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New Research From Psychological Science

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Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Stability of Intelligence From Age 11 to Age 90 Years: The Lothian Birth Cohort of 1921

Ian J. Deary, Alison Pattie, and John M. Starr

How stable is intelligence over the lifespan? Participants completed the Moray House Test No. 12 (MHT) — a paper-and-pencil test of general mental ability — at ages 11 and 90. MHT scores at age 11 and at age 90 were significantly correlated. MHT performance at age 90 was also significantly correlated with performance on other commonly used assessments of cognitive functioning at age 90, indicating that intelligence has moderately high stability across the lifespan.

The Double-Edged Sword of Grandiose Narcissism: Implications for Successful and Unsuccessful Leadership Among U.S. Presidents

Ashley L. Watts, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Sarah Francis Smith, Joshua D. Miller, W. Keith Campbell, Irwin D. Waldman, Steven J. Rubenzer, and Thomas J. Faschingbauer

The authors examined the impact of grandiose narcissism (associated with a flamboyant and dominant style) and vulnerable narcissism (associated with an emotionally fragile and withdrawn style) on the leadership behaviors of 42 U.S. presidents up to and including George W. Bush. Expert raters evaluated the personality of each president, and polling data and expert ratings were used to calculate presidential job performance. Although vulnerable narcissism was found to be uncorrelated with nearly every indicator of presidential performance, grandiose narcissism was associated with both positive and negative leadership traits and behaviors.

On the Nature and Nurture of Intelligence and Specific Cognitive Abilities: The More Heritable, the More Culture Dependent

Kees-Jan Kan, Jelte M. Wicherts, Conor V. Dolan, and Han L. J. van der Maas

The authors of this study were interested in understanding the ways in which heritability coefficients vary across different cognitive abilities. In two experiments, they examined studies that used the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and provided information needed to obtain heritability coefficients. The results showed that culture-loaded knowledge tests were more strongly related to general intelligence than were culture-reduced tests. The authors hypothesize that the acquisition of socially valued knowledge influences IQ-subtest loadings on the general factor of intelligence and the degree to which the heritability coefficients of IQ subtests include the effects of gene-environment covariance.

Come listen to Jelte M. Wicherts speak as part of “The Replication Revolution: One Year On” symposium at the 26th APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA, USA.

Beauty at the Ballot Box: Disease Threats Predict Preferences for Physically Attractive Leaders

Andrew Edward White, Douglas T. Kenrick, and Steven L. Neuberg

Past studies have suggested that people prefer to vote for physically attractive candidates and that this preference is driven by the positive characteristics associated with beauty, but the authors suggest there may be another reason. In the first of several studies, participants rated the attractiveness of several candidates from the 2010 U.S. congressional elections. The researchers collected data on disease threat for each congressional district and found that physical attractiveness predicted whether a candidate won or lost in districts with a high disease threat but not in districts with a low disease threat. This suggests that preferences for attractive candidates may be part of a disease-avoidance mechanism.

Self-Induced Attentional Blink: A Cause of Errors in Multiple-Target Search

Stephen H. Adamo, Matthew S. Cain, and Stephen R. Mitroff

Although researchers know that people are less likely to find a second target in a display if the first target has already been found, little is known about the cognitive underpinnings of this phenomenon of subsequent search misses (SSM). Participants’ eye movements were recorded as they searched a display for one or two target “T” shapes in a field of “L” shapes. The researchers found that an attentional-blink-like effect accounted for SSM, which suggests that SSM is partially due to the rate at which the visual system recovers after processing a first target.