New paper on jury decision making

How does the Scottish “not proven” acquittal option affect juror decision making?

Lee J. Curley, Jennifer Murray, Rory MacLean, James Munro, Martin Lages, Lara A. Frumkin, Phyllis Laybourn & David Brown (2021) Verdict spotting: investigating the effects of juror bias, evidence anchors and verdict system in jurors, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2021.1904450

New paper: Cross-linguistic differences in parafoveal semantic and orthographic processing

Fernandez, L. B., Scheepers, C., & Allen, S. E. M. (2021). Cross-linguistic differences in parafoveal semantic and orthographic processing. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, early online publication.

Abstract In this study we investigated parafoveal processing by L1 and late L2 speakers of English (L1 German) while reading in English. We hypothesized that L2ers would make use of semantic and orthographic information parafoveally. Using the gaze contingent boundary paradigm, we manipulated six parafoveal masks in a sentence (Mark found th*e wood for the fire; * indicates the invisible boundary): identical word mask (wood), English orthographic mask (wook), English string mask (zwwl), German mask (holz), German orthographic mask (holn), and German string mask (kxfs). We found an orthographic benefit for L1ers and L2ers when the mask was orthographically related to the target word (wood vs. wook) in line with previous L1 research. English L2ers did not derive a benefit (rather an interference) when a non-cognate translation mask from their L1 was used (wood vs. holz), but did derive a benefit from a German orthographic mask (wood vs. holn). While unexpected, it may be that L2ers incur a switching cost when the complete German word is presented parafoveally, and derive a benefit by keeping both lexicons active when a partial German word is presented parafoveally (narrowing down lexical candidates). To the authors’ knowledge there is no mention of parafoveal processing in any model of L2 processing/reading, and the current study provides the first evidence for a parafoveal non-cognate orthographic benefit (but only with partial orthographic overlap) in sentence reading for L2ers. We discuss how these findings fit into the framework of bilingual word recognition theories.

New publication: Cognitive Psychology (2nd ed.). McGraw Hill.

Gilhooly, K., Lyddy, F., Pollick, F., & Buratti, S. (2020). Cognitive Psychology (2nd ed.). McGraw Hill.

Societies have always depended upon humanity’s ability to correctly perceive situations and determine suitable subsequent actions. Since this requires us to accurately deal with information, it is important to understand not only how we (mostly) do this, but also how errors may arise. 

This is the focus of the new, second edition of Cognitive Psychology, one of the most dynamic areas in its field. Accessible yet comprehensive, this text aims to overcome the gap that arises between real life and laboratory studies, by providing an appropriate balance of research versus application.

New paper: Tweet valence, volume of abuse, and observers’ dark tetrad personality factors influence victim-blaming and the perceived severity of twitter cyberabuse

Hand, C.J., Scott, G.G., Brodie, Z.P., Ye, X., & Sereno, S.C. (2021). Tweet valence, volume of abuse, and observers’ dark tetrad personality factors influence victim-blaming and the perceived severity of
twitter cyberabuse. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 3.

Previous research into Twitter cyberabuse has yielded several findings: victim-blaming (VB) was influenced by victims’ initial tweet-valence; perceived severity (PS) was influenced independently by tweet valence and abuse volume; VB and PS were predicted by observer narcissism and psychopathy. However, this previous research was limited by its narrow focus on celebrity victims, and lack of consideration of observer sadism. The current study investigated 125 observers’ VB and PS perceptions of lay-user cyberabuse, and influence of observers’ Dark Tetrad scores (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, sadism). We manipulated initial-tweet valence (negative, neutral, positive) and received abuse volume (low, high). Our results indicated that VB was highest following negative initial tweets; VB was higher following high-volume abuse. PS did not differ across initial-tweet valences; PS was greater following a high abuse volume. Regression analyses revealed that observer sadism predicted VB across initial-tweet valences; psychopathy predicted PS when initial tweets were ‘emotive’ (negative, positive), whereas Machiavellianism predicted PS when they were neutral. Our results show that perceptions of lay-user abuse are influenced interactively by victim-generated content and received abuse volume. Our current results contrast with perceptions of celebrity-abuse, which is mostly determined by victim-generated content. Findings are contextualised within the Warranting Theory of impression formation.

New paper: Investigating the foreign language effect as a mitigating influence on the ‘optimality bias’ in moral judgements

Bodig, E., Toivo, W., & Scheepers, C. (2019). Investigating the foreign language effect as a mitigating influence on the ‘optimality bias’ in moral judgements. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, DOI: 10.1007/s41809-019-00050-4 .

Abstract Bilinguals often display reduced emotional resonance their second language (L2) and therefore tend to be less prone to decision-making biases in their L2 (e.g., Costa, Foucart, Arnon, Aparici, & Apesteguia, 2014; Costa, Foucart, Hayakawa, et al., 2014) – a phenomenon coined Foreign Language Effect (FLE). The present pre-registered experiments investigated whether FLE can mitigate a special case of cognitive bias, called optimality bias, which occurs when observers erroneously blame actors for making “suboptimal” choices, even when there was not sufficient information available for the actor to identify the best choice (De Freitas & Johnson, 2018). In Experiment 1, L1 English speakers (N=63) were compared to L2 English speakers from various L1 backgrounds (N=56). In Experiment 2, we compared Finnish bilinguals completing the study in either Finnish (L1, N=103) or English (L2, N=108). Participants read a vignette describing the same tragic outcome resulting from either an optimal or suboptimal choice made by a hypothetical actor with insufficient knowledge. Their blame attributions were measured using a 4-item scale. A strong optimality bias was observed; participants assigned significantly more blame in the suboptimal choice conditions, despite being told that the actor did not know which choice was best. However, no clear interaction with language was found. In Experiment 1, bilinguals gave reliably higher blame scores than natives. In Experiment 2, no clear influence of target language was found, but the results suggested that the FLE is actually more detrimental than helpful in the domain of blame attribution. Future research should investigate the benefits of emotional involvement in blame attribution, including factors such as empathy and perspective-taking.

Keywords Bilingualism, Foreign Language Effect, attribution, decision-making, blame

New paper: Studying human eating behaviour in the laboratory: Theoretical considerations and practical suggestions

Best, M., Barsalou, L. W., & Papies, E. K. (in press). Studying human eating behaviour in the laboratory: Theoretical considerations and practical suggestions. Appetite.

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New Paper: Exploring collective experience in watching dance through inter-subject correlation and functional connectivity of fMRI brain activity

Until 6 July, 2018 there is free access to the paper/chapter at:

Pollick, F. E., Vicary, S., Noble, K., Kim, N., Jang, S., & Stevens, C. J. (2018). Exploring collective experience in watching dance through intersubject correlation and functional connectivity of fMRI brain activity. Progress in brain research.

Abstract: How the brain contends with naturalistic viewing conditions when it must cope with concurrent streams of diverse sensory inputs and internally generated thoughts is still largely an open question. In this study, we used fMRI to record brain activity while a group of 18 participants watched an edited dance duet accompanied by a soundtrack. After scanning, participants performed a short behavioral task to identify neural correlates of dance segments that could later be recalled. Intersubject correlation (ISC) analysis was used to identify the brain regions correlated among observers, and the results of this ISC map were used to define a set of regions for subsequent analysis of functional connectivity. The resulting network was found to be composed of eight subnetworks and the significance of these subnetworks is discussed. While most subnetworks could be explained by sensory and motor processes, two subnetworks appeared related more to complex cognition. These results inform our understanding of the neural basis of common experience in watching dance and open new directions for the study of complex cognition.