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Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Feature-Binding Errors After Eye Movements and Shifts of Attention

Julie D. Golomb, Zara E. L’Heureux, and Nancy Kanwisher

In this study, the authors examined distortions in feature binding that might occur after eye movements. Participants were shown four color blocks — one in a precued spatiotopic (world-centered) location — that appeared after an eye movement. When participants indicated the color of the block appearing at the cued location using a color wheel, their reports were systematically shifted toward the color of the distractor in the retinotopic (eye-centered) location of the cue. This error was found to be driven both by swapping errors, which occurred when participants switched attention from one location to another, and by feature mixing, which occurred when participants attended to two locations simultaneously.

Facial Movements Strategically Camouflage Involuntary Social Signals of Face Morphology

Daniel Gill, Oliver G. B. Garrod, Rachael E. Jack, and Philippe G. Schyns

Information about a person’s social traits can be conveyed involuntarily by the structural characteristics of their faces, but is it possible to camouflage these static social signals? Participants’ ratings of facial actions were used to create models of dynamic facial movements signaling dominance, trustworthiness, and attractiveness. These models were applied to faces with static facial characteristics differing in ratings of perceived trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness. Overlaying the dynamic facial movements on the static faces modulated their features, thereby masking the social signals conveyed through facial structure.

Positive Affect and Cognitive Control: Approach-Motivation Intensity Influences the Balance Between Cognitive Flexibility and Stability

Ya Liu and Zhenhong Wang

Much of the previous research examining the influence of affect on cognitive flexibility has focused on valence. Few studies have examined the influence of motivation. An attentional-set-shifting paradigm was used to assess the effect of high- and low-approach-motivation intensity on the relationship between positive affect and cognitive flexibility. The researchers found that whereas low-approach-motivated positive affect enhanced cognitive flexibility — and increased distractibility — high-approach-motivated positive affect reduced cognitive flexibility — and also reduced distraction. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating motivational intensity into research examining the influence of affect on cognitive control.