New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

A Social-Identity Theory of Information-Access Regulation (SITIAR): Understanding the Psychology of Sharing and Withholding
William J. Bingley, Katharine H. Greenaway, and S. Alexander Haslam

According to the Social-Identity Theory of Information-Access Regulation (SITIAR), sharing and withholding access to information shapes shared social identity. SITIAR explains why people who have access to information feel togetherness and social cohesion with people who have access to the same information, along with separation from people who do not have access. Furthermore, SITIAR posits that keeping information from others creates boundaries and reduces social identity between those who have access to information and those who do not, which can reduce well-being. SITIAR can help to understand commonalities between secrecy, privacy, confidentiality, concealment, and gossip and their consequences.

From Text to Thought: How Analyzing Language Can Advance Psychological Science
Joshua Conrad Jackson et al.

Language analyses might be key to major advancements in psychological science, Jackson and colleagues suggest. They summarize what is known about language analyses in psychological science. The researchers focus on how natural-language processing and comparative linguistics, specifically, can contribute to the understanding of topics such as emotion, creativity, and religion and overcome limitations that arise from using small research samples that lack cultural diversity in psychological science. They also highlight resources for learning these two forms of language analyses and how to combine them with traditional psychological research.

The Interpersonal Neuroscience of Social Learning
Yafeng Pan, Giacomo Novembre, and Andreas Olsson

Pan and colleagues examine how the field of interpersonal neuroscience—the study of brain mechanisms underlying interactions among individuals—can contribute to the understanding of social learning. The authors review recent research on brain-to-brain coupling (BtBC) in social behaviors and discuss how communicative behaviors (e.g., gesturing) during learning can inform BtBC and vice versa. They also discuss how BtBC and communicative behaviors can predict learning outcomes (e.g., BtBC during class has been linked to how much students are engaged during class) and propose a framework of how transmission of information between brains may shape social learning.

The Diversity Gap: When Diversity Matters for Knowledge
Justin Sulik, Bahador Bahrami, and Ophelia Deroy

Despite the political and ethical value of diversity, research has not always found that it benefits knowledge. Focusing on cognitive diversity, Sulik and colleagues explain that evidence for a benefit from cognitive diversity is mixed. However, the researchers believe that rather than asking only why and how diversity benefits knowledge, scholars must rethink when one should expect these benefits. Sulik and colleagues show that the benefits of cognitive diversity are seen for multistage, complex, and creative problem solving during problem posing and hypothesis generation. In sum, cognitive diversity seems to be particularly beneficial for complex problem solving.

Are Regional Differences in Psychological Characteristics and Their Correlates Robust? Applying Spatial-Analysis Techniques to Examine Regional Variation in Personality
Tobias Ebert et al.

Ebert and colleagues assessed the robustness of findings about geographical variation among personality traits within the United States and Germany. They addressed two main challenges of working with spatial data—the modifiable areal-unit problem (i.e., results can change according to the level of geographical aggregation) and spatial dependencies (i.e., the measured values can be correlated and thus covary)—and evaluated data-analysis techniques to tackle these challenges. Results suggest that regional psychological differences are robust and can be reliably studied across countries. However, neglecting the methodological challenges of working with spatial data can have serious consequences for study outcomes.

Complicating College-Transition Stories: Strengths and Challenges of Approaches to Diversity in Wise-Story Interventions
Rebecca Covarrubias and Giselle Laiduc

Wise-story interventions use stories to encourage students to develop adaptive meanings about college-transition challenges, enabling them to successfully overcome those challenges. Wise-story interventions may focus on the similarity of challenges among all students or adopt a multicultural perspective and link certain struggles explicitly to student identities. Drawing from diversity frameworks, Covarrubias and Laiduc analyze identity variations in wise-story interventions and outline when, for whom, and through which processes these variations affect student outcomes. The authors discuss how to optimize these interventions to help minoritized students (e.g., low income, first-generation, students of color).

Individual Differences in Structure Building: Impacts on Comprehension and Learning, Theoretical Underpinnings, and Support for Less Able Structure Builders
Mark A. McDaniel, Elizabeth J. Marsh, and Reshma Gouravajhala

Structure building involves forming coherent mental representations of conversations, texts, pictorial stories, and other events. McDaniel and colleagues suggest that variances in these abilities influence people’s learning outcomes: Individuals with lower structure-building ability tend to perform worse on several comprehension and learning measures than individuals with higher structure-building ability. Lower abilities appear to be related to difficulties in processes including encoding factual content and inhibiting irrelevant information. However, some learning techniques might improve learning outcomes for lower structure builders, including embedding questions into learning materials, providing organizational support, and adding schematic diagrams.

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