New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Young Children Bet on Their Numerical Skills: Metacognition in the Numerical Domain

Vy A. Vo, Rosa Li, Nate Kornell, Alexandre Pouget, and Jessica F. Cantlon

Although metacognition has been identified as an important factor in learning, it is still unclear how this skill emerges and develops in early childhood. Children 5 to 8 years old completed a number-discrimination task and an emotion-discrimination task. After each comparison, the children indicated the confidence they had in their answer. Although the children showed metacognitive ability on both tasks, this ability seemed to be domain dependent (i.e., metacognitive ability in the number task was unrelated to metacognitive ability in the emotion task). The researchers also found that metacognitive sensitivity increased with age. This suggests that metacognition is a fundamental cognitive ability that develops throughout childhood.

In Search of Homo economicus

Toshio Yamagishi, Yang Li, Haruto Takagishi, Yoshie Matsumoto, and Toko Kiyonari

Homo economicus (HE) is the term used for a person who rationally pursues self-interest without regard for others’ welfare. Although studies of HE have been conducted using self-report measures of social preferences, studies have yet to examine whether their are people who meet the behavioral definition of HE. Participants took part in a series of prisoner dilemma and dictator games and completed questionnaires assessing a wide range of psychological, attitudinal, and demographic characteristics. The researchers found that 7% of the participants met the behavioral definition of HE and 8.7% of participants met the behavioral definition for quasi-HE — that is, their behavior mimicked HE behavior but was not as extreme. The authors also found distinct differences in the psychological composition of HE and quasi-HE participants, shedding light on the qualities of these extreme noncooperators.

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