New Research in Psychological Science

Time to Pay Attention? Information Search Explains Amplified Framing Effects Under Time Pressure
Ian D. Roberts, Yi Yang Teoh, and Cendri A. Hutcherson

Different framing of the same choice problem can lead to different choices, an effect that time pressure can increase. Roberts and colleagues tracked participants’ eye gaze and found that time pressure produced shifts in visual attention toward reward-predictive cues (e.g., in graphics, colors associated with higher gains) that increased framing effects. Their findings were contrary to an influential explanation for the amplification of framing effects in which time pressure leads individuals to rely on automatic emotional responses. Instead, they suggest, time pressure may lead individuals to strategically allocate their attention in an adaptive strategic behavior.

Where the Blame Lies: Unpacking Groups Into Their Constituent Subgroups Shifts Judgments of Blame in Intergroup Conflict
Nir Halevy, Ifat Maoz, Preeti Vani, and Emily S. Reit

This research suggests that people might assign more blame for intergroup conflict to groups that are presented as subgroups rather than as single, unified entities. In five experiments, Halevy and colleagues tested how different group presentations influenced the percentage of blame participants assigned to each group across three intergroup conflicts: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, racial tensions between White people and Black people in the United States, and the gender gap in wages in the United States. Results indicated that how the groups are presented can shape moral judgments in intergroup conflict.

Action Enhances Predicted Touch
Emily R. Thomas, Daniel Yon, Floris P. de Lange, and Clare Press

Previous research has suggested that predicted outcomes of tactile action are perceptually attenuated (e.g., that might be why we can’t tickle ourselves). Contrary to this hypothesis, the present findings suggest that predicting touch might enhance its perception. Participants moved their right index finger either to touch a button or toward the button (as if to touch it) and rated the subsequent intensity of a mechanical force that was then delivered to another finger. Results indicated that participants rated forces resulting from their own action as less intense than externally generated forces, but this effect reversed when there was no active finger contact with the button. In two other experiments, participants perceived expected touch during action more intensely than unexpected touch. Computational modeling suggested that expectations alter the way sensory evidence is integrated.

Attentional Guidance and Match Decisions Rely on Different Template Information During Visual Search
Xinger Yu, Timothy D. Hanks, and Joy J. Geng

How do we find the objects we are looking for? Theories of attention have suggested that we hold a template in our memory, similar to a photograph, of the target object that guides our attention to template-matching objects. In two experiments, Yu and colleagues found evidence for the dynamic nature of this template. By asking participants to search for target objects while using eye tracking to measure their attention, the researchers found that information used to guide initial attention appears to be coarse and “relational,” selecting anything that resembles the target. But participants’ decisions about whether an object matches a template use more precise and “optimal” information.

Naturalistic Face Learning in Infants and Adults
Xiaomei Zhou, Shruti Vyas, Jinbiao Ning, and Margaret C. Moulson

This research suggests that the attentional mechanisms critical for face recognition continue developing beyond the first year of life. In the learning phase of a study, adults and 6- to 12-month-old infants viewed videos of models reading a storybook. In a subsequent recognition test, participants saw the models’ faces paired with new faces. Zhou and colleagues used eye tracking and a novel facial-tracking program to measure participants’ face scanning. During learning, infants and adults were equally likely to prioritize the models’ faces over other elements in the video. However, infants showed less ability than adults to resist distractions during learning, which might have contributed to their poorer face recognition.

Noise Increases Anchoring Effects
Chang-Yuan Lee and Carey K. Morewedge

Anchoring effects occur when people are asked to make judgments about a numerical size or amount and their judgments are drawn toward a previously considered number (the anchor). These effects can occur in any situation, from responding to trivia questions to buying a car, and their size varies across the anchors and people making the judgment. Lee and Morewedge propose that higher noise in the mental representation of the target (e.g., targets with a higher magnitude of plausible values; large numbers) amplifies anchoring effects. In 11 experiments, they found that anchoring effects increased when people estimated larger numbers (i.e., had noisier representations) of familiar items, such as hotel prices, as well as more novel items, including counts in dot arrays.

What Might Books Be Teaching Young Children About Gender?
Molly Lewis, Matt Cooper Borkenhagen, Ellen Converse, Gary Lupyan, and Mark S. Seidenberg

This research suggests that children’s books may be an early source of gender stereotypes and tend to expose children to more stereotypes of their own gender. Lewis and colleagues analyzed 247 popular books for children (0–5 years old) and used word co-occurrence data and adult human judgments to quantify gender biases. Children’s books appeared to contain many words that adults judged as gendered, and some words’ co-occurrence also reflected gender stereotypes (e.g., feminine associated with emotions and masculine with tools). Moreover, many books also appeared to instantiate gender stereotypes (e.g., boys are better than girls at math).

Teacher Mindsets Help Explain Where a Growth-Mindset Intervention Does and Doesn’t Work
David S. Yeager et al.

Growth-mindset interventions teach that intellectual abilities can grow. Yeager and colleagues examined how teachers’ mindsets may shape the success of growth-mindset interventions. The study delivered short growth-mindset interventions to math students in their first year of high school. Results indicated that the interventions led to better math grades among students whose teachers themselves had growth mindsets. These findings support the mindset-plus-supportive-context hypothesis, which suggests students’ growth mindsets must be supported by their teachers’ own growth mindsets. Thus, contextual support may be needed to foster growth-mindset effects.

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