New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Adaptation to Faces and Voices: Unimodal, Cross-Modal, and Sex-Specific Effects

Anthony C. Little, David R. Feinberg, Lisa M. DeBruine, and Benedict C. Jones

Past research has shown that exposure to faces can alter subsequent perceptions of novel faces. The same adaptation effect has been shown for voices. In this study, the authors examined whether there is cross-modal adaptation between sound and visual stimuli. Participants’ perception of female faces was assessed by having them rate the normality of masculinized or feminized faces. Participants were then exposed (i.e., adapted) to masculinized or feminized female voices before performing the same normality task. Masculine female faces were perceived as more normal after participants’ exposure to masculinized female voices, thus providing evidence of cross-modal adaptation.

How Robust Are Probabilistic Models of Higher-Level Cognition?

Gary F. Marcus and Ernest Davis

The use of Bayesian models has become increasingly popular in cognition research. In these models, cognition is viewed as a process of drawing inferences from observable data in a way that is justified by probability theory. These models seem to indicate that the mind is capable of optimal or near-optimal cognitive performance; however, Marcus and Davis argue against this view. They suggest that multiple models are often applicable to any given task and that the fit of these models often depends on post hoc choices and assumptions by the researcher that are neither optimal nor empirically supported.

Paying Attention to Attention in Recognition Memory: Insights From Models and Electrophysiology

Chad Dubé, Lisa Payne, Robert Sekuler, and Caren M. Rotello 

Competing theories of recollection suggest that it is either a threshold process or a continuous process. The researchers collected electroencephalographic (EEG) signals while participants completed an encoding procedure. During the encoding procedure, participants saw a word appear on a computer screen and then heard a male or female voice say the same word. Participants were instructed to attend to either the font of the word or the voice. They were then asked to indicate whether the word was in italic or nonitalic font or whether the spoken voice had been male or female. The pattern of participants’ responses suggested recollection is best described as a continuous rather than threshold process.

Synesthesia for Color Is Linked to Improved Color Perception but Reduced Motion Perception

Michael J. Banissy, Victoria Tester, Neil G. Muggleton, Agnieszka B. Janik, Aimee Davenport, Anna Franklin, Vincent Walsh, and Jamie Ward

Although research has investigated the mechanisms underlying synesthesia, few studies have examined whether synesthetes show differences in their broader perceptual abilities. Synesthetes and control participants completed a motion-perception task and a color-perception task. Synesthetes were less accurate than control participants on the motion-perception task and more accurate than control participants on the color-perception task. These findings imply that the differences in neural responsiveness that lead to synesthesia are associated with advantages and disadvantages in other areas of perceptual processing.

Controlling Intentions: The Surprising Ease of Stopping After Going Relative to Stopping After Never Having Gone

Julie M. Bugg and Michael K. Scullin

Does executing an intended action affect how easy it is to inhibit that behavior in the future? Participants performed a lexical decision task in which they had to press the Q key when they came across certain target words. The target words were shown either four times during the task (four-target condition) or not at all (zero-target condition). Participants then completed a second lexical decision task but were told they no longer had to press the Q key in response to the target words. Participants in the zero-target condition hit the Q key more times during the second lexical decision task than did participants in the four-target condition, indicating that it is easier to deactivate an intention after having performed it.

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