The American Journal of Psychology (AM J PSYCHOL )


AJP was founded in the interest of general experimental psychology and is devoted to the basic science of the mind. The Journal publishes reports of original experimental reserach, theoretical presentations, combined theoretical and experimental analyses, historical commentaries, shorter notes and discussions, and reviews of books in the area.

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    American Journal of Psychology website
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    The American journal of psychology, AJP
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  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publications in this journal

  • The American Journal of Psychology 01/2015; 109(3):465.
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    ABSTRACT: School days can be a difficult time especially when students are faced with subjects which require motivational investment along with cognitive effort, such as mathematics and sciences. In the present study, we investigated the effects of teachers’ Emotional Intelligence (EI) ability, self-efficacy, and emotional states and students’ self-esteem, perceptions of ability and metacognitive beliefs in predicting school achievement. We hypothesized that the level of teacher EI ability would moderate the impact of students’ self-perceptions and beliefs regarding their achievements in mathematics and sciences. Students from Italian junior high schools (N = 338) and their math teachers (N = 12) were involved in the study and a multilevel approach was employed. Findings showed that that teachers’ EI has a positive role in promoting students’ achievement, by enhancing the effects of students’ self-perceptions of ability and self-esteem. These results have implications for the implementation of intervention programs on the emotional, motivational, and metacognitive correlates of studying and learning behaviour.
    The American Journal of Psychology 11/2014; 127(4):431-445.
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    ABSTRACT: There is a rich tradition of writings about the foundation of psychology laboratories, particularly in the United States and in France. Like their German counterparts, American laboratories of psychology were described by several scholars in French journals. These descriptions stimulated the establishment of laboratories in France and provided templates for laboratory designs. We introduce here an article written by Marcel Baudouin (1860–1941), who visited and subsequently described the psychology laboratory of Granville Stanley Hall (1844–1924) at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. The English translation of Baudouin’s paper, provided here, constitutes an interesting new document on Hall’s laboratory at Clark University as it stood in 1893. From the French perspective, the Clark laboratory provided an ideal model for the experimental psychology laboratory.
    The American Journal of Psychology 11/2014; 127(4):527.
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the incremental validity of an ability measure of emotional intelligence (EI) in predicting academic achievement in undergraduate students, controlling for cognitive abilities and personality traits. Academic achievement has been conceptualized in terms of the number of exams, grade point average, and study time taken to prepare for each exam. Additionally, gender differences were taken into account in these relationships. Participants flled in the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices, the reduced version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and academic achievement measures. Results showed that EI abilities were positively related to academic achievement indices, such as the number of exams and grade point average; total EI ability and the Perceiving branch were negatively associated with the study time spent preparing for exams. Furthermore, EI ability adds a percentage of incremental variance with respect to cognitive ability and personality variables in explaining scholastic success. The magnitude of the associations between EI abilities and academic achievement measures was generally higher for men than for women. Jointly considered, the present fndings support the incremental validity of the MSCEIT and provide positive indications of the importance of EI in students’ academic development. The helpfulness of EI training in the context of academic institutions is discussed.
    The American Journal of Psychology 11/2014; 127(4):447-461.
  • The American Journal of Psychology 08/2014; 127(3):343-350.
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    ABSTRACT: Mental rotation is one of the main spatial abilities necessary in the spatial transformation of mental images and the manipulation of spatial parameters. Researchers have shown that mental rotation abilities differ between populations depending on several variables. This study uses a mental rotation task to investigate effects of several factors on the spatial abilities of 277 volunteers. The results demonstrate that high and low imagers performed equally well on this tasks. Athletes outperformed nonathletes regardless of their discipline, and athletes with greater expertise outperformed those with less experience. The results replicate the previously reported finding that men exhibit better spatial abilities than women. However, with high amounts of practice, the women in the current study were able to perform as well as men.
    The American Journal of Psychology 08/2014; 127(3):313-23.
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals vary in their propensity to engage in aggressive behaviors, and recent research has sought to identify individual differences that contribute to a person's propensity for physical aggression. Previous research has shown that impulsivity and aggression have a consistent relational pattern among many different samples. However, not all impulsive people will engage in aggressive behavior, perhaps because of other factors such as level of physiological arousal from anxiety. Specifically, one factor, namely physiological symptoms of anxiety such as those often associated with panic, may help as a predictor variable to be used in risk assessments or subclassification systems of aggression. Participants included 689 college students who completed self-report questionnaires assessing impulsivity, physical aggression, and anxiety. Multivariate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted. Greater scores on the measure of impulsivity were associated with higher levels of reported physical aggression. The interaction (impulsivity x anxiety) was not statistically significant, suggesting that impulsivity has the same effect on physical aggression regardless of the level of anxiety. There was a main effect for anxiety, which was associated with higher levels of reported physical aggression. Our findings may help inform typologies for identifying predictor variables used in risk assessment and treatment planning.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):233-43.
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    ABSTRACT: In lucid dreams the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming. Although such dreams are not that uncommon, many aspects of lucid dream phenomenology are still unclear. An online survey was conducted to gather data about lucid dream origination, duration, active or passive participation in the dream, planned actions for lucid dreams, and other phenomenological aspects. Among the 684 respondents who filled out the questionnaire, there were 571 lucid dreamers (83.5%). According to their reports, lucid dreams most often originate spontaneously in adolescence. The average lucid dream duration is about 14 minutes. Lucid dreamers are likely to be active in their lucid dreams and plan to accomplish different actions (e.g., flying, talking with dream characters, or having sex), yet they are not always able to remember or successfully execute their intentions (most often because of awakening or hindrances in the dream environment). The frequency of lucid dream experience was the strongest predictor of lucid dream phenomenology, but some differences were also observed in relation to age, gender, or whether the person is a natural or self-trained lucid dreamer. The findings are discussed in light of lucid dream research, and suggestions for future studies are provided.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):191-204.
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    ABSTRACT: Findings in a number of neuropsychological studies involving reports of decisions to initiate spontaneous movement (e.g., Fried, Mukamel, & Kreiman, 2011; Libet, Gleason, Wright, & Pearl, 1983; Soon, Brass, Heinze, & Haynes, 2008) are often interpreted as putting in question the reality of conscious control and, by extension, the time-honored concept of free will. I suggest that several problems with the basic paradigm used by most such studies, elaborated on in some recent articles (prominently Miller, Shepherdson, & Trevena, 2011, and Schurger, Sitt, & Dehaene, 2012), as well as some other arguments, raise doubt that conscious control is in fact a gratuitous byproduct of preconscious brain activity.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):147-55.
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    ABSTRACT: These studies examined memory encoding to determine whether the mere exposure effect could be categorized as a form of conceptual or perceptual implicit priming and, if it was not conceptual or perceptual, whether cardiovascular psychophysiology could reveal its nature. Experiment 1 examined the effects of study phase level of processing on recognition, the mere exposure effect, and word identification implicit priming. Deep relative to shallow processing improved recognition but did not influence the mere exposure effect for nonwords or word identification implicit priming for words. Experiments 2 and 3 examined the effect of study-test changes in font and orientation, respectively, on the mere exposure effect and word identification implicit priming. Different study-test font and orientation reduced word identification implicit priming but had no influence on the mere exposure effect. Experiments 4 and 5 developed and used, respectively, a cardiovascular psychophysiological implicit priming paradigm to examine whether stimulus-specific cardiovascular reactivity at study predicted the mere exposure effect at test. Blood volume pulse change at study was significantly greater for nonwords that were later preferred than for nonwords that were not preferred at test. There was no difference in blood volume pulse change for words at study that were later either identified or not identified at test. Fluency effects, at encoding or retrieval, are an unlikely explanation for these behavioral and cardiovascular findings. The relation of blood volume pulse to affect suggests that an affective process that is not conceptual or perceptual contributes to the mere exposure effect.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):157-82.
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    ABSTRACT: A recent meta-analysis showed a robust gender difference in nightmare frequency of medium effect size in adolescents and young adults: Women tend to report nightmares more frequently than men. The present study, carried out in an unselected student sample, indicates that 2 factors mediate the gender difference in nightmare frequency: neuroticism and overall dream recall frequency. The effect of neuroticism on the gender difference and the finding that the gender difference in nightmare frequency emerges at an age of about 10 years suggest that gender-specific socialization processes may play an important role in explaining the gender differences in nightmare frequency in adolescents and young to middle-aged adults. This idea is supported by the previous finding that nightmare frequency is related to sex role orientation. However, longitudinal studies are necessary to validate these hypotheses.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):205-13.
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    ABSTRACT: The present studies used exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to explore the degree to which probability discounting processes are similar to delay discounting processes. To determine whether these processes are similar, 2 questions were addressed: the degree to which probability discounting outcomes can be categorized into multiple domains (as demonstrated for delay discounting) and whether the inverse magnitude effect would be observed for nonmonetary outcomes. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using data from the fill-in-the-blank method (Study 1), followed by a confirmatory factor analysis using data from a multiple-choice method (Study 2) as a replication. These studies provide support for the idea that outcomes can be subdivided into multiple domains. Generally, the discounting rates were steeper for tangible outcomes than nontangible outcomes, and a magnitude effect was observed that was consistent with, rather than the inverse of, that observed for delay discounting tasks. Complexities related to the relationship between probability discounting processes and delay discounting processing are discussed.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):215-31.
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    ABSTRACT: Collaborative inhibition is often observed for both correct and false memories. However, research examining the mechanisms by which collaborative inhibition occurs, such as retrieval disruption, reality monitoring, or group filtering, is lacking. In addition, the creation of the nominal groups (i.e., groups artificially developed by combining individuals' recall) necessary for examining collaborative inhibition do not use statistical best practices. Using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm, we examined percentages of correct and false memories in individuals, collaborative interactive groups, and correctly created nominal groups, as well as the processes that the collaborative interactive groups used to determine which memories to report. Results showed evidence of the collaborative inhibition effect. In addition, analyses of the collaborative interactive groups' discussions found that these groups wrote down almost all presented words but less than half of nonpresented critical words, after discussing them, with nonpresented critical words being stated to the group with lower confidence and rejected by other group members more often. Overall, our findings indicated support for the group filtering hypothesis.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):183-90.
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    ABSTRACT: This study was designed to assess the possible systematic bias in measurements obtained using tachistoscopic devices from different historical periods of psychological research. Four different tachistoscopic devices were used for brief presentations of stimuli in a letter recognition task. The research sample consisted of 24 participants (12 female, 12 male) in a within-subject experimental design with complete counterbalancing of 4 conditions defined by 4 instrument types: fall tachistoscope, tachistoscope with camera-like shutter, and computer-based tachistoscopes with cathode ray tube and liquid crystal diode display screens. The effects of experimental conditions were examined using a linear mixed model analysis. Our experiment demonstrated that even in standardized settings the type of tachistoscope used for stimulus presentation systematically influenced the participants' performance. We found that the lowest number of correctly recalled stimuli, as well as the highest number of erroneously recalled stimuli, was produced in the camera-like tachistoscope condition. Together, these findings suggest that when results from studies involving tachistoscopic experiments are reviewed, the unique characteristics of each particular instrument used must be considered carefully.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):245-52.
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    ABSTRACT: Did the serial position functions observed in certain semantic memory tasks (e.g., remembering the order of books or films) arise because they really tapped episodic memory? To address this issue, participants were asked to make "remember-know" judgments as they reconstructed the release order of the 7 Harry Potter books and 2 sets of movies. For both classes of stimuli, the "remember" and "know" serial position functions were indistinguishable, and all showed the characteristic U-shape with marked primacy and recency effects. These results are inconsistent with a multiple memory systems view, which predicts recency effects only for "remember" responses and no recency effects for "know" responses. However, the data were consistent with a general memory principle account: the relative distinctiveness principle. According to this view, performance on both episodic and semantic memory tasks arises from the same type of processing: Items that are more separated from their close neighbors in psychological space at the time of recall will be better remembered.
    The American Journal of Psychology 05/2014; 127(2):137-45.
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    ABSTRACT: At one time, psychologists aspired to build a science composed of interrelated descriptive laws and the theories that explain them--a nomothetic science. For various reasons this goal was abandoned. In its place, we have a collection of theories that, for the most part, are organized by topic and subdiscipline or by themes and shared language (e.g., characterization of cognition in terms of information processing, which is neither a law nor a rigorous theory but a viewpoint or approach). As things stand, although our theories and research are scientific, we have failed to create a coherent science. In this article the nomothetic goal is reconsidered, and an example of how we might begin to achieve it is described.
    The American Journal of Psychology 03/2014; 127(1):1-18.
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the mental workload, or psychological costs, associated with information processing tasks in children. We adapted the highly regarded NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) multidimensional workload scale (Hart & Staveland, 1988) to test its efficacy for use with elementary school children. We developed 2 types of tasks, each with 2 levels of demand, to draw differentially on resources from the separate subscales of workload. In Experiment 1, our participants were both typical and school-labeled gifted children recruited from 4th and 5th grades. Results revealed that task type elicited different workload profiles, and task demand directly affected the children's experience of workload. In general, gifted children experienced less workload than typical children. Objective response time and accuracy measures provide evidence for the criterion validity of the workload ratings. In Experiment 2, we applied the same method with 1st- and 2nd-grade children. Findings from Experiment 2 paralleled those of Experiment 1 and support the use of NASA-TLX with even the youngest elementary school children. These findings contribute to the fledgling field of educational ergonomics and attest to the innovative application of workload research. Such research may optimize instructional techniques and identify children at risk for experiencing overload.
    The American Journal of Psychology 03/2014; 127(1):107-25.