Your source for the latest psychological research.

Inside the Psychologist’s Studio: Annette Karmiloff-Smith

Developmental psychology will become increasingly interdisciplinary, incorporating genetics, cell biology, the brain, the environment, and more, APS Board Member Annette Karmiloff-Smith projects in a just-released “Inside the Psychologist’s Studio” interview.

Karmiloff-Smith, a highly influential developmental and cognitive neuroscientist, adds that she expects developmental researchers to devote increased attention to individual differences and environmental influences.

“One of things I see in the future is a much more subtle description of children’s environments than we’ve had up to now,” she tells APS Fellow BJ Casey in a conversation recorded at the 26th Annual APS Convention held in May 2014 in San Francisco. “We did a study a few years back where we showed that just a tiny difference in the style of the mother’s interaction with the baby would affect the timing of when the baby reached certain cognitive milestones. They were all typically developing babies, so they all reached them in…


Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Extremist Groups Appeal to Those Uncertain About Identity

ExtremismIn a world threatened by extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram, many people wonder what pull such violent, fear-mongering organizations have over their followers. In a new Current Directions in Psychological Science article, APS Fellow Michael A. Hogg, describes a theory explaining why people with no previous record of violence or extremist views might be joining these causes.

Hogg proposes that “uncertainty-identity theory” — the role uncertainty plays in motivating people to join a social group to feel accepted — could be a contributing factor pushing people toward fringe groups — whether ideological,…


Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Infants Can Tell If You’re a Reliable Informant

This is a photo of a baby peeking out of a doorway.It’s hard to know how babies think, since they’re still getting a handle on language skills. One strategy that researchers use to gain some insight is eye tracking, which allows them to see where babies direct their gaze and for how long.

In light of research suggesting that children trust other people’s testimony based on prior experience with them, psychological scientist Kristen Swan Tummeltshammer of the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, University of London and colleagues conducted two experiments to determine whether infants could discern a person’s trustworthiness and act on this knowledge — a crucial skill for successful learning.

In the first experiment, 24 8-month-old infants watched a screen on which one of two video-recorded female faces appeared and said, “Wow, look!” When the face turned toward…


Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Memrise Prize Aimed at Spurring Innovations in Language Learning

Memrise_webDavid Shanks and Rosalind Potts, scientists in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London, United Kingdom, have teamed up with the online learning community Memrise to tackle an age-old problem: how to learn a new language — fast.

The $10,000 Memrise Prize challenges contestants to “create the most powerful methodology for memorizing new information.” Contestants will devise a 1-hour learning program to teach English speakers previously unfamiliar Lithuanian vocabulary. Those programs that perform well against a control method will pass to the next round of the contest to be reviewed by independent judges, including experts on memory and neuroscience.

Entries selected as finalists by the expert judges will…


Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

APS Announces Third Replication Project


Two months after APS published its first Registered Replication Report (RRR), the plan for the third RRR has been finalized and editors are accepting proposals from researchers who would like to participate in the large-scale replication by running the study in their lab.

Roy Baumeister and colleagues (1998; Muraven, Tice, & Baumeister, 1998) proposed that performance on tasks requiring self-control is governed by a general, unitary, and finite “internal” resource. Engaging in tasks requiring self-control is believed to deplete the resource, reducing performance on subsequent tasks that require self-control, a phenomenon known as “ego depletion.”

The classic evidence for the phenomenon comes from a simple paradigm involving two consecutive tasks. For participants randomly assigned to the experimental (ego-depletion) group, both tasks require self-control. For participants assigned to the comparison (no depletion) group, only the second task requires self-control, with the…


No Comments »