New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Can Faces Prime a Language?

Evy Woumans, Clara D. Martin, Charlotte Vanden Bulcke, Eva Van Assche, Albert Costa, Robert J. Hartsuiker, and Wouter Duyck

What cues initiate language selection in people who are bilingual? Spanish-Catalan bilinguals took part in simulated Skype conversations with interlocutors who spoke in either Spanish or Catalan. Participants then completed a noun-verb association task in which the interlocutors from the Skype task said a noun in either the same language (congruent) or a different language (incongruent) than they had used during the Skype session, and the participants had to report a corresponding verb as quickly as possible. Participants responded faster on congruent than on incongruent trials; however, a follow-up study indicated that this effect diminished when it became apparent to participants that the speakers were bilingual, suggesting that faces can serve as language cues only so long as a face is associated with one language.

Personality in Bonobos

Alexander Weiss, Nicky Staes, Jeffrey J. M. Pereboom, Miho Inoue-Murayama, Jeroen M. G. Stevens, and Marcel Eens

Studies of personality in chimpanzees have found evidence of personality factors similar to the big 5 personality traits seen in humans. To better understand the evolution of personality in primates, the researchers had caretakers and staff assess the personalities of captive bonobos. Bonobos and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and when personality ratings of bonobos were compared with previously collected personality ratings of chimpanzees, the researchers found similarities in the personality factors of assertiveness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and possibly openness. This suggests that these factors may have derived from a common ancestor of both species. Personality factors of extraversion and attentiveness, however, were not similar, indicating that they may have arisen from species-specific differences in social behavior.

Getting Over It: Long-Lasting Effects of Emotion Regulation on Amygdala Response

Bryan T. Denny, Marika C. Inhoff, Noam Zerubavel, Lila Davachi, and Kevin N. Ochsner

What are the long-term effects of emotion regulation? Participants completed a reappraisal task in which they reappraised a series of negative images. During the task, each image was presented one time or four times. One week later, participants completed a reexposure session in which they passively viewed the previously seen negative images. Regulation decreased amygdala activity during the reappraisal task, and amygdala activity remained attenuated during the reexposure session in response to negative images reappraised four times — but not to those presented one time. These findings suggest that reappraisal may have dose-dependent effects on amygdala activity, something that could help researchers better understand how cognitive therapies lead to long-term changes in affective responses.

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