New Research in Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

Anticipatory Control Through Associative Learning of Subliminal Relations: Invisible May Be Better Than Visible

Ausaf A. Farooqui and Tom Manly

In this study, the researchers examined whether information presented in subliminal cues could be used to proactively enhance goal-directed cognitive control. In a series of 10 experiments, the researchers had participants perform two different tasks. The task that participants were asked to perform could change from one trial to the next. A cue — presented subliminally in some experiments and consciously in others — predicted whether the task would switch on the next trial (switch trials) or stay the same (repeat trial). The researchers found that subliminal cues — but not conscious cues — predicting switch trials were associated with improved performance. The findings show that implicit information can be used to enhance goal-directed cognitive control and that subliminal representations may, in some instances, be more conducive to associative learning than are conscious representations.

Chinese Kindergarteners Learn to Read Characters Analytically

Li Yin and Catherine McBride

Studies with learners of alphabetic languages have shown that statistical learning facilitates the acquisition of literacy; however, it is still not known whether statistical learning impacts the development of reading and writing skills in Chinese language learners. Chinese children between the ages of 4 and 5 performed a character-learning task and were tested on the ability to read and write Chinese words. One year later, children were again tested on their ability to read and write Chinese words. At age 4, children showed sensitivity to structural and phonetic characteristics of Chinese; at age 5, they showed sensitivity to the position of radicals (i.e., patterns of strokes that reoccur across characters) in the Chinese characters. These sensitivities were found to be related to literacy proficiency 1 year later. Children in the study had not yet received formal literacy instruction in writing, indicating the importance of statistical learning for literacy development in Chinese language learners.

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