New Research From Current Directions in Psychological Science

Yuko Munakata, Hannah R. Snyder, and Christopher H. Chatham

When children are young, they can get stuck in routine ways of thinking and behaving. As children grow, they develop the ability to break out of routines and think more flexibly. In this article, the authors discuss how the development of abstract goal representations supports three key transitions that lead to more flexible behavior. They conclude by discussing the current and future direction of this research.

The Brain’s Learning and Control Architecture

Jason M. Chein and Walter Schneider

In this article, Chein and Schneider describe three hierarchically organized brain systems — the metacognitive system, the cognitive control network, and the representation system — and their unique roles in learning. The individual and combined efforts of these systems allow humans to rapidly learn new skills and transfer learned content to novel situations. The authors describe each system’s role in learning, the brain regions involved in each system, and the stage in learning in which each system is active.

What We’ve Learned From Our Mistakes: Insights From Error-Related Brain Activity

Greg Hajcak

Error-related negativity (ERN) is an event-related potential that provides a neural measure of error processing. ERN is often examined by having participants perform speeded tasks and analyzing brain activity on trials in which they make mistakes. In this article, Hajcak reviews research related to ERN’s relationship to defensive responses, its relationship to anxiety disorders, and its potential role as a neurobehavioral trait reflecting individual differences in defensive reactivity.

A Window on Reality: Perceiving Edited Moving Images

Tim J. Smith, Daniel Levin, and James E. Cutting

Edited moving pictures — such as movies and television — have long been a source of enjoyment; however, few researchers have studied the psychology behind our ability to understand film. In this article, Smith, Levin, and Cutting investigate how we perceive movies. They specifically focus on continuity editing — a type of editing that allows the viewer to seamlessly integrate different perspecitves of a scene. The authors discuss how research on individual and group patterns of attention can and are being utilized to make scene editing as seamless as possible for the viewer.

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