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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance - Vol 40, Iss 3

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance publishes studies on perception, control of action, and related cognitive processes.
Copyright 2014 American Psychological Association
  • Individual differences in adaptive coding of face identity are linked to individual differences in face recognition ability.
    Despite their similarity as visual patterns, we can discriminate and recognize many thousands of faces. This expertise has been linked to 2 coding mechanisms: holistic integration of information across the face and adaptive coding of face identity using norms tuned by experience. Recently, individual differences in face recognition ability have been discovered and linked to differences in holistic coding. Here we show that they are also linked to individual differences in adaptive coding of face identity, measured using face identity aftereffects. Identity aftereffects correlated significantly with several measures of face-selective recognition ability. They also correlated marginally with own-race face recognition ability, suggesting a role for adaptive coding in the well-known other-race effect. More generally, these results highlight the important functional role of adaptive face-coding mechanisms in face expertise, taking us beyond the traditional focus on holistic coding mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Attention on the source of influence reverses the impact of cross-contextual imitation.
    Recent investigations of imitation have demonstrated that individuals imitate a primed movement across contexts. For example, when tasting a drink, individuals who observe an athlete lifting a barbell raise their arms to their mouths more often, thus increasing their drink intake because both actions (i.e., weight lifting and drinking) involve the same movements. Other research on semantic priming suggests that individuals often act in the opposite direction of the primed information when their attention is directed toward the source of influence. In one experiment, we tested whether focusing participants’ attention on the source of influence leads to such correction processes in a cross-contextual imitation setting as well. Replicating the basic cross-contextual imitation effect, we found that participants whose attention was not directed toward the source of influence drank more when observing an athlete lifting a barbell than when observing an athlete pushing a barbell. However, when participants’ attention was directed toward the source of influence, they acted in the opposite direction so strongly that they drank more when watching the pushing movement than when watching the lifting movement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Perceptual asymmetry induced by the auditory continuity illusion.
    The challenges of daily communication require listeners to integrate both independent and complementary auditory information to form holistic auditory scenes. As part of this process listeners are thought to fill in missing information to create continuous perceptual streams, even when parts of messages are masked or obscured. One example of this filling-in process—the auditory continuity illusion—has been studied primarily using stimuli presented in isolation, leaving it unclear whether the illusion occurs in more complex situations with higher perceptual and attentional demands. In this study, young normal-hearing participants listened for long target tones, either real or illusory, in “clouds” of shorter masking tone and noise bursts with pseudorandom spectrotemporal locations. Patterns of detection suggest that illusory targets are salient within mixtures, although they do not produce the same level of performance as the real targets. The results suggest that the continuity illusion occurs in the presence of competing sounds and can be used to aid in the detection of partially obscured objects within complex auditory scenes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • When what we need influences what we see: Choice of energetic replenishment is linked with perceived steepness.
    The apparent steepness of the locomotor challenge presented by hills and staircases is overestimated in explicit awareness. Experimental evidence suggests the visual system may rescale our conscious experience of steepness in line with available energy resources. Skeptics of this “embodied” view argue that such findings reflect experimental demand. This article tested whether perceived steepness was related to resource choices in the built environment. Travelers in a station estimated the slant angle of a 6.45 m staircase (23.4°) either before (N = 302) or after (N = 109) choosing from a selection of consumable items containing differing levels of energetic resources. Participants unknowingly allocated themselves to a quasi-experimental group based on the energetic resources provided by the item they chose. Consistent with a resource based model, individuals that chose items with a greater energy density, or more rapidly available energy, estimated the staircase as steeper than those opting for items that provided less energetic resources. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Automatic imitation is reduced in narcissists.
    Narcissism is a personality trait that has been extensively studied in normal populations. Individuals high on subclinical narcissism tend to display an excessive self-focus and reduced concern for others. Does their disregard of others have roots in low-level processes of social perception? We investigated whether narcissism is related to the automatic imitation of observed actions. In the automatic imitation task, participants make cued actions in the presence of action videos displaying congruent or incongruent actions. The difference in response times and accuracy between congruent and incongruent trials (i.e., the interference effect) is a behavioral index of motor resonance in the brain—a process whereby observed actions activate matching motor representations in the observer. We found narcissism to be negatively related to interference in the automatic imitation task, such that high narcissism is associated with reduced imitation. Thus, levels of narcissism predict differences in the tendency to automatically resonate with others, and the pattern of data we observe suggests that a key difference is that high narcissists possess an improved ability to suppress automatic imitation when such imitation would be detrimental to task performance. To the extent that motor resonance is a product of a human mirror system, our data constitute evidence for a link between narcissistic tendencies and mirror system functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Avatars and arrows: Implicit mentalizing or domain-general processing?
    Previous studies using the dot perspective task have shown that adults are slower to verify the number of dots they can see in a picture when a human figure in the picture, an avatar, can see a different number of dots. This “self-consistency effect,” which occurs even when the avatar’s perspective is formally task-irrelevant, has been interpreted as evidence of implicit mentalizing; that humans can think about the mental states of others via dedicated, automatic processes. We tested this interpretation by giving participants 2 versions of the dot perspective task. In some trials, the avatar was presented as in previous experiments, and in other trials the avatar was replaced by an arrow with similar low-level features. We found self-consistency effects of comparable size in the avatar and arrow conditions, suggesting that self-consistency effects in the dot perspective task are due to domain-general processes such as those that mediate automatic attentional orienting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Illusory motion reversals and feature tracking analyses of movement.
    Illusory motion reversals (IMRs) can happen when looking at a repetitive pattern of motion, such as a spinning wheel. To date these have been attributed to either a form of motion aftereffect seen while viewing a moving stimulus or to the visual system taking discrete perceptual snapshots of continuous input. Here we present evidence that we argue is inconsistent with both proposals. First, we show that IMRs are driven by the adaptation of nondirectional temporal frequency tuned cells, which is inconsistent with the motion aftereffect account. Then we establish that the optimal frequency for inducing IMRs differs for color and luminance defined movement. These data are problematic for any account based on a constant rate of discrete perceptual sampling. Instead, we suggest IMRs result from a perceptual rivalry involving discrepant signals from a feature tracking analysis of movement and motion-energy based analyses. We do not assume that feature tracking relies on a discrete sampling of input at a fixed rate, but rather that feature tracking can (mis)match features at any rate less than a stimulus driven maximal resolution. Consistent with this proposal, we show that the critical frequency for inducing IMRs is dictated by the duty cycle of salient features within a moving pattern, rather than by the temporal frequency of luminance changes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A magnocellular contribution to conscious perception via temporal object segmentation.
    The human visual system is continuously confronted with dynamic visual input. One challenge that the visual system must solve, therefore, is recognizing when two distinct objects have appeared at a given location despite their brief presentation and rapid succession, that is, temporal object segmentation. Here we examined the role of magnocellular neurons in this process. We measured temporal object segmentation via object substitution masking (OSM), which reflects the failure to distinguish the target and mask as distinct objects through time. We isolated the selective role of magnocellular neurons by comparing performance under conditions of pulsed luminance pedestals, which are designed to saturate the magnocellular response, with that in a steady-pedestal condition that leaves both magnocellular and parvocellular channels available to process the target. Across two experiments, we found that OSM magnitude was enhanced under pulsed-pedestal conditions, in which the magnocellular response was impaired. This indicates that magnocellular neurons contribute to temporal object segmentation. Given that temporal object segmentation has consequences for which stimuli are consciously perceived, this demonstrates a functional mechanism via which magnocellular neurons contribute to determining the contents conscious perception. Implications for models of specialization of dorsal and ventral cortical streams are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Dissociating distractor-filtering at encoding and during maintenance.
    The effectiveness of distractor-filtering is a potentially important determinant of working memory capacity (WMC). However, a distinction between the contributions of distractor-filtering at WM encoding as opposed to filtering during maintenance has not been made and the assumption is that these rely on the same mechanism. Within 2 experiments, 1 conducted in the laboratory with 21 participants, and the other played as a game on smartphones (n = 3,247) we measure WMC without distractors, and present distractors during encoding or during the delay period of a WM task to determine performance associated with distraction at encoding and during maintenance. Despite differences in experimental setting and paradigm design between the 2 studies, we show a unique contribution to WMC from both encoding and delay distractor performance in both experiments, while controlling for performance in the absence of distraction. Thus, within 2 separate experiments, 1 involving an extremely large cohort of 3,247 participants, we show a dissociation between encoding and delay distractor-filtering, indicating that separate mechanisms may contribute to WMC. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Voluntary spatial attention induces spatial facilitation and object-centered suppression.
    Many daily activities require encoding spatial locations relative to a reference object (e.g., “leftness”), known as object-centered space. Integrating object-centered space and visual attention, this study reports a new form of attention called object-centered suppression, as revealed by a novel object-centered paradigm. Specifically, after cueing a location within an object (e.g., on the left), performance at 2 locations within another, uncued object was worse for the location that shared the same object-centered space as the cued location (e.g., on the left) than the location that did not (e.g., on the right). Because these 2 locations were equidistant to the cued location and because both appeared within the same object, the effect could not be explained by space-based or object-based accounts of attention. Alternative accounts based on attentional capture were also refuted. Instead, a novel object-centered Simon effect (stimulus–response interference) reveals automatic object-centered spatial coding, supporting an object-centered account: when attention is disengaged from an invalidly cued location, a negative attention priority signal at the cued location is tagged and transferred across objects in an object-centered manner. Object-centered suppression therefore unveils a new functional footprint of voluntary spatial attention, integrating space-based and object-based selection through object-centered space. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • From sound to shape: Auditory perception of drawing movements.
    This study investigates the human ability to perceive biological movements through friction sounds produced by drawings and, furthermore, the ability to recover drawn shapes from the friction sounds generated. In a first experiment, friction sounds, real-time synthesized and modulated by the velocity profile of the drawing gesture, revealed that subjects associated a biological movement to those sounds whose timbre variations were generated by velocity profiles following the 1/3 power law. This finding demonstrates that sounds can adequately inform about human movements if their acoustic characteristics are in accordance with the kinematic rule governing actual movements. Further investigations of our ability to recognize drawn shapes were carried out in 2 association tasks in which both recorded and synthesized sounds had to be associated to both distinct and similar visual shapes. Results revealed that, for both synthesized and recorded sounds, subjects made correct associations for distinct shapes, although some confusion was observed for similar shapes. The comparisons made between recorded and synthesized sounds lead to conclude that the timbre variations induced by the velocity profile enabled the shape recognition. The results are discussed in the context of the ecological and ideomotor frameworks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Temporal dynamics of spatial frequency processing in infants.
    The current study examined the temporal dynamics of coarse and fine spatial information processing in 7- to 8-month-old infants. The ability to discriminate between spatially filtered images was assessed by measuring infants’ spontaneous preference for a changing over no-changing image sequences. In Experiments 1 and 2, we found that infants were able to discriminate between low spatial frequency (LSF) image sequences at shorter durations (150 ms) than was the case with high spatial frequency (HSF) images (300 ms). When the LSF and HSF changes were pitted against each other in hybrid images containing both spatial frequencies (Experiment 3), the 7- to 8-month-old infants showed a preference for the LSF change across all tested durations (150 ms to 600 ms). However, infants’ processing of hybrid image sequences was modulated both by changes in the relative contrast energy between LSFs and HSFs (Experiment 4), and image duration (Experiment 5). Finally, we found that in 12- to 13-month-old infants, the shift toward HSF dominance occurred at shorter duration than in 7- to 8-month-old infants (Experiment 6). Our findings are among the first to provide a temporal characterization of coarse-to-fine processing in infants’ perception. Possible links to the development of specialized visual pathways are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Specificity of dimension-based statistical learning in word recognition.
    Speech perception flexibly adapts to short-term regularities of ambient speech input. Recent research demonstrates that the function of an acoustic dimension for speech categorization at a given time is relative to its relationship to the evolving distribution of dimensional regularity across time, and not simply to a fixed value along the dimension. Two experiments examine the nature of this dimension-based statistical learning in online word recognition, testing generalization of learning across phonetic categories. While engaged in a word recognition task guided by perceptually unambiguous voice-onset time (VOT) acoustics signaling stop voicing in either bilabial rhymes, beer and pier, or alveolar rhymes, deer and tear, listeners were exposed incidentally to an artificial “accent” deviating from English norms in its correlation of the pitch onset of the following vowel (F0) with VOT (Experiment 1). Exposure to the change in the correlation of F0 with VOT led listeners to down-weight reliance on F0 in voicing categorization, indicating dimension-based statistical learning. This learning was observed only for the “accented” contrast varying in its F0/VOT relationship during exposure; learning did not generalize to the other place of articulation. Another group of listeners experienced competing F0/VOT correlations across place of articulation such that the global correlation for voicing was stable, but locally correlations across voicing pairs were opposing (e.g., “accented” beer and pier, “canonical” deer and tear, Experiment 2). Listeners showed dimension-based learning only for the accented pair, not the canonical pair, indicating that they are able to track separate acoustic statistics across place of articulation, that is, for /b-p/ and /d-t/. This suggests that dimension-based learning does not operate obligatorily at the phonological level of stop voicing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Visual crowding cannot be wholly explained by feature pooling.
    Visual perception is dramatically impaired when a peripheral target is embedded within clutter, a phenomenon known as visual crowding. Despite decades of study, the mechanisms underlying crowding remain a matter of debate. Feature pooling models assert that crowding results from a compulsory pooling (e.g., averaging) of target and distractor features. This view has been extraordinarily influential in recent years, so much so that crowding is typically regarded as synonymous with pooling. However, many demonstrations of feature pooling can also be accommodated by a probabilistic substitution model where observers occasionally report a distractor as the target. Here, we directly compared pooling and substitution using an analytical approach sensitive to both alternatives. In four experiments, we asked observers to report the precise orientation of a target stimulus flanked by two irrelevant distractors. In all cases, the observed data were well described by a quantitative model that assumes probabilistic substitution, and poorly described by a quantitative model that assumes that targets and distractors are averaged. These results challenge the widely held assumption that crowding can be wholly explained by compulsory pooling. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Perceptual load and attentional boost: A study of their interaction.
    Increasing attention to an item typically interferes with the ability to process other concurrent information. The attentional boost effect, however, appears to contradict the ubiquity of dual-task interference. Rather, detecting a target item for one task boosts memory for a currently presented, but unrelated background scene. To account for the apparent discrepancy between dual-task interference and attentional boost, we present and test the dual-task interaction model. This model states that dual-task interference occurs at multiple stages of processing, but the decision that an item is a target triggers a cross-task enhancement to perceptual processing. Consistent with this model, this study shows that targets, but not perceptually similar distractors, trigger the attentional boost effect. In addition, the attentional boost effect is unperturbed when the perceptual load of target detection increases. The effect can also occur for task-irrelevant background images. Consistent with the dual-task interaction model these data clearly tie the attentional boost effect to the decision that an item is a target. They also suggest that this decision can rapidly boost the availability of perceptual resources. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Word segmentation of overlapping ambiguous strings during Chinese reading.
    In 3 experiments, we tested 3 possible mechanisms for segmenting overlapping ambiguous strings in Chinese reading. The first 2 characters and the last 2 characters in a 3-character ambiguous string could both constitute a word in the reported studies. The left-priority hypothesis assumes that the word on the left has an advantage in the competition and the other word cannot be processed until the word on the left is recognized. The independent processing hypothesis assumes that words in different positions are processed simultaneously and independently, and the word segmentation ambiguity cannot be settled without the help of sentence context. The competition hypothesis assumes that all of the words compete for a single winner. The results support a competition account that the characters in the perceptual span activate all of the words they can constitute, and any word can win the competition if its activation is high enough. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Broadly tuned face representation in older adults assessed by categorical perception.
    Studies of face recognition in older adults (60 years of age and older) report increases in false alarms over younger adults (usually 18–30 years of age), but no age differences in hits. To examine this phenomenon, we compared older and younger adults in categorical perception of faces. We hypothesized that face representations in older adults would be broadly tuned, resulting in overlapping representations, manifested by a shallower slope in identity categorization than in younger adults, and age-related reductions in the advantage for between-categories, as compared with within-category, face discrimination. We morphed faces to change linearly from one identity to another. We used familiar or unfamiliar faces in separate conditions to examine the role of familiarity. Categorical perception was assessed in an identity-classification task and a discrimination task. Older adults showed a shallower slope and poorer discrimination compared with younger adults, and both groups exhibited better performance with familiar than unfamiliar faces. Enhanced discriminability for between-categories as compared with within-category faces was seen for both familiar and unfamiliar faces in younger adults, but only for familiar faces in older adults. The more broadly tuned representations of unfamiliar faces in older adults may lead to misidentification and greater false alarms for unfamiliar faces, but not for familiar faces. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Deconstructing mental rotation.
    [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 40(3) of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (see record 2014-21050-001). The value of the fixation duration increment, about 15 ms per 60° on simple and complex trials is erroneous. The correct value for the increment is about 7 ms per 60°. The error is found four times in the text: In the second line from the bottom of the “Abstract,” in the seventh line in the section “Integrating Local and Global Analyses of Mental Rotation,” and in the section “Concluding Remarks” 14th and 25th line from the bottom of that section.] A random walk model of the classical mental rotation task is explored in two experiments. By assuming that a mental rotation is repeated until sufficient evidence for a match/mismatch is obtained, the model accounts for the approximately linearly increasing reaction times (RTs) on positive trials, flat RTs on negative trials, false alarms and miss rates, effects of complexity, and for the number of eye movement switches between stimuli as functions of angular difference in orientation. Analysis of eye movements supports key aspects of the model and shows that initial processing time is roughly constant until the first saccade switch between stimulus objects, while the duration of the remaining trial increases approximately linearly as a function of angular discrepancy. The increment results from additive effects of (a) a linear increase in the number of saccade switches between stimulus objects, (b) a linear increase in the number of saccades on a stimulus, and (c) a linear increase in the number and in the duration of fixations on a stimulus object. The fixation duration increment was the same on simple and complex trials (about 15 ms per 60°), which suggests that the critical orientation alignment take place during fixations at very high speed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Correction to Larsen (2014).
    Reports an error in "Deconstructing Mental Rotation" by Axel Larsen (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Advanced Online Publication, Feb 10, 2014, np). The value of the fixation duration increment, about 15 ms per 60° on simple and complex trials is erroneous. The correct value for the increment is about 7 ms per 60°. The error is found four times in the text: In the second line from the bottom of the “Abstract,” in the seventh line in the section “Integrating Local and Global Analyses of Mental Rotation,” and in the section “Concluding Remarks” 14th and 25th line from the bottom of that section. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2014-04872-001.) A random walk model of the classical mental rotation task is explored in two experiments. By assuming that a mental rotation is repeated until sufficient evidence for a match/mismatch is obtained, the model accounts for the approximately linearly increasing reaction times (RTs) on positive trials, flat RTs on negative trials, false alarms and miss rates, effects of complexity, and for the number of eye movement switches between stimuli as functions of angular difference in orientation. Analysis of eye movements supports key aspects of the model and shows that initial processing time is roughly constant until the first saccade switch between stimulus objects, while the duration of the remaining trial increases approximately linearly as a function of angular discrepancy. The increment results from additive effects of (a) a linear increase in the number of saccade switches between stimulus objects, (b) a linear increase in the number of saccades on a stimulus, and (c) a linear increase in the number and in the duration of fixations on a stimulus object. The fixation duration increment was the same on simple and complex trials (about 15 ms per 600), which suggests that the critical orientation alignment take place during fixations at very high speed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A delta-rule model of numerical and non-numerical order processing.
    Numerical and non-numerical order processing share empirical characteristics (distance effect and semantic congruity), but there are also important differences (in size effect and end effect). At the same time, models and theories of numerical and non-numerical order processing developed largely separately. Currently, we combine insights from 2 earlier models to integrate them in a common framework. We argue that the same learning principle underlies numerical and non-numerical orders, but that environmental features determine the empirical differences. Implications for current theories on order processing are pointed out. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Location-specific effects of attention during visual short-term memory maintenance.
    Recent neuroimaging studies suggest that early sensory areas such as area V1 are recruited to actively maintain a selected feature of the item held in visual short-term memory (VSTM). These findings raise the possibility that visual attention operates in similar manners across perceptual and memory representations to a certain extent, despite memory-level and perception-level selections are functionally dissociable. If VSTM operates by retaining “reasonable copies” of scenes constructed during sensory processing (Serences et al., 2009, p. 207, the sensory recruitment hypothesis), then it is possible that selective attention can be guided by both exogenous (peripheral) and endogenous (central) cues during VSTM maintenance. Yet, the results from the previous studies that examined this issue are inconsistent. In the present study, we investigated whether attention can be directed to a specific item’s location represented in VSTM with the exogenous cue in a well-controlled setting. The results from the four experiments suggest that, as observed with the endogenous cue, the exogenous cue can efficiently guide selective attention during VSTM maintenance. The finding is not only consistent with the sensory recruitment hypothesis but also validates the legitimacy of the exogenous cue use in past and future studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Target selection bias transfers across different response actions.
    Target selection is biased by recent experience. For example, a selected target feature may be stored in memory and bias selection on future trials, such that objects matching that feature are “primed” for selection. In the present study, we examined the role of action history in selection biases. Participants searched for a uniquely colored object. Pretrial cues indicated whether participants should respond with a keypress or a reach movement. If the representation of the feature that biases selection is critically bound with its associated action, we would expect priming effects to be restricted to cases where both the response mode and target color are repeated. However, we found that responses to the target were faster when the target color was repeated, even when the response switched from a reach to a keypress, or vice versa. Priming effects were even observed after “no-go” trials in which a response was withheld, and priming effects transferred across response modes when eye movement recordings ensured that participants did not saccade to the target. These results demonstrate that target features are represented in memory separately from their associated actions and can bias selection on subsequent trials even when a different mode of action output is required. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Autonomic emotional responses to the induction of the rubber-hand illusion in those that report anomalous bodily experiences: Evidence for specific psychophysiological components associated with illusory body representations.
    We present the first study to examine indicators of autonomic arousal associated with shifts in body image and as a function of predisposition to report spontaneous anomalous bodily experiences (ABEs) from nonclinical samples. Participants completed the Temporal-Lobe Experience subscale of the Cardiff Anomalous Perception scale—a measure associated with anomalous experiences resulting from temporal lobe dysfunction (Bell, Halligan, & Ellis, 2006) followed by a rubber-hand illusion experiment. We examined: (a) the time taken to induce the illusion, (b) effects on the tonic skin conductance level, and (c) phasic skin conductance responses in the form of nonspecific skin conductance responses (NS-SCRs) in the period leading up to the declaration of the illusion. The illusion took significantly longer to induce in those reporting high levels of ABEs, relative to those reporting low levels of such experiences. A significant increase in the tonic skin conductance level and the frequency of NS-SCRs occurred in the period leading directly up to the declaration of the illusion. Both measures were significantly increased for those reporting higher-levels of ABEs. The data question generic notions of “weak” body representations subserving increasing malleability in body image. Instead, they lend general support for a “dysconnection” account of anomalous bodily experiences—at least for some nonclinical hallucinators. Theoretical considerations are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Tipping the scales: Auditory cue weighting changes over development.
    How does auditory processing change over development? This study assessed preschoolers’ and adults’ sensitivity to pitch contour, pitch height, and timbre in an association-memory paradigm, with both explicit (overt recognition) and implicit measures (visual fixations to melody-linked objects). In the first 2 experiments, child and adult participants associated each of 2 melodies with a cartoon picture, and recognition was tested. Experiment 1 pitted pitch contour cues against pitch height cues, and Experiment 2 pitted contour cues against timbre cues. Although adults were sensitive to multiple cues, children responded predominantly based on pitch height and timbre, with little sensitivity to pitch contour. In Experiment 3, however, children detected changes to all 3 cues well above chance levels. Results overall suggest that contour differences, although readily perceptible, are less memorable to children than to adults. Gradual perceptual learning over development may increase the memorability of pitch contour. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • First saccadic eye movement reveals persistent attentional guidance by implicit learning.
    Implicit learning about where a visual search target is likely to appear often speeds up search. However, whether implicit learning guides spatial attention or affects postsearch decisional processes remains controversial. Using eye tracking, this study provides compelling evidence that implicit learning guides attention. In a training phase, participants often found the target in a high-frequency, “rich” quadrant of the display. When subsequently tested in a phase during which the target was randomly located, participants were twice as likely to direct the first saccadic eye movement to the previously rich quadrant than to any of the sparse quadrants. The attentional bias persisted for nearly 200 trials after training and was unabated by explicit instructions to distribute attention evenly. We propose that implicit learning guides spatial attention but in a qualitatively different manner than goal-driven attention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Becoming a Lunari or Taiyo expert: Learned attention to parts drives holistic processing of faces.
    Faces are processed holistically, but the locus of holistic processing remains unclear. We created two novel races of faces (Lunaris and Taiyos) to study how experience with face parts influences holistic processing. In Experiment 1, subjects individuated Lunaris wherein the top, bottom, or both face halves contained diagnostic information. Subjects who learned to attend to face parts exhibited no holistic processing. This suggests that individuation only leads to holistic processing when the whole face is attended. In Experiment 2, subjects individuated both Lunaris and Taiyos, with diagnostic information in complementary face halves of the two races. Holistic processing was measured with composites made of either diagnostic or nondiagnostic face parts. Holistic processing was only observed for composites made from diagnostic face parts, demonstrating that holistic processing can occur for diagnostic face parts that were never seen together. These results suggest that holistic processing is an expression of learned attention to diagnostic face parts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Assessing the speed-accuracy trade-off effect on the capacity of information processing.
    The ability to trade accuracy for speed is fundamental to human decision making. The speed–accuracy trade-off (SAT) effect has received decades of study, and is well understood in relatively simple decisions: collecting more evidence before making a decision allows one to be more accurate but also slower. The SAT in more complex paradigms has been given less attention, largely due to limits in the models and statistics that can be applied to such tasks. Here, we have conducted the first analysis of the SAT in multiple signal processing, using recently developed technologies for measuring capacity that take into account both response time and choice probability. We show that the primary influence of caution in our redundant-target experiments is on the threshold amount of evidence required to trigger a response. However, in a departure from the usual SAT effect, we found that participants strategically ignored redundant information when they were forced to respond quickly, but only when the additional stimulus was reliably redundant. Interestingly, because the capacity of the system was severely limited on redundant-target trials, ignoring additional targets meant that processing was more efficient when making fast decisions than when making slow and accurate decisions, where participants’ limited resources had to be divided between the 2 stimuli. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Anchoring in action: Manual estimates of slant are powerfully biased toward initial hand orientation and are correlated with verbal report.
    People verbally overestimate hill slant by approximately 15° to 25°, whereas manual estimates (e.g., palm board measures) are thought to be more accurate. The relative accuracy of palm boards has contributed to the widely cited theoretical claim that they tap into an accurate, but unconscious, motor representation of locomotor space. In the current work, 4 replications (total N = 204) carried out by 2 different laboratories tested an alternative anchoring hypothesis that manual action measures give low estimates because they are always initiated from horizontal. The results of all 4 replications indicate that the bias from response anchoring can entirely account for the difference between manual and verbal estimates. Moreover, consistent correlations between manual and verbal estimates given by the same observers support the conclusion that both measures are based on the same visual representation. Concepts from the study of judgment under uncertainty apply even to action measures in information rich environments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Dynamics of visibility, confidence, and choice during eye movements.
    We study the dynamics of objective and subjective measures of visibility and choice in brief presentations occurring within a fixation during free eye-movements. We show that brief presentations yield homogeneous levels of performance in a window that extends almost throughout the entire fixation. Instead, confidence judgments vary for presentations occurring at different moments of the fixations. When the target occurs close to the onset of the fixation, it is reported accurately but with lower values of confidence; when it occurs close to the end of the fixation, it is reported with high confidence (Experiments 1 and 2). Consistently, in experiments in which participants can freely choose to report items, we observe a report bias toward the end of the fixation, where the maximum of confidence occurs for experiments with a single target (Experiments 3 and 4). Hence, these results suggest that confidence is not merely a measure of accumulated stimulus energy but instead varies reflecting an endogenous integration process by which later stimuli are assigned greater confidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Information for coarticulation: Static signal properties or formant dynamics?
    Perception of a speech segment changes depending on properties of surrounding segments in a phenomenon called compensation for coarticulation (Mann, 1980). The nature of information that drives these perceptual changes is a matter of debate. One account attributes perceptual shifts to low-level auditory system contrast effects based on static portions of the signal (e.g., third formant [F3] center or average frequency; Lotto & Kluender, 1998). An alternative account is that listeners’ perceptual shifts result from listeners attuning to the acoustic effects of gestural overlap and that this information for coarticulation is necessarily dynamic (Fowler, 2006). In a pair of experiments, we used sinewave speech precursors to investigate the nature of information for compensation for coarticulation. In Experiment 1, as expected by both accounts, we found that sinewave speech precursors produce shifts in following segments. In Experiment 2, we investigated whether effects in Experiment 1 were driven by static F3 offsets of sinewave speech precursors, or by dynamic relationships among their formants. We temporally reversed F1 and F2 in sinewave precursors, preserving static F3 offset and average F1, F2 and F3 frequencies, but disrupting dynamic formant relationships. Despite having identical F3s, selectively reversed precursors produced effects that were significantly smaller and restricted to only a small portion of the continuum. We conclude that dynamic formant relations rather than static properties of the precursor provide information for compensation for coarticulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Unloading and reloading working memory: Attending to one item frees capacity.
    During the retention interval of a working memory task, presenting a retro-cue directs attention to 1 of the items in working memory. Testing the cued item leads to faster and more accurate responses. We contrasted 5 explanations of this benefit: (a) removal of noncued items, (b) strengthening of the cued item, (c) protection from probe interference, (d) protection from degradation, and (e) prioritization during the decision process. Experiment 1 showed that retro-cues reduced the set size effect in a visual recognition task, and did so increasingly with more time available to use the retro-cue. This finding is predicted only by Hypotheses 1 and 2. Hypotheses 3 through 5 were ruled out as explanations of the retro-cue benefit in this experiment. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants encoded 2 sequentially presented memory sets. In half of the trials, 1 item from the first set was retro-cued during the interset interval. Retro-cues improved memory for the second set. This reloading benefit is predicted only by the removal hypothesis: Irrelevant contents are removed from working memory, freeing capacity to encode new contents. Experiment 3 also yielded evidence that strengthening of the cued item might contribute to the retro-cue effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Slippage theory and the flanker paradigm: An early-selection account of selective attention failures.
    In the flanker paradigm, participants identify a target letter while attempting to ignore an irrelevant flanker. When the identity of this flanker mismatches the target, target identification is slowed (called the flanker compatibility effect). Interestingly, reducing the array set size greatly increases flanker compatibility effects. This finding inspired 2 prominent explanations: perceptual load (mandatory capacity spillover) and dilution (visual interference). However, an alternative explanation, based on early selection theory and attention capture research, can also explain the data pattern. According to this “slippage” account, observers sometimes accidentally allocate spatial attention to the flanker (see Lachter, Forster, & Ruthruff, 2004), especially when the flanker has the property used to find the target (cf. contingent capture). In Experiments 1 through 4, deterring slippage to the flanker nearly eliminated flanker compatibility effects, even at the low set size. In Experiment 5, promoting slippage to the flanker dramatically enhanced compatibility effects, even at the high set size. Thus, slippage strongly modulates flanker effects and can, by itself, readily explain the impact of set size. The perceptual load and dilution accounts are, at best, incomplete, and, at worst, not needed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Taking aim at the Müller–Lyer goalkeeper illusion: An illusion bias in action that originates from the target not being optically specified.
    Van der Kamp and Masters (2008) reported that goalkeeper postures that mimic the Müller–Lyer (1889) illusion affect the location of handball penalty throws. In four experiments, we aimed to verify that the effects on throwing are consistent with an illusory bias (Experiments 1 and 2), and to examine how these observations can be understood in the context of Milner and Goodale’s (1995, 2008) two-visual systems model (Experiments 3 and 4). Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed that the goalkeeper Müller–Lyer posture may indeed induce an illusory bias in throwing, implying that allocentric information is used in far-aiming action tasks. Experiment 3 demonstrated that the bias was not related to a participant’s throwing skill. Experiment 4 suggested that an absence of visual information to instantaneously specify target location may have induced use of context-dependent allocentric information, causing the throwing bias. The results are discussed in the context of recent debates about the roles of the two-visual systems in perception and action. It is suggested that the two systems are first and foremost perceptual systems that serve the pickup of different sources of information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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