Something sensible

Kevin Lewis

July 20, 2019

An interoceptive illusion of effort induced by false heart-rate feedback
Pierpaolo Iodice et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 July 2019, Pages 13897-13902

Interoception, or the sense of the internal state of the body, is key to the adaptive regulation of our physiological needs. Recent theories contextualize interception within a predictive coding framework, according to which the brain both estimates and controls homeostatic and physiological variables, such as hunger, thirst, and effort levels, by orchestrating sensory, proprioceptive, and interoceptive signals from inside the body. This framework suggests that providing false interoceptive feedback may induce misperceptions of physiological variables, or "interoceptive illusions." Here we ask whether it is possible to produce an illusory perception of effort by giving participants false acoustic feedback about their heart-rate frequency during an effortful cycling task. We found that participants reported higher levels of perceived effort when their heart-rate feedback was faster compared with when they cycled at the same level of intensity with a veridical feedback. However, participants did not report lower effort when their heart-rate feedback was slower, which is reassuring, given that failing to notice one's own effort is dangerous in ecologically valid conditions. Our results demonstrate that false cardiac feedback can produce interoceptive illusions. Furthermore, our results pave the way for novel experimental manipulations that use illusions to study interoceptive processing.

Smartphone-size screens constrain cognitive access to video news stories
Johanna Dunaway & Stuart Soroka
Information, Communication & Society, forthcoming

Smartphones are expanding physical access to news and political information by making access to the internet available to more people, at more times throughout the day, and in more locations than ever before. But how does the portability of smartphones - afforded by their small size - affect cognitive access to news? Specifically, how do smartphone-size screens constrain attentiveness and arousal? We investigate how mobile technology constrains cognitive engagement through a lab-experimental study of individuals' psychophysiological responses to network news on screens the size of a typical laptop computer, versus a typical smartphone. We explore heart rate variability, skin conductance levels, and the connection between skin conductance and the tone of news content. Results suggest lower levels of cognitive access to video news content on a mobile-sized screen, which has potentially important consequences for public attention to current affairs in an increasingly mobile media environment.

The police officer's dilemma: The relationship between violent video game play and responses in a first-person shooter task
Tobias Greitemeyer
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Correll and colleagues (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002) developed a first-person shooter task that simulates the police officer's dilemma of whether to shoot or not a target that may present lethal danger. The present study examined the relationship between habitual violent video game play and responses in this shooting paradigm. Habitual violent video game play has been shown to increase the accessibility of aggressive thoughts. Previous research also demonstrated that action video game play has a positive impact on perceptual skills. Hence, it was hypothesized that players of violent video games would be more likely to mistakenly shoot a target and exhibit shorter reaction times in the shooting task. Results revealed that reaction times, but not error rates, were significantly associated with habitual violent video game play. These findings suggest that habitual violent video game play may have a positive impact on overall processing skills without limiting accuracy.

Higher trait self-control is associated with less intense visceral states
Cassandra Baldwin et al.
Self and Identity, July 2019, Pages 576-588

Trait self-control correlates with desirable outcomes including physical and psychological well-being and is thought to facilitate the formation of effective habits. Visceral states, including internal drives that motivate specific behaviors, have been found to undermine self-control. The current study tested the hypothesis that individuals higher in trait self-control experience less intense and a lower likelihood of visceral states and explored possible mediators. We found that trait self-control negatively correlates with responses to one-shot measures of hunger, fatigue, experiencing stress, and experiencing the common cold. Reports of recent sleeping and eating behavior mediated some of these relationships, consistent with the idea that healthful behaviors help individuals higher in trait self-control minimize visceral states. This research supports emerging perspectives on trait self-control's contributions to positive outcomes.


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