Subscribe: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied - Vol 15, Iss 4
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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied - Vol 22, Iss 4

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 deve

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Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Where are you? The effect of uncertainty and its visual representation on location judgments in GPS-like displays.


Two experiments revealed how nonexperts interpret visualizations of positional uncertainty on GPS-like displays and how the visual representation of uncertainty affects their judgments. Participants were shown maps with representations of their current location; locational uncertainty was visualized as either a circle (confidence interval) or a faded glyph (indicating the probability density function directly). When shown a single circle or faded glyph, participants assumed they were located at the center of the uncertain region. In a task that required combining 2 uncertain estimates of their location, the most common strategy—integration—was to take both estimates into account, with more weight given to the more certain estimate. Participants’ strategies were not affected by how uncertainty was visualized, but visualization affected the consistency of responses, both within individuals and in relation to models of individual’s preferred strategies. The results indicate that nonexperts have an intuitive understanding of uncertainty. Rather than arguing for a particular method of visualizing uncertainty, the data suggest that the best visualization method is task dependent. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Improving metacomprehension accuracy in an undergraduate course context.


Students tend to have poor metacomprehension when learning from text, meaning they are not able to distinguish between what they have understood well and what they have not. Although there are a good number of studies that have explored comprehension monitoring accuracy in laboratory experiments, fewer studies have explored this in authentic course contexts. This study investigated the effect of an instructional condition that encouraged comprehension-test-expectancy and self-explanation during study on metacomprehension accuracy in the context of an undergraduate course in research methods. Results indicated that when students received this instructional condition, relative metacomprehension accuracy was better than in a comparison condition. In addition, differences were also seen in absolute metacomprehension accuracy measures, strategic study behaviors, and learning outcomes. The results of the current study demonstrate that a condition that has improved relative metacomprehension accuracy in laboratory contexts may have value in real classroom contexts as well. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Interword and interletter spacing effects during reading revisited: Interactions with word and font characteristics.


Despite the large number of eye movement studies conducted over the past 30+ years, relatively few have examined the influence that font characteristics have on reading. However, there has been renewed interest in 1 particular font characteristic, letter spacing, which has both theoretical (visual word recognition) and applied (font design) importance. Recently published results that letter spacing has a bigger impact on the reading performance of dyslexic children have perhaps garnered the most attention (Zorzi et al., 2012). Unfortunately, the effects of increased interletter spacing have been mixed with some authors reporting facilitation and others reporting inhibition (van den Boer & Hakvoort, 2015). The authors present findings from 3 experiments designed to resolve the seemingly inconsistent letter-spacing effects and provide clarity to researchers and font designers and researchers. The results indicate that the direction of spacing effects depend on the size of the default spacing chosen by font developers. Experiment 3 found that interletter spacing interacts with interword spacing, as the required space between words depends on the amount of space used between letters. Interword spacing also interacted with word type as the inhibition seen with smaller interword spacing was evident with nouns and verbs but not with function words. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The short-lived benefits of variety seeking among the chronically indecisive.


This research investigated the influence of trait indecisiveness on variety-seeking behavior. Study 1 revealed that chronic indecisiveness was associated with increased variety-seeking behavior. Study 2A showed that the incidence of not choosing to make a choice was much lower among chronically indecisive people when a variety-pack option was available, and Study 2B showed that chronically indecisive people chose the variety pack even if it included their least preferred option. Study 3 demonstrated that chronically indecisive people contended with the negative emotion they experienced during choice making by choosing a mix of options. Study 4 revealed that the emotional benefits of variety seeking among the chronically indecisive were short-lived. Chronically indecisive people felt more satisfied and less anxious after choosing a mix of options. However, having chosen a mix, chronically indecisive people then faced more choices, specifically the choices of which specific option to consume on each specific occasion. In this way, variety seeking is a maladaptive long-term emotional coping strategy for the chronically indecisive. The results of this research have important theoretical implications for understanding the causes of variety-seeking behavior as well as practical implications for increasing (a) the incidence of choice making among chronically indecisive people and (b) satisfaction with the choices they do make. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Evaluating probe techniques and a situated theory of situation awareness.


Probe techniques for measuring situation awareness (SA) vary in whether scenarios are paused and displays visible while questions are presented. We examined which technique is least intrusive on workload and performance in air traffic control, and which is most sensitive at capturing differences in SA when automation varies. We also tested predictions from the situated SA theory, which holds that operators offload specific and low-priority information onto displays to limit internal processing. To accomplish these goals, Experiments 1 and 2 manipulated whether radar displays were visible and scenarios paused during queries. Experiment 2 also manipulated the amount of automation by varying the percentage of aircraft equipped with NextGen tools. We found all probe techniques were equally sensitive at capturing SA differences for different levels of equipage, but those that paused scenarios were least intrusive. Moreover, consistent with situated SA, blanking displays impaired ability to answer questions about specific but not general information. Experiment 3 recorded eye gaze frequency and duration during queries when scenarios were visible and not paused and, as predicted by situated SA, found participants were more likely to look at radar displays while answering specific and low-priority questions than general and high-priority questions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Contextual information and perceptual-cognitive expertise in a dynamic, temporally-constrained task.


Skilled performers extract and process postural information from an opponent during anticipation more effectively than their less-skilled counterparts. In contrast, the role and importance of contextual information in anticipation has received only minimal attention. We evaluate the importance of contextual information in anticipation and examine the underlying perceptual-cognitive processes. We present skilled and less-skilled tennis players with normal video or animated footage of the same rallies. In the animated condition, sequences were created using player movement and ball trajectory data, and postural information from the players was removed, constraining participants to anticipate based on contextual information alone. Participants judged ball bounce location of the opponent’s final occluded shot. The 2 groups were more accurate than chance in both display conditions with skilled being more accurate than less-skilled (Exp. 1) participants. When anticipating based on contextual information alone, skilled participants employed different gaze behaviors to less-skilled counterparts and provided verbal reports of thoughts which were indicative of more thorough evaluation of contextual information (Exp. 2). Findings highlight the importance of both postural and contextual information in anticipation and indicate that perceptual-cognitive expertise is underpinned by processes that facilitate more effective processing of contextual information, in the absence of postural information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

In the same group but moving in different directions: Coordination effects in tasks with simultaneous intellective and judgmental performance criteria.


Cooperative work can seldom be meaningfully reduced to a single performance criterion. However, there is little theory regarding how groups address tasks with multiple success criteria. Generalizing from the theory of task demonstrability we offer a foundation for understanding group performance on multifaceted tasks that includes a focus on subtask performance, overall performance, and the subjective experience of group members. We predict and find that the composition of groups with respect to member priorities (i.e., having a single member that is oriented toward an intellective criterion or multiple members oriented toward a judgmental criterion) outperform groups that do not meet these composition thresholds. Groups simultaneously meeting both thresholds outperform all comparisons, however their members report a poor shared understanding of the task, less cooperation, and less desire to work in that same group in the future. This research extends the traditional group performance literature into the more complex and ecologically valid area of multicriteria performance and addresses both theoretical and practical implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

You must be lying because I don’t understand you: Language proficiency and lie detection.


[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported online in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied on Jan 12 2017 (see record 2017-01553-001). ] We examined the impact of interviewees’ language proficiencies on observers’ lie detection performance. Observers (N = 132) were randomly assigned to make deception judgments about interviewees (N = 56) from Four proficiency groups (i.e., native, advanced, intermediate, and beginner English speakers). Discrimination between lie- and truth-tellers was poorest when observers judged beginner English speakers compared to interviewees from any other proficiency group. Observers were also less likely to exhibit a truth-bias toward nonnative than native English speakers. These results suggest that interviewing individuals in their nonnative languages can create inequalities in the justice system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Extracting critical information from group members’ partial knowledge using the Searching Concealed Information Test.


The Concealed Information Test (CIT) is a psychophysiological method designed to detect information that an individual cannot or does not wish to reveal. The present study used a version of the CIT, the Searching Concealed Information Test (SCIT), to extract information from partial information that participants possessed on a planned jailbreak. In the first experiment, 52 undergraduate students were randomly, but not equally, allocated into 15 different clusters of partial knowledge. In each, participants possessed knowledge about 2 of 6 critical items. Using a lenient decision rule, and a combined measure defined as the mean of 3 individual measures (skin conductance response amplitude, finger pulse, and respiration line length) 5 of the 6 critical items were identified. Experiment 2 extended the first experiment to unequal proportions of critical knowledge. Forty-six undergraduate students were randomly allocated into 25 clusters of partial knowledge in which 0, 1, 2, 3, or 6 pieces of information were known. Using the same lenient decision rule and the combined measure, all 6 items were identified. It was suggested that the Group SCIT is capable of assembling a comprehensive picture out of partial information possessed by informed innocent participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)