New Research in Psychological Science

Says Who? Credibility Effects in Self-Verification Strivings
Ewa Szumowska, Natalia Wójcik, Paulina Szwed, and Arie W. Kruglanski

According to the self-verification effect, people prefer feedback consistent with their view of themselves over feedback that is discrepant. Szumowska and colleagues tested whether this effect stems from striving for coherence or from a preference for information that feels accurate. Participants with positive and negative social self-esteem received positive and negative feedback regarding their social skills. Self-discrepant feedback came from either a student (lower credibility source) or an experienced psychologist (higher credibility source). Results indicated that, in accordance with the self-verification effect, participants were more willing to accept self-verifying feedback than discrepant feedback, but only when the feedback source had low credibility. When the source had high credibility, participants were willing to accept feedback discrepant with their self-view. Thus, feedback credibility may drive the self-verification effect.

When Are Similar Individuals a Group? Early Reasoning About Similarity and In-Group Support
Lin Bian and Renée Baillargeon

This research suggests that young children are sensitive to the context in how they interpret similarity as marking belongingness. In two experiments, 12-month-old children’s looking behavior indicated that they expected two individuals who wore the same novel outfit to prefer their in-group, but they seemed to dismiss this similarity when the outfits were used to fulfill an instrumental purpose (e.g., to store objects). In another experiment, 26-month-old children expected in-group preference between two individuals who uttered the same novel labels to convey categorical information (e.g., “I am a lutak!”), but they dismissed this similarity if the labels were used to convey incidental information (e.g., “I saw a lutak!”).

Tips From the Top: Do the Best Performers Really Give the Best Advice?
David E. Levari, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Timothy D. Wilson

In a series of studies, adult participants played a game after receiving performance advice from previous participants. The advice of the best performers was no more beneficial than that of other advisors, but participants believed that it was more beneficial—even though they didn’t know about the advisors’ actual performance. Why? The best performers gave more advice, and participants apparently mistook quantity for quality. These studies suggest that performing and advising may often be unrelated skills and that in at least some domains, people may overvalue advice from top performers.

Interleaving Retrieval Practice Promotes Science Learning
Faria Sana and Veronica X. Yan

Mixing up topics on quizzes might be a cost-effective strategy to promote classroom learning. Across 4 weeks, students in Grades 9 to 12 took a weekly quiz in their science courses. Questions were either blocked by concept (e.g., AAABBBCCC) or interleaved with different concepts (e.g., ABCABCABC). On a final test, taken 1 month after the final quiz, students performed better on concepts that had been quizzed than on concepts that had not, replicating the known benefits of retrieval practice. Moreover, students performed better on items that had been on interleaved quizzes than on concepts that had been on blocked quizzes.

Working Memory Content Is Distorted by Its Use in Perceptual Comparisons
Keisuke Fukuda et al.

This research suggests that comparing current visual input with a working memory representation of the immediate past (e.g., when a witness to a traffic accident tries to identify a car’s license plate after a bus momentarily occluded their sight) can lead to biases. Participants compared a new visual input with a working memory representation and then reported the representation. This perceptual comparison biased the report, especially when the new input was similar to the representation. This similarity-induced memory bias was driven by representational integration, rather than incidental confusion, between the representation and the input.

Understanding Everyday Events: Predictive-Looking Errors Drive Memory Updating
Christopher N. Wahlheim, Michelle L. Eisenberg, David Stawarczyk, and Jeffrey M. Zacks

Wahlheim and colleagues examined the effects of mnemonic predictive-looking errors, which occur when memory guides predictions about what will happen next (and where to look) but a situational change violates those predictions. Participants watched movies of everyday activities involving repeated actions as well as actions that changed slightly (e.g., an actor reached for a paper towel on one occasion and a dish towel on the next). Memory guidance led to predictive-looking errors associated with better memory for subsequently changed event features. Thus, retrieving recent event features may guide predictions during events, and mismatches between mnemonic predictions and actual events might contribute to learning.

Motor Coordination and Strategic Cooperation in Joint Action
Solène Le Bars et al.

Le Bars and colleagues investigated the relationships between sense of agency (the experience of control over an action) and the motor and strategic dimensions involved in joint action. Pairs of participants coordinated their actions to move a cursor and reach a target. The collaborative task combined different levels of motor noise—random deviations applied to the cursor’s moves—with different levels of strategic noise—three types of economic games. After each trial, participants rated their sense of agency. Self-agency was related to motor dimensions, whereas collective agency was influenced by the strategic dimension. Moreover, participants who exerted dominant motor control over joint action showed less prosocial strategies (i.e., more selfish behaviors).

Are You for Real? Perceptions of Authenticity Are Systematically Biased and Not Accurate
Erica R. Bailey and Aharon Levy

This research suggests that people may not be able to accurately identify who is authentic, defined as someone whose behavior is genuine and reflects their true inner qualities and feelings. Bailey and Levy’s findings indicate that laypeople report authenticity as an important attribute in others and appear to believe they can tell who is authentic. However, in two cohorts of adults, self- and other-rated authenticity did not appear to be correlated. Perceived authenticity appeared biased in two ways: (a) Others rated individuals’ authenticity as higher than the individuals had rated it themselves, and (b) authenticity ratings depended on the rater’s perception of their own authenticity. The researchers also found that individuals’ beliefs about the visibility of their own authenticity were not accurate.

Feedback on this article? Email or comment below.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.