New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest  research published in Psychological Science and Clinical Psychological Science.

Attentional Capture Does Not Depend on Feature Similarity, but on Target-Nontarget Relations

Stefanie I. Becker, Charles L. Folk, and Roger W. Remington

What determines which part of a scene will be visually selected? Most top-down accounts suggest that once a target feature (e.g., color) is selected, items most similar to this feature should attract attention. However, according to a new relational account, the visual system can evaluate the relationship between the target feature and the feature of irrelevant nontarget items and direct attention toward items with the same relationship. In three spatial-cueing experiments, the researchers found support for the relational account of top-down visual attention.

How Visual Short-Term Memory Maintenance Modulates Subsequent Visual Aftereffects

Elyana Saad and Juha Silvanto

The orientation of a visual stimulus can cause shifts in the perceived orientation of subsequently viewed items — a phenomenon known as tilt aftereffects. The researchers were interested in understanding whether visual short-term memory (VSTM) can induce tilt aftereffects. When participants completed a sequential adaptation paradigm in which the first half of each trial involved VSTM maintenance and the second half involved visual adaptation, the researchers found that the maintenance of VSTM modulated tilt aftereffects.

Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket: Life-History Strategies, Bet Hedging, and Diversification

Andrew Edward White, Yexin Jessica Li, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg, and Douglas T. Kenrick     

Organisms often have to make a choice between devoting all of their resources toward one goal and splitting up their resources among many options. Participants answered questions regarding their preference for diversification, socioeconomic status (SES), and perception of mortality threats. The researchers found that individuals with low SES preferred more diversification when they felt threatened, whereas individuals with high SES preferred less diversification when they felt threatened. This study demonstrates when and for whom diversification strategies can be beneficial.

Philippe R. Goldin, Hooria Jazaieri, Michal Ziv, Helena Kraemer, Richard Heimberg, and James J. Gross

Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) often hold negative self-views that distort their interpretations of social situations and lead to heightened anxiety. Participants with SAD were assigned to receive cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) immediately or to be placed on a therapy waiting list. When the researchers analyzed participants’ positive and negative self-views as measured before and after the CBT group received treatment, they found increased positive and decreased negative self-views only in participants who had received the CBT treatment. Changes in self-view mediated the relationship between CBT and social anxiety symptoms immediately after treatment and up to one year later, a finding that highlights the importance of changes in self-view in the successful treatment of SAD.

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