New Research From Psychological Science

Who Took the “x” Out of Expectancy-Value Theory? A Psychological Mystery, a Substantive-Methodological Synergy, and a Cross-National Generalization

Benjamin Nagengast, Herbert W. Marsh, L. Francesca Scalas, Man Xu, Kit-Tai Hau, and Ulrich Trautwein

The dominant theory used for predicting human motivation is expectancy-value theory (EVT), in which people respond to novel information by forming beliefs, assigning values based on the beliefs, and creating an expectation based on those beliefs and values. In a cross-national study of 57 countries, researchers examined Expectancy × Value interactions by asking 15-year-olds about how they perceived their competency in science subjects at school (e.g., whether the subjects were easy or hard). The results showed that the interaction between science self-concept (expectation) and enjoyment of science (value) had a positive effect on participation in science as well as pursuit of science careers, which supports the predictions generated by EVT.

Cross-Modal Training Induces Changes in Spatial Representations Early in the Auditory Processing Pathway

Patrick Bruns, Ronja Liebnau, and Brigett Röder

People tend to use their vision to organize the spatial location of sounds, and when there is a disparity between visual and auditory stimuli, the brain will adjust. To examine the brain signals behind the adjustment process, volunteers received training with visual and auditory stimuli that had a 15° spatial disparity. After training, volunteers were asked to report the location of an auditory stimulus while researchers recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) using EEG. A shift in sound localization toward the visual stimulus was observed, and this shift was correlated with a modulation of auditory ERPs around 100 ms after the stimulus.

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