Category: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

The Awakening of the Attention: Evidence for a Link Between the Monitoring of Mind Wandering and Prospective Goals

The Awakening of the Attention: Evidence for a Link Between the Monitoring of Mind Wandering and Prospective Goals

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 431-443

Abstract
“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. This relation held even when controlling for overall propensity to mind-wander (indexed by intermittent thought probes) and levels of motivation (indexed by subjective reports). These results suggest the possibility that there is a common monitoring system that monitors the contents of consciousness and the progress of ongoing goals and tasks.”

Written by: Paul Seli, Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel Smilek, Brandon C.W. Ralph
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000385

Perceptual But Not Complex Moral Judgments Can Be Biased by Exploiting the Dynamics of Eye-Gaze

Perceptual But Not Complex Moral Judgments Can Be Biased by Exploiting the Dynamics of Eye-Gaze

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 409-417

Abstract
“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). Our results are consistent with the well-established idea that participants’ judgments are reflected in their eye-gaze, but do not support the recent bold claim of a causal link wherein the timing of a gaze-contingent response-prompt influences complex judgments.”

Written by: Ben R. Newell, Mike E. Le Pelley
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000386

Simulational Fluency Reduces Feelings of Psychological Distance

Simulational Fluency Reduces Feelings of Psychological Distance

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 354-376

Abstract
“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). Writing short, easy-to-generate descriptions of Christmas made it feel psychologically closer and more fluently simulated compared with writing longer, difficult-to-generate descriptions (Study 2). This pattern was not anticipated by readers of the same content who did not directly experience the fluency of writing descriptions. Writing descriptions of Halloween made it feel fluently simulated and psychologically close, even as concrete “how” descriptions reduced construal level compared with abstract “why” descriptions (Study 3). Listening to a fluent audio description of a past Super Bowl, compared with a disfluent audio description, caused the game to feel psychologically closer in both space and time (Study 4). Reading a description of the Super Bowl in easy-to-read font, compared with difficult-to-read font, made the game feel more fluently simulated and psychologically closer (Study 5). These findings have implications for theories of psychological distance and its role in everyday life.”

Written by: Kellen Mrkva, Mark Travers, Leaf Van Boven
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000408

Robust, Replicable, and Theoretically-Grounded: A Response to Brown and Coyne’s (2017) Commentary on the Relationship Between Emodiversity and Health

Robust, Replicable, and Theoretically-Grounded: A Response to Brown and Coyne’s (2017) Commentary on the Relationship Between Emodiversity and Health

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 451-458

Abstract
“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. We present an in-depth examination that reveals that our findings are statistically robust, replicable, and reflect a theoretically grounded phenomenon with real-world implications.”

Written by: Jordi Quoidbach, June Gruber, Aleksandr Kogan, Michael I. Norton, Ilios Kotsou, Moïra Mikolajczak
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000400

The Ego-Moving Metaphor of Time Relies on Visual Experience: No Representation of Time Along the Sagittal Space in the Blind

The Ego-Moving Metaphor of Time Relies on Visual Experience: No Representation of Time Along the Sagittal Space in the Blind

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 444-450

Abstract
“In many cultures, humans conceptualize the past as behind the body and the future as in front. Whether this spatial mapping of time depends on visual experience is still not known. Here, we addressed this issue by testing early-blind participants in a space–time motor congruity task requiring them to classify a series of words as referring to the past or the future by moving their hand backward or forward. Sighted participants showed a preferential mapping between forward movements and future-words and backward movements and past-words. Critically, blind participants did not show any such preferential time–space mapping. Furthermore, in a questionnaire requiring participants to think about past and future events, blind participants did not appear to perceive the future as psychologically closer than the past, as it is the case of sighted individuals. These findings suggest that normal visual development is crucial for representing time along the sagittal space.”

Written by: Luca Rinaldi, Micaela Fantino, Tomaso Vecchi, Lofti B. Merabet
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000373

Do We See It or Not? Sensory Attenuation in the Visual Domain

Do We See It or Not? Sensory Attenuation in the Visual Domain

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 418-430

Abstract
“Sensory consequences of an agent’s actions are perceived less intensely than sensory stimuli that are not caused (and thus not predicted) by the observer. This effect of sensory attenuation has been discussed as a key principle of perception, potentially mediating various crucial functions such as agency and the discrimination of self-caused sensory stimulation from stimuli caused by external factors. Precise models describe the theoretical underpinnings of this phenomenon across a variety of modalities, especially the auditory, tactile, and visual domain. Despite these strong claims, empirical evidence for sensory attenuation in the visual domain is surprisingly sparse and ambiguous. In the present article, the authors therefore aim to clarify the role of sensory attenuation for learned visual action effects. To this end, the authors present a comprehensive replication effort including 3 separate, high-powered experiments on sensory attenuation in the visual domain with 1 direct and 2 preregistered, conceptual replication attempts of an influential study on this topic (Cardoso-Leite et al., 2010). Signal detection analyses were targeted to distinguish between true visual sensitivity and response bias. Contrary to previous assumptions and despite high statistical power, however, the authors found no evidence for sensory attenuation of learned visual action effects. Bayesian analyses further supported the null hypothesis of no effect, thus constraining theories that promote sensory attenuation as an immediate and necessary consequence of voluntary actions.”

Written by: Katharina A. Schwarz, Roland Pfister, Michel Kluge, Lisa Weller, and Wilfried Kunde
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000353

Alexithymia Is Associated With a Multidomain, Multidimensional Failure of Interoception: Evidence From Novel Tests

Alexithymia Is Associated With a Multidomain, Multidimensional Failure of Interoception: Evidence From Novel Tests

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 398-408

Abstract
“Interoception, the perception of the body’s internal state, contributes to numerous aspects of higher-order cognition. Several theories suggest a causal role for atypical interoception in specific psychiatric disorders, including a recent claim that atypical interoception represents a transdiagnostic impairment across disorders characterized by reduced perception of one’s own emotion (alexithymia). Such theories are supported predominantly by evidence from only one interoceptive domain (cardiac); however, evidence of domain-specific interoceptive ability highlights the need to assess interoception in noncardiac domains. Using novel interoceptive tasks, we demonstrate that individuals high in alexithymic traits show a reduced propensity to utilize interoceptive cues to gauge respiratory output (Experiment 1), reduced accuracy on tasks of muscular effort (Experiment 2), and taste sensitivity (Experiment 3), unrelated to any co-occurring autism, depression, or anxiety. Results suggest that alexithymia reflects a multidomain, multidimensional failure of interoception, which is consistent with theories suggesting that atypical interoception may underpin both symptom commonalities between psychiatric disorders and heterogeneity within disorders.”

Written by: Jennifer Murphy, Caroline Catmur, Geoffrey Bird
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000366

Complementarity in false memory illusions

Complementarity in false memory illusions

Published in: Journal of Experimental: Psychology, Volume 147, Issue 3, 305-327

Abstract
“For some years, the DRM illusion has been the most widely studied form of false memory. The consensus theoretical interpretation is that the illusion is a reality reversal, in which certain new words (critical distractors) are remembered as though they are old list words rather than as what they are—new words that are similar to old ones. This reality-reversal interpretation is supported by compelling lines of evidence, but prior experiments are limited by the fact that their memory tests only asked whether test items were old. We removed that limitation by also asking whether test items were new-similar. This more comprehensive methodology revealed that list words and critical distractors are remembered quite differently. Memory for list words is compensatory: They are remembered as old at high rates and remembered as new-similar at very low rates. In contrast, memory for critical distractors is complementary: They are remembered as both old and new-similar at high rates, which means that the DRM procedure induces a complementarity illusion rather than a reality reversal. The conjoint recognition model explains complementarity as a function of three retrieval processes (semantic familiarity, target recollection, and context recollection), and it predicts that complementarity can be driven up or down by varying the mix of those processes. Our experiments generated data on that prediction and introduced a convenient statistic, the complementarity ratio, which measures (a) the level of complementarity in memory performance and (b) whether its direction is reality-consistent or reality-reversed.”

Written by: C.J. Brainerd, V.F. Reyna
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000381

Implications of Individual Differences in On-Average Null Effects

Implications of Individual Differences in On-Average Null Effects

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 377-397

Abstract
“Most psychological models are intended to describe processes that operate within each individual. In many research areas, however, models are tested by looking at results averaged across many individuals, despite the fact that such averaged results may give a misleading picture of what is true for each one. We consider this conundrum with respect to the interpretation of on-average null effects. Specifically, even though an experimental manipulation might have no effect on average across individuals, it might still have demonstrable effects—albeit in opposite directions—for many or all of the individuals tested. We discuss several examples of research questions for which it would be theoretically crucial to determine whether manipulations really have no effect at the individual level, and we present a method of testing for individual-level effects.”

Written by: Jeff Miller, Wolf Schwarz
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000367

Tests of an Exemplar-Memory Model of Classification Learning in a High-Dimensional Natural-Science Category Domain

Tests of an Exemplar-Memory Model of Classification Learning in a High-Dimensional Natural-Science Category Domain

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 328-353

Abstract
“Experiments were conducted in which novice participants learned to classify pictures of rocks into real-world, scientifically defined categories. The experiments manipulated the distribution of training instances during an initial study phase, and then tested for correct classification and generalization performance during a transfer phase. The similarity structure of the to-be-learned categories was also manipulated across the experiments. A low-parameter version of an exemplar-memory model, used in combination with a high-dimensional feature-space representation for the rock stimuli, provided good overall accounts of the categorization data. The successful accounts included (a) predicting how performance on individual item types within the categories varied with the distributions of training examples, (b) predicting the overall levels of classification accuracy across the different rock categories, and (c) predicting the patterns of between-category confusions that arose when classification errors were made. The work represents a promising initial step in scaling up the application of formal models of perceptual classification learning to complex natural-category domains. We discuss further steps for making use of the model and its associated feature-space representation to search for effective techniques of teaching categories in the science classroom.”

Written by: Robert M. Nosofsky, Craig A. Sanders, Mark A. McDaniel
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000369

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