Category: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Number comparison and number ordering as predictors of arithmetic performance in adults: Exploring the link between the two skills, and investigating the question of domain-specificity

Number comparison and number ordering as predictors of arithmetic performance in adults: Exploring the link between the two skills, and investigating the question of domain-specificity

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2497-2517

Abstract
“Recent evidence has highlighted the important role that number-ordering skills play in arithmetic abilities, both in children and adults. In the current study, we demonstrated that number comparison and ordering skills were both significantly related to arithmetic performance in adults, and the effect size was greater in the case of ordering skills. Additionally, we found that the effect of number comparison skills on arithmetic performance was mediated by number-ordering skills. Moreover, performance on comparison and ordering tasks involving the months of the year was also strongly correlated with arithmetic skills, and participants displayed similar (canonical or reverse) distance effects on the comparison and ordering tasks involving months as when the tasks included numbers. This suggests that the processes responsible for the link between comparison and ordering skills and arithmetic performance are not specific to the domain of numbers. Finally, a factor analysis indicated that performance on comparison and ordering tasks loaded on a factor that included performance on a number line task and self-reported spatial thinking styles. These results substantially extend previous research on the role of order processing abilities in mental arithmetic.”

Written by: Kinga Morsanyi, Eileen O’Mahony, Teresa McCormack
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1246577

Evidence for a confidence–accuracy relationship in memory for same- and cross-race faces

Evidence for a confidence–accuracy relationship in memory for same- and cross-race faces

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2518-2534

Abstract
“Discrimination accuracy is usually higher for same- than for cross-race faces, a phenomenon known as the cross-race effect (CRE). According to prior research, the CRE occurs because memories for same- and cross-race faces rely on qualitatively different processes. However, according to a continuous dual-process model of recognition memory, memories that rely on qualitatively different processes do not differ in recognition accuracy when confidence is equated. Thus, although there are differences in overall same- and cross-race discrimination accuracy, confidence-specific accuracy (i.e., recognition accuracy at a particular level of confidence) may not differ. We analysed datasets from four recognition memory studies on same- and cross-race faces to test this hypothesis. Confidence ratings reliably predicted recognition accuracy when performance was above chance levels (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) but not when performance was at chance levels (Experiment 4). Furthermore, at each level of confidence, confidence-specific accuracy for same- and cross-race faces did not significantly differ when overall performance was above chance levels (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) but significantly differed when overall performance was at chance levels (Experiment 4). Thus, under certain conditions, high-confidence same-race and cross-race identifications may be equally reliable.”

Written by: Thao B. Nguyen, Kathy Pezdek, John T. Wixted
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1246578

Transforming valences through transitive inference: How are faces emotionally dissonant?

Transforming valences through transitive inference: How are faces emotionally dissonant?

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2478-2496

Abstract
“Information that is emotionally incongruous with self-concepts can produce feelings of unease. This implies that embedding incongruous information in newly formed relational structures would have little effect on their previous emotive properties. Alternatively, Relational Frame Theory highlights the importance of contextualized stimulus-stimulus relations, where the structure of a relational series is key in determining the function of its elements. To see whether series membership can mitigate ‘dissonance’ when a salient element is employed, the present investigation trained and tested a seven-term relational series (X>A>B>C>D>E>Y) using blurred faces as stimuli. Specifically, Stimuli X, A, B, D, E and Y were blurred unfamiliar faces and Stimulus C constituted of the participant’s own blurred face, assumed to be more salient than the former. To assess how the valences of the related stimuli were transformed by relational series membership, self-report ratings and electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings were collected before and after training the X>A>B>C>D>E>Y series. These pre vs. post contrasts revealed that, for unfamiliar faces, stimulus valence transformed as a function of relational structure. Conversely, the lack of difference in pre vs. post contrasts of Stimulus C, which maintained a high valence, suggest that relational series membership may not suffice to mitigate emotionally dissonant information.”

Written by: Micah Amd, Bryan Roche
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1246576

Listeners learn phonotactic patterns conditioned on suprasegmental cues

Listeners learn phonotactic patterns conditioned on suprasegmental cues

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2560-2576

Abstract
“Language learners are sensitive to phonotactic patterns from an early age, and can acquire both simple and 2nd-order positional restrictions contingent on segment identity (e.g., /f/ is an onset with /æ/but a coda with /ɪ/). The present study explored the learning of phonototactic patterns conditioned on a suprasegmental cue: lexical stress. Adults first heard non-words in which trochaic and iambic items had different consonant restrictions. In Experiment 1, participants trained with phonotactic patterns involving natural classes of consonants later falsely recognized novel items that were consistent with the training patterns (legal items), demonstrating that they had learned the stress-conditioned phonotactic patterns. However, this was only true for iambic items. In Experiment 2, participants completed a forced-choice test between novel legal and novel illegal items and were again successful only for the iambic items. Experiment 3 demonstrated learning for trochaic items when they were presented alone. Finally, in Experiment 4, in which the training phase was lengthened, participants successfully learned both sets of phonotactic patterns. These experiments provide evidence that learners consider more global phonological properties in the computation of phonotactic patterns, and that learners can acquire multiple sets of patterns simultaneously, even contradictory ones.”

Written by: Katherine S. White, Kyle E. Chambers, Zachary Miller, Vibhuti Jethava
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1247896

Concurrent deployment of visual attention and response selection bottleneck in a dual-task: Electrophysiological and behavioural evidence

Concurrent deployment of visual attention and response selection bottleneck in a dual-task: Electrophysiological and behavioural evidence

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2460-2477

Abstract
“Visual attention and response selection are limited in capacity. Here, we investigated whether visual attention requires the same bottleneck mechanism as response selection in a dual-task of the psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm. The dual-task consisted of an auditory two-choice discrimination Task 1 and a conjunction search Task 2, which were presented at variable temporal intervals (stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA). In conjunction search, visual attention is required to select items and to bind their features resulting in a serial search process around the items in the search display (i.e., set size). We measured the reaction time of the visual search task (RT2) and the N2pc, an event-related potential (ERP), which reflects lateralized visual attention processes. If the response selection processes in Task 1 influence the visual attention processes in Task 2, N2pc latency and amplitude would be delayed and attenuated at short SOA compared to long SOA. The results, however, showed that latency and amplitude were independent of SOA, indicating that visual attention was concurrently deployed to response selection. Moreover, the RT2 analysis revealed an underadditive interaction of SOA and set size. We concluded that visual attention does not require the same bottleneck mechanism as response selection in dual-tasks.”

Written by: Christina B. Reimer, Tilo Strobach, Torsten Schubert
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1245348

Self-bias modulates saccadic control

Self-bias modulates saccadic control

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2577-2585

Abstract
“We present novel data on the role of attention in eliciting enhanced processing of stimuli associated with self. Participants were required to make pro- or anti-saccades according to whether learned shape–label pairings matched or mismatched. When stimuli matched participants were required to make an anti-saccade, and when the stimuli mismatched a pro-saccade was required. We found that anti-saccades were difficult to make to stimuli associated with self when compared to stimuli associated with a friend and a stranger. In contrast, anti-saccades to friend-stimuli were easier to make than anti-saccades to stranger-stimuli. In addition, a correct anti-saccade to a self-associated stimulus disrupted subsequent pro-saccade trials, relative to when the preceding anti-saccade was made to other stimuli. The data indicate that self-associated stimuli provide a strong cue for explicit shifts of attention to them, and that correct anti-saccades to such stimuli demand high levels of inhibition (which carries over to subsequent pro-saccade trials). The self exerts an automatic draw on attention.”

Written by: A. Yankouskaya, D. Palmer, M. Stolte, J. Sui, G. W. Humphreys
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1247897

Two distinct parsing stages in nonword reading aloud: Evidence from Russian

Two distinct parsing stages in nonword reading aloud: Evidence from Russian

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2548-2559

Abstract
“Word reading partly depends on the activation of sublexical letter clusters. Previous research has studied which types of letter clusters have psychological saliency, but less is known about cognitive mechanisms of letter string parsing. Here, we take advantage of the high degree of context-dependency of the Russian orthography to examine whether consonant–vowel (CV) clusters are treated as units in two stages of sublexical processing. In two experiments using a nonword reading task, we use two orthogonal manipulations: (a) insertion of a visual disruptor (#) to assess whether CV clusters are kept intact during the early visual parsing stage, and (b) presence of context-dependent grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs; e.g., л[а] → /l/; л[я] → /lj/), to assess whether CV clusters remain intact or are split during the print-to-speech conversion stage. The results suggest that although CV clusters are initially processed as perceptual units in the early visual parsing stage, letters and not CV clusters drive print-to-speech conversion.”

Written by: Xenia Schmalz, Alexander Porshnev, Eva Marinus
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1247895

Stimulus dependence and cross-modal interference in sequence learning

Stimulus dependence and cross-modal interference in sequence learning

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2535-2547

Abstract
“A central issue in sequence learning is whether learning operates on stimulus-independent abstract elements, or whether surface features are integrated, resulting in stimulus-dependent learning. Using the serial reaction-time (SRT) task, we test whether a previously presented sequence is transferrable from one domain to another. Contrary to previous artificial grammar learning studies, there is mapping between pre- and posttransfer stimuli, but contrary to previous SRT studies mapping is not obvious. In the pre-transfer training phase, participants face a dot-counting task in which the location of the dots follows a predefined sequence. In the test phase, participants face an auditory SRT task in which the spatial organization of the response locations is either the same as spatial sequence in the training phase, or not. Sequence learning is compared to two control conditions: one with a non-sequential random-dot counting in the training phase, and one with no training phase. Results show that sequential training proactively interferes with later sequence learning, regardless of whether the sequence is the same or different in the two phases. Results argue for the existence of a general sequence processor with limited capacity, and that sequence structures and sequenced elements are integrated into a single sequential representation.”

Written by: Ferenc Kemeny, Kornel Nemeth
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1246579

Global-local processing impacts academic risk taking

Global-local processing impacts academic risk taking

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2434-2444

Abstract
“Research has shown that academic risk taking—the selection of school tasks with varying difficulty levels—affords important implications for educational outcomes. In two experiments, we explored the role of cognitive processes—specifically, global versus local processing styles—in students’ academic risk-taking tendencies. Participants first read a short passage, which provided the context for their subsequent academic risk-taking decisions. Following which, participants undertook the Navon’s task and attended to either global letters or local letters only, i.e., were either globally or locally primed. The effects of priming on academic risk taking were then assessed using a perception-based measure (Experiment 1) and a task-based measure (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 provided preliminary evidence, which Experiment 2 confirmed, that globally focused individuals took more academic risk than did locally focused individuals after controlling for participants’ need for cognition (how much they enjoy effortful cognitive activities). Additionally, the inclusion of and comparisons with a control group in Experiment 2 revealed that locally focused participants drove the observed effects. The theory of predictive and reactive control systems (PARCS) provides a cogent account of our findings. Future directions and practical applications in education are discussed.”

Written by: Elvis W. S. Tan, Stephen Wee Hun Lim, Emmanuel Manalo
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1240815

Differences in holistic processing do not explain cultural differences in the recognition of facial expression

Differences in holistic processing do not explain cultural differences in the recognition of facial expression

Published in: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 70, Issue 12, 2445-2459

Abstract
“The aim of this study was to investigate the causes of the own-race advantage in facial expression perception. In Experiment 1, we investigated Western Caucasian and Chinese participants’ perception and categorization of facial expressions of six basic emotions that included two pairs of confusable expressions (fear and surprise; anger and disgust). People were slightly better at identifying facial expressions posed by own-race members (mainly in anger and disgust). In Experiment 2, we asked whether the own-race advantage was due to differences in the holistic processing of facial expressions. Participants viewed composite faces in which the upper part of one expression was combined with the lower part of a different expression. The upper and lower parts of the composite faces were either aligned or misaligned. Both Chinese and Caucasian participants were better at identifying the facial expressions from the misaligned images, showing interference on recognizing the parts of the expressions created by holistic perception of the aligned composite images. However, this interference from holistic processing was equivalent across expressions of own-race and other-race faces in both groups of participants. Whilst the own-race advantage in recognizing facial expressions does seem to reflect the confusability of certain emotions, it cannot be explained by differences in holistic processing.”

Written by: Xiaoqian Yan, Andrew W. Young, Timothy J. Andrews
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2016.1240816

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