New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

Assessing Autism in Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Youths: Interdisciplinary Teams, COVID Considerations, and Future Directions
Tyler C. McFayden et al.

Autism spectrum disorders are more prevalent in children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH) than in the general population. However, youths who are D/HH are often identified as autistic at an older age than individuals with normal hearing, which results in delayed access to appropriate early intervention services. McFayden and colleagues pinpoint three primary barriers to early identification: behavioral phenotypic overlap, lack of “gold-standard” screening and diagnostic tools for the D/HH population, and limited access to qualified clinicians. To address these barriers, they outline the assessment process employed at an interdisciplinary D/HH autism clinic and make recommendations on the basis of this process. They also address assessment challenges related to COVID-19 and some of the mitigating strategies the interdisciplinary team employed in virtual assessments. 

The Longitudinal Relationship Between Parenting and Self-Control Needs Reconsideration: A Commentary on Li et al. (2019)
Cheng Chen and Junhua Dang 

In a meta-analytic review of the relationship between parenting and self-control, Li et al. (2019) identified longitudinal associations between parenting and subsequent self-control and between adolescent self-control and subsequent parenting. Chen and Dang suggest that the magnitude of these associations may have been biased because Li et al. (2019) used the bivariate correlation between the predictor at Time 1 and the outcome at Time 2 to estimate them. Chen and Dang reexamined the original data using instead the cross-lagged association. The results indicated weaker associations. These findings support the use of cross-lagged associations in meta-analyzing longitudinal relationships between variables. 

Managing Fear During Pandemics: Risks and Opportunities
Gaëtan Mertens, Iris M. Engelhard, Derek M. Novacek, and Richard J. McNally 

Mertens and colleagues highlight factors that determine fear (i.e., proximity, predictability, and controllability) and review adaptive and maladaptive consequences of fear of COVID-19 specifically (e.g., following governmental health policies and panic buying). They conclude that fear during a pandemic can motivate protective behaviors but can also lead to mental-health problems, risk minimization, vaccination hesitancy, panic buying, xenophobia, and the exacerbation of preexisting socioeconomic inequalities. Moreover, they identified what seems to be an optimal point of fear to motivate adaptive behavior. Among other policy recommendations to help manage fear, Martens and colleagues suggest fostering self-efficacy by communicating specifically which behaviors people can adopt to minimize risks. 

For Whom (and When) the Time Bell Tolls: Chronotypes and the Synchrony Effect
Cynthia P. May, Lynn Hasher, and Karl Healey

According to the synchrony effect, performance in several cognitive areas is optimal when a person’s performance times align with their peak circadian arousal (i.e., their chronotype). Circadian rhythms and chronotypes vary across individuals—morning chronotypes rise and peak early in the day, and evening chronotypes rise and peak in the afternoon or evening—and vary with age (e.g., older adults appear to be likely to have morning chronotypes). May and colleagues suggest that failure to consider the synchrony effect may be a factor in issues such as replication difficulties, school timing, or assessing intellectual disabilities and apparent cognitive decline in aging. 

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How Do Expectations Modulate Pain? A Motivational Perspective
Tao Liu and Cui-ping Yu

Liu and Yu focus on motivationally evoked neural activations in cortical and brainstem regions before and during the experience of pain. Research has indicated that expectations can modulate pain experience, during which the periaqueductal gray (PAG; a brain region associated with responses to threats, autonomic function, and motivated behavior) plays an important role. Liu and Yu offer a motivational perspective on how expectations of pain can modulate its actual experience, via brain processes that involve the state-dependent activation of the PAG. This perspective might shed new light on psychological and neuronal substrates of pain and its modulation. 

Religion/Spirituality, Stress, and Resilience Among Sexual and Gender Minorities: The Religious/Spiritual Stress and Resilience Model
G. Tyler Lefevor et al.

Sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) can experience religiousness or spirituality (RS) as either health-promoting or health-damaging. Lefevor and colleagues introduce the religious/spiritual stress and resilience model (RSSR) for understanding how RS influences the health of these individuals. The RSSR makes five key propositions: (a) Minority stress and resilience processes influence health; (b) RS influences general resilience processes; (c) RS influences minority-specific stress and resilience processes; (d) these relationships are moderated by variables uniquely relevant to RS among SGMs, including congregational stances on same-sex sexual behavior and gender expression, and an individual’s degree of SGM and RS identity integration; and (e) relationships between minority stress and resilience, RS, and health are bidirectional.   

Maintaining Transient Diversity Is a General Principle for Improving Collective Problem Solving
Paul E. Smaldino, Cody Moser, Alejandro Pérez Velilla, and Mikkel Werling  

Humans regularly solve complex problems in cooperative teams. Smaldino and colleagues propose that the mechanisms that improve the quality of these teams’ solutions work by increasing potential solutions’ transient diversity These mechanisms can operate at the level of interpersonal communication, group structure, or the individual’s psychology. Widening the search space of possible solutions or slowing the diffusion of information and delaying consensus can increase transient diversity, but at a time cost. Exceptions to the value of transient diversity appear to occur when problems are simple and can be solved by trial and error or when team members’ incentives are insufficiently aligned.   

Worldwide Well-Being: Simulated Twins Reveal Genetic and (Hidden) Environmental Influences
Espen Røysamb, Terrie E. Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Eivind Ystrøm, and Ragnhild Bang Nes

Røysamb and colleagues estimated the effects of genetic factors, individual environmental exposures, and shared environments on subjective well-being (SWB) for the global population. They combined national well-being studies and behavioral-genetic studies (heritability) to model a scenario of twin studies across 157 countries. Results indicated a worldwide heritability of about 31% for SWB. Individual environmental factors explained 46% to 52% of the variance, and shared environments accounted for 16% to 23% of the variance in SWB. Shared environments appeared to play a large role in SWB at a national level, contrary to findings about shared environments in previous within-countries studies. 

Cooperation in the Time of COVID
Jade Butterworth, David Smerdon, Roy Baumeister, and William von Hippel

Policies for managing pandemics might be most effective when they highlight superordinate goals and connect people or institutions (e.g., by sharing information), and/or provide reputational markers and reduce free riding, Butterworth and colleagues suggest. Because cooperation evolved when humans lived in small groups, factors hindering it today tend to be associated with life in large, impersonal, modern societies, in which people are not identifiable, interactions are one-off, self-interest is not tied to others’ interests, and people are concerned that others might free ride. Thus, policies implemented during the pandemic appeared to be most effective when they addressed these factors. 

The Future of Decisions From Experience: Connecting Real-World Decision Problems to Cognitive Processes
Sebastian Olschewski et al. 

Olschewski and colleagues suggest extending standard experimental designs, including introducing more complex choice situations, delaying feedback, and adding social interactions, to better reflect how people make real-world decisions from experience. They also propose more explicitly integrating cognitive processes, such as attention to and perception of numeric and nonnumeric experiences, the influence of episodic and semantic memory, and the mental models involved in learning processes, into experimental research. The authors suggest that connecting real-world problems and environments with cognitive processes can advance how researchers model, understand, and predict decisions from experience in the laboratory and the real world. 

Multiple Memory Subsystems: Reconsidering Memory in the Mind and Brain
Brynn E. Sherman, Nicholas B. Turk-Browne, and Elizabeth V. Goldfarb

Recent research challenges the theory of one-to-one mapping between brain structures and memory types, central to the multiple-memory-systems framework. Instead, key memory-related structures might support multiple functions across substructures. Sherman and colleagues integrate cross-species findings to propose an updated framework of multiple memory subsystems (MMSS). They provide evidence for two organizational principles of the MMSS theory: Opposing memory representations are co-located in the same brain structures; and parallel memory representations are supported by distinct structures. This reframing has the potential to provide a revision of classic theories of memory and guide future research, Sherman and colleagues propose. 

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