New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Evaluative Advantage of Novel Alternatives: An Information-Sampling Account

Gaël Le Mens, Yaakov Kareev, and Judith Avrahami

People often rate new items more favorably than old items. Why might this be? Theories explaining this phenomenon have suggested that new items may serve a purpose or solve a problem old items could not, or that through imitation of others use of new items, new items come into favor. The authors suggest that adaptive sampling may also account for the favoritism shown to novel alternatives. Specifically, people seek out positive experiences and avoid past negative experiences. People are then less likely to return to alternatives that have produced a negative result, leading these negative impressions to persist. People then underestimate the positive attributes of experienced alternatives compared with novel alternatives. This theory was supported in several model simulations and behavioral experiments where participants had to choose between experienced and novel alternatives.

Location-Unbound Color-Shape Binding Representations in Visual Working Memory

Jun Saiki

What role does the location of an object play in the binding of that object’s features and color? Electroencephalogram (EEG) data were recorded as participants performed a redundancy-gain paradigm, in which they were presented with two colored objects placed on either side of a fixation point. Next, a single probe object appeared in either the left- or right-side location. Participants had to indicate whether the probe contained one feature (color or shape), two features (color and shape), or no features (neither color nor shape) in common with the previously shown objects. The researchers found that, regardless of probe location, coactivation (i.e., the binding of distinct object features in perception) occurred when both features were present in the probe. Analysis of the EEG data indicated different patterns of activations for color-feature binding and for the effect of shared location, suggesting that feature-location binding is not necessary for feature-color binding.

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