Topics in Cognitive Science

Publisher: Wiley

Current impact factor: 2.88

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 2.88
Cited half-life 2.20
Immediacy index 0.45
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 1.18
ISSN 1756-8765
OCLC 320882278
Material type Series, Periodical
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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    • Reviewed 18/03/14
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Publications in this journal

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    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: Of this article's seven experiments, the first five demonstrate that virtually no Americans know the basic global warming mechanism. Fortunately, Experiments 2-5 found that 2-45 min of physical-chemical climate instruction durably increased such understandings. This mechanistic learning, or merely receiving seven highly germane statistical facts (Experiment 6), also increased climate-change acceptance-across the liberal-conservative spectrum. However, Experiment 7's misleading statistics decreased such acceptance (and dramatically, knowledge-confidence). These readily available attitudinal and conceptual changes through scientific information disconfirm what we term "stasis theory"-which some researchers and many laypeople varyingly maintain. Stasis theory subsumes the claim that informing people (particularly Americans) about climate science may be largely futile or even counterproductive-a view that appears historically naïve, suffers from range restrictions (e.g., near-zero mechanistic knowledge), and/or misinterprets some polarization and (noncausal) correlational data. Our studies evidenced no polarizations. Finally, we introduce website designed to directly enhance public "climate-change cognition."
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between knowledge, belief, and ethics is an inaugural theme in philosophy; more recently, under the title "ethics of belief" philosophers have worked to develop the appropriate methodology for studying the nexus of epistemology, ethics, and psychology. The title "ethics of belief" comes from a 19th-century paper written by British philosopher and mathematician W.K. Clifford. Clifford argues that we are morally responsible for our beliefs because (a) each belief that we form creates the cognitive circumstances for related beliefs to follow, and (b) we inevitably influence each other through those beliefs. This study argues that recent cognitive research supports Cliffordian insights regarding patterns of belief formation and social influence. From the confirmation offered by such research, it follows that informational accuracy holds serious ethical significance in public discourse. Although scientific and epistemological matters are not always thought to be linked to normative morality, this study builds on Clifford's initial insights to show their linkage is fundamental to inquiry itself. In turn, Clifford's ethical and epistemic outline can inform a framework grounded in "public reason" under which seemingly opposed science communication strategies (e.g., "information deficit" and "cultural cognition" models) are philosophically united. With public discourse on climate change as the key example, empirically informed and grounded strategies for science communication in the public sphere are considered.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: We present a computational model of multiple-object tracking that makes trial-level predictions about the allocation of visual attention and the effect of this allocation on observers' ability to track multiple objects simultaneously. This model follows the intuition that increased attention to a location increases the spatial resolution of its internal representation. Using a combination of empirical and computational experiments, we demonstrate the existence of a tight coupling between cognitive and perceptual resources in this task: Low-level tracking of objects generates bottom-up predictions of error likelihood, and high-level attention allocation selectively reduces error probabilities in attended locations while increasing it at non-attended locations. Whereas earlier models of multiple-object tracking have predicted the big picture relationship between stimulus complexity and response accuracy, our approach makes accurate predictions of both the macro-scale effect of target number and velocity on tracking difficulty and micro-scale variations in difficulty across individual trials and targets arising from the idiosyncratic within-trial interactions of targets and distractors.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: Lingering skepticism about climate change might be due in part to the way climate projections are perceived by members of the public. Variability between scientists' estimates might give the impression that scientists disagree about the fact of climate change rather than about details concerning the extent or timing. Providing uncertainty estimates might clarify that the variability is due in part to quantifiable uncertainty inherent in the prediction process, thereby increasing people's trust in climate projections. This hypothesis was tested in two experiments. Results suggest that including uncertainty estimates along with climate projections leads to an increase in participants' trust in the information. Analyses explored the roles of time, place, demographic differences (e.g., age, gender, education level, political party affiliation), and initial belief in climate change. Implications are discussed in terms of the potential benefit of adding uncertainty estimates to public climate projections.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: Recent work has suggested that our cognitive biases and moral psychology may pose significant barriers to tackling climate change. Here, we report evidence that through status and group-based social influence processes, and our moral sense of justice, it may be possible to employ such characteristics of the human mind in efforts to engender pro-environmental action. We draw on applied work demonstrating the efficacy of social modeling techniques in order to examine the indirect effects of social model status and group membership (through perceptions of efficacy, pro-environmental social identity and moral judgments of how fair it is for individuals to perform particular pro-environmental actions) on pro-environmental action tendencies. We find evidence that high- (vs. low-) status models increase pro-environmental action, in part, through making such actions seem morally fairer to undertake. This effect of high-status models only occurs when they share a meaningful ingroup membership with the target of influence. Further, we find evidence that this conditional effect of high-status models may also have a direct impact on action tendencies. While the exact behaviors that are influenced may vary across student and non-student samples, we argue that a focus on the "justice pathway" to action and the social-cognitive features of models may offer a good opportunity for cognitive and behavioral scientists to integrate insights from basic research with those stemming from more applied research efforts.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Topics in Cognitive Science
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of people show persistent poor performance in reasoning about "stock-flow problems" in the laboratory. An important example is the failure to understand the relationship between the "stock" of CO2 in the atmosphere, the "inflow" via anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and the "outflow" via natural CO2 absorption. This study addresses potential causes of reasoning failures in the CO2 accumulation problem and reports two experiments involving a simple re-framing of the task as managing an analogous financial (rather than CO2 ) budget. In Experiment 1 a financial version of the task that required participants to think in terms of controlling debt demonstrated significant improvements compared to a standard CO2 accumulation problem. Experiment 2, in which participants were invited to think about managing savings, suggested that this improvement was fortuitous and coincidental rather than due to a fundamental change in understanding the stock-flow relationships. The role of graphical information in aiding or abetting stock-flow reasoning was also explored in both experiments, with the results suggesting that graphs do not always assist understanding. The potential for leveraging the kind of reasoning exhibited in such tasks in an effort to change people's willingness to reduce CO2 emissions is briefly discussed.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Topics in Cognitive Science