New Research in Psychological Science

Don’t Ditch the Laptop Just Yet: A Direct Replication of Mueller and Oppenheimer’s (2014) Study 1 Plus Mini Meta-Analyses Across Similar Studies
Heather L. Urry et al.

In Mueller and Oppenheimer’s 2014 study, participants watched a lecture, took notes by hand or using a laptop, and responded to a quiz. In both the original study and this replication, participants who used the laptop typed more words and more verbatim words from the lecture but did not perform better on the quiz than those who took notes by hand. A meta-analysis also indicated this pattern of effects. However, in this replication, reproducing more verbatim words was less likely to lead to worse quiz performance than in the original study, suggesting that laptop notes might not be detrimental to learning by worsening information encoding.

Alertness Training Increases Visual Processing Speed in Healthy Older Adults
Melanie D. Penning et al.

The ability to quickly process visual information declines with age, but alertness training may counteract this decline. Older adults participated in alertness training (i.e., a simulated motorcycle drive), control training (i.e., a task not designed to enhance alertness), or no training. Those who participated in alertness training, especially those who already had higher connectivity between central and insular brain regions, increased their visual processing speed more than the other participants. These findings support the use of alertness training to counteract the slowness of visual processing in many older adults and suggest a brain marker that may help to identify who can benefit the most from alertness training.

Reasoning Through the Disjunctive Syllogism in Monkeys
Stephen Ferrigno, Yiyun Huang, and Jessica F. Cantlon

The disjunctive syllogism—given A or B, if not A, then B—is a logical inference that monkeys appear to have the capacity to understand. Previous research had shown that nonhumans could reason by exclusion (not A), but their ability to deduce the dependent relation between A and B had not been tested. Ferrigno and colleagues showed that monkeys solved disjunctive syllogisms to gain their favored food, grapes, 75% of the time. These findings indicate that the cognitive capacity of deduction is not unique to humans and can occur in the absence of language.

Narcissism and Leadership in Children
Eddie Brummelman, Barbara Nevicka, and Joseph M. O’Brien

Children with high levels of narcissism tend to emerge as leaders but may not excel in that position. Children between 7 and 14 years old completed a narcissism scale, and peers assessed their leadership in the classroom. They also performed a group task in which one child was randomly assigned as leader. Children with higher levels of narcissism more often emerged as classroom leaders. Moreover, those with higher narcissism who were assigned a leadership role perceived themselves as better leaders, although their leadership functioning was no different from that of children with lower narcissism.

The Lure of Counterfactual Curiosity: People Incur a Cost to Experience Regret
Lily FitzGibbon, Asuka Komiya, and Kou Murayama

Why do people seek information about how things would have been if they had made a different decision, even when they cannot reverse the decision? People appear to have this counterfactual curiosity even though it does not improve and may even impair their decision-making performance. FitzGibbon and colleagues found that participants were highly motivated to incur costs (money and physical effort) to learn what they could have received while performing a task, even when that information led to regret instead of those rewards.

Narratives Shape Cognitive Representations of Immigrants and Immigration-Policy Preferences
Joel E. Martinez, Lauren A. Feldman, Mallory J. Feldman, and Mina Cikara

Different stories or narratives about immigrants can shape public perceptions and policy preferences involving immigrants, this research suggests. Adult U.S. residents read short stories about the achievement, criminality, or struggles of German, Russian, Syrian, and Mexican male immigrants. Reading achievement stories led participants to homogenize individual immigrants’ representations, making them less based on racial differences, whereas criminal and struggle stories led participants to racialize immigrants according to their “Whiteness” by creating two groups: immigrants from Germany and Russia, and those from Syria and Mexico. Achievement narratives led to preferences for fewer immigration restrictions, whereas criminal and struggle narratives led to preferences for more restrictions. These findings highlight the importance of presenting individual stories to attenuate anti-immigrant discrimination.

Newtonian Predictions Are Integrated With Sensory Information in 3D Motion Perception
Abdul-Rahim Deeb, Evan Cesanek, and Fulvio Domini

Newtonian laws explain the motions of everyday physical objects and thus might be internalized by the brain to facilitate motion perception. This research suggests that motion perception relies on internalized regularities, or laws, not only when information is missing but also when the available information is inconsistent with the expected outcome of a physical event. Participants viewed 3D billiard-ball collisions depicting varying degrees of consistency with Newtonian laws. Their judgments of postcollision trajectories were biased toward the outcomes expected according to Newtonian laws of mechanics.

Training for Wisdom: The Distanced-Self-Reflection Diary Method
Igor Grossmann et al.

Keeping a diary in the third person may increase wisdom, including intellectual humility, sensitivity to possible change in social relations, openness to diverse perspectives, and willingness to integrate different viewpoints. In two experiments lasting 1 month or 1 week, participants who wrote diary reflections on each day’s most significant experiences using a distanced third-person perspective showed a significant increase in wise reasoning when faced with difficult social events, compared to participants who wrote in the first-person. These findings suggest that wisdom can be trained using distanced self-reflection to broaden people’s typically narrow self-focus.