New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Feeling Is Believing: Inspiration Encourages Belief in God

Clayton R. Critcher and Chan Jean Lee

Research has identified various correlates of theism, religiosity, and spirituality. The authors hypothesized that one experience-based correlate may be inspiration. They posited that feeling inspired can result in a transcendent experience that produces feelings of connection to something greater than the self, which may promote belief in God. In a series of studies, the authors found that participants who tended to experience more inspiration in daily life and those who were randomly assigned to inspiration-promoting conditions reported stronger belief in God. The effect of inspiration on belief in God was not explained by more general affective experiences or belief in empirically unverifiable claims. Motivational inspiration (i.e., feeling inspired to do something) did not produce the same effect as transcendental inspiration (i.e., feeling inspired by something). Data from participants in South Korea who identified themselves as either Christian or Buddhist indicated that the effect was not moderated by religion.

Is Implicit Theory of Mind a Real and Robust Phenomenon? Results From a Systematic Replication Study

Louisa Kulke, Britta von Duhn, Dana Schneider, and Hannes Rakoczy

Findings from recent research using implicit tasks suggest that basic forms of theory of mind may develop as early as infancy and may operate in automatic and unconscious ways into adulthood. The implicit tasks used in this research include anticipatory-looking tasks, which treat participants’ spontaneous looking behavior as an implicit measure of theory-of-mind beliefs. The authors designed a preregistered replication study to test four anticipatory-looking paradigms, using the same stimuli and protocol that were used in the original studies. The original findings were replicated for only one of the four paradigms. The authors identified two potential confounds in the stimulus videos used in this paradigm–when these confounds were removed, the original pattern of belief-congruent looking behavior was not replicated. These results highlight the need for a preregistered multilab replication effort to provide a systematic examination of the evidence for implicit theory of mind, the authors conclude.

The Dark Side of Context: Context Reinstatement Can Distort Memory

Manoj K. Doss, Jamila K. Picart, and David A. Gallo

Providing contextual cues at retrieval or reinstating the context aids recollection of past events. But what are the effects of reinstating the context on false memories? In several experiments, participants studied objects superimposed over a scene (e.g., bar, beach, skyline). In a later recognition test, participants saw the studied objects in the same or different scenes, saw new objects, and saw new objects similar to the studied ones in the corresponding scene or in a different scene. When participants saw objects in the same scene, they showed improved memory but also showed more false recognitions when they saw similar objects in corresponding scenes. This effect occurred in immediate and delayed tests, and even when participants received warnings to avoid the effect. These results show that context reinstatement might not increase memory accuracy because it increases correct and incorrect recognition.

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