Implicit measures of attitudes are commonly seen to be primarily capable of predicting spontaneous behavior. However, evidence exists that these measures can also improve the prediction of more deliberate behavior. In a prospective study we tested the hypothesis that Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of the five major political parties in Germany would improve the prediction of voting behavior over and above explicit self-report measures in the 2002 parliamentary elections. Additionally we tested whether general interest in politics moderates the relationship between explicit and implicit attitude measures. The results support our hypotheses. Implications for predictive models of explicitly and implicitly measured attitudes are discussed.
Recently, Sriram and Greenwald (2009) introduced a new IAT-like measure, the Brief Implicit Association Test (BIAT). Because the BIAT is a new development, empirical evidence for its validity is yet scarce. This comment focuses on two possible approaches to validation research on the BIAT: (1) a pragmatic correlational approach and (2) an experimental approach aiming at causal understanding of the BIAT task. We argue that both approaches provide valuable and mutually complementing evidence, but only experimental research can conclusively show that the to-be-measured constructs causally influence BIAT scores. Because such a causal analysis is at the core of the validity problem, research on the BIAT should reduce the asymmetry in favor of correlational validation that emerged in traditional IAT research.
We describe Affect 4.0, a user-friendly software package for implementing psychological and psychophysiological experiments. Affect 4.0 can be used to present visual, acoustic, and/or tactile stimuli in highly complex (i.e., semirandomized and response-contingent) sequences. Affect 4.0 is capable of registering response latencies and analog behavioral input with millisecond accuracy. Affect 4.0 is available free of charge.
Long-term memory for large numbers of color photographs with a common motif--doors--was studied using pictures with two levels of informative cues: original photographs, and edited pictures in which extraneous information on details such as vegetation, paint scratches, signs, and lamp posts was removed. In the study phase, subjects viewed 400 pictures and were subsequently tested for memory on two-alternative forced-choice discriminations between studied and distracter pictures from the same picture category, at retention intervals between 0.5 h and 9 days. When tested with the nonedited original photographs immediate memory performance was close to 85% correct; when pictorial details were removed memory performance dropped by 20%. The decay functions were shallow with parallel paths for the categories of pictures. It is concluded that specific details of visual scenes contributed to long-term memory of those scenes.
Using a conditioned suppression preparation, we investigated extinction and aba-, abc-, and aab-renewal of Pavlovian modulation in human sequential Feature Positive (FP) discrimination learning, X → A+/A-. Extinction treatment was administered in the acquisition context a (aaa- and aab-groups) or in a new context b (aba- and abc-groups) and comprised X → A- extinction trials. Discriminative X → A/A responding was lost in all groups when tested in the extinction context. In the aba-group, the discriminative X → A/A responding totally recovered when retested in the acquisition context a. For the aaa-, the aab-, and the abc-group, discriminative X → A/A responding did not reappear when tested for renewal in, respectively, contexts a, b, and c. The demonstration of aba-renewal of extinguished modulation, but not abc- and aab-renewal, suggests that extinction in a context different from the acquisition context and a return to the original acquisition context might both be critical for renewal of Pavlovian modulation in human FP-discrimination learning.
Grégoire, Perruchet, and Poulin-Charronnat (2013) claimed that the Musical Stroop task, which reveals the automaticity of note naming in musician experts, provides a new tool for studying the development of automatisms through extensive training in natural settings. Many of the criticisms presented in the four commentaries published in this issue appear to be based on a misunderstanding of our procedure, or questionable postulates. We maintain that the Musical Stroop Effect offers promising possibilities for further research on automaticity, with the main proviso that the current procedure makes it difficult to tease apart facilitation and interference.
Canonical finger numeral configurations are named faster than less familiar finger configurations and activate a semantic place-coding representation as symbolic stimuli. However, this does not exclude categorically the possibility that mere visuo-perceptual differences between canonical and noncanonical finger configurations may induce differences in processing speed. This study capitalizes on the fact that, in typical visual-detection tasks, participants focus on low-level visuo-perceptual features to detect a target among distractors sharing the same high-level semantic features, producing the so-called pop-out effect. Participants had to decide whether a canonical finger configuration was present among a set of distractors expressing the same numerosity in a noncanonical way. The results showed that the time needed to detect the presence of the target grew linearly with the number of distractors. This indicates that the canonical target enjoyed no perceptual saliency among the noncanonical configurations (i.e., no pop-out effect) excluding visuo-perceptual differences as the source of the better identification of and semantic access of canonical configurations.
The hypothesis that retrieval of the prime response is responsible for the negative priming (NP) effect has gained popularity in recent studies of visual identity NP. In the current study we report an experiment in which we aimed to remove the response from the prime memory trace by means of spatio-temporal separation. Compared to an identical experiment without this separation ( Ihrke et al., 2011 ), we find that the response-retrieval-specific interaction is absent indicating that the separation was successful in preventing response-retrieval. Still, both negative and positive priming are present as main effects which show that processes other than response-retrieval can produce NP. In addition, based on recordings of the eye-movements during task processing, we localize the NP effect in a target-selection process while positive priming manifests in facilitated response-selection. Our results are in line with a multiple-route view of NP.
Many models of word recognition predict a lexical ambiguity disadvantage in semantic categorization tasks (SCTs). However, recent evidence suggests that an ambiguity disadvantage in SCT results from a bias in the decision-making phase of the task and not in the meaning-activation phase: Behavioral effects of ambiguity disappear when these decision biases are controlled (Pexman, Hino, & Lupker, 2004). The current study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural correlates of ambiguity in a task that produced no behavioral ambiguity effect (i.e., SCT with a well-defined decision category). Twenty healthy adults participated. Results showed that despite producing no behavioral effect of ambiguity, ambiguous words were associated with the recruitment of cortical structures implicated in top-down modulation of noisy activity (e.g., left inferior frontal gyrus) when compared to unambiguous words. These results are interpreted as evidence that multiple meanings are activated for ambiguous words in SCT.
Compared to blocking of conditioned excitation, which is one of the most investigated cue competition phenomena, blocking of conditioned inhibition has more or less been neglected in conditioning research. We conducted a human causal learning study and found evidence for blocking of conditioned inhibition. The results favor the view that inhibition is the symmetrical opposite of excitation, underlying the same general principles.
The Stroop task has been employed to study automaticity or failures of selective attention for many years. The effect is known to be asymmetrical, with words affecting color naming but not vice versa. In the current work two auditory-visual Stroop-like tasks were devised in order to study the automaticity of pitch processing in both absolute pitch (AP) possessors and musically trained controls without AP (nAP). In the tone naming task, participants were asked to name the auditory tone while ignoring a visual note name. In the note naming task, participants were asked to read a note name while ignoring the auditory tone. The nAP group showed a significant congruency effect only in the tone naming task, whereas AP possessors showed the reverse pattern, with a significant congruency effect only in the note reading task. Thus, AP possessors were unable to ignore the auditory tone when asked to read the note, but were unaffected by the verbal note name when asked to label the auditory tone. The results suggest that pitch identification in participants endowed with AP ability is automatic and impossible to suppress.
In a market entry game, the number of entrants usually approaches game-theoretic equilibrium quickly, but in real-world markets business start-ups typically exceed market capacity, resulting in chronically high failure rates and suboptimal industry profits. Excessive entry has been attributed to overconfidence arising when expected payoffs depend partly on skill. In an experimental test of this hypothesis, 96 participants played 24 rounds of a market entry game, with expected payoffs dependent partly on skill on half the rounds, after their confidence was manipulated and measured. The results provide direct support for the hypothesis that high levels of confidence are largely responsible for excessive entry, and they suggest that absolute confidence, independent of interpersonal comparison, rather than confidence about one's abilities relative to others, drives excessive entry decisions when skill is involved.
Different theories have been proposed regarding the nature of the mental representations formed as a result of implicit learning of sequential regularities. Some theories postulate abstract surface-independent representations, while other theories postulate stimulus-specific representations. This article reports three experiments investigating the development of abstract representations in artificial grammar learning (AGL), using a methodological approach developed by Conway and Christiansen (2006). In all the experiments, the number of blocks during the exposure phase was manipulated (6 blocks vs. 18 blocks of exposure to sequences). Experiments 1 and 2 investigated both visual and auditory learning where sequences were presented element-by-element. Experiment 3 investigated visual learning using a sequence-by-sequence presentation technique more commonly used in visual AGL studies. Extending previous research (Conway & Christiansen, 2006) and in support of stimulus-specific accounts, the results of the experiments showed that extended observational learning results in increased stimulus-specific knowledge rather than abstraction towards surface-independent representations.
The experiments discussed here are aimed at determining whether risk perception and risk acceptance are two distinct psychological processes. This study is motivated by the idea of a double-criterion model of choice. In particular, in line with risk-value (R-V) models, in which risk is treated as a primitive, it is tested whether risk is independent of aspirations and whether preferences depend on aspirations. In two experiments, 305 university students were presented with pairs of risky projects and were asked to compare their riskiness and select one. The aspiration level, defined as the target return on the project, was set through an explicit instruction. In Experiment 1, a within-subject designwas applied, and thus aspirations were set at two different levels. In Experiment 2, with a between-subject design, two different aspiration levels were set for each group. The results indicate that risk ordering is insensitive to changes in aspirations, but preferences are sensitive to those changes. This supports distinctness of risk perception and risk acceptance. The findings are discussed in terms of the CPT and SP/A models and the R-V approach. It appears that double-criterion models provide better and psychologically sounder predictions of subjects' preferences.
Processing strategies in risk assessment were studied in an Internet experiment. Women (N = 399) who were either low or high in rape myth acceptance (RMA) were asked to recall either two or six behaviors that either increase or decrease the risk of being sexually assaulted. Later they judged their personal vulnerability to sexual assault under either no time pressure (no response deadline) or time pressure (response deadline of 5 s). Without time pressure, the results were opposite to previous research: Women low in RMA relied on ease of recall and reported higher vulnerability after recalling few rather than many risk increasing behaviors, or many rather than few risk-decreasing behaviors; women high in RMA relied on the amount of information recalled, which resulted in an opposite pattern of vulnerability judgments. No influences of ease of recall or amount recalled on vulnerability judgments were detected under time pressure.
In two experiments participants held in working memory (WM) three digits in three different colors, and updated individual digits with the results of arithmetic equations presented in one of the colors. In the memory-access condition, a digit from WM had to be used as the ﬁrst
number in the equation; in the no-access condition, complete equations were presented so that no information from WM had to be accessed for the computation. Updating a digit not updated in the preceding step took longer than updating the same digit as in the preceding step, a time
difference referred to as object-switch costs. Object-switch costs were equal in access and no-access equations, implying that they did not reﬂect the time to retrieve a new digit from WM. Access equations were completed as fast as no-access equations, implying that access to information in WM is as fast as reading the same information. No-access equations were slowed by a mismatch between the ﬁrst digit of the presented equation and the to-be-updated digit in WM, showing that this digit is automatically accessed even when not needed. It is concluded that contents and their
contexts form composites in WM that are necessarily accessed together.
Recent research on visual short-term memory (VSTM) has revealed the existence of a bilateral field advantage (BFA - i.e., better memory when the items are distributed in the two visual fields than if they are presented in the same hemifield) for spatial location and bar orientation, but not for color ( Delvenne, 2005 ; Umemoto, Drew, Ester, & Awh, 2010 ). Here, we investigated whether a BFA in VSTM is constrained by attentional selective processes. It has indeed been previously suggested that the BFA may be a general feature of selective attention ( Alvarez & Cavanagh, 2005 ; Delvenne, 2005 ). Therefore, the present study examined whether VSTM for color benefits from bilateral presentation if attentional selective processes are particularly engaged. Participants completed a color change detection task whereby target stimuli were presented either across both hemifields or within one single hemifield. In order to engage attentional selective processes, some trials contained irrelevant stimuli that needed to be ignored. Targets were selected based on spatial locations (Experiment 1) or on a salient feature (Experiment 2). In both cases, the results revealed a BFA only when irrelevant stimuli were presented among the targets. Overall, the findings strongly suggest that attentional selective processes at encoding can constrain whether a BFA is observed in VSTM.
The revised hierarchical model of bilingualism (e.g., Kroll & Stewart, 1994) assumes that second language (L2) words primarily access semantics through their first language (L1) translation equivalents. Consequently, backward translation from L2 to L1 should not imply semantic access but occurs through lexical wordform associations. However, recent research with Dutch-French bilinguals showed that both backward and forward translation of number words yields a semantic number magnitude effect (Duyck & Brysbaert, 2004), providing evidence for strong form-to-meaning mappings of L2 number words. In two number-word translation experiments with Dutch-English-German trilinguals, the present study investigated whether semantic access in L1-L2 and L1-L3 number-word translation depends on lexical similarity of the languages involved. We found that backward translation from these more similar language pairs to L1 still yields a semantic magnitude effect, whereas forward translation does not, in contrast with the Dutch-French results of Duyck and Brysbaert (2004). We argue against a dual route model of word translation and suggest that the degree of semantic activation in translation depends on lexical form overlap between translation equivalents.
A picture naming experiment in Dutch tested whether disfluencies in speech can arise from difficulties in lexical access. Speakers described networks consisting of line drawings and paths connecting these drawings, and we manipulated picture name agreement. Consistent with our hypothesis, there were more pauses and more self-corrections in the low name agreement condition than the high name agreement condition, but there was no effect on repetitions. We also considered determiner frequency. There were more self-corrections and more repetitions when the picture name required the less frequent (neuter-gender) determiner "het" than the more frequent (common-gender) determiner "de". These data suggest that difficulties in distinct stages of language production result in distinct patterns of disfluencies.
Procedural justice concerns play a critical role in economic settings, politics, and other domains of human life. Despite the vast evidence corroborating their relevance, considerably less is known about how procedural justice judgments are formed. Whereas earlier theorizing focused on the systematic integration of content information, the present contribution provides a new perspective on the formation of justice judgments by examining the influence of accessibility experiences. Specifically, we hypothesize that procedural justice judgments may be formed based on the ease or difficulty with which justice-relevant information comes to mind. Three experiments corroborate this prediction in that procedures were evaluated less positively when the retrieval of associated unfair aspects was easy compared to difficult. Presumably this is because when it feels easy (difficult) to retrieve unfair aspects, these are perceived as frequent (infrequent), and hence the procedure as unjust (just). In addition to demonstrating that ease-of-retrieval may influence justice judgments, the studies further revealed that reliance on accessibility experiences is high in conditions of personal certainty. We suggest that this is because personal uncertainty fosters systematic processing of content information, whereas personal certainty may invite less taxing judgmental strategies such as reliance on ease-of-retrieval.
To understand the relation between the Simon effect and the time course of relevant and irrelevant code activations, we presented the response signal before or simultaneously with a go/no-go signal in an accessory Simon task. A peripheral accessory signal could appear before, simultaneously with or after the go/no-go signal. We observed a Simon effect when the accessory signal was presented just before or simultaneously with the go signal, irrespective of the delay between response and go/no-go signal. The Simon effect reversed when the accessory signal was presented 150 ms after the go signal when response information was presented first and the participants had to make a go/no-go decision afterwards or when they had to select a response when the go signal appeared. The reversal did not occur when both decisions were required at the same time. Our data suggest that the integration and release of event files are involved in the occurrence of the reversal. Response activation induced by the accessory stimulus facilitates/interferes with the response when it is presented before the event file is integrated. When the accessory stimulus is presented after integration, the automatically activated response is inhibited, causing a delay in the corresponding reaction times.
Both the Stroop and the Simon paradigms are often used in research on cognitive control, however, there is evidence that dissociable control processes are involved in these tasks: While conflicts in the Stroop task may be resolved mainly by enhanced task-relevant stimulus processing, conflicts in the Simon task may be resolved rather by suppressing the influence of task-irrelevant information on response selection. In the present study, we show that these control mechanisms interact in different ways with the presentation of accessory stimuli. Accessory stimuli do not affect cognitive control in the Simon task, but they impair the efficiency of cross-trial control processes in the Stroop task. Our findings underline the importance of differentiating between different types of conflicts and mechanisms of cognitive control.
Accessory signals that precede stimuli in interference tasks lead to faster overall responses while conflict increases. Two opposing accounts exist for the latter finding: one is based on dual-route frameworks of response preparation and proposes amplification of both direct response activation and indirect response selection processes; the other refers to attentional networks and suggests inhibition of executive attention, thereby hampering conflict control. The present study replicated previous behavioral findings in a Simon task and extended them by electrophysiological evidence. Accessory tones facilitated stimulus classification and attentional allocation in the Simon task as reflected by an increased N1 amplitude and an overall decrease of the N2 amplitude, respectively. The conflict-related N2 amplitude, which is larger in conflict trials compared with nonconflict trials, was not modulated by accessory tones. Moreover, accessory tones did not affect sequence-dependent conflict adaptation. In terms of a dual-route framework present results suggest amplification of both response preparation routes by accessory stimuli. An executive attention approach proposing accessory stimuli to hamper control of conflict is not supported.
A sentence-priming technique was used to examine whether older women (N = 39) share a more positive view of aging than younger women (N = 35). Situationally specified statements about older and younger persons were presented, followed either by a semantically related word, an unrelated word of the same valence, or a nonword. The accessibility of target words was measured by reaction times in a lexical decision task. Whereas a semantic priming effect for negatively connoted materials emerged for both groups, a priming effect for positively connoted materials was found for older women only. Furthermore, an affective priming effect was found for the older group, i.e., older women tended to respond relatively faster (slower) to semantically unrelated positive (negative) words following a sentence about an older person. The results are discussed within a coping-theoretical framework.
The analysis of the interaction between repetition priming and age of acquisition may be used to shed further light on the question of which stages of elaboration are affected by this psycholinguistic variable. In the present study we applied this method in the context of two versions of a lexical decision task that differed in the type of non-words employed at test. When the non-words were illegal and unpronounceable, repetition priming was primarily based on the analysis of orthographic information, while phonological processes were additionally recruited only when using legal pronounceable non-words. The results showed a significant interaction between repetition priming and age of acquisition in both conditions, with priming being greater for late- than for early-acquired words. These findings support a multiple-loci account, indicating that age of acquisition influences implicit memory by facilitating the retrieval of both the orthographic and the phonological representations of studied words.
Does the naming of clocks always require conceptual preparation? To examine this question, speakers were presented with analog and digital clocks that had to be named in Dutch using either a relative (e.g., "quarter to four") or an absolute (e.g., "three forty-five") clock time expression format. Naming latencies showed evidence of conceptual preparation when speakers produced relative time expressions to analog and digital clocks, but not when they used absolute time expressions. These findings indicate that conceptual mediation is not always mandatory for telling time, but instead depends on clock time expression format, supporting a multiple-route account of Dutch clock time naming.
In a human causal learning experiment, we investigated cue selection effects to test the comparator theory (Denniston, Savastano, & Miller, 2001; Miller & Matzel, 1988). The theory predicts that the occurrence of cue selection is independent of whether the relevant learning trials are presented in a standard forward manner or in a backward manner and that within-compound associations are of equal importance in both cases. We found that the strength of the cue-selection effect was positively correlated with knowledge of within-compound associations in the backward condition but not in the forward condition. Furthermore, cue-selection effects were less pronounced in the former than in the latter condition. These results are at variance with the comparator hypothesis but are in agreement with a modified associative theory and with the suggestion that retrospective revaluation might be due to rehearsal processes.
When people repeatedly practice the same cognitive task, their response times (RT) invariably decrease. Dutilh, Vandekerckhove, Tuerlinckx, and Wagenmakers (2009) argued that the traditional focus on how mean RT decreases with practice offers limited insight; their diffusion model analysis showed that the effect of practice is multifaceted, involving an increase in rate of information processing, a decrease in response caution, adjusted response bias, and, unexpectedly, a strong decrease in nondecision time. In this study, we aim to further disentangle these effects into stimulus-specific and task-related components. The data of a transfer experiment, in which repeatedly presented sets and new sets of stimuli were alternated, show that the practice effects on both speed of information processing and time needed for peripheral processing are partly task-related and partly stimulus-specific. The effects on response caution and response bias appear to be task-related. This diffusion model decomposition provides a perspective on practice that is more detailed and more informative than the traditional analysis of mean RT.
Recent findings have shown that processing numerical magnitude may interact with finger movements through goal-directed movements. Here we tested these number-finger interactions in a response-effect (R-E) paradigm. During a learning phase, participants read meaningless consonant-vowel (CV) syllables immediately followed by unrelated opening or closing finger movements; during a transfer test, they again named these CV syllables in response to processing a small or a large number. The results showed that responding to a large magnitude number during the transfer phase was slower in an incompatible situation, that is, when the answer was the CV syllable that had been associated to a grip closure during the learning phase. This interference effect demonstrates that ideomotor principles can account for the link between the meaning of numbers and the perception of actions through an anticipated-magnitude code.
Recently, De Houwer (2003) introduced the Extrinsic Affective Simon Task (EAST) as a new procedure for the indirect assessment of attitudes. In the present paper, we propose an explanation of EAST effects based on a task-set switching account. Specifically, we argue that EAST effects result from difficulties in efficiently switching between two different task sets. Results from two experiments support the assumptions of the task-set switching account: While there were strong EAST effects in task-shift trials, no robust effects were found in task-repetition trials. In Experiment 2, the robustness of this task-shift effect on the EAST was demonstrated: Visual similarity between concept and attribute stimuli did not qualify the task-shift effects. Implications for the interpretation of EAST effects are discussed.
Two studies investigated whether the recall accuracy of facial details would differ depending on recall method, and also explored the own-race/ethnic bias in face recall. In Experiment 1, Hispanic participants (N = 120) viewed either a Hispanic or a White face and then were asked to recall the face by either giving a physical description or constructing a facial composite. Independent judges then determined the accuracy of the recalled information in both a rating task and a matching task. Results revealed reliably higher accuracy scores for the descriptions over the facial composites but showed no evidence for an own-race bias. A second experiment (N = 120) was conducted to attempt to replicate the description-advantage effect and to further explore the own-race bias in a stronger test using Black faces as the cross-ethnic group. This experiment again showed a description advantage and provided some evidence for an own-race bias in recall similar to that found in the facial recognition literature. Directions for future research based on the current findings are discussed.
This study examined potential effects of a warning instruction prior to an eyewitness interview including answerable and unanswerable questions, which both were either unbiased or misleading. A total of 84 six-, eight- and ten-year-old children were shown a short video about the production of sugar and they were individually questioned about it one week later. Half of the children received the warning instruction. The results revealed clear age effects in the correct answers and accuracy to answerable questions and in the appropriate "don't know" answers to unanswerable questions, but no effect of warning across all dependent measures. These findings suggest that preschool and elementary school age children cannot use such information adequately to increase their number of correct answers in the interview. Results are discussed in terms of cognitive explanations for these deficits.
Informative tutoring feedback (ITF) provides assisted multiple response tries by offering strategically useful information for task completion as opposed to simply offering the solution. Previous studies on ITF focused on its effects on achievement. The present studies examine the assumption that ITF affects not only achievement, but also motivational variables such as task engagement, effort, persistence, and satisfaction with performance. In two experiments, students differing in self efficacy (SE) for identifying concepts worked on concept identification tasks. In cases of incorrect hypothesis about the concept, they received either outcome feedback or ITF. Results reveal that motivation and achievement depend on both SE and type of feedback. Future research should examine in more detail how ITF affects the self-enhancing processes between on-task motivation, achievement, and self-evaluation.
When items in a to-be-remembered list sound similar, recall performance is worse than when items are acoustically distinct, what is known as the acoustic confusion effect (ACE). When participants are asked to tap a syncopated rhythm during list presentation, the difference between the acoustically similar and dissimilar conditions is abolished; however, simple temporal and simple spatial tapping tasks have no effect. The objective of the present study is to examine whether spatial complexity is a property of the tapping task that interferes with the ACE. Participants were asked to tap a simple (Experiment 1) or a complex spatial pattern (Experiment 2) at a regular pace during a verbal serial recall task in which acoustic similarity was manipulated. The results showed that simple spatial tapping had no effect on the ACE, whereas complex spatial tapping significantly reduced the effect. Implications for three theories of memory are discussed.
The present study aimed at investigating affective priming for originally neutral food stimuli that recently acquired their affective meaning through odor conditioning. In a first phase, pictures of different brands of yogurts (CSs) were contingently presented with a positive or negative odor (US). In a subsequent phase, the yogurt CSs were used as primes in an affective priming procedure. Rating data showed that the acquisition procedure resulted in a reliable evaluative learning effect. This could be corroborated by the results of the priming task. Participants responded faster to positive target words and made fewer errors when they were preceded by a CS that had been associated with a positive odor, as compared to a CS that was associated with a negative odor. A reversed pattern was present for negative targets. Based on these findings, it is suggested that affective priming might be used as a demand-free measure of evaluative learning.
Planning interactions with the physical world requires knowledge about operations; in short, mental operators. Abstractness of content and directionality of access are two important properties to characterize the representational units of this kind of knowledge. Combining these properties allows four classes of knowledge units to be distinguished that can be found in the literature: (a) rules, (b) mental models or schemata, (c) instances, and (d) episodes or chunks. The influence of practicing alphabet-arithmetic operators in a prognostic, diagnostic, or retrognostic way (A + 2 = ?, A? = C, or ? + 2 = C, respectively) on the use of that knowledge in a subsequent test was used to assess the importance of these dimensions. At the beginning, the retrognostic use of knowledge was worse than the prognostic use, although identical operations were involved (A + 2 = ? vs. ? - 2 = A). This disadvantage was reduced with increased practice. Test performance was best if the task and the letter pairs were the same as in the acquisition phase. Overall, the findings support theories proposing multiple representational units of mental operators. The disadvantage for the retrognosis task was recovered in the test phase, and may be evidence for the importance of the order of events independent of the order of experience.
Two experiments investigated the perceptual generalization of acquisition and extinction in human contingency learning. In Experiment 1, the degree of perceptual similarity between the acquisition stimulus and the generalization stimulus was manipulated over five groups. This successfully generated a generalization gradient of acquisition. In the subsequent phase, the response to the generalization stimulus was extinguished in each group. Finally, the acquisition stimulus was presented again. The response recovered differently over groups, thereby establishing the generalization gradient of extinction. In Experiment 2, the acquisition stimulus itself was extinguished before the set of generalization stimuli was tested between groups. One group evidenced a response recovery at test, which suggests that the gradient of acquisition is somewhat broader than the gradient of extinction.
This study investigated the process of spatial knowledge acquisition in younger adults (20-30 years), middle-aged adults (40-50 years), and older adults (60-70 years) in a desktop virtual environment, where participants learned a way through a virtual maze, had to recall landmarks that were present in the maze, and had to draw an overview of the maze. The results revealed a general decline in spatial memory of the elderly, that is, in the time needed to learn a new route, in the retrieval of landmarks from memory (landmark knowledge), and in the ability to draw a map (configurational knowledge). When the route with landmarks was perfectly learned, however, there was no age dependent difference in finding the correct route without landmarks in the virtual maze (retrieval of route knowledge). Therefore, we conclude that not all aspects of spatial knowledge acquisition and spatial memory degrade with increasing age during adulthood.
The present article reports two experiments investigating the influence of natural order of events on the acquisition and use of knowledge about operations, in short mental operators. The principle of use specificity states that task performance depends directly on the similarity between acquisition context and the present situation. In contrast, the principle of natural order proposes that knowledge about operations can always be applied easier (faster) if reasoning follows the natural order of events. In Experiment 1, participants had to apply alphabet-arithmetic operators and LISP functions in a prognosis task (A + 2 = ?) or a retrognosis task (? - 2 = A). In alphabet-arithmetic, an advantage for the first kind of task at the beginning of training decreased with increasing practice. In LISP, however, a preference for this task (corresponding with a prospective knowledge use) emerged with increasing practice. In Experiment 2, arithmetic relations between digit pairs had to be induced. In a causal context condition, relations were described as input and output of electric circuits, in a neutral context the relations were described as arithmetic dependencies. A preference for the prognosis task was found for the causal context condition (corresponding with a prospective knowledge use) but not for the neutral one. The findings suggest that the natural order of events moderates the acquisition and use of mental operators. Further research is required to clarify the bases for this moderation.
Barry, Hirsh, Johnston, and Williams (2001) found that Age-of-Acquisition (AoA) interacted with repetition priming in the picture naming task (greater priming for late- than for early-acquired words), and proposed that AoA might affect the stage of access to lexical-phonological representations. The present experiment examined the possibility that AoA may influence the retrieval of visual-orthographic information, by studying its effects in the Word-Fragment Completion Task (WFCT). Results showed that the overall percentages of correct completion were greater for early- than for late-acquired words, while repetition priming was higher for late- than for early-acquired items. Furthermore, the interaction between AoA and WFCT priming remained significant even when the fragments were exposed for only 4 s, reducing possible contributions from phonological and semantic processes. These findings suggest that AoA can affect implicit memory by facilitating the retrieval of the orthographic properties of the studied words.
The Simon effect can be reversed, favoring spatially noncorresponding responses, when people respond to stimulus colors (e.g., green) by pressing a key labeled with the alternative color (i.e., red). This Hedge and Marsh reversal is most often attributed to transfer of logical recoding rules from the color dimension to the location dimension. A recent study showed that this transfer of logical recoding rules can occur not only within a single task but also across two separate tasks that are intermixed. The present study investigated the conditions that determine the transfer of logical recoding rules across tasks. Experiment 1 examined whether it occurs in a transfer paradigm, that is when the two tasks are performed separately, but provided little support for this possibility. Experiment 2 investigated the role of task-set readiness, using a mixed-task paradigm with a predictable trials sequence, which indicated that there is no transfer of task-defined rules across tasks even when they are highly active during the Simon task. Finally, Experiments 3 and 4 used a mixed-task paradigm, where trials of the two tasks were mixed randomly and unpredictably, and manipulated the amount of feature overlap between tasks. Results indicated that task similarity is a determining factor for transfer of task-defined rules to occur. Overall, the study provides evidence that transfer of logical recoding rules tends to occur across two tasks when tasks are unpredictably intermixed and use stimuli that are highly similar and confusable.
The referent of a nonreflexive pronoun depends on context, but the nature of these contextual restrictions is controversial. For instance, in causal dependent clauses, the preferred referent of a pronoun varies systematically with the verb in the main clause (Sally frightens Mary because she … vs. Sally loves Mary because she …). Several theories claim that verbs with similar meanings across languages should show similar pronoun resolution effects, but these claims run contrary to recent analyses on which much of linguistic and nonlinguistic cognition is susceptible to cross-cultural variation, and in fact there is little data in the literature to decide the question one way or another. Analysis of data in eight languages representing four historically unrelated language families reveals consistent pronoun resolution biases for emotion verbs, suggesting that the information upon which implicit causality pronoun resolution biases are derived is stable across languages and cultures.
The existence of across-notation automatic numerical processing of two-digit (2D) numbers was explored using size comparisons tasks. Participants were Arabic speakers, who use two sets of numerical symbols—Arabic and Indian. They were presented with pairs of 2D numbers in the same or in mixed notations. Responses for a numerical comparison task were affected by decade difference and unit-decade compatibility and global distance in both conditions, extending previous findings with Arabic digits (Nuerk, Weger, & Willmes, 2001). Responses for a physical comparison task were affected by congruency with the numerical size, as indicated by the size congruency effect (SiCE). The SiCE was affected by unit-decade compatibility but not by global distance, thus suggesting that the units and decades digits of the 2D numbers, but not the whole number value were automatically translated into a common representation of magnitude. The presence of similar results for same- and mixed-notation pairs supports the idea of an abstract representation of magnitude.
The revised hierarchical model (RHM) of bilingual language processing posits independent word form representations for the dominant language (L1) and the nondominant language (L2), facilitated translation from L2 words to L1 words, access to common concepts for L1 and L2, and stronger activation of concepts for L1 than for L2. Spanish-English and English-Spanish bilinguals brainstormed for two sessions; half switched languages (L1-L2 or L2-L1) and half stayed in the same language (L1-L1 or L2-L2) across sessions. In both sessions, L1 brainstorming resulted in more efficient idea productivity than L2 brainstorming, supporting stronger concept activation for L1, consistent with the RHM. Switching languages from L2 to L1 resulted in the most efficient idea productivity in Session 2, suggesting that switching to L1 not only permits strong concept activation, but also the activation of concepts that are relatively different than those activated by L2, inconsistent with the RHM. Switching languages increased the proportion of Session 1 ideas repeated during Session 2, despite instructions not to repeat. This finding suggests that there is activation of concepts as well as word forms in same language brainstorming and that this dual activation aids in following instructions not to repeat, consistent with the RHM. It is suggested that the RHM be re-specified to accommodate the notion that L1 and L2 access relatively different concepts.
The human mind is severely limited in processing concurrent information at a conscious level of awareness. These temporal restrictions are clearly reflected in the attentional blink (AB), a deficit in reporting the second of two targets when it occurs 200-500 ms after the first. However, we recently reported that some individuals do not show a visual AB, and presented psychophysiological evidence that target processing differs between "blinkers" and "nonblinkers". Here, we present evidence that visual nonblinkers do show an auditory AB, which suggests that a major source of attentional restriction as reflected in the AB is likely to be modality-specific. In Experiment 3, we show that when the difficulty in identifying visual targets is increased, nonblinkers continue to show little or no visual AB, suggesting that the presence of an AB in the auditory but not in the visual modality is not due to a difference in task difficulty.
Words that involve completely different meanings across languages but possess significant overlap in form are referred to as homographic noncognates or interlexical homographs (e.g., red is a color word in English but means "net" in Spanish). An important question in the investigation of the processing of these words is whether or not both meaning and form are integral to their representation leading to language-specific processing of these items. In contrast, some theories have been put forth indicating that the processing of these words is nonselective with regards to language. Simply stated, when one of these words is encountered, all of the relevant meanings are accessed regardless of the specific demands of the task and the base language that is being used. In the present, critical review, evidence purported to favor each view is presented along with a discussion of the methodological and analytic constraints that moderate the reported findings. The data lead to the conclusion that there is a time course involved in the activation of multiple meanings such that a primary or dominant meaning (sometimes biased by frequency) is typically accessed more readily, followed by the opposite language meaning. These results indicated that studies should focus on manipulating the timing intervals between the presentation of these words and subsequent responses that are required by a particular task.
Whether masked number priming involves a low-level sensorimotor route or an amodal semantic level of processing remains highly debated. Several alternative interpretations have been put forward, proposing either that masked number priming is solely a byproduct of practice with numbers, or that stimulus awareness was underestimated. In a series of four experiments, we studied whether repetition and congruity priming for numbers reliably extend to novel (i.e., unpracticed) stimuli and whether priming transfers from a visual prime to an auditory target, even when carefully controlling for stimulus awareness. While we consistently observed cross-modal priming, the generalization to novel stimuli was weaker and reached significance only when considering the whole set of experiments. We conclude that number priming does involve an amodal, semantic level of processing, but is also modulated by task settings.
During manually-assisted search, where participants must actively manipulate search items, it has been reported that participants will often select and move the target of search itself without recognizing it (Solman et al., 2012a). In two experiments we explore the hypothesis that this error results from a naturally-arising strategy that decouples perception and action during search, enabling motor interactions with items to outpace the speed of perceptual analysis. In Experiment 1, we report that the error is prevalent for both mouse and touch-screen interaction modes, and is uninfluenced by speeding or slowing instructions - ruling out these task-specific details as causes of the error. In Experiment 2 we manipulate motor speed, and show that reducing the speed of individual movements during search leads to a reduction in error rates. These findings support the conclusion that the error results from incoordination between motor and perceptual processes, with motor processes outpacing perceptual abilities.
We investigated the individual and combined effects of enactment and testing on memory for action phrases to address whether both study techniques commonly promote item-specific processing. Participants (N = 112) were divided into four groups (n = 28). They either exclusively studied 36 action phrases (e.g., "lift the glass") or both studied and cued-recalled them in four trials. During study trials participants encoded the action phrases either by motorically performing them, or by reading them aloud, and they took final verb-cued recall tests over 18-min and 1-week retention intervals. A testing effect was demonstrated for action phrases, however, only when they were verbally encoded, and not when they were enacted. Similarly, enactive (relative to verbal) encoding reduced the rate of forgetting, but only when the action phrases were exclusively studied, and not when they were also tested. These less-than-additive effects of enactment and testing on the rate of forgetting, as well as on long-term retention, support the notion that both study techniques effectively promote item-specific processing that can only be marginally increased further by combining them.
In two experiments we show that the experience of processing fluency can be grounded in the motor system. We manipulated whether responses in a stimulus-response paradigm were congruent or incongruent with the orientation of graspable objects. Besides the typical affordance effect (Tucker & Ellis, 1998), namely a reaction time advantage for responses made with the hand for which it would be easier to grasp the object, our results reveal that such a visuo-motor congruence elicits positive affect when preceded by incongruent trials (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 demonstrates that individuals are aware of this fluency experience and can consciously report on it. Moreover, by manipulating the task contingencies, we show that the affordance effect itself can be modulated by the experience of processing fluency. Our results are in line with theories assuming a direct coupling between perception and action (Hommel, Müsseler, Aschersleben, & Prinz, 2001; Prinz, 1997; Smith & Semin, 2004).