New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Oxytocin Receptor Gene (OXTR) and Face Recognition

Roeland J. Verhallen, Jenny M. Bosten, Patrick T. Goodbourn, Adam J. Lawrance-Owen,Gary Bargary, and J. D. Mollon

A recent study by Skuse and colleagues found an association between face recognition and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) called rs237887 in a group of high-functioning children with autism and their first-degree relatives. In that study, Skuse and colleagues used the Warrington Recognition Memory Test for Faces to examine face recognition. However, this test has recently been questioned: Some studies have found that people can perform normally on this test even when internal features of faces are removed. In an examination of this previous finding, the current researchers had participants complete the Mooney Face Test, the Glasgow Face Matching Test, the Cambridge Face Memory Test, and the Composite Face Test and undergo genetic analysis. Face-recognition performance was not found to be related to rs237887 or to additional SNPs within OXTR. This finding indicates that rs237887 is not related to face recognition in healthy participants.

When Far Becomes Near: Perspective Taking Induces Social Remapping of Spatial Relations

Andrea Cavallo, Caterina Ansuini, Francesca Capozzi, Barbara Tversky, and Cristina Becchio

People sometimes spontaneously take the perspective of others, for example, when they are asked to tell another person where an object is located. Two different hypotheses explain how people take the perspective of others: the recomputing hypothesis, which states that people use their own spatial position as a starting point to recompute the location of objects from another’s perspective, and the remapping hypothesis, which states that people fully remap the locations of objects from another’s perspective. To investigate these hypotheses, the researchers had right-handed participants identify the location of an object from their own perspective and from the perspective of a human avatar facing them. Objects located on their right-hand side and closer to them were more quickly identified when reporting from their own perspective, and objects located on their left-hand side (i.e., to the right of the avatar) and farther from them (i.e., closer to the avatar) were more quickly identified when taking the avatar’s perspective, results that support the remapping hypothesis.

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