New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science and Psychological Science.

Blair E. Wisco, Denise M. Sloan, and Brian P. Marx

Do cognitive emotion-regulation strategies influence the effectiveness of interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Participants with PTSD were assigned to receive a 5-week written exposure therapy (WET) or to a waitlist condition. Before and after the intervention, both groups of participants were assessed for Axis 1 disorders, severity of PTSD symptoms, and use of cognitive emotion-regulation strategies (self-blame, rumination, positive reappraisal, and putting into perspective). The researchers found that positive reappraisal was associated with smaller decreases in PTSD in the WET group and larger decreases in PTSD in the waitlist group, highlighting the importance of future research examining how emotion-regulation strategies affect PTSD interventions.

Rest-Related Dynamics of Risk and Protective Factors for Depression: A Behavioral Study

Igor Marchetti, Ernst H. W. Koster and Rudi De Raedt

Past research has suggested that periods of rest are associated with greater self-related processing. How do these periods of increased self-focus affect depressogenic cognition? Participants were assessed for their level of cognitive reactivity, mindfulness, state-mood, and state level of self-focus before and after completing a resting-state task. The researchers found an indirect effect of internal focus on negative mood through ruminative self-focus, but only in individuals with moderate-to-high cognitive reactivity. This finding indicates that resting states may create instances in which individuals are particularly vulnerable to negative emotions.

Different Patterns, but Equivalent Predictors, of Growth in Reading in Consistent and Inconsistent Orthographies

Markéta Caravolas, Arne Lervåg, Sylvia Defior, Gabriela Seidlová Málková, and Charles Hulme

Although researchers know that languages differ in their phonological consistency — predictability of the relationship between the letters in printed words and phonemes in spoken words — they do not know whether this affects reading development across languages. Children from England, the Czech Republic, and Spain were assessed six times between kindergarten and second grade for letter knowledge, phoneme awareness, and object/color naming. Although learning to read in English (an inconsistent language) was more difficult than learning to read in Czech or Spanish (consistent languages), the same factors were found to predict reading competence in all three languages.

Multiple Routes to Mental Animation: Language and Functional Relations Drive Motion Processing for Static Images

Kenny R. Coventry, Thomas Christophel, Thorsten Fehr, Berenice Valdés-Conroy, and Manfred Herrmann

When people are shown still photographs of an object in motion, they often anticipate motion beyond what is shown in the picture. To show the contributions of object knowledge, situation knowledge, and language to this mental animation, participants completed a sentence-picture verification task while in an fMRI scanner. The results indicated that mental animation is based on the functionally relevant spatial arrangement that objects have with one another and on linguistic judgments made about those objects.

Learned Control Over Distraction Is Disrupted in Amnesia

Joshua D. Cosman and Shaun P. Vecera

Past research has suggested that training can help people overcome task-irrelevant distractions. To determine whether the medial-temporal lobe (MTL) — a part of the brain involved in relational and contextual learning — contributes to this effect, researchers had participants with and without MTL damage perform a visual-search task that included a task-irrelevant distracting component. Participants without MTL damage showed training-related decreases in distractibility, whereas those with MTL damage did not. This indicates that MTL-mediated learning plays a role in the ability to use past experience to overcome distraction.

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