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Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Brief Periods of Auditory Perceptual Training Can Determine the Sensory Targets of Speech Motor Learning

Daniel R. Lametti, Sonia A. Krol, Douglas M. Shiller, and David J. Ostry

Do alterations in the perception of speech affect speech motor learning? To test this, the authors had participants perform a perceptual-training task that was paired with a motor-learning task. The authors wanted to see whether altering the perceptual boundary between two vowel sounds (perceptual-training task) would influence the degree to which people would change their speech in response to perceived errors in producing those sounds (motor-learning task). They found that the amount of motor learning was dependent upon the perceptual boundary changes acquired through perceptual training, which indicates that alterations in speech perception can have effects on speech production in the context of motor learning.

Newly Hatched Chicks Solve the Visual Binding Problem

Justin N. Wood

The visual system must combine color and shape features into one representation in order for people to see a coherent, unified object. Although this visual binding ability has been studied in adults, it is not known whether it is present from birth. To examine this in an animal model, newly hatched chicks were reared in an environment in which their visual-object experience was limited to a single virtual rotating object that had a different color and shape on each of its two faces. The author found that in the second week of life, chicks could distinguish the original object from unfamiliar objects, suggesting that visual binding abilities are present and functional from birth.

Gender and Sexual Economics: Do Women View Sex as a Female Commodity?

Laurie A. Rudman and Janell C. Fetterolf

Sexual Economics Theory (SET) views sex as a commodity provided by women and sought after by men. According to SET, women should be more interested in suppressing female sexuality than men, because sex has greater value when availability is low. The findings from the current study — which examined which gender is more invested in sexual economics — did not support the traditional view of SET (i.e., that women view their sexuality as a commodity). Instead, the results suggested that men — rather than women — are likely to suppress female sexuality and present barriers to sexual equality in order to suppress female empowerment — even if doing so raises the “cost” of sexual relations.