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Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science.

Attentional-Tracking Acuity Is Modulated by Illusory Changes in Perceived Speed

Welber Marinovic, Samuel L. Pearce, and Derek H. Arnold

Researchers know that attentional tracking is affected by the speed of an object, but is it the actual object speed or the perceived object speed that makes the difference? In this study, after viewing either a fast or a slow adaptor (a stimulus that increases or decreases the perceived speed of a target stimulus), participants were asked to track one of 12 dots that rotated around a fixation point. When the display stopped moving, one of the dots turned red and participants had to indicate whether the red dot was the same one they had been tracking. Participants who had viewed the fast adaptor perceived slower movement in the tracking task and performed better, whereas those who viewed the slow adaptor perceived faster movement on the tracking task and performed worse. This indicates that the ability to track a moving element attentionally is modulated by illusory changes in speed.

Attributing False Beliefs About Object Identity Reveals a Signature Blind Spot in Humans’ Efficient Mind-Reading System

Jason Low and Joseph Watts

How is “mind reading” accomplished? Three-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and adults performed a task in which either the location (location task) or the identity (identity task) of an object could be interpreted differently depending on the visual perspective from which it was viewed. In both tasks, the researchers measured where in the scene the participant looked for the object and asked the participants to verbally predict where another individual would look for it. In the location task, 3-year-olds displayed correct first looks despite erring in verbal predictions; however, 3-year-olds showed no such dissociation in the identity task. Four-year-olds and adults showed a pattern that was the reverse of that of the 3-year-olds in the identity task. These findings suggest a dual mind-reading system combining low- and high-level processes for tracking and representing beliefs.