Breen and Clifton (2011)argued that readers’ eye movements during silent reading are influenced by the stress patterns of words. This claim was supported by the observation that syntactic reanalysis that required concurrent metrical reanalysis (e.g., a change from the noun form ofabstractto the verb form) resulted in longer reading times than syntactic reanalysis that did not require metrical reanalysis (e.g., a change from the noun form ofreportto the verb form). However, the data contained a puzzle: the disruption appeared on the critical word (abstract,report) itself, although the material that forced the part of speech change did not appear until the next region. Breen and Clifton argued that parafoveal preview of the disambiguating material triggered the revision, and that the eyes did not move on until a fully-specified lexical representation of the critical word was achieved. The present experiment used a boundary change paradigm (Rayner, 1975) in which parafoveal preview of the disambiguating region was prevented. Once again, an interaction was observed: syntactic reanalysis resulted in particularly long reading times when it also required metrical reanalysis. However, now the interaction did not appear on the critical word, but only following the disambiguating region. This pattern of results supports Breen and Clifton's claim that readers form an implicit metrical representation of text during silent reading.
Stereotype threat often incurs the cost of reducing the amount of information that older adults accurately recall. In the current research we tested whether stereotype threat can also benefit memory. According to the regulatory focus account of stereotype threat, threat induces a prevention focus in which people become concerned with avoiding errors of commission and are sensitive to the presence or absence of losses within their environment (Seibt & F?rster, 2004). Because of this, we predicted that stereotype threat might reduce older adults' memory errors. Results were consistent with this prediction. Older adults under stereotype threat had lower intrusion rates during free-recall tests (Experiments 1 & 2). They also reduced their false alarms and adopted more conservative response criteria during a recognition test (Experiment 2). Thus, stereotype threat can decrease older adults' false memories, albeit at the cost of fewer veridical memories, as well.
The mechanisms by which attentional control biases mnemonic representations have attracted much interest but remain poorly understood. As attention and memory develop gradually over childhood and variably across individuals, assessing how participants of different ages and ability attend to mnemonic contents can elucidate their interplay. In Experiment 1, 7-, 10-year-olds and adults were asked to report whether a probe item had been part of a previously presented four-item array. The initial array could either be uncued, preceded (“pre-cued”) or followed (“retro-cued”) by a spatial cue orienting attention to one of the potential item locations. Performance across groups was significantly improved by both cue types and individual differences in children’s retrospective attentional control predicted their visual short-term and working memory span, whereas their basic ability to remember in the absence of cues did not. Experiment 2 imposed a variable delay between the array and the subsequent orienting cue. Cueing benefits were greater in adults compared to 10-year-olds, but they persisted even when cues followed the array by nearly 3 seconds, suggesting that orienting operated on durable short-term representations for both age groups. The findings indicate that there are substantial developmental and individual differences in the ability to control attention to memory and that in turn these differences constrain visual short-term memory capacity.
The research examines the structural bottleneck account and the resource account of the substantial dual-task deficits among older adults. Procedures from two common dual-task methodologies--the psychological refractory period and the relative-priority manipulation--were used to encourage maximization of the joint performance. Performance and time-sharing strategies from subjects between the ages of 20 and 70 were examined. Age-related declines in time-sharing efficiency and in the precision of the executive control process were observed. The age-related effect was larger when two manual responses were required than when one manual and one vocal response were required but no evidence for obligatory sequential processing was found. Except for the most demanding conditions, comparable practice effects were observed between the younger and older subjects, suggesting considerable cognitive plasticity in the older subjects. Implications for the two attentional accounts were discussed.
Previous studies have shown an interference of task-irrelevant numerical information with the spatial parameters of visuomotor behaviour. These findings lend support to the notion that number and space share a common metric with respect to action. Here I argue that the demonstration of the structural similarity between scales for number and space would be a more stringent test for the shared metrics than a mere fact of interference. The present study investigated the scale of number mapping onto space in a manual estimation task. The physical size of target stimuli and the magnitudes of task-irrelevant numbers were parametrically manipulated in the context of the Titchener illusion. The results revealed different scaling schemas for number and space. Whereas estimates in response to changes in stimulus physical size showed a gradual increase, the effect of number was categorical with the largest number (9) showing greater manual estimate than the other numbers (1, 3, and 7). Possible interpretations that are not necessarily incompatible with the hypothesis of shared metrics with respect to action are proposed. However, the present findings suggest that a meticulous scale analysis is required in order to determine the nature of number–space interaction.
Prior studies have reported instances of both intact (i.e. (Ozonoff & Strayer, 2001) and impaired (i.e.Bennetto, Pennington, & Rogers, 1996) working memory (WM) performance in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In order to investigate the relation between autistic traits that extend into the normal population and WM, 104 normal college-aged students who varied in their levels of autistic traits were tested. The loading of ASD-associated traits in the normal population leads to differing predictions about WM performance. ASD traits related to a local processing style (or ‘attention to detail’) might enhance WM while ASD-associated traits related to difficulty switching attention and reorienting focus (or ‘social interaction’) might impair WM performance. To assess these predictions, participants filled out the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ;Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Clubley, 2001) and performed a working memory task with both visual and verbal variants. AQ scores were then broken into ‘attention to detail’ and ‘social interaction’ factors, as proposed by Hoekstra and colleagues (Hoekstra, Bartels, Cath, & Boomsma, 2008). The results showed AQ scores did not predict verbal WM performance but they did predict visual WM performance. Thesocial interactionandattention to detailfactors of the AQ had opposing relationships with visual WM performance: a higher level of social difficulty was associated with significantly poorer visual WM performance while a higher level of attention to detail was associated with enhanced visual WM performance. Further investigation of the relation between AQ and WM using the original five-factor model proposed byBaron-Cohen and colleagues (2001)revealed an association between impoverished imagination and visual WM overall.
Listeners infer which object in a visual scene a speaker refers to from the systematic variation of the speaker’s tone of voice (ToV). We examined whether ToV also guides word learning. During exposure, participants heard novel adjectives (e.g., “daxen”) spoken with a ToV representing hot, cold, strong, weak, big, or small while viewing picture pairs representing the meaning of the adjective and its antonym (e.g., elephant-ant for big-small). Eye fixations were recorded to monitor referent detection and learning. During test, participants heard the adjectives spoken with a neutral ToV, while selecting referents from familiar and unfamiliar picture pairs. Participants were able to learn the adjectives’ meanings, and, even in the absence of informative ToV, generalise them to new referents. A second experiment addressed whether ToV provides sufficient information to infer the adjectival meaning or needs to operate within a referential context providing information about the relevant semantic dimension. Participants who saw printed versions of the novel words during exposure performed at chance during test. ToV, in conjunction with the referential context, thus serves as a cue to word meaning. ToV establishes relations between labels and referents for listeners to exploit in word learning.
The current study examines Causal Essentialism, derived from Psychological Essentialism of concepts (Medin & Ortony, 1989). We examine whether people believe that members of a category share some underlying essence that is both necessary and sufficient for category membership and that also causes surface features. The main claim is that Causal Essentialism is restricted to categories that correspond to our intuitive notions of existing kinds, and hence is more attenuated for categories that are based on arbitrary criteria. Experiments 1 and 3 found that people overtly endorse causal essences in non-arbitrary kinds but are less likely to do so for arbitrary categories. Experiments 2 and 4 found that people were more willing to generalize a member’s known causal relations (or lack thereof) when dealing with a kind than when dealing with an arbitrary category. These differences between kinds and arbitrary categories were found across various domains—not only categories of living things, but also for artifacts. These findings have certain real-world implications, including how people make sense of mental disorders that are treated as real kinds.
Humans gain a wide range of knowledge through interacting with the environment. Each aspect of our perceptual experiences offers a unique source of information about the world—colours are seen, sounds heard and textures felt. Understanding how perceptual input provides a basis for knowledge is thus central to understanding one's own and others' epistemic states. Developmental research suggests that 5-year-olds have an immature understanding of knowledge sources and that they overestimate the knowledge to be gained from looking. Without evidence from adults, it is not clear whether the mature reasoning system outgrows this overestimation. The current study is the first to investigate whether an overestimation of the knowledge to be gained from vision occurs in adults. Novel response time paradigms were adapted from developmental studies. In two experiments, participants judged whether an object or feature could be identified by performing a specific action. Adult participants found it disproportionately easy to accept looking as a proposed action when it was informative, and difficult to reject looking when it was not informative. This suggests that adults, like children, overestimate the informativeness of vision. The origin of this overestimation and the implications that the current findings bear on the interpretation of children's overestimation are discussed.
Sequence learning and spatial alternation were examined in rats with anterior thalamic lesions or sham surgeries. There was a lesion-induced deficit in spatial alternation but not in sequence learning. During sequence learning, rats discriminated between six different sequentially presented compounds (e.g. reinforce A before B, but not B before A), composed of audio-visual elements. The solution required rats to learn both specific stimulus sequences and the reward contingencies associated with these specific temporal relationships. The failure of anterior thalamic lesions to affect the acquisition of thissequentialconfigural task complements the recent finding that anterior thalamic lesions also spare the acquisition of a configural task involving specific stimulus pairings and theirspatialrelationships. These finding suggest that such ‘structural’ learning is more reliant on cortico-hippocampal than thalamo–hippocampal interactions.
When subjects are sequentially trained with a cue (A) paired separately with two outcomes (B and C) in different phases (i.e., A–B pairings followed by A–C pairings) testing in the training context after short retention intervals often reveals recency effects (i.e., stronger influence by A–C). In contrast, testing after long retention intervals or testing in a context different from that of training sometimes reveals primacy effects (A–B). Three experiments were conducted using rats in a Pavlovian conditioned bar-press suppression preparation to ascertain whether a nonreinforced test trial in the training context soon after training can attenuate this shift to primacy. Experiment 1 demonstrated that exposure to A shortly after both phases of training, but prior to a long retention interval, can attenuate shifts from recency to primacy otherwise observed with a long retention interval. Experiment 2 showed that exposure to A in the training context can also eliminate the shift from recency to primacy otherwise produced by shifting the physical context between training and test. Experiment 3 discredited a potential account of the results of Experiments 1 and 2. The effects observed in Experiment 1 and 2 are interpreted as early testing in the training context serving to initiate rehearsal of the A–C association due to the temporal proximity of A–C training.
In everyday life, we often use external artefacts such as diaries to help usremember intended behaviours. In addition, we commonly manipulate ourenvironment, for example by placing reminders in noticeable places. Yetstrategic offloading of intentions to the external environment is not typicallypermitted in laboratory tasks examining memory for delayed intentions. Whatfactors influence our use of such strategies, and what behavioural consequencesdo they have? This article describes four online experiments(N?=?1196) examining a novel web-based task inwhich participants hold intentions for brief periods, with the option tostrategically externalize these intentions by creating a reminder. This tasksignificantly predicted participants' fulfilment of a naturalistic intentionembedded within their everyday activities up to one week later (with greaterpredictive ability than more traditional prospective memory tasks, albeit withweak effect size). Setting external reminders improved performance, and it wasmore prevalent in older adults. Furthermore, participants set remindersadaptively, based on (a) memory load, and (b) the likelihood of distraction.These results suggest the importance of metacognitive processes in triggeringintention offloading, which can increase the probability that intentions areeventually fulfilled.
A number of navigational theories state that learning about landmark information should not interfere with learning about shape information provided by the boundary walls of an environment. A common test of such theories has been to assess whether landmark information will overshadow, or restrict, learning about shape information. Whilst a number of studies have shown that landmarks are not able to overshadow learning about shape information, some have shown that landmarks can, in fact, overshadow learning about shape information. Given the continued importance of theories that grant the shape information that is provided by the boundary of an environment a special status during learning, the experiments presented here were designed to assess whether the relative salience of shape and landmark information could account for the discrepant results of overshadowing studies. In Experiment 1, participants were first trained that either the landmarks within an arena (landmark-relevant), or the shape information provided by the boundary walls of an arena (shape-relevant), were relevant to finding a hidden goal. In a subsequent stage, when novel landmark and shape information were made relevant to finding the hidden goal, landmarks dominated behaviour for those given landmark-relevant training, whereas shape information dominated behaviour for those given shape-relevant training. Experiment 2, which was conducted without prior relevance training, revealed that the landmark cues, unconditionally, dominated behaviour in our task. The results of the present experiments, and the conflicting results from previous overshadowing experiments, are explained in terms of associative models that incorporate an attention variant.
Speech and song are universal forms of vocalization that may share aspects of emotional expression. Research has focused on parallels in acoustic features, overlooking facial cues to emotion. In three experiments, we compared moving facial expressions in speech and song. In Experiment 1, vocalists spoke and sang statements each with five emotions. Vocalists exhibited emotion-dependent movements of the eyebrows and lip corners that transcended speech–song differences. Vocalists’ jaw movements were coupled to their acoustic intensity, exhibiting differences across emotion and speech–song. Vocalists’ emotional movements extended beyond vocal sound to include large sustained expressions, suggesting a communicative function. In Experiment 2, viewers judged silent videos of vocalists’ facial expressions prior to, during, and following vocalization. Emotional intentions were identified accurately for movements during and after vocalization, suggesting that these movements support the acoustic message. Experiment 3 compared emotional identification in voice-only, face-only, and face-and-voice recordings. Emotion judgements for voice-only singing were poorly identified, yet were accurate for all other conditions, confirming that facial expressions conveyed emotion more accurately than the voice in song, yet were equivalent in speech. Collectively, these findings highlight broad commonalities in the facial cues to emotion in speech and song, yet highlight differences in perception and acoustic-motor production.
Feeling-of-knowing judgement is traditionally regarded as a unitary cognitive process. However, recent research suggests that knowing that you know (positive feeling-of-knowing) and knowing that you do not know (negative feeling-of-knowing) have different neural substrates (Luo, Niki, Ying, & Luo, 2004). In the present study, we used a paradigm adapted from Koriat and Levy-Sadot (2001) to examine whether positive feeling-of-knowing and negative feeling-of-knowing were mediated by distinct cognitive processes. We found that positive and negative feeling-of-knowing were dissociated during immediate feeling-of-knowing judgements (i.e., preliminary feeling-of-knowing) and delayed feeling-of-knowing judgements (i.e., postretrieval feeling-of-knowing). At the judgement intervals, positive feeling-of-knowing was based on partial recovery of the nonrecalled targets, whereas negative feeling-of-knowing was determined by familiarity with the retrieval cues. Our results suggest that feeling-of-knowing is a heterogeneous process.
We trained rhesus monkeys on six visual discrimination problems using stimuli that varied in both shape and colour. For one group of animals shape was always relevant in these six problems, and colour always irrelevant, and for the other animals vice versa. During these “intradimensional shifts” (ID) the problems were learned at equal rates by the two groups, shape-relevant and colour-relevant. We then trained three further problems in which the other dimension was now relevant (“extradimensional shifts”, ED). The animals showed slower learning when shifting from colour-relevant to shape-relevant, but not when shifting from shape-relevant to colour-relevant. These results show that monkeys' ability to selectively attend to a relevant stimulus dimension and to ignore an irrelevant dimension depends on the experimenter's choice of relevant and irrelevant dimensions.
Previous research suggests that, during visual search and discrimination tasks, older adults place greater emphasis than younger adults on top-down attention. This experiment investigated the relative contribution of target activation and distractor inhibition to this age difference. Younger and older adults performed a singleton discrimination task in which either an E or an R target (colour singleton) was present among distractor letters. Relative to a baseline condition in which the colours of the targets and distractors remained constant, an age-related slowing of performance was evident when either the colour of the target or that of the distractors varied across trials. The age-related slowing was more pronounced in response to target colour variation, suggesting that older adults place relatively greater emphasis on the top-down activation of target features.
In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Baddeley and colleagues conducted a series of experiments investigating the role of eye movements in visual working memory. Although only described briefly in a book (Baddeley, 1986), these studies have influenced a remarkable number of empirical and theoretical developments in fields ranging from experimental psychology to human neuropsychology to nonhuman primate electrophysiology. This paper presents, in full detail, three critical studies from this series, together with a recently performed study that includes a level of eye movement measurement and control that was not available for the older studies. Together, the results demonstrate several facts about the sensitivity of visuospatial working memory to eye movements. First, it is eye movement control, not movement per se, that produces the disruptive effects. Second, these effects are limited to working memory for locations, and do not generalize to visual working memory for shapes. Third, they can be isolated to the storage/maintenance components of working memory (e.g., to the delay period of the delayed-recognition task). These facts have important implications for models of visual working memory.
Odor aversion learning is often potentiated in the presence of flavor stimuli. Establishment of an aversion to an odor is greater when an odor + flavor compound is paired with illness than when the odor alone is paired with illness.Holland (1983)showed that under some circumstances auditory or olfactory stimuli previously paired with flavors may also potentiate odor aversion learning. The present experiments examined limitations on this representation-mediated potentiation of aversion learning. The results indicated that CSs that activate representations of potentiating cues are themselves immune to potentiation by other CS-activated representations, but remain susceptible to potentiation by their real stimulus associates.
In running memory span, a list ends unpredictably and the last few items are to be recalled. This task is of increasing importance in recent research. We argue that there are two very different strategies for performing running span tasks: a low-effort strategy in which items are passively held until the list ends, when retrieval into a capacity-limited store takes place; and a higher-effort strategy in which working memory is continually updated using rehearsal processes during the list presentation. In two experiments, we examine the roles of these two strategies and consequences of two types of interference.