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Psychological Review

Anthony D Mancini
Human beings are routinely exposed to varying forms of acute adversity. Our responses take varying forms too, ranging from chronic distress to resilience. Although this pronounced variability is widely recognized, one possible outcome of acute adversity has been invariably, though understandably, ignored: an improvement in psychological and social functioning. In this analysis, I argue that, under some conditions, people can experience marked psychological improvement after acute adversity. I describe this response pattern as psychosocial gains from adversity (PGA) and define it as favorable and reliable change on an index of psychological functioning from before to after exposure to adversity...
February 14, 2019: Psychological Review
Michael Henry Tessler, Noah D Goodman
Language provides simple ways of communicating generalizable knowledge to each other (e.g., "Birds fly," "John hikes," and "Fire makes smoke"). Though found in every language and emerging early in development, the language of generalization is philosophically puzzling and has resisted precise formalization. Here, we propose the first formal account of generalizations conveyed with language that makes quantitative predictions about human understanding. The basic idea is that the language of generalization expresses that an event or a property occurs relatively often, where what counts as relatively often depends upon one's prior expectations...
February 14, 2019: Psychological Review
Shereen J Chaudhry, George Loewenstein
From the time we are children, we are taught to say "thank you" and "I'm sorry." These communications are central to many social interactions, and the failure to say them often leads to conflict in relationships. Research has documented that, alongside the impact they can have on relationships, apologies and thanks can also impact material outcomes as small as restaurant tips and as significant as settlements of medical malpractice lawsuits. But, it is trivial to utter the words; how can such "cheap talk" carry so much value? In this article, we propose a "responsibility exchange theory" that explains why these communications are not costless, and which draws connections between four forms of communication that have not previously been connected: thanking, apologizing, bragging, and blaming...
February 14, 2019: Psychological Review
Jeffrey L Elman, Ken McRae
Our knowledge of events and situations in the world plays a critical role in our ability to understand what is happening around us, to predict what might happen next, and to comprehend language. What has not been so clear is the form and structure of this knowledge, how it is learned, and how it is deployed in real time. Despite many important theoretical proposals, often using different terminology such as schemas, scripts, frames, and event knowledge, developing a model that addresses these three questions (the form, learning, and use of such knowledge) has remained an elusive challenge for decades...
January 31, 2019: Psychological Review
Rebecca Neel, Bethany Lassetter
A growing body of research shows that older adults, Black women, and other groups often encounter stigmatization that manifests not as negative prejudice, but as indifference and inattention-that is, interpersonal invisibility. We propose an affordance-management theory to explain who is interpersonally invisible, to whom, and with what consequences. A social affordance-management perspective suggests that people seek to detect and strategically engage with those who facilitate or obstruct achievement of important goals...
January 28, 2019: Psychological Review
Jihyun Yeonan-Kim, Gregory Francis
Visual persistence (stimulus perception that prolongs for a few milliseconds after the physical disappearance of the stimulus) and afterimages (an illusory percept that lingers after the physical disappearance of the stimulus at the retinotopic location of the preceding stimulus) are classic perceptual phenomena reflecting temporal characteristics of the visual system. These phenomena are modulated by some common stimulus aspects: A longer stimulus generates shorter persistence and a longer afterimage and a lower spatial-frequency stimulus generates shorter persistence and a stronger afterimage...
January 28, 2019: Psychological Review
Fintan Costello, Paul Watts
When presented with 2 samples (a smaller sample from a Minority population and a larger sample from a Majority population), where some rare or frequent features occur at exactly the same rate in both samples, people reliably associate the rare feature with the Minority population and the frequent feature with the Majority population. This pattern is referred to as "illusory correlation," reflecting the standard assumption that such associations are fundamentally irrational. In this article we show that this assumption is incorrect, and demonstrate that this pattern of association linking rare features with the Minority and frequent features with the Majority (given a sample where those features occurred at the same proportion in both categories, and no further information) is in fact correct and follows a result in epistemic probability theory known as the "Rule of Succession...
January 24, 2019: Psychological Review
Kevin J Miller, Amitai Shenhav, Elliot A Ludvig
Habits form a crucial component of behavior. In recent years, key computational models have conceptualized habits as arising from model-free reinforcement learning mechanisms, which typically select between available actions based on the future value expected to result from each. Traditionally, however, habits have been understood as behaviors that can be triggered directly by a stimulus, without requiring the animal to evaluate expected outcomes. Here, we develop a computational model instantiating this traditional view, in which habits develop through the direct strengthening of recently taken actions rather than through the encoding of outcomes...
January 24, 2019: Psychological Review
Maayan Stavans, Yi Lin, Di Wu, Renée Baillargeon
Comparison of infant findings from the physical-reasoning and object-individuation literatures reveals a contradictory picture. On the one hand, physical-reasoning results indicate that young infants can use featural information to guide their actions on objects and to detect interaction violations (when objects interact in ways that are not physically possible) as well as change violations (when objects spontaneously undergo featural changes that are not physically possible). On the other hand, object-individuation results indicate that young infants typically cannot use featural information to detect individuation violations (when the number of objects revealed at the end of an event is less than the number of objects introduced during the event)...
December 13, 2018: Psychological Review
Brian Rogers
The title of Dhanraj Vishwanath's (2014) Psychological Review article is, of course, adapted from the title of George Berkeley's (1709/1922) book, "Towards a New Theory of Vision," and, as a consequence, it promises to provide us with a radically new understanding of 3D vision. Does it succeed? Vishwanath certainly raised important questions about what we mean by stereopsis, and he does a good job in reviewing some of the more recent findings on how particular viewing conditions affect stereopsis; however, it disappoints with respect to the claim that it offers a "new theory of stereopsis...
January 2019: Psychological Review
Roland Pfister
Ideomotor accounts of human action control posit that human agents represent actions in terms of their perceivable consequences; selecting, planning, and initiating a voluntary action is thus assumed to be mediated by action-effect anticipations. Corresponding empirical investigations have often employed arbitrary effects in the agent's environment to study action-effect learning and effect-based action control. This strategy has provided accumulating evidence in support of ideomotor mechanisms, but the widespread focus on environment-related action effects has also created misperceptions of what ideomotor accounts aim to explain...
January 2019: Psychological Review
Jean-Rémy Martin, Elisabeth Pacherie
Hypnotic suggestions can lead to altered experiences of agency, reality, and memory. The present work is primarily concerned with alterations of the sense of agency (SoA) following motor suggestions. When people respond to the suggestion that their arm is rising up all by itself, they usually have a feeling of passivity for their action. The mechanisms leading to such alterations of the SoA are still controversial. We propose a theoretical model based on the framework of predictive coding: The view that the brain constantly generates hypotheses that predict sensory input at varying levels of abstraction and minimizes prediction errors either by updating its prior hypotheses-perceptual inference-or by modifying sensory input through action-active inference...
January 2019: Psychological Review
Mikhail S Spektor, Sebastian Gluth, Laura Fontanesi, Jörg Rieskamp
Traditional theories of decision making require that humans evaluate choice options independently of each other. The independence principle underlying this notion states that the relative choice probability of two options should be independent of the choice set. Previous research demonstrated systematic violations of this principle in decisions from description (context effects), leading to the development of various models explaining them. Yet, the cognitive processes underlying multi-alternative decisions from experience remain unclear...
January 2019: Psychological Review
Stewart M McCauley, Morten H Christiansen
While usage-based approaches to language development enjoy considerable support from computational studies, there have been few attempts to answer a key computational challenge posed by usage-based theory: the successful modeling of language learning as language use. We present a usage-based computational model of language acquisition which learns in a purely incremental fashion, through online processing based on chunking, and which offers broad, cross-linguistic coverage while uniting key aspects of comprehension and production within a single framework...
January 2019: Psychological Review
Rahul Bhui, Samuel J Gershman
The theory of decision by sampling (DbS) proposes that an attribute's subjective value is its rank within a sample of attribute values retrieved from memory. This can account for instances of context dependence beyond the reach of classic theories that assume stable preferences. In this paper, we provide a normative justification for DbS that is based on the principle of efficient coding. The efficient representation of information in a noiseless communication channel is characterized by a uniform response distribution, which the rank transformation implements...
November 2018: Psychological Review
Roger Ratcliff
A new diffusion model of decision making in continuous space is presented and tested. The model is a sequential sampling model in which both spatially continuously distributed evidence and noise are accumulated up to a decision criterion (a 1 dimensional [1D] line or a 2 dimensional [2D] plane). There are two major advances represented in this research. The first is to use spatially continuously distributed Gaussian noise in the decision process (Gaussian process or Gaussian random field noise) which allows the model to represent truly spatially continuous processes...
November 2018: Psychological Review
Shan Shen, Wei Ji Ma
Given the same sensory stimuli in the same task, human observers do not always make the same response. Well-known sources of behavioral variability are sensory noise and guessing. Visual short-term memory (STM) studies have suggested that the precision of the sensory noise is itself variable. However, it is unknown whether precision is also variable in perceptual tasks without a memory component. We searched for evidence for variable precision in 11 visual perception tasks with a single relevant feature, orientation...
October 18, 2018: Psychological Review
Angela G Pirlott, Corey L Cook
Stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behaviors directed toward people based on their sexual orientation vary broadly. Existing perspectives on sexual prejudice argue for different underlying causes, sometimes provide disparate or conflicting evidence for its roots, and typically fail to account for variances observed across studies. We propose an affordance management approach to understanding sexual prejudice, which weds the fundamental motives theory with the sociofunctional threat-based approach to prejudice to provide a broader explanation for the causes and outcomes of sexual prejudice and to explain inter- and intragroup prejudices more broadly...
October 15, 2018: Psychological Review
Ralph Hertwig, Timothy J Pleskac
Regenwetter and Robinson (2017) discuss a challenging construct-behavior gap in psychological research. It can emerge when testing hypotheses that pertain to a theoretical construct (e.g., preferences) on the basis of observed behavior (e.g., actual choices). The problem is that the different heuristic methods that are sometimes used to link overt choices to covert preferences may ignore heterogeneity between and within individuals, rendering inferences drawn from choices to preferences invalid. Regenwetter and Robinson's remedy is to make heterogeneity an explicit part of the theory...
October 2018: Psychological Review
Melissa J Sharpe, Simon Killcross
Theories of functioning in the medial prefrontal cortex are distinct across appetitively and aversively motivated procedures. In the appetitive domain, it is argued that the medial prefrontal cortex is important for producing adaptive behavior when circumstances change. This view advocates a role for this region in using higher-order information to bias performance appropriate to that circumstance. Conversely, literature born out of aversive studies has led to the theory that the prelimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex is necessary for the expression of conditioned fear, whereas the infralimbic region is necessary for a decrease in responding following extinction...
October 2018: Psychological Review
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