New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Multiple Levels of Bilingual Language Control: Evidence From Language Intrusions in Reading Aloud

Tamar H. Gollan, Elizabeth R. Schotter, Joanne Gomez, Mayra Murillo, and Keith Rayner

Bilingual individuals rarely make cross-language intrusion errors (i.e., unintentional language switches), which makes this phenomenon difficult to study. The authors examined how bilinguals control their language selection by examining the occurrence of these errors in mixed-language paragraphs. Spanish-English bilingual participants’ eyes were tracked while they read paragraphs written in English only, Spanish only, mixed-language with an English word order, or mixed-language with a Spanish word order. The results demonstrated a complex pattern of intrusion errors that suggests multiple mechanisms of language control.

Come listen to Keith Rayner give his William James Fellow Award Address at the 26th APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA, USA.

Rapid Fear Detection Relies on High Spatial Frequencies

Timo Stein, Kiley Seymour, Martin N. Hebart, and Philipp Sterzer

The predominant theory of emotional processing suggests the existence of a subcortical “low-road” that handles predominantly low-spatial-frequency information and allows for rapid processing of threatening stimuli, but the presence of this pathway has only been inferred. The authors used continuous flash suppression in a task in which participants were shown high- and low-spatial-frequency neutral and fearful faces. Participants had to indicate the location on the screen of any visible stimuli. The greater advantage of high-spatial-frequency faces over low-spatial-frequency faces in overcoming suppression calls into question current views on the neural processing of fearful stimuli.

Conditional Automaticity in Response Selection: Contingent Involuntary Response Inhibition With Varied Stimulus-Response Mapping

Brian A. Anderson and Charles L. Folk

Past studies investigating response inhibition have used tasks in which the goal to withhold a response is consistent across trials, but it remains unknown whether involuntary response inhibition can been seen in situations in which stimulus-response mapping varies unpredictably. In the first of two experiments, participants performed a color-based go/no-go flanker task. The “go” color varied unpredictably between trials, and the flankers placed at either side of the target stimulus were displayed in the “go” or the “no-go” color. Flankers in the “go” color produced a positive compatibility effect, whereas flankers in the “no-go” color produced a reverse-compatibility effect. This indicates that response inhibition can be elicited automatically, even in situations with inconsistent response mapping.

Genetic Factors That Increase Male Facial Masculinity Decrease Facial Attractiveness of Female Relatives

Anthony J. Lee, Dorian G. Mitchem, Margaret J. Wright, Nicholas G. Martin, Matthew C. Keller, and Brendan P. Zietsch  

It has been hypothesized that women prefer male partners with more masculine facial features because such features are an indication of genetic quality; however, this hypothesis depends on masculine traits’ being substantially heritable and beneficial to all offspring — two assumptions that have not been adequately tested. Photographs of individual twins and their siblings were analyzed for masculinity and attractiveness. The results indicated that facial masculinity was substantially heritable and that sisters of men with more masculine faces were found to be less attractive. These findings bring into question current theories about why women prefer male partners with more masculine features.

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