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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied - Vol 23, Iss 3

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied The mission of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied is to publish original empirical investigations in experimental psychology that bridge practically oriented problems and psychological theory. The journal also publishes research aimed at developing and testing of models of cognitive processing or behavior in applied situations, including laboratory and field settings.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • The dark side of fluency: Fluent names increase drug dosing.
    Prior research has demonstrated that high processing fluency influences a wide range of evaluations and behaviors in a positive way. But can high processing fluency also lead to potentially hazardous medical behavior? In 2 controlled experiments, we demonstrate that increasing the fluency of pharmaceutical drug names increases drug dosage. Experiment 1 shows that drugs with fluent names are perceived as safer than those with disfluent names and this effect increases drug dosage for both synthetically produced and herbal drugs. Experiment 2 demonstrates that people chose a higher dosage for themselves and for a child if the drug bears a fluent (vs. disfluent) name. Using linear regression based mediation analysis, we investigated the underlying mechanisms for the effect of fluency on risk perception in more detail. Contrary to prior research, we find that affect, but not familiarity, mediates the fluency-risk link. Our findings suggest that a drug name’s fluency is a powerful driver of dosing behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Optimizing the balance between task automation and human manual control in simulated submarine track management.
    Automation can improve operator performance and reduce workload, but can also degrade operator situation awareness (SA) and the ability to regain manual control. In 3 experiments, we examined the extent to which automation could be designed to benefit performance while ensuring that individuals maintained SA and could regain manual control. Participants completed a simulated submarine track management task under varying task load. The automation was designed to facilitate information acquisition and analysis, but did not make task decisions. Relative to a condition with no automation, the continuous use of automation improved performance and reduced subjective workload, but degraded SA. Automation that was engaged and disengaged by participants as required (adaptable automation) moderately improved performance and reduced workload relative to no automation, but degraded SA. Automation engaged and disengaged based on task load (adaptive automation) provided no benefit to performance or workload, and degraded SA relative to no automation. Automation never led to significant return-to-manual deficits. However, all types of automation led to degraded performance on a nonautomated task that shared information processing requirements with automated tasks. Given these outcomes, further research is urgently required to establish how to design automation to maximize performance while keeping operators cognitively engaged. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The forward testing effect on self-regulated study time allocation and metamemory monitoring.
    The forward testing effect describes the finding that testing of previously studied information potentiates learning and retention of new information. Here we asked whether interim testing boosts self-regulated study time allocation when learning new information and explored its effect on metamemory monitoring. Participants had unlimited time to study five lists of Euskara–English word pairs (Experiment 1) or four lists of face–name pairs (Experiment 2). In a no interim test group, which was only tested on the final list, study time decreased across successive lists. In contrast, in an interim test group, which completed a recall test after each list, no such decrease was observed. Experiments 3 and 4 were designed to investigate the forward testing effect on metamemory monitoring and found that this effect is associated with metacognitive insight. Overall, the current study reveals that interim tests prevent the reduction of study time across lists and that people’s metamemory monitoring is sensitive to the forward benefit of interim testing. Moreover, across all 4 experiments, the interim test group was less affected by proactive interference in the final list interim test than the no interim test group. The results suggest that variations in both encoding and retrieval processes contribute to the forward benefit of interim testing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Does retrieval practice enhance learning and transfer relative to restudy for term-definition facts?
    In many pedagogical contexts, term-definition facts that link a concept term (e.g., “vision”) with its corresponding definition (e.g., “the ability to see”) are learned. Does retrieval practice involving retrieval of the term (given the definition) or the definition (given the term) enhance subsequent recall, relative to restudy of the entire fact? Moreover, does any benefit of retrieval practice for the term transfer to later recall of the definition, or vice versa? We addressed those questions in 4 experiments. In each, subjects first studied term-definition facts and then trained on two thirds of the facts using multiple-choice tests with feedback. Half of the test questions involved recalling terms; the other half involved recalling definitions. The remaining facts were either not trained (Experiment 1) or restudied (Experiments 2–4). A 48-hr delayed multiple-choice (Experiments 1–2) or short answer (Experiments 3a–4) final test assessed recall of all terms or all definitions. Replicating and extending prior research, retrieval practice yielded improved recall and positive transfer relative to no training. Relative to restudy, however, retrieval practice consistently enhanced subsequent term retrieval, enhanced subsequent definition retrieval only after repeated practice, and consistently yielded at best minimal positive transfer in either direction. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Is testing a more effective learning strategy than note-taking?
    The testing effect is both robust and generalizable. However, most of the underlying studies compare testing to a rather ineffective control condition: massed repeated reading. This article therefore compares testing with note-taking, which has been shown to be more effective than repeated reading. Experiment 1 is based on a 3 × 3 between-participants design with the factors learning condition (repeated reading vs. repeated testing vs. repeated note-taking) and final test delay (5 min vs. 1 week vs. 2 weeks). It shows that in the immediate condition, learning performance is best after note-taking. After 1 week, both the note-taking and the testing groups outperform the rereading group, and after 2 weeks, testing is superior to both note-taking and rereading. Since repeated notetaking may not be the most effective (and common) operationalization of note-taking, Experiment 2 contrasts repeated testing with 2 other note-taking conditions: note-taking plus note-reading and note-taking plus testing (with only a 2-week final test delay). Both conditions that include a testing phase result in better long-term learning than note-taking plus note-reading. In summary, our findings indicate that—in the long run—testing is a powerful learning tool both in isolation and in combination with note-taking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Lying upside-down: Alibis reverse cognitive burdens of dishonesty.
    The cognitive processes underlying dishonesty, especially the inhibition of automatic honest response tendencies, are reflected in response times and other behavioral measures. Here we suggest that explicit false alibis might have a considerable impact on these cognitive operations. We tested this hypothesis in a controlled experimental setup. Participants first performed several tasks in a preexperimental mission (akin to common mock crime procedures) and received a false alibi afterward. The false alibi stated alternative actions that the participants had to pretend to have performed instead of the actually performed actions. In a computer-based inquiry, the false alibi did not only reduce, but it even reversed the typical behavioral effects of dishonesty on response initiation (Experiment1) and response execution (Experiment 2). Follow-up investigations of response activation via distractor stimuli suggest that false alibis automatize either dishonest response retrieval, the inhibition of the honest response, or both (Experiments 3 and 4). This profound impact suggests that false alibis can override actually performed activities entirely and, thus, documents a severe limitation for cognitive approaches to lie detection. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Brand name confusion: Subjective and objective measures of orthographic similarity.
    Determining brand name similarity is vital in areas of trademark registration and brand confusion. Students rated the orthographic (spelling) similarity of word pairs (Experiments 1, 2, and 4) and brand name pairs (Experiment 5). Similarity ratings were consistently higher when words shared beginnings rather than endings, whereas shared pronunciation of the stressed vowel had small and less consistent effects on ratings. In Experiment 3 a behavioral task confirmed the similarity of shared beginnings in lexical processing. Specifically, in a task requiring participants to decide whether 2 words presented in the clear (a probe and a later target) were the same or different, a masked prime word preceding the target shortened response latencies if it shared its initial 3 letters with the target. The ratings of students for word and brand name pairs were strongly predicted by metrics of orthographic similarity from the visual word identification literature based on the number of shared letters and their relative positions. The results indicate a potential use for orthographic metrics in brand name registration and trademark law. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effect of the proportion of mismatching trials and task orientation on the confidence–accuracy relationship in unfamiliar face matching.
    Unfamiliar, one-to-one face matching has been shown to be error-prone. However, it is unknown whether there is a strong relationship between confidence and accuracy in this task. If there is, then confidence could be used as an indicator of accuracy in real-world face matching settings such as border security, where the objectively correct decision is typically unknown. Two experiments examined the overall confidence–accuracy relationship, as well as the relationship for positive (match) and negative (mismatch) decisions. Furthermore, they tested whether these relationships were affected by factors relevant to applied face matching settings: the proportion of mismatching trials (PMT), and the task orientation of the decision-maker (look for matches, or look for mismatches). Both calibration analyses and signal detection methods were applied to assess performance. The results showed that confidence can have a high correspondence with accuracy overall, regardless of task orientation but with small effects of PMT. Thus, confidence is promising as an indicator of accuracy in face matching. However, PMT systematically produces large detrimental effects on the confidence–accuracy relationships for positive and negative decisions, when considered separately. Signal detection measures help with understanding these effects and proposing future research directions for improving the relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Why would I help my coworker? Exploring asymmetric task dependence and the self-determination theory internalization process.
    Research on power suggests asymmetric task dependence (sending work resources to a coworker and receiving little in return) should create a power imbalance and promote selfishness. In contrast, work design theory suggests asymmetry can lead to felt responsibility, but this link has not been tested and its theory remains underdeveloped. Drawing on self-determination theory (SDT), this article argues that work design characteristics can encourage the SDT internalization process—the transformation of external reasons for behavior into internal reasons. Two experiments demonstrate asymmetry encourages felt responsibility for the dependent’s task, which helps explain the amount of help provided to the dependent. The author proposes felt responsibility indicates the extent to which an external task has been internalized as a self-directed motivation. This article clarifies how task dependence is different from power and develops an important and understudied aspect of SDT: how work design characteristics are transformed into internalized motivations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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