New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Dear Abby: Should I Give Advice or Receive It?
Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, Ayelet Fishbach, and Angela Duckworth

Open data, open materials, preregistration badgesTypically, individuals struggling to achieve a goal seek advice on how to accomplish their objective. In this investigation, however, Eskreis-Winkler and colleagues found that struggling goal-pursuers were more motivated by giving advice than receiving it. In a randomized, controlled, double-blind field experiment, middle-school students who gave motivational advice to younger students spent more time on homework over the following month than students who received motivational advice from expert teachers. The researchers replicated this phenomenon across other self-regulatory domains: Strugglers who gave advice, compared with those who received expert advice, were more motivated to save money, control their tempers, lose weight, and seek employment. Nevertheless, across domains, people erroneously predicted the opposite, expecting themselves and others to be less motivated by giving advice than receiving it. The evidence shows that offering advice motivated givers by raising their confidence—a reality that they did not anticipate.

Link Between Facial Identity and Expression Abilities Suggestive of Origins of Face Impairments in Autism: Support for the Social-Motivation Hypothesis
Ipek Oruc, Fakhri Shafai, and Grace Iarocci

Oruc and colleagues examined the relationship between face and expression identification in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by testing adults with and without ASD in face identity and expression tasks. In the identification task, they rapidly presented neutral faces and participants had to identify them in sets of five faces. In the expression task, participants saw blocks of faces that morphed from a neutral expression to a target expression (angry, sad, or happy) and were asked to identify which target expression was the most represented in each block. Results indicated that adults with ASD performed worse in both tasks than adults without ASD. Moreover, the levels of identification of faces and of facial expressions were positively related for adults with ASD but not for adults without ASD. Oruc and colleagues also assessed social motivation (i.e., how much interest and enjoyment one has interacting with others) and found it to be lower for adults with ASD than for those without ASD. Plus, in adults with ASD and the lowest scores in social motivation, the lowest social motivation scores were associated with the lowest face/facial-expression identification abilities. These results suggest that impairments in face and expression processing in ASD might both derive from a lack of experience with faces, as the social-motivation hypothesis of ASD proposes.

Mind the Depth: Visual Perception of Shapes Is Better in Peripersonal Space
Elvio Blini, Clément Desoche, Romeo Salemme, Alexandre Kabil, Fadila Hadj-Bouziane, and Alessandro Farnè

Closer objects are perceived as bigger and therefore are easier to discriminate than more distant ones. Blini and colleagues examined whether the advantage for closer objects also depends on features such as depth. In a virtual 3-D environment or in a visual display that created the illusion of distance, participants rapidly saw cubes and spheres and had to identify the shapes. Those shapes appeared either within the peripersonal space (PPS; i.e., at a reachable distance) or in the extrapersonal space (EPS; i.e., out of reach), but all shapes had the same retinal size. Thus, in the EPS, the farther objects looked bigger than the ones in the PPS. Results indicated that the shapes presented in the PPS were identified more quickly than the ones presented in the EPS, despite looking smaller. This effect occurred even when shapes were placed along the same gaze line and in natural conditions in which distant objects indeed appeared smaller. Thus, across five experiments, Blini et al. obtained support for the idea that depth per se is important for the visual perception of objects, independent of their size. This indicates an advantage for processing objects within reach in the PPS.

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