New Content From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Putting Effort Into Infant Cognition
Zsuzsa Kaldy and Erik Blaser

Physiological measures, such as pupil dilation, can be used to measure effort and attention in infants. In infant cognitive research, pupillometry—tracking the changes in pupil size—can be used to track fluctuations of effort. These fluctuations influence how well infants encode information in visual working memory, allowing researchers to better understand the development of infants’ abilities. Pupillometry can be used to (a) clarify the type of tasks, stimuli, and incentives that determine patterns of effort in infants and (b) improve estimates of the developmental trajectories of cognitive processes, Kaldy and Blaser conclude.

Understanding Desire for Food and Drink: A Grounded-Cognition Approach
Esther K. Papies, Lawrence W. Barsalou, and Dorottya Rusz

Papies and colleagues suggest that the desire for food and drink arises from rewarding simulations based on previous experiences. Specifically, people think of food and drink in terms of what it feels like to consume them, which leads to desire to consume them. Research using behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging measures shows that cues related to food and drinks (e.g., eating contexts such as being in a cafe) trigger these eating and drinking simulations, such as thoughts about taste and enjoyment, which then affect desire (e.g., cravings). Increasing working memory load or mindfulness can disrupt these simulations, reducing desire.

The Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis (CATS): A Move to the Level of Individual-Participant-Data Meta-Analysis
Marije L. Verhage, Carlo Schuengel, Robbie Duschinsky, et al.

Verhage and colleagues discuss how the Collaboration on Attachment Transmission Synthesis (CATS) data set can overcome the limitations of single studies that have a small number of participants. They also show how the CATS method can help with the practical challenges of data pooling, enhancing our understanding of the transmission of individual differences in attachment across generations. They propose collaborating on formulating research questions and pooling data and resources for individual-participant-data meta-analyses, similar to what CATS did. This, the researchers say, can benefit other fields in psychological science by addressing theoretical challenges and increasing rigor and applicability.

Decision-Making Competence: More Than Intelligence?
Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Andrew M. Parker, and Baruch Fischhoff

The ability to make good rational he decisions may be linked not only to the ability to solve new problems (fluid intelligence) but also to motivation, emotion regulation, and experience (crystallized intelligence). For example, although fluid intelligence declines with age, older adults do not necessarily lose the ability to make decisions, suggesting that skills that improve with age (e.g., experience) might contribute to decision-making competence. Thus, interventions to improve decision-making competence may be more successful if they motivate people to make good choices and provide them with opportunities to apply rational decision-making principles.


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