New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Do Men Overperceive Women’s Sexual Interest?

Carin Perilloux and Robert Kurzban

Research has shown that men interpret women’s levels of sexual interest as being higher than what women themselves report. In a series of surveys, women reported their sexual intentions, and men estimated the sexual intentions of women, on the basis of engagement in 15 different behaviors (e.g., cooked dinner, stared deeply into eyes, etc.). Men’s estimations of women’s sexual intentions were stronger than women’s own ratings. However, when women were incentivized for reporting accuracy and when they were asked to report what other women actually intended (rather than what other women would report they intended), women’s scores were more in line with men’s. The change in scores by women led the authors to believe that men appear to overestimate women’s sexual intentions because women underreport them.

The Role of Conscious Perception in Attentional Capture and Object-File Updating

Dominique Lamy, Limor Alon, Tomer Carmel, and Nir Shalev

The authors examined whether the spatial capture of attention can occur independently of conscious perception by having participants complete a spatial-cuing paradigm in which they located letters of a target color among letters of irrelevant colors. A cue that matched or did not match the target colors was shown to participants before the presentation of the letters. The researchers found that when the cue was the relevant color, it captured participants’ attention regardless of whether it was consciously or unconsciously perceived; however, when the cue was an irrelevant color, it did not capture attention but instead produced a same-location cost. This cost occurred only when the irrelevant cue was consciously perceived. This study is one of the first to measure the extent to which the capture of spatial attention is contingent on conscious perception.

Action-Specific Disruption of Perceptual Confidence

Stephen M. Fleming, Brian Maniscalco, Yoshiaki Ko, Namema Amendi, Tony Ro, and Hakwan Lau

In dominant theoretical models of perception, perceptual confidence is related to the strength of incoming sensory signals, but recent research suggests that representations within the motor system may also influence people’s confidence. To test this, the authors applied unilateral single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to participants’ dorsal premotor cortices during a perceptual discrimination task. Participants raised their left or right hands to indicate the location of a target stimulus and reported their confidence in their decision. TMS was applied during stimulus onset or immediately after participants’ hand responses. In support of this hypothesis, TMS pulses applied both at the time of stimulus presentation and after the hand response changed participants’ confidence, despite the fact that their accuracy remained the same.

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