cat slowly"). These were intermixed with an equal number of correct sentences for the purpose of the grammaticality judgment task...
October 24, 2018: Psychological Science
Ying Hu, Connor J Parde, Matthew Q Hill, Naureen Mahmood, Alice J O'Toole
People infer the personalities of others from their facial appearance. Whether they do so from body shapes is less studied. We explored personality inferences made from body shapes. Participants rated personality traits for male and female bodies generated with a three-dimensional body model. Multivariate spaces created from these ratings indicated that people evaluate bodies on valence and agency in ways that directly contrast positive and negative traits from the Big Five domains. Body-trait stereotypes based on the trait ratings revealed a myriad of diverse body shapes that typify individual traits...
October 22, 2018: Psychological Science
Jörg Gross, Margarita Leib, Theo Offerman, Shaul Shalvi
Corruption is often the product of coordinated rule violations. Here, we investigated how such corrupt collaboration emerges and spreads when people can choose their partners versus when they cannot. Participants were assigned a partner and could increase their payoff by coordinated lying. After several interactions, they were either free to choose whether to stay with or switch their partner or forced to stay with or switch their partner. Results reveal that both dishonest and honest people exploit the freedom to choose a partner...
October 16, 2018: Psychological Science
Molly L Lewis, Michael C Frank
Imagine hearing someone call a particular dalmatian a "dax." The meaning of the novel noun dax is ambiguous between the subordinate meaning (dalmatian) and the basic-level meaning (dog). Yet both children and adults successfully learn noun meanings at the intended level of abstraction from similar evidence. Xu and Tenenbaum (2007a) provided an explanation for this apparent puzzle: Learners assume that examples are sampled from the true underlying category (strong sampling), making cases in which there are more observed exemplars more consistent with a subordinate meaning than cases in which there are fewer exemplars (the suspicious-coincidence effect)...
October 15, 2018: Psychological Science
Pieter Van Dessel, Sean Hughes, Jan De Houwer
The repeated performance of approach or avoidance actions in response to specific stimuli (e.g., alcoholic drinks) is often considered a most promising type of cognitive-bias modification that can reduce unwanted behavior (e.g., alcohol consumption). Unfortunately, approach-avoidance training sometimes fails to produce desired outcomes (e.g., in the context of unhealthy eating). We introduce a novel training task in which approach-avoidance actions are followed by affective consequences. Four experiments (total N = 1,547) found stronger changes in voluntary approach-avoidance behavior, implicit and explicit evaluations, and consumer choices for consequence-based approach-avoidance training in the food domain...
October 12, 2018: Psychological Science
Nicolas Sommet, Davide Morselli, Dario Spini
Following the status-anxiety hypothesis, the psychological consequences of income inequality should be particularly severe for economically vulnerable individuals. Oddly, however, income inequality is often found to affect vulnerable low-income and advantaged high-income groups equally. We argue that economic vulnerability is better captured by a financial-scarcity measure and hypothesize that income inequality primarily impairs the psychological health of people facing scarcity. First, repeated cross-sectional international data (from the World Values Survey: 146,034 participants; 105 country waves) revealed that the within-country effect of national income inequality on feelings of unhappiness was limited to individuals facing scarcity (≈25% of the World Values Survey population)...
October 12, 2018: Psychological Science
Minou Ghaffari, Susann Fiedler
According to research studying the processes underlying decisions, a two-channel mechanism connects attention and choices: top-down and bottom-up processes. To identify the magnitude of each channel, we exogenously varied information intake by systematically interrupting participants' decision processes in Study 1 ( N = 116). Results showed that participants were more likely to choose a predetermined target option. Because selection effects limited the interpretation of the results, we used a sequential-presentation paradigm in Study 2 (preregistered, N = 100)...
October 8, 2018: Psychological Science
Alexandra G Rosati, Lauren M DiNicola, Joshua W Buckholtz
Large-scale cooperation is a hallmark of our species and appears to be unique among primates. Yet the evolutionary mechanisms that drove the emergence of humanlike patterns of cooperation remain unclear. Studying the cognitive processes underlying cooperative behavior in apes, our closest living relatives, can help identify these mechanisms. Accordingly, we employed a novel test battery to assess the willingness of 40 chimpanzees to donate resources, instrumentally help others, and punish a culpable thief. We found that chimpanzees were faster to make prosocial than selfish choices and that more prosocial individuals made the fastest responses...
October 8, 2018: Psychological Science
Alon Zivony, Dominique Lamy
We examined whether shifting attention to a location necessarily entails extracting the features at that location, a process referred to as attentional engagement. In three spatial-cuing experiments ( N = 60), we found that an onset cue captured attention both when it shared the target's color and when it did not. Yet the effects of the match between the response associated with the cued object's identity and the response associated with the target (compatibility effects), which are diagnostic of attentional engagement, were observed only with relevant-color onset cues...
October 4, 2018: Psychological Science
Ipek Oruc, Fakhri Shafai, Grace Iarocci
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulties with processing identity and expression in faces. This is at odds with influential models of face processing that propose separate neural pathways for the identity and expression domains. The social-motivation hypothesis of ASD posits a lack of visual experience with faces as the root cause of face impairments in autism. A direct prediction is that identity and expression abilities should be related in ASD, reflecting the common origin of face impairment in this population...
October 4, 2018: Psychological Science
Elvio Blini, Clément Desoche, Romeo Salemme, Alexandre Kabil, Fadila Hadj-Bouziane, Alessandro Farnè
Closer objects are invariably perceived as bigger than farther ones and are therefore easier to detect and discriminate. This is so deeply grounded in our daily experience that no question has been raised as to whether the advantage for near objects depends on other features (e.g., depth itself). In a series of five experiments ( N = 114), we exploited immersive virtual environments and visual illusions (i.e., Ponzo) to probe humans' perceptual abilities in depth and, specifically, in the space closely surrounding our body, termed peripersonal space...
October 4, 2018: Psychological Science
Matthew Fisher, Frank C Keil
One of the mind's most fundamental tasks is interpreting incoming data and weighing the value of new evidence. Across a wide variety of contexts, we show that when summarizing evidence, people exhibit a binary bias: a tendency to impose categorical distinctions on continuous data. Evidence is compressed into discrete bins, and the difference between categories forms the summary judgment. The binary bias distorts belief formation-such that when people aggregate conflicting scientific reports, they attend to valence and inaccurately weight the extremity of the evidence...
October 4, 2018: Psychological Science
Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Ayelet Fishbach, Angela L Duckworth
Typically, individuals struggling with goal achievement seek advice. However, in the present investigation ( N = 2,274), struggling individuals were more motivated by giving advice than receiving it. In a randomized, controlled, double-blind field experiment, middle-school students who gave motivational advice to younger students spent more time on homework over the following month than students who received motivational advice from expert teachers (Experiment 1). This phenomenon was replicated across self-regulatory domains: Strugglers who gave advice, compared with those who received expert advice, were more motivated to save money, control their tempers, lose weight, and seek employment (Experiments 2 and 3)...
October 3, 2018: Psychological Science
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