New Research in Psychological Science

Theory-of-Mind Development in Young Deaf Children With Early Hearing Provisions
Chi-Lin Yu, Christopher M. Stanzione, Henry M. Wellman, and Amy R. Lederberg

The development of theory of mind—the understanding of others’ mental states—is usually delayed in deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children born to hearing parents. This research suggests that this delay can be amended by early cochlear implants and hearing aids. Yu and colleagues show that 3- to 6-year-old DHH children who began using hearing provisions earlier had more advanced language abilities, leading to better theory of mind growth, than children who had spent less time using hearing provisions. These findings highlight the relationships between hearing, language, and theory of mind.

Greater Male Variability in Cooperation: Meta-Analytic Evidence for an Evolutionary Perspective
Christian Thöni, Stefan Volk, and Jose M. Cortina

Thöni and colleagues used two meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that men, compared to women, show greater variability in cooperation as a result of sex-differentiated psychological adaptations. A meta-analysis of social-dilemma studies and a meta-analysis of organizational citizenship behavior indicated that men and women are equally cooperative on average. However, men appeared to be more likely to behave either selfishly or altruistically, whereas women appeared more likely to be moderately cooperative. These results suggest the importance of taking intragroup variability into account when considering whether women and men show different behaviors.

Difficult Turned Easy: Suggestion Renders a Challenging Visual Task Simple
Mathieu Landry, Jason Da Silva Castanheira, Jérôme Sackur, and Amir Raz

Hypnotic suggestion can transform a difficult visual task into an easy one, this research suggests. Participants observed moving occluded shapes (e.g., diamonds, triangles) and indicated the direction of their motion. Participants were more accurate if they scored high on a scale of hypnotic suggestibility and received the hypnotic suggestion that they would be able to perceive nonexistent shapes occluding the moving shapes, compared to participants who scored low in hypnotic suggestibility or did not receive a suggestion. These results indicate that hypnotic suggestion can add perceptual information to facilitate performance in a visual task.

Incidental Attitude Formation via the Surveillance Task: A Preregistered Replication of the Olson and Fazio (2001) Study
Tal Moran, Sean Hughes, Ian Hussey, et al.

Olson and Fazio (2001) showed that when valenced stimuli (e.g., positive words) were covertly paired with neutral stimuli (i.e., unfamiliar Pokémon characters), participants who were already engaged in detecting familiar Pokémon formed attitudes about the previously neutral stimuli (i.e., evaluative conditioning). Moran and colleagues attempted to replicate these findings and found that participants formed new attitudes in the absence of awareness only when their lack of awareness was measured by broad criteria that could potentially include participants who were aware. These findings suggest the need for caution when making claims about “unaware” evaluative conditioning.

Why Is an Early Start of Training Related to Musical Skills in Adulthood? A Genetically Informative Study
Laura W. Wesseldijk, Miriam A. Mosing, and Fredrik Ullén

Familial factors, such as genetics, might be more important than a sensitive training period to explain the association between early-age training and musical skills in adulthood. Wesseldijk and colleagues examined the effect of age of onset of musical training on musical skills and achievement in professional musicians and twins. The analysis of twins suggested that genetics fully explained the positive association between starting age and adult expertise. An explanation might be that children who have high musical ability for genetic reasons tend to be born into musically engaged families that encouraged them to start practicing early.

Children Prioritize Humans Over Animals Less Than Adults Do
Matti Wilks, Lucius Caviola, Guy Kahane, and Paul Bloom

Adults and 5- to 9-year-old children chose who should be saved between varied numbers of humans and dogs or pigs. Whereas almost all adults chose to save one human over even 100 dogs or pigs, children often chose to save multiple dogs or even just one dog over one human. Although pigs were less valued than dogs, the majority of children still chose to save ten pigs over one human. These findings suggest that the belief that humans are more important than animals appears late in development and might be socially acquired.

Moral-Language Use by U.S. Political Elites
Sze-Yuh Nina Wang and Yoel Inbar

How do politicians use moral language (e.g., terms related to the moral foundations of harm, fairness, loyalty, authority, and purity)? Wang and Inbar used a distributed-language model to analyze the Twitter messages of U.S. Congress members from 2016 to 2018 and the speeches published in the U.S. Congressional record from 1981 to 2017. They found that members of both the Democratic and Republican parties used more moral language when their political power diminished and they were in the minority than when their power increased or they were in the majority. These findings may help to understand the dynamics of moral-language use.