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Preview: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance - Vol 35, Iss 6

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance - Vol 43, Iss 1

The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance publishes studies on perception, control of action, and related cognitive processes.

Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:00:09 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Overlearned responses hinder S-R binding.


Two mechanisms that are important for human action control are the integration of individual action plans (see Hommel, Müsseler, Aschersleben, & Prinz, 2001) and the automatization of overlearned actions to familiar stimuli (see Logan, 1988). In the present study, we analyzed the influence of automatization on action plan integration. Integration with pronunciation responses were compared for response incompatible word and nonword stimuli. Stimulus–response binding effects were observed for nonwords. In contrast, words that automatically triggered an overlearned pronunciation response were not integrated with pronunciation of a different word. That is, automatized response retrieval hindered binding effects regarding the retrieving stimulus and a new response. The results are a first indication of the way that binding and learning processes interact, and might also be a first step to understanding the more complex interdependency of the processes responsible for stimulus–response binding in action control and stimulus–response associations in learning research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Accounting for stimulus-specific variation in precision reveals a discrete capacity limit in visual working memory.


If we view a visual scene that contains many objects, then momentarily close our eyes, some details persist while others seem to fade. Discrete models of visual working memory (VWM) assume that only a few items can be actively maintained in memory, beyond which pure guessing will emerge. Alternatively, continuous resource models assume that all items in a visual scene can be stored with some precision. Distinguishing between these competing models is challenging, however, as resource models that allow for stochastically variable precision (across items and trials) can produce error distributions that resemble random guessing behavior. Here, we evaluated the hypothesis that a major source of variability in VWM performance arises from systematic variation in precision across the stimuli themselves; such stimulus-specific variability can be incorporated into both discrete-capacity and variable-precision resource models. Participants viewed multiple oriented gratings, and then reported the orientation of a cued grating from memory. When modeling the overall distribution of VWM errors, we found that the variable-precision resource model outperformed the discrete model. However, VWM errors revealed a pronounced “oblique effect,” with larger errors for oblique than cardinal orientations. After this source of variability was incorporated into both models, we found that the discrete model provided a better account of VWM errors. Our results demonstrate that variable precision across the stimulus space can lead to an unwarranted advantage for resource models that assume stochastically variable precision. When these deterministic sources are adequately modeled, human working memory performance reveals evidence of a discrete capacity limit. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The cognitive architecture of anxiety-like behavioral inhibition.


The combination of reward and potential threat is termed approach/avoidance conflict and elicits specific behaviors, including passive avoidance and behavioral inhibition (BI). Anxiety-relieving drugs reduce these behaviors, and a rich psychological literature has addressed how personality traits dominated by BI predispose for anxiety disorders. Yet, a formal understanding of the cognitive inference and planning processes underlying anxiety-like BI is lacking. Here, we present and empirically test such formalization in the terminology of reinforcement learning. We capitalize on a human computer game in which participants collect sequentially appearing monetary tokens while under threat of virtual “predation.” First, we demonstrate that humans modulate BI according to experienced consequences. This suggests an instrumental implementation of BI generation rather than a Pavlovian mechanism that is agnostic about action outcomes. Second, an internal model that would make BI adaptive is expressed in an independent task that involves no threat. The existence of such internal model is a necessary condition to conclude that BI is under model-based control. These findings relate a plethora of human and nonhuman observations on BI to reinforcement learning theory, and crucially constrain the quest for its neural implementation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Categorical working memory representations are used in delayed estimation of continuous colors.


In the last decade, major strides have been made in understanding visual working memory through mathematical modeling of color production responses. In the delayed color estimation task (Wilken & Ma, 2004), participants are given a set of colored squares to remember, and a few seconds later asked to reproduce those colors by clicking on a color wheel. The degree of error in these responses is characterized with mathematical models that estimate working memory precision and the proportion of items remembered by participants. A standard mathematical model of color memory assumes that items maintained in memory are remembered through memory for precise details about the particular studied shade of color. We contend that this model is incomplete in its present form because no mechanism is provided for remembering the coarse category of a studied color. In the present work, we remedy this omission and present a model of visual working memory that includes both continuous and categorical memory representations. In 2 experiments, we show that our new model outperforms this standard modeling approach, which demonstrates that categorical representations should be accounted for by mathematical models of visual working memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Does text contrast mediate binocular advantages in reading?


Humans typically make use of both of their eyes in reading and efficient processes of binocular vision provide a stable, single percept of the text. Binocular reading also comes with an advantage: reading speed is high and word frequency effects (i.e., faster lexical processing of words that are more often encountered in a language) emerge during fixations, which is not the case for monocular reading (Jainta, Blythe, & Liversedge, 2014). A potential contributor to this benefit is the reduced contrast in monocular reading: reduced text contrasts in binocular reading are known to slow down reading and word identification (Reingold & Rayner, 2006). To investigate whether contrast reduction mediates the binocular advantage, we first replicated increased reading time and nullified frequency effects for monocular reading (Experiment 1). Next, we reduced the contrast for binocular but whole sentences to 70% (Weber-contrast); this reading condition resembled monocular reading, but found no effect on reading speed and word identification (Experiment 2). A reasonable conclusion, therefore, was that a reduction in contrast is not the (primary) factor that mediates less efficient lexical processing under monocular reading. In a third experiment (Experiment 3) we reduced the sentence contrast to 40% and the pattern of results showed that, globally, reading was slowed down but clear word frequency effects were present in the data. Thus, word identification processes during reading (i.e., the word frequency effect) were qualitatively different in monocular reading compared with effects observed when text was read with substantially reduced contrast. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The typical advantage of object-based attention reflects reduced spatial cost.


In Egly, Driver, and Rafal’s (1994) seminal study, an attentional precue appeared either at the target location (valid), a different location within the same object (invalid-same), or on another object (invalid-different). Performance was best in the valid condition, reflecting the advance allocation of spatial-attention. In addition, performance was better in the invalid-same than invalid-different condition, reflecting object-based attention allocation. However, previous studies that used this paradigm did not include a baseline condition in which neither a specific object nor a specific location was indicated. It is, therefore, not clear whether this object-based effect reflects a ‘genuine’ performance benefit over baseline, or a reduction of the cost inflicted by allocating spatial attention to the wrong location. To examine these possibilities, the authors performed 3 experiments in which they added a neutral condition to the classical paradigm. The typical results were replicated, but performance was worse in the invalid-same than neutral condition. Hence, attending an object only reduced the cost of allocating attention to the wrong location. Importantly, because the different theoretical accounts of object-based effects generate different predictions regarding performance in the neutral condition, these findings pose various constraints on the different accounts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Hazard versus history: Temporal preparation is driven by past experience.


The hazard function describes the conditional probability that an event will occur at a given moment, given that it has not yet occurred. In warned reaction time tasks, it is a classical finding that the response to a target stimulus is faster as its hazard is higher, which has led to the widespread belief that hazard somehow drives temporal preparation. Alternatively, recent cognitive theories propose that temporal preparation is driven by memory traces of earlier timing experiences. To distinguish between these views, we presented different groups of participants with different distributions of foreperiods between temporal cues and target stimuli. Three experiments revealed clear transfer effects of this manipulation in a test phase where all participants received, after explicit instruction, the same uniform distribution. These findings demonstrate that temporal preparation is driven by past experience, not by current hazard. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Separating limits on preparation versus online processing in multitasking paradigms: Evidence for resource models.


We conducted 2 multitasking experiments to examine the finding that first-task reaction times (RTs) are slower in the psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm than in the prioritized processing (PP) paradigm. To see whether this difference between the 2 paradigms could be explained entirely by differences in first-task preparation, which would be consistent with the standard response selection bottleneck (RSB) model for multitasking interference, we compared the size of this difference for trials in which a second-task stimulus actually occurred against the size of the difference for trials without any second-task stimulus. The slowing of first-task RTs in the PRP paradigm relative to the PP paradigm was larger when the second-task stimulus appeared than when it did not, indicating that the difference cannot be explained entirely by between-paradigm differences in first-task preparation. Instead, the results suggest that the slowing of first-task RTs in the PRP paradigm relative to the PP paradigm is partly because of differences between paradigms in the online reallocation of processing capacity to tasks. Thus, the present results provide new evidence supporting resource models over the RSB model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Regularity detection by haptics and vision.


For vision, mirror-reflectional symmetry is usually easier to detect when it occurs within 1 object than when it occurs across 2 objects. The opposite pattern has been found for a different regularity, repetition. We investigated whether these results generalize to our sense of active touch (haptics). This was done to examine whether the interaction observed in vision results from intrinsic properties of the environment, or whether it is a consequence of how that environment is perceived and explored. In 4 regularity detection experiments, we haptically presented novel, planar shapes and then visually presented images of the same shapes. In addition to modality (haptics, vision), we varied regularity-type (symmetry, repetition), objectness (1, 2) and alignment of the axis of regularity with respect to the body midline (aligned, across). For both modalities, performance was better overall for symmetry than repetition. For vision, we replicated the previously reported regularity-type by objectness interaction for both stereoscopic and pictorial presentation, and for slanted and frontoparallel views. In contrast, for haptics, there was a 1-object advantage for repetition, as well as for symmetry when stimuli were explored with 1 hand, and no effect of objectness was found for 2-handed exploration. These results suggest that regularity is perceived differently in vision and in haptics, such that regularity detection does not just reflect modality-invariant, physical properties of our environment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Phonological-orthographic consistency for Japanese words and its impact on visual and auditory word recognition.


In most models of word processing, the degrees of consistency in the mappings between orthographic, phonological, and semantic representations are hypothesized to affect reading time. Following Hino, Miyamura, and Lupker’s (2011) examination of the orthographic-phonological (O-P) and orthographic-semantic (O-S) consistency for 1,114 Japanese words (339 katakana and 775 kanji words), in the present research, we initially attempted to measure the phonological-orthographic (P-O) consistency for those same words. In contrast to the O-P and O-S consistencies, which were equivalent for kanji and katakana words, the P-O relationships were much more inconsistent for the kanji words than for the katakana words. The impact of kanji words’ P-O consistency was then examined in both visual and auditory word recognition tasks. Although there was no effect of P-O consistency in the standard visual lexical-decision task, significant effects were detected in a lexical-decision task with auditory stimuli, in a perceptual identification task using masked visual stimuli, and in a lexical-decision task with degraded visual stimuli. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of the impact of P-O consistency in auditory and visual word recognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Winning and losing: Effects on impulsive action.


In the present study, we examined the effect of wins and losses on impulsive action in gambling (Experiments 1–3) and nongambling tasks (Experiments 4–5). In each experiment, subjects performed a simple task in which they had to win points. On each trial, they had to choose between a gamble and a nongamble. The gamble was always associated with a higher amount but a lower probability of winning than the nongamble. After subjects indicated their choice (i.e., gamble or not), feedback was presented. They had to press a key to start the next trial. Experiments 1–3 showed that, compared to the nongambling baseline, subjects were faster to initiate the next trial after a gambled loss, indicating that losses can induce impulsive actions. In Experiments 4 and 5, subjects alternated between the gambling task and a neutral decision-making task in which they could not win or lose points. Subjects were faster in the neutral decision-making task if they had just lost in the gambling task, suggesting that losses have a general effect on action. Our results challenge the dominant idea that humans become more cautious after suboptimal outcomes. Instead, they indicate that losses in the context of potential rewards are emotional events that increase impulsivity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Goal-directed attentional selection: Limitations from input variables, not imprecision.


When searching for a target object in a cluttered scene, the currently attended object is typically matched against a target template, a memory representation of the object being actively searched for. To determine if the currently attended item is the target requires a high degree of similarity to the template; any imprecision would make it difficult to distinguish between targets and visually similar nontargets. Thus, for attention to be efficient in finding targets requires the target template to be highly precise. Initial research on the precision of the target template suggested that the template was a highly precise depiction of the target object. In contrast, more recent findings suggested an imprecise template, demonstrating that participants were inaccurate in detecting a target when it appeared among visually similar distractors. In the current experiments, we demonstrate that visually similar distractors can hinder attentional selection because of limitations in selection and masking, not because of template imprecision. We conclude that the target template can be highly precise yet performance limited by factors not related to the target template itself. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Shape adaptation exaggerates shape differences.


Adaptation to different visual properties can produce distinct patterns of perceptual aftereffect. Some, such as those following adaptation to color, seem to arise from recalibrative processes. These are associated with a reappraisal of which physical input constitutes a normative value in the environment—in this case, what appears “colorless,” and what “colorful.” Recalibrative aftereffects can arise from coding schemes in which inputs are referenced against malleable norm values. Other aftereffects seem to arise from contrastive processes. These exaggerate differences between the adaptor and other inputs without changing the adaptor’s appearance. There has been conjecture over which process best describes adaptation-induced distortions of spatial vision, such as of apparent shape or facial identity. In 3 experiments, we determined whether recalibrative or contrastive processes underlie the shape aspect ratio aftereffect. We found that adapting to a moderately elongated shape compressed the appearance of narrower shapes and further elongated the appearance of more-elongated shapes (Experiment 1). Adaptation did not change the perceived aspect ratio of the adaptor itself (Experiment 2), and adapting to a circle induced similar bidirectional aftereffects on shapes narrower or wider than circular (Experiment 3). Results could not be explained by adaptation to retinotopically local edge orientation or single linear dimensions of shapes. We conclude that aspect ratio aftereffects are determined by contrastive processes that can exaggerate differences between successive inputs, inconsistent with a norm-referenced representation of aspect ratio. Adaptation might enhance the salience of novel stimuli rather than recalibrate one’s sense of what constitutes a “normal” shape. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

I saw mine first: A prior-entry effect for newly acquired ownership.


Previous research has shown that attentional sets can be tuned to implicitly prioritize awareness of universally aversive or rewarding stimuli. But can mere ownership modulate implicit attentional prioritization as well? In Experiments 1 and 2, participants learned whether everyday objects belonged to them (self-owned) or the experimenter (other-owned) and completed a temporal order judgment task in which pairs of stimuli appeared onscreen with staggered timing. Results revealed a prior-entry effect, in which participants were more likely to report seeing a self-owned object first when 2 objects appeared simultaneously. In Experiment 3, no ownership status was assigned and no such effect was observed. Individual differences in the prior-entry effect were unrelated to independent self-construal, positive associations for self-owned objects, or loss aversion. These results suggest that attentional prioritization is not limited to universally salient stimuli. Rather, self-relevance, even when recently acquired, can engage an implicit attentional set that biases our perception of the environment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

More than a boundary shift: Perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech reshapes the internal structure of phonetic categories.


The literature on perceptual learning for speech shows that listeners use lexical information to disambiguate phonetically ambiguous speech sounds and that they maintain this new mapping for later recognition of ambiguous sounds for a given talker. Evidence for this kind of perceptual reorganization has focused on phonetic category boundary shifts. Here, we asked whether listeners adjust both category boundaries and internal category structure in rapid adaptation to foreign accents. We investigated the perceptual learning of Mandarin-accented productions of word-final voiced stops in English. After exposure to a Mandarin speaker’s productions, native-English listeners’ adaptation to the talker was tested in 3 ways: a cross-modal priming task to assess spoken word recognition (Experiment 1), a category identification task to assess shifts in the phonetic boundary (Experiment 2), and a goodness rating task to assess internal category structure (Experiment 3). Following exposure, both category boundary and internal category structure were adjusted; moreover, these prelexical changes facilitated subsequent word recognition. Together, the results demonstrate that listeners’ sensitivity to acoustic–phonetic detail in the accented input promoted a dynamic, comprehensive reorganization of their perceptual response as a consequence of exposure to the accented input. We suggest that an examination of internal category structure is important for a complete account of the mechanisms of perceptual learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)