New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Pupillary Contagion in Infancy: Evidence for Spontaneous Transfer of Arousal

Christine Fawcett, Victoria Wesevich, and Gustaf Gredebäck

Pupillary contagion — when an individual’s pupil size influences the pupil size of an observer — is thought to be an automatic mechanism that facilitates prosocial responding and group cohesion. To explore whether the phenomenon might exist early in life, researchers examined the pupillary responses of 6- and 9-month-olds. The infants viewed 48 pairs of concentric circles or squares — inside each circle was a filled-in circle (schematic eye shape) and inside each square was a filled-in square (control shape). Using a remote eye tracker, the researchers measured infants’ pupillary response to the images. The infants showed greater pupil dilation when viewing circles that had larger centers compared with smaller centers, but showed no such difference for squares. The data provided no evidence that age affected pupillary response. The findings indicate that pupillary contagion emerges early and does not depend on the development of face- and emotion-processing skills between the ages of 6 and 9 months.

Scene Integration Without Awareness: No Conclusive Evidence for Processing Scene Congruency During Continuous Flash Suppression

Pieter Moors, David Boelens, Jaana van Overwalle, and Johan Wagemans

In 2011, Mudrik, Breska, Lamy, and Deouell presented participants with scenes that had been rendered invisible using continuous flash suppression. They found that suppression was broken faster for incongruent than congruent scenes, leading them to argue that high-level scene processing can occur unconsciously. To determine whether this congruency effect was due to genuine scene processing rather than to low-level visual aspects of the scenes, the authors conducted three replications using increased trials and an inversion condition. Inverting the images provided a control for image-related characteristics by reducing the identifiability of the image while preserving the low-level visual characteristics of the image. They were unable to replicate the effect, suggesting that high-level scene processing does not occur unconsciously during continuous flash suppression.

When Lightning Strikes Twice: Profoundly Gifted, Profoundly Accomplished

Matthew C. Makel, Harrison J. Kell, David Lubinski, Martha Putallaz, and Camilla P. Benbow

Does high achievement early in life lead to great accomplishments in adulthood? A 2013 study by Kell, Lubinski, and Benbow that followed exceptionally gifted youth who were part of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) found that these children had extraordinary levels of creative, professional, and occupational success in adulthood. To determine whether this finding was representative of equally able youth, the researchers examined children who were part of the Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP) whose standardized test scores placed them in the top .01% of ability for their age groups. The accomplishments of TIP youth by age 40 mirrored those of SMPY youth, confirming the previous findings about the intellectual course of gifted children.

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