New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Bilingualism Modulates Infants’ Selective Attention to the Mouth of a Talking Face

Ferran Pons, Laura Bosch, and David J. Lewkowicz

Children who grow up in a bilingual environment have the task of learning two languages rather than just one. What processes might help children during the dual-language acquisition process? Four-, 8-, and 12-month-old infants, either Spanish monolingual or Catalan monolingual (Experiment 1) or Spanish-Catalan bilingual (Experiment 2) watched a video of a woman speaking in their dominant native language or in a non-native language. The researchers found that bilingual infants directed their attention to speaker’s mouths, as compared with their eyes, at an earlier age and for longer than monolingual infants. This suggests that bilingual infants support the acquisition of dual languages by taking greater advantage of redundant audiovisual speech cues than do monolingual infants.

Small Telescopes: Detectability and the Evaluation of Replication Results

Uri Simonsohn

Two standard approaches for interpreting replication results are to ask whether the effect obtained in the replication is (a) significantly different from zero or (b) significantly different from the effect-size estimate from the original study. Simonsohn demonstrates the problems with these approaches and presents a new method for evaluating replication results — the small-telescope approach. The small-telescope approach seeks not to determine whether an effect exists but to determine whether the effect observed in the replication is close enough to zero that the original study would have been unable to meaningfully study it. Simonsohn provides examples of how using this technique helps researchers avoid some of the pitfalls associated with standard techniques traditionally used to interpret replication findings.

Color Is Processed Less Efficiently Than Orientation in Change Detection but More Efficiently in Visual Search

Liqiang Huang

Basic visual features such as color and orientation are assumed to be processed in a similar manner across different visual tasks. The author examined this assumption by having participants perform a perceptual-discrimination task, a visual search task, and a change-detection task. The target feature in these tasks was either color or orientation. Performance on the perceptual-discrimination task was the same regardless of whether color or orientation was the target feature. Performance was better for orientation than for color stimuli on the change-discrimination task and was better for color stimuli than for orientation stimuli on the visual search task. These findings suggest that the assumption that all visual features are processed in the same way across visual tasks is flawed.

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