Findings

Vibes

Kevin Lewis

August 30, 2015

Physically Scarce (vs. Enriched) Environments Decrease the Ability to Tell Lies Successfully

Leanne ten Brinke, Poruz Khambatta & Dana Carney
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
The successful detection of deception is of critical importance to adaptive social relationships and organizations, and perhaps even national security. However, research in forensic, legal, and social psychology demonstrates that people are generally very successful deceivers. The goal of the current research was to test an intervention with the potential to decrease the likelihood of successful deception. We applied findings in the architectural, engineering, and environmental sciences that has demonstrated that enriched environments (vs. scarce ones) promote the experience of comfort, positive emotion, feelings of power and control, and increase productivity. We hypothesized that sparse, impoverished, scarcely endowed environments (vs. enriched ones) would decrease the ability to lie successfully by making liars feel uncomfortable and powerless. Study 1 examined archival footage of an international sample of criminal suspects (N = 59), including innocent relatives (n = 33) and convicted murderers (n = 26) emotionally pleading to the public for the return of a missing person. Liars in scarce environments (vs. enriched) were significantly more likely to reveal their lies through behavioral cues to deception. Study 2 (N = 79) demonstrated that the discomfort and subsequent powerlessness caused by scarce (vs. enriched) environments lead people to reveal behavioral cues to deception. Liars in scarce environments also experienced greater neuroendocrine stress reactivity and were more accurately detected by a sample of 66 naïve observers (Study 3). Taken together, data suggest that scarce environments increase difficulty, and decrease success, of deception. Further, we make available videotaped stimuli of Study 2 liars and truth-tellers.

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Mental Representations of Weekdays

David Ellis, Richard Wiseman & Rob Jenkins
PLoS ONE, August 2015

Abstract:
Keeping social appointments involves keeping track of what day it is. In practice, mismatches between apparent day and actual day are common. For example, a person might think the current day is Wednesday when in fact it is Thursday. Here we show that such mismatches are highly systematic, and can be traced to specific properties of their mental representations. In Study 1, mismatches between apparent day and actual day occurred more frequently on midweek days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) than on other days, and were mainly due to intrusions from immediately neighboring days. In Study 2, reaction times to report the current day were fastest on Monday and Friday, and slowest midweek. In Study 3, participants generated fewer semantic associations for “Tuesday”, “Wednesday” and “Thursday” than for other weekday names. Similarly, Google searches found fewer occurrences of midweek days in webpages and books. Analysis of affective norms revealed that participants’ associations were strongly negative for Monday, strongly positive for Friday, and graded over the intervening days. Midweek days are confusable because their mental representations are sparse and similar. Mondays and Fridays are less confusable because their mental representations are rich and distinctive, forming two extremes along a continuum of change.

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Feeling good, searching the bad: Positive priming increases attention and memory for negative stimuli on webpages

Kai Kaspar, Ricardo Ramos Gameiro & Peter König
Computers in Human Behavior, December 2015, Pages 332–343

Abstract:
Emotional impacts on attention arises in the form of externally and internally loaded forms. The former relates to the emotional valence of the sensory stimulus. The latter refers to the emotional state of the subject. We investigated their influence and interaction. Seventy-two subjects had been emotionally primed by a sequence of positive or negative images before they observed webpages of an online news portal. Each webpage contained positive and negative emotion-laden stimuli to be recalled in a memory test. We captured effects on overt attention, saccadic parameters, and explorative behavior. Furthermore, we related memory performance to characteristic gaze behavior. We found an attentional preference and a better memory performance for negative stimuli that was more pronounced after a positive mood induction. Importantly, increased attention correlated positively with recall performance on an individual level, but only after a positive mood induction. Moreover, the evaluation of the news-portal’s hedonic quality and overall appeal, but not of usability, was affected by subjects’ emotional states. We concluded that in contrast to previously reported mood-congruent preferences in young adults’ attention, there are complementary effects of internally and externally loaded emotions with the tendency that positive priming increases attention and memory for negative stimuli.

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Sadness Impairs Color Perception

Christopher Thorstenson, Adam Pazda & Andrew Elliot
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that emotion can influence low-level visual processes, including color perception, that may play a role in higher-order vision. Moreover, the prevalence of linguistic pairings between emotions and color words suggests that emotional experience and color perception may be linked. The purpose of the present research was to test whether emotion influences color perception. We did this by experimentally manipulating emotion with video clips in two experiments (specifically, sadness and amusement in Experiment 1, and sadness and neutral emotion in Experiment 2) and measuring color perception (specifically, accuracy in identifying desaturated colors). The results of both experiments showed that sadness impaired color perception along the blue-yellow color axis but not along the red-green color axis.

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The Spatial Scaffold: The Effects of Spatial Context on Memory for Events

Jessica Robin, Jordana Wynn & Morris Moscovitch
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Events always unfold in a spatial context, leading to the claim that it serves as a scaffold for encoding and retrieving episodic memories. The ubiquitous co-occurrence of spatial context with events may induce participants to generate a spatial context when hearing scenarios of events in which it is absent. Spatial context should also serve as an excellent cue for memory retrieval. To test these predictions, participants read event scenarios involving a highly familiar or less familiar spatial context, or person, which they were asked to imagine and remember. At recall, locations were more effective memory cues than people, and both were better when they were highly familiar. Most importantly, when no locations were specified at study, participants exhibited a spontaneous tendency to generate a spatial context for the scenarios, while rarely generating a person. Events with spatial context were remembered more vividly and described in more detail than those without. Together, the results favor the view that spatial context plays a leading role in remembering events.

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Facial Action and Emotional Language: ERP Evidence that Blocking Facial Feedback Selectively Impairs Sentence Comprehension

Joshua Davis, Piotr Winkielman & Seana Coulson
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is a lively and theoretically important debate about whether, how, and when embodiment contributes to language comprehension. This study addressed these questions by testing how interference with facial action impacts the brain's real-time response to emotional language. Participants read sentences about positive and negative events (e.g., “She reached inside the pocket of her coat from last winter and found some (cash/bugs) inside it.”) while ERPs were recorded. Facial action was manipulated within participants by asking participants to hold chopsticks in their mouths using a position that allowed or blocked smiling, as confirmed by EMG. Blocking smiling did not influence ERPs to the valenced words (e.g., cash, bugs) but did influence ERPs to final words of sentences describing positive events. Results show that affectively positive sentences can evoke smiles and that such facial action can facilitate the semantic processing indexed by the N400 component. Overall, this study offers causal evidence that embodiment impacts some aspects of high-level comprehension, presumably involving the construction of the situation model.

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Walkable Distances Are Bioenergetically Scaled

Jonathan Zadra, Arthur Weltman & Dennis Proffitt
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
In perceiving spatial layout, the angular units of visual information are transformed into linear units appropriate for specifying size and extent. This derivation of linear units from angular ones requires geometry and a ruler. Numerous studies suggest that the requisite perceptual rulers are derived from the observer’s body. In the case of walkable extents, it has been proposed that people scale distances to the bioenergetic resources required to traverse the extents relative to the bioenergetic resources currently available. The current study sought to rigorously test this proposal. Using methods from exercise physiology, a host of physiological measures were recorded as participants engaged in exercise on 2 occasions: once while provided with a carbohydrate supplement and once with a placebo. Distance estimates were made before and after exercise on both occasions. As in previous studies, the carbohydrate manipulation caused decreased distance estimates relative to the placebo condition. More importantly, individual differences in physiological measures that are associated with physical fitness predicted distance estimates both before and after the experimental manipulations. Results suggest that walkable distances are bioenergetically scaled.

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Who does Red Bull give wings to? Sensation seeking moderates sensitivity to subliminal advertisement

Gaëlle Bustin et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2015

Abstract:
This study assessed whether subliminal priming of a brand name of a drink can affect people’s choices for the primed brand, and whether this effect is moderated by personality traits. Participants with different levels of sensation seeking were presented subliminally with the words Red Bull or Lde Ublr. Results revealed that being exposed to Red Bull lead on average to small increases in participants’ preferences for the primed brand. However, this effect was twice as strong for participants high in sensation seeking and did not occur for participants low in sensation seeking. Going beyond previous research showing that situational factors (e.g., thirst, fatigue…) can increase people’s sensitivity to subliminal advertisement, our results suggest that some dispositional factors could have the same potentiating effect. These findings highlight the necessity of taking personality into account in non-conscious persuasion research.

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Sleep and Native Language Interference Affect Non-Native Speech Sound Learning

Sayako Earle & Emily Myers
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adults learning a new language are faced with a significant challenge: non-native speech sounds that are perceptually similar to sounds in one’s native language can be very difficult to acquire. Sleep and native language interference, 2 factors that may help to explain this difficulty in acquisition, are addressed in 3 studies. Results of Experiment 1 showed that participants trained on a non-native contrast at night improved in discrimination 24 hr after training, while those trained in the morning showed no such improvement. Experiments 2 and 3 addressed the possibility that incidental exposure to perceptually similar native language speech sounds during the day interfered with maintenance in the morning group. Taken together, results show that the ultimate success of non-native speech sound learning depends not only on the similarity of learned sounds to the native language repertoire, but also to interference from native language sounds before sleep.

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Is 9 louder than 1? Audiovisual cross-modal interactions between number magnitude and judged sound loudness

Doug Alards-Tomalin et al.
Acta Psychologica, September 2015, Pages 95–103

Abstract:
The cross-modal impact of number magnitude (i.e. Arabic digits) on perceived sound loudness was examined. Participants compared a target sound's intensity level against a previously heard reference sound (which they judged as quieter or louder). Paired with each target sound was a task irrelevant Arabic digit that varied in magnitude, being either small (1, 2, 3) or large (7, 8, 9). The degree to which the sound and the digit were synchronized was manipulated, with the digit and sound occurring simultaneously in Experiment 1, and the digit preceding the sound in Experiment 2. Firstly, when target sounds and digits occurred simultaneously, sounds paired with large digits were categorized as loud more frequently than sounds paired with small digits. Secondly, when the events were separated, number magnitude ceased to bias sound intensity judgments. In Experiment 3, the events were still separated, however the participants held the number in short-term memory. In this instance the bias returned.

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Using Single-Neuron Recording in Marketing: Opportunities, Challenges, and an Application to Fear Enhancement in Communications

Moran Cerf et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, August 2015, Pages 530-545

Abstract:
This article introduces the method of single-neuron recording in humans to marketing and consumer researchers. First, the authors provide a general description of this methodology, discuss its advantages and disadvantages, and describe findings from previous single-neuron human research. Second, they discuss the relevance of this method for marketing and consumer behavior and, more specifically, how it can be used to gain insights into the areas of categorization, sensory discrimination, reactions to novel versus familiar stimuli, and recall of experiences. Third, they present a study designed to illustrate how single-neuron studies are conducted and how data from them are processed and analyzed. This study examines people's ability to up-regulate (i.e., enhance) the emotion of fear, which has implications for designing effective fear appeals. The study shows that the firing rates of neurons previously shown to respond selectively to fearful content increased with emotion enhancement instructions, but only for a video that did not automatically evoke substantial fear. The authors discuss how the findings help illustrate which conclusions can and cannot be drawn from single-neuron research.

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Inattentional Blindness and Individual Differences in Cognitive Abilities

Carina Kreitz et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2015

Abstract:
People sometimes fail to notice salient unexpected objects when their attention is otherwise occupied, a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness. To explore individual differences in inattentional blindness, we employed both static and dynamic tasks that either presented the unexpected object away from the focus of attention (spatial) or near the focus of attention (central). We hypothesized that noticing in central tasks might be driven by the availability of cognitive resources like working memory, and that noticing in spatial tasks might be driven by the limits on spatial attention like attention breadth. However, none of the cognitive measures predicted noticing in the dynamic central task or in either the static or dynamic spatial task. Only in the central static task did working memory capacity predict noticing, and that relationship was fairly weak. Furthermore, whether or not participants noticed an unexpected object in a static task was only weakly associated with their odds of noticing an unexpected object in a dynamic task. Taken together, our results are largely consistent with the notion that noticing unexpected objects is driven more by stochastic processes common to all people than by stable individual differences in cognitive abilities.


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