Your source for the latest psychological research.

Decoding the Neural Signature of Consciousness

Consciousness has kept philosophers and scientists occupied for centuries. Lofty ideas about humanity, agency, and responsibility all relate to the thing we call “consciousness”; and yet, we still don’t understand how this elevated concept plays out on a mechanistic level within individual people. Is it possible to pinpoint when and how conscious awareness occurs?

According to APS Fellow Stanislas Dehaene (Collège de France and INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, France) the answer may be yes. In his March 12 keynote address at the International Convention of Psychological Science, Dehaene showed how the advent of new tools is bringing us closer than ever to cracking the neural code of consciousness.

An essential component of cracking the code is being able to identify and follow stages of processing in the brain over time. By combining brain imaging tools that have high temporal resolution — such as magnetoencephalography (MEG) or electroencephalography (EEG) — with…


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Lakoff Explains Embodied Cognition

Our skin temperature rises when we get angry — hence the term “boiling mad.” Our blood pressure and heartbeat increase (as if we could “explode”). These common metaphors for anger all involve embodiment — a concrete form given to emotions, perceptions, and expressions, says world-renowned cognitive linguist George Lakoff. Essentially, he has found, humans understand complex aspects of their experience using a range of physical terms.

Lakoff delivered a comprehensive explanation of metaphor during a March 14 keynote address at the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in which he also covered the nature of embodied structures in the brain and the application of cognitive and neural linguistics in politics, psychology, literature, and more.

One of Lakoff’s main emphases was the body’s central role in conceptualization and language.

“You have connections to your body in all parts of your brain … You can only have meaningful…


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Video Game Violence Doesn’t Boost Aggression Among Adults with Autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulties regulating their emotions and behavior, in addition to the difficulties with social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviors that are characteristic of ASD. As a result, some have speculated that individuals with ASD may be more susceptible to emotionally arousing content found in violent video games, which could lead to increased aggressive behavior.

This is a photo of hands holding a video game controller.Over the past several decades, psychological and behavioral scientists have conducted numerous studies exploring the relationship between violent video games and aggression; however, there is little research that sheds light on how this relationship specifically plays out for individuals with ASD.

Researcher Christopher Engelhardt, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions and the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and colleagues…


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Current Directions in Psychological Science

Current Directions in Psychological Science: Volume 24, Number 2

Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes reviews by leading experts covering all of scientific psychology and its applications.

When Younger Learners Can Be Better (or at Least More Open-Minded) Than Older Ones Alison Gopnik, Thomas L. Griffiths, and Christopher G. Lucas

Individual Differences in Executive Functioning and Their Relationship to Emotional Processes and Responses Brandon J. Schmeichel and David Tang

Does Language Do More Than Communicate Emotion? Kristen A. Lindquist, Ajay B. Satpute, and Maria Gendron

Divorce and Health: Beyond Individual Differences David A. Sbarra*, Karen Hasselmo, and Kyle J. Bourassa

*David A. Sbarra will be speaking in a special event sponsored by PCSAS titled “The Legacy of Richard R. Bootzin: A Memorial Symposium” at the 27th APS Annual…


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The Lifetime Effects of Self-Control in Childhood

Teaching children patience, restraint, and reason not only fosters good behavior — it may actually fuel their health, career success, and financial security throughout their lives, says APS Fellow Terrie E. Moffitt.

In a March 13 keynote address at the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Moffitt shared a variety of findings on childhood self-control gleaned from longitudinal data that she and her colleagues have been studying for the last few years. The Duke University psychological scientist has found that childhood measures of self-discipline predict everything from personal income to the pace of physiological aging in adulthood.

The data that have served as the core of Moffitt’s ongoing research are compiled from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, consisting of more than 1,030 people born in 1972–1973 in the town of Dunedin, New Zealand, and followed from birth.

Beginning at age 3, the participants entered…


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