New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Rapid Statistical Learning Supporting Word Extraction From Continuous Speech

Laura J. Batterink

Statistical learning (the ability to extract patterns from the environment) is thought to aid in the segmentation and identification of words in continuous speech. The researchers examined how quickly statistical learning during continuous speech occurs by having participants identify a target syllable in continuous audio streams of repeating trisyllabic nonsense words. The audio streams did not include pauses (a traditional cue for marking word boundaries). The target syllables appeared in each triplet position (i.e., the first, second, or third syllable in the word), and each nonsense word was repeated four times within each audio stream. Participants were faster to identify syllables located in later syllabic positions in the words. This effect increased with additional word presentations until the third presentation of the word but did not increase thereafter and was found to reflect enhancement of the processing of more predictable syllables. These findings demonstrate the rapidity with which statistical learning of sound patterns in continuous speech can occur.

Does Knowing Hurt? Perceiving Oneself as Overweight Predicts Future Physical Health and Well-Being

Michael Daly, Eric Robinson, and Angelina R. Sutin

The recognition that one is overweight is thought to be an important step on the path to weight loss, but in the current article the authors examine whether this recognition could have negative consequences. The researchers examined data, including measures of perceived weight, body mass index, physiological dysregulation, self-rated health, and depressive symptoms, from Wave 3 and Wave 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (a U.S.-based sample). The researchers found that perceiving oneself as overweight (regardless of actual weight status) at the time of Wave 3 testing was associated with psychological dysregulation, declines in subjective health, and increases in depressive symptoms 7 years later at Wave 4 testing. The data suggests that recognizing oneself as overweight may initiate a negative cycle of weight gain and poor health. These findings highlight potential unforeseen ramifications of weight-loss interventions that encourage overweight individuals to identify as such.

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