New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Mother-Infant Contingent Vocalizations in 11 Countries

Marc H. Bornstein, Diane L. Putnick, Linda R. Cote, O. Maurice Haynes, and Joan T. D. Suwalsky       

Mother-infant interactions play an important role in child development, helping with children’s emotional, social, cognitive, and language development. Despite the importance of this interaction, it remains unknown whether aspects of mother-infant interactions — such as vocal turn taking — are universal the world over. Mothers from communities in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia were videotaped while engaging in normal everyday interactions with their infants. Although the talkativeness of mothers and infants varied across community and country, the researchers did find a nearly universal tendency for mother and infant vocalizations to be contingent on the offset of the other’s vocalization. This indicates an early-emerging pattern of turn taking that is evident across countries.

A Difference-Education Intervention Equips First-Generation College Students to Thrive in the Face of Stressful College Situations

Nicole M. Stephens, Sarah S. M. Townsend, MarYam G. Hamedani, Mesmin Destin, and Vida Manzo

An increasing number of studies show that even brief interventions can have positive effects on students’ educational achievement. Less well known is how these interventions affect performance across time and in different situations. In the first week of college, first-generation and continuing-generation students took part in a 1-hour difference-education intervention — meant to link student’s social background to success in facing college obstacles — or a control intervention. Two years later, the researchers measured students’ levels of stress-related hormones as they completed a series of stressful tasks. Compared with participants in the control condition, participants in the difference-education condition demonstrated a continuing understanding of the strengths provided by their social backgrounds, and first-generation students in this condition were more physiologically balanced during the stressful tasks, demonstrating the long-term influence of this intervention.

Crowding in Visual Working Memory Reveals Its Spatial Resolution and the Nature of Its Representations

Benjamin J. Tamber-Rosenau, Anat R. Fintzi, and René Marois

Although the limits of spatial resolution in perceptual representations have been well examined, the corresponding limit for visual working memory (VWM) has not. Participants were presented with three bars in a display and had to indicate the orientation or the location of a target bar. On perceptual trials, the bars were displayed until the person responded, whereas on VWM trials, the bars were briefly shown and participants responded only after viewing a blank delay screen. Although both perceptual representations and VWM were found to have the same spatial resolution, exceeding this limit led to different errors in VWM (substitution errors) and perceptual trials (pooling errors), a difference that suggests distinct mechanisms for perceptual representations and for holding those representations in the mind.

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