New Research in Psychological Science

Susceptibility to Being Lured Away by a Stranger: A Real-World Field Test of Selective Trust in Early Childhood
Qinggong Li, Wenyu Zhang, Gail D. Heyman, Brian J. Compton, and Kang Lee

Children aged 3 to 6 years old were tested in their preschool playground. While the child was alone, a stranger (confederate researcher) engaged them in a conversation, ultimately trying to lure them away from the school grounds. About half of the children were willing to leave with the stranger. More children trusted a female stranger than a male stranger. Older children especially were more willing to leave if the female stranger provided some accurate information (e.g., the child’s mother’s name). When the stranger was a man, children were reluctant to leave regardless of the information accuracy.

Prosocial Influence and Opportunistic Conformity in Adolescents and Young Adults
Gabriele Chierchia, Blanca Piera Pi-Sunyer, and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Social influence can be both a vulnerability and an opportunity to boost prosocial behaviors. Participants between 11 and 35 years old received 50 tokens (with real monetary value) and decided how many, if any, they wished to donate to different charities. After making their decisions, participants were informed of others’ decisions and allowed to revise their donations. Older participants were least likely to revise their donations after learning about others’ donations. Contrary to previous research findings, adults were as likely to conform to selfish others and to prosocial others, just like adolescents.

Linking Detail to Temporal Structure in Naturalistic-Event Recall
Nicholas B. Diamond and Brian Levine

What is the temporal organization that accompanies memories of real-world experiences? Younger and older adults went on an audio-guided art tour and, 2 days or 1 week after, freely recalled their experience. Participants recalled the temporal structure of the event, grouping items they saw in sequence (contiguity) and beginning their recall by remembering the first items and progressing forward to the last items (forward asymmetry). Further, older adults had a more temporally disorganized memory. Moreover, the more participants’ recall followed the temporal structure of the experience, the more detailed the recollection.

The Truth Is Out There: Accuracy in Recall of Verifiable Real-World Events
Nicholas B. Diamond, Michael J. Armson, and Brian Levine

Although memory detail fades with age and time, memories about real-world experiences (that did not occur in the lab) can be very accurate, this study indicates. Younger and older adults went through the real-world experiences of a mask-fitting procedure and an audio-guided art tour and later freely recalled the most they could about the event. Older participants and those tested after a longer period of time recalled fewer details than younger participants and those tested closely after the event. However, the details recalled were very accurate across age and time (93–95%). This level of accuracy is much higher than scientists estimated in a survey.

Keeping an Eye on Effort: A Pupillometric Investigation of Effort and Effortlessness in Visual Word Recognition
Adi Shechter and David L. Share

Pseudowords (i.e., letter strings that can be read and sound like words but aren’t actual words) are more difficult to read than familiar words, as indicated by increases and other changes in pupil dilation. In four experiments, Shechter and Share used pupillary measures to examine the cognitive effort involved in reading pseudowords aloud and silently, among adults and fourth to sixth graders. Reading pseudowords required more effort than reading familiar words, a finding that aligns with data from previous studies showing that reading pseudowords takes longer and is more prone to errors than reading actual words.

Personality Changes Predict Early Career Outcomes: Discovery and Replication in 12-Year Longitudinal Studies
Kevin A. Hoff, Sif Einarsdóttir, Chu Chu, Daniel A. Briley, and James Rounds

Personality changes from adolescence to adulthood appear to impact early career outcomes. Hoff and colleagues measured personality traits over 12 years (ages 17 to 29 years) in Icelandic youth and found that participants reported higher career satisfaction when they experienced growth in emotional stability, conscientiousness, or extraversion. Participants also reported higher income when they experienced growth of emotional stability and higher job satisfaction when they experienced growth in extraversion. These findings suggest that policy actions that help young people develop personality-based skills might improve human well-being.

Delayed Judgments of Learning Are Associated With Activation of Information From Past Experiences: A Neurobiological Examination
Timothy D. Kelley, Debbie A. McNeely, Michael J. Serra, and Tyler Davis

This study provides neuroimaging evidence indicating that people retrieve information about past experience and use it as a basis for their judgments of learning (i.e., predictions about how well they will remember information in the future). Kelley and colleagues collected functional MRI measures while participants learned pairs of items (e.g., an object and a face) and provided judgments of learning immediately after either studying a pair or a delay. The researchers found that brain activation patterns associated with past experience were heightened when participants were providing delayed judgments but not when they were making immediate judgments.