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Cognitive Science

Aiyana K Willard, Rita A McNamara
Previous research suggests that how people conceive of minds depends on the culture in which they live, both in determining how they interact with other human minds and how they infer the unseen minds of gods. We use exploratory factor analysis to compare how people from different societies with distinct models of human minds and different religious traditions perceive the minds of humans and gods. In two North American samples (American adults, N = 186; Canadian students, N = 202), we replicated a previously found two-factor agency/experience structure for both human and divine minds, but in Fijian samples (Indigenous iTaukei Fijians, N = 77; Fijians of Indian descent, N = 214; total N = 679) we found a three-factor structure, with the additional containing items related to social relationships...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Steven Samuel, Kresimir Durdevic, Edward W Legg, Robert Lurz, Nicola S Clayton
An important part of our Theory of Mind-the ability to reason about other people's unobservable mental states-is the ability to attribute false beliefs to others. We investigated whether processing these false beliefs, as well as similar but nonmental representations, is reliant on language. Participants watched videos in which a protagonist hides a gift and either takes a photo of it or writes a text about its location before a second person inadvertently moves the present to a different location, thereby rendering the belief and either the photo or text false...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Maria Sakarias, Monique Flecken
We study how people attend to and memorize endings of events that differ in the degree to which objects in them are affected by an action: Resultative events show objects that undergo a visually salient change in state during the course of the event (peeling a potato), and non-resultative events involve objects that undergo no, or only partial state change (stirring in a pan). We investigate general cognitive principles, and potential language-specific influences, in verbal and nonverbal event encoding and memory, across two experiments with Dutch and Estonian participants...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Angele Yazbec, Michael P Kaschak, Arielle Borovsky
Children and adults use established global knowledge to generate real-time linguistic predictions, but less is known about how listeners generate predictions in circumstances that semantically conflict with long-standing event knowledge. We explore these issues in adults and 5- to 10-year-old children using an eye-tracked sentence comprehension task that tests real-time activation of unexpected events that had been previously encountered in brief stories. Adults generated predictions for these previously unexpected events based on these discourse cues alone, whereas children overall did not override their established global knowledge to generate expectations for semantically conflicting material; however, they do show an increased ability to integrate discourse cues to generate appropriate predictions for sentential endings...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Josetxu Orrantia, David Muñez, Laura Matilla, Rosario Sanchez, Sara San Romualdo, Lieven Verschaffel
A growing body of research has shown that symbolic number processing relates to individual differences in mathematics. However, it remains unclear which mechanisms of symbolic number processing are crucial-accessing underlying magnitude representation of symbols (i.e., symbol-magnitude associations), processing relative order of symbols (i.e., symbol-symbol associations), or processing of symbols per se. To address this question, in this study adult participants performed a dots-number word matching task-thought to be a measure of symbol-magnitude associations (numerical magnitude processing)-a numeral-ordering task that focuses on symbol-symbol associations (numerical order processing), and a digit-number word matching task targeting symbolic processing per se...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Marcus E Galle, Jamie Klein-Packard, Kayleen Schreiber, Bob McMurray
Speech unfolds over time, and the cues for even a single phoneme are rarely available simultaneously. Consequently, to recognize a single phoneme, listeners must integrate material over several hundred milliseconds. Prior work contrasts two accounts: (a) a memory buffer account in which listeners accumulate auditory information in memory and only access higher level representations (i.e., lexical representations) when sufficient information has arrived; and (b) an immediate integration scheme in which lexical representations can be partially activated on the basis of early cues and then updated when more information arises...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Linda von Sobbe, Edith Scheifele, Claudia Maienborn, Rolf Ulrich
Several reaction time (RT) studies report faster responses when responses to temporal information are arranged in a spatially congruent manner than when this arrangement is incongruent. The resulting space-time congruency effect is commonly attributed to a culturally salient localization of temporal information along a mental timeline (e.g., a mental timeline that runs from left to right). The present study aims to provide a compilation of the published RT studies on this time-space association in order to estimate the size of its effect and the extent of potential publication bias in this field of research...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Ascensión Pagán, Kate Nation
We examined whether variations in contextual diversity, spacing, and retrieval practice influenced how well adults learned new words from reading experience. Eye movements were recorded as adults read novel words embedded in sentences. In the learning phase, unfamiliar words were presented either in the same sentence repeated four times (same context) or in four different sentences (diverse context). Spacing was manipulated by presenting the sentences under distributed or non-distributed practice. After learning, half of the participants were asked to retrieve the new words, and half had an extra exposure to the new words...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Justin Garten, Brendan Kennedy, Joe Hoover, Kenji Sagae, Morteza Dehghani
Meaning depends on context. This applies in obvious cases like deictics or sarcasm as well as more subtle situations like framing or persuasion. One key aspect of this is the identity of the participants in an interaction. Our interpretation of an utterance shifts based on a variety of factors, including personal history, background knowledge, and our relationship to the source. While obviously an incomplete model of individual differences, demographic factors provide a useful starting point and allow us to capture some of this variance...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Candice M Mills, Kaitlin R Sands, Sydney P Rowles, Ian L Campbell
When someone encounters an explanation perceived as weak, this may lead to a feeling of deprivation or tension that can be resolved by engaging in additional learning. This study examined to what extent children respond to weak explanations by seeking additional learning opportunities. Seven- to ten-year-olds (N = 81) explored questions and explanations (circular or mechanistic) about 12 animals using a novel Android tablet application. After rating the quality of an initial explanation, children could request and receive additional information or return to the main menu to choose a new animal to explore...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Jessica Sullivan, Juliana Boucher, Reina J Kiefer, Katherine Williams, David Barner
Word learning depends critically on the use of linguistic context to constrain the likely meanings of words. However, the mechanisms by which children infer word meaning from linguistic context are still poorly understood. In this study, we asked whether adults (n = 58) and 2- to 6-year-old children (n = 180) use discourse coherence relations (i.e., the meaningful relationships between elements within a discourse) to constrain their interpretation of novel words. Specifically, we showed participants videos of novel animals exchanging objects...
January 2019: Cognitive Science
Julius Hassemer, Bodo Winter
Speakers frequently perform representational gestures to depict concepts in an iconic fashion. For example, a speaker may hold her index finger and thumb apart to indicate the size of a matchstick. However, the process by which a physical handshape is mentally transformed into abstract spatial information is not well understood. We present a series of experiments that investigate how people decode the physical form of an articulator to derive imaginary geometrical constructs, which we call "gesture form...
November 23, 2018: Cognitive Science
John P Hutson, Joseph P Magliano, Lester C Loschky
What role do moment-to-moment comprehension processes play in visual attentional selection in picture stories? The current work uniquely tested the role of bridging inference generation processes on eye movements while participants viewed picture stories. Specific components of the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT) were tested. Bridging inference generation was induced by manipulating the presence of highly inferable actions embedded in picture stories. When inferable actions are missing, participants have increased viewing times for the immediately following critical image (Magliano, Larson, Higgs, & Loschky, )...
November 16, 2018: Cognitive Science
Eric Schulz, Charley M Wu, Quentin J M Huys, Andreas Krause, Maarten Speekenbrink
How do people pursue rewards in risky environments, where some outcomes should be avoided at all costs? We investigate how participant search for spatially correlated rewards in scenarios where one must avoid sampling rewards below a given threshold. This requires not only the balancing of exploration and exploitation, but also reasoning about how to avoid potentially risky areas of the search space. Within risky versions of the spatially correlated multi-armed bandit task, we show that participants' behavior is aligned well with a Gaussian process function learning algorithm, which chooses points based on a safe optimization routine...
November 2, 2018: Cognitive Science
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November 2018: Cognitive Science
Iris Monster, Shiri Lev-Ari
Propagation of novel linguistic terms is an important aspect of language use and language change. Here, we test how social network size influences people's likelihood of adopting novel labels by examining hashtag use on Twitter. Specifically, we test whether following fewer Twitter users leads to more varied and malleable hashtag use on Twitter, because each followed user is ascribed greater weight and thus exerts greater influence on the following user. Focusing on Dutch users tweeting about the terrorist attack in Brussels in 2016, we show that people who follow fewer other users use a larger number of unique hashtags to refer to the event, reflecting greater malleability and variability in use...
November 2018: Cognitive Science
Dale J Cohen, Daryn Blanc-Goldhammer, Philip T Quinlan
Current understanding of the development of quantity representations is based primarily on performance in the number-line task. We posit that the data from number-line tasks reflect the observer's underlying representation of quantity, together with the cognitive strategies and skills required to equate line length and quantity. Here, we specify a unified theory linking the underlying psychological representation of quantity and the associated strategies in four variations of the number-line task: the production and estimation variations of the bounded and unbounded number-line tasks...
October 29, 2018: Cognitive Science
I Nyoman Aryawibawa, Ben Ambridge
A central debate in the cognitive sciences surrounds the nature of adult speakers' linguistic representations: Are they purely syntactic (a traditional and widely held view; e.g., Branigan & Pickering, ), or are they semantically structured? A recent study (Ambridge, Bidgood, Pine, Rowland, & Freudenthal, ) found support for the latter view, showing that adults' acceptability judgments of passive sentences were significantly predicted by independent semantic "affectedness" ratings designed to capture the putative semantics of the construction (e...
October 29, 2018: Cognitive Science
Yuki Kamide, Anuenue Kukona
We investigated the influence of globally ungrammatical local syntactic constraints on sentence comprehension, as well as the corresponding activation of global and local representations. In Experiment 1, participants viewed visual scenes with objects like a carousel and motorbike while hearing sentences with noun phrase (NP) or verb phrase (VP) modifiers like "The girl who likes the man (from London/very much) will ride the carousel." In both cases, "girl" and "ride" predicted carousel as the direct object; however, the locally coherent combination "the man from London will ride…" in NP cases alternatively predicted motorbike...
October 20, 2018: Cognitive Science
Rose K Hendricks, Benjamin K Bergen, Tyler Marghetis
Languages around the world use a recurring strategy to discuss abstract concepts: describe them metaphorically, borrowing language from more concrete domains. We "plan ahead" to the future, "count up" to higher numbers, and "warm" to new friends. Past work has found that these ways of talking have implications for how we think, so that shared systems of linguistic metaphors can produce shared conceptualizations. On the other hand, these systematic linguistic metaphors might not just be the cause but also the effect of shared, non-linguistic ways of thinking...
October 17, 2018: Cognitive Science
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