New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Greater Maternal Insensitivity in Childhood Predicts Greater Electrodermal Reactivity During Conflict Discussions With Romantic Partners in Adulthood

Lee Raby, Glenn I. Roisman, Jeffry A. Simpson, W. A. Collins, and Ryan D. Steele 

How do our early interpersonal experiences shape the way we react to relationships in adulthood? Participants’ childhood interactions with their mothers were assessed for maternal sensitivity. Years later, at ages 33 to 37, those who had been in a romantic relationship for at least 6 months took part in a relationship-conflict discussion with their partners while changes in their skin conductance levels were recorded — a measure of sympathetic nervous system arousal. Participants who experienced greater maternal insensitivity had greater increases in skin conductance during conflict discussions with their partners. This indicates that the early mother-child relationship may play an important role in shaping the autonomic responses exhibited during adult interpersonal interactions.  

Direct Real-Time Neural Evidence for Task-Set Inertia

Lisa H. Evans, Jane E. Herron, and Edward L. Wilding

People have difficulty switching between two different tasks. One explanation suggests that interference arising from completing the previous task results in performance costs when switching from one task to another. In a novel assessment of this explanation — called task-set inertia — participants were shown a list of words and then completed two different tasks (a perceptual task and an episodic task) that alternated after every two trials. Electroencephalogram data were recorded while participants completed the tasks. The researchers found evidence of task-irrelevant event-related potentials (ERP) in the trials immediately following a switch. These task-irrelevant ERPs were associated with the behavioral costs of switching tasks. This finding provides real-time evidence of the role of task-set inertia in switching costs.


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