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

Perceived Causality Can Alter the Perceived Trajectory of Apparent Motion

Sung-Ho Kim, Jacob Feldman, and Manish Singh     

In this study, the authors used apparent motion to examine how perceptions of causality influence people’s interpretation of motion. Participants were shown a display of alternately flashing red boxes appearing at each end of a semicircular occluder. The red boxes appeared to collide with and move green boxes (also located at either end of the occluder). Participants indicated whether the red box seemed to be moving horizontally above the occluder or traveling in a semicircle through the occluder. Participants perceived motion consistent with the implied movement (vertical or horizontal) of the green box, which suggests that causally coherent interpretation of movement can influence basic perceptual processes. 

Basic Traits Predict the Prevalence of Personality Disorder Across the Life Span: The Example of Psychopathy

David D. Vachon, Donald R. Lynam, Thomas A. Widiger, Joshua D. Miller, Robert R. McCrae, and Paul T. Costa

Can Five Factor Model (FFM) traits be used to make predictions about age-related changes in personality disorder? The FFM traits of participants between the ages of 14 and 91 were assessed using a personality questionnaire. Researchers then used these traits to determine levels of psychopathology and antisocial personality disorder in the sample. The prevalence of these disorders as identified by FFM traits was similar to their observed life-span prevalence, suggesting that FFM traits can provide an account of personality disorder across the life span.

The Formation of a Neural Fear Network in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Insights From Molecular Genetics

Sarah Wilker and Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

One of the key characteristics of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the development of a strong, but defragmented, traumatic memory. Wilker and Kolassa call the structure that stores elements associated with this memory a fear network. The authors review gene association studies examining genetic influences on the molecular pathways underlying biological systems involved in the development of PTSD such as the limbofrontal neurocuircutry related to fear, the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system, and in processes related to memory consolidation and stabalization. The authors also recommend future directions for this area of research.

NASA Faked the Moon Landing — Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

Stephan Lewandowsky, Klaus Oberauer, and Gilles E. Gignac

Although research has shown conclusively that our global climate is changing, many people still deny it. What factors might motivate the rejection of climate science? Researchers surveyed individuals who visited climate science blogs, and found that endorsement of free markets and conspiracy ideations were associated with dismissal of findings from climate science and other areas of science. This study is one of the first to link the construct of conspiracy ideation with the rejection of science.