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Abstract

Schizotypy is defined as a combination of traits qualitatively similar to those found in schizophrenia, though in a minor severity, that can be found in the nonclinical population. Some studies suggest that people with schizotypal traits have problems recognising emotional facial expressions. In this research, we further explore this issue and we investigate, for the first time, whether the differential outcomes procedure (DOP) may improve the recognition of emotional facial expressions. Participants in our study were students that completed the ESQUIZO-Q-A and were set in two groups, high schizotypy (HS) and low schizotypy (LS). Then, they performed a task in which they had to recognise the emotional facial expression of a set of faces. Participants of the HS group and the LS group did not differ in their performance. Importantly, all participants showed better recognition of emotional facial expressions when they were trained with differential outcomes. This novel finding might be relevant for clinical practice since the DOP is shown as a tool that may improve the recognition of emotional facial expressions.

Abstract

Mental fatigue has traditionally been defined as a condition of reduced cognitive efficiency and performance, accompanied by a subjective feeling of fatigue. Even though we could expect to find associations between the three defining characteristic of mental fatigue (performance impairment, physiological deactivation and subjective fatigue), research has shown that the emergence of inconsistencies between measures is more frequent than one might expect: people proved capable of maintaining adequate performance levels even after having declared themselves fatigued. This could be explained under the compensatory control mechanism models, which state that humans are able to provide additional resources under demanding conditions, but only at the expense of psychophysiological cost and subjective fatigue. We tested this explanation by manipulating task complexity and time performing a simulated air-traffic control task. We collected psychophysiological, performance and subjective data. A decrease in pupil size was seen in the low-aircraft-density condition, while pupil size remained constant in the high-aircraft-density condition. Participants’ task performance was optimal in both conditions, though they showed an increase in subjective feelings of fatigue, especially in the high-complexity task condition. Thus, complexity seemed to trigger compensatory mechanisms, which reallocated extra resources that physiologically activated participants in order to deal with a higher complexity task, whereas subjective fatigue could be acting as a signal to the organism of impending resource depletion. Our findings support compensatory control theories and offer an explanation of inconsistencies between fatigue measures. Further research on compensatory mechanisms is needed to enable better management of fatigue effects to prevent work-related accidents.

Abstract

The proliferation of fake news in internet requires understanding which factors modulate their credibility and take actions to limit their impact. A number of recent studies have shown an effect of the foreign language when making decisions: reading in a foreign language engages a more rational, analytic mode of thinking (Costa et al., 2014, Cognition). This analytic mode of processing may lead to a decrease in the credibility of fake news. Here we conducted two experiments to examine whether fake news stories presented to university students were more credible in the native language than in a foreign language. Bayesian analyses in both experiments offered support for the hypothesis that the credibility of fake news is not modulated by language. Critically, Experiment 2 also showed a strong direct relationship between credibility and negative emotionality regardless of language. This pattern suggests that the driving force behind the engagement in an automatic thinking mode when reading fake news is not language (native vs. foreign) but emotionality.

Abstract

The relation between the prediction and explanation of the false belief task (FBT) with counterfactual reasoning (CFR) was explored. Fifty eight 3-5 year-olds received a prediction or an explanation FBT, a belief attribution task and some counterfactual questions of increasing difficulty. Linguistic comprehension was also controlled. CFR highly predicted FBT in the explanation version but not in the prediction one. Additionally, results in the explanation version indicate that CFR underlies achievements prior to the understanding of the representational mind and stimulates the explicitness of the mental domain. This study identifies the conditions under which CFR becomes a fundamental cognitive tool for social cognition. The results obtained contribute to the dialog between the two major theoretical approaches: theory-theory and simulation theory.

Abstract

The effective detection of those facial expressions that alert us to a possible threat is adaptive. Hence the reason that studies on face sampling have involved analysing how this process occurs, with evidence to show that the eyes focus mainly on the upper side of the face; nevertheless, no clear determination has been made of the relationship between the efficacy in detection (speed and accuracy) and the way in which emotions are visually tracked on the face. A sequential priming task was therefore held in which the four quadrants of the face were displayed consecutively, for 50 ms each one, and in a different order (24 sequences). The results reveal a quicker response when the priming sequence begins in the upper part, continues downward to the right-hand side of the face, and then follows an anti-clockwise direction. The results are discussed in the light of studies using the Eye-Tracking technique.

Abstract

The current study focuses on how different scales with varying demands can affect our subjective assessments. We carried out 2 experiments in which we asked participants to rate how happy or sad morphed images of faces looked. The two extremes were the original happy and original sad faces with 4 morphs in between. We manipulated language of the task—namely, half of the participants carried it out in their native language, Spanish, and the other half in their foreign language, English—and type of scale. Within type of scale, we compared verbal and brightness scales. We found that, while language did not have an effect on the assessment, type of scale did. The brightness scale led to overall higher ratings, i.e., assessing all faces as somewhat happier. This provides a limitation on the foreign language effect, as well as evidence for the influence of the cognitive demands of a scale on emotionality assessments.

Abstract

The Remote Associates Test (RAT) is a measure developed by Mednick (1962) which is used to assess the convergent thinking component of creativity. This study presents a normative database in Spanish including 102 problems based on the RAT. Three sets of problems were built according to the type of between-word associations: semantic, compound, and two-word expressions. These problems were administered to a sample of 309 elementary, high-school, and university students. The results show good internal consistency as well as good convergent validity with insight problems, and discriminant validity using Guilford’s Alternative Uses Test. In addition, the results indicate age-related differences in the ability to solve the different types of problems.

Abstract

The right parietal cortex has been widely associated with a spatial orienting network. Its damage frequently produces the Neglect syndrome consisting in deficits in spatial attention to the left hemifield. Neglect has also been related to temporal deficits (such as the estimation of the duration of a stimulus or the discrimination of two stimuli that occur at the same spatial location but at different time intervals). Such attentional deficits have been much less studied in the temporal as compared to the spatial domain. The current research focused on the study of temporal attention processes in patients with Neglect syndrome, specifically, on temporal preparation. We recruited 10 patients with Neglect syndrome, 10 patients without Neglect syndrome, as well as 11 healthy individuals. Each participant completed an experimental task which measures three main temporal preparation effects described in the literature: Temporal orienting and Foreperiod effects (both related to control mechanisms and prefrontal areas) and Sequential effects (automatic in nature and related to parietal and subcortical structures). The results showed a deficit in the sequential effects only in those patients who suffered from Neglect syndrome. The results suggest a causal relation between Neglect syndrome and the automatic mechanisms of temporal preparation. Since our sample of Neglect patients had suffered lesions mainly in the parietal cortex, the results are discussed taking into account the role of the parietal lobe in the processing of time and the models explaining sequential effects.

Abstract

Pragmatic inferences are one way to study false memories in real-world situations. We aimed to investigate variances in responses to pragmatic implication sentences between Portuguese and American data, presenting, for the first time, normative data of cued recall and recognition for pragmatic implication sentences in Portuguese. In Study 1 we analyzed cued-recall data for Portuguese pragmatic sentences. The proportions of cued- recall for correct and inference responses of each sentence did not significantly correlate with the values of American normative data. In Studies 2a and 2b we analysed forced-recognition data for pragmatic sentences, one with American participants and English sentences (Study 2a) and the other with Portuguese participants and Portuguese sentences (Study 2b). Moreover, two conditions of sentences presentations were applied to eventually detect an influence of the sentences’ format, which was not find in both studies. The levels of recognition for correct and inferences were very similar between those two studies but the correlation, sentence by sentence, was low. Together, these results suggest an important recommendation for further studies - normed material for a specific language/culture is a crucial factor to be considered when conducting research on pragmatic inferences.

Abstract

The anisochrony of a stimulus sequence was manipulated parametrically to investigate whether rhythmic entrainment is stronger in the auditory modality than in the visual modality (Experiment 1), and whether it relies on top-down attention (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, participants had to respond as quickly as possible to a target presented after a sequence of either visual or auditory stimuli. The anisochrony of this sequence was manipulated parametrically, rather than in an all or none fashion; that is, it could range from smaller to larger deviations of the isochrony (0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 150 and 200 ms). We compared rhythmic entrainment patterns for auditory and visual modalities. Results showed a peak of entrainment for both isochrony and deviations of isochrony up to 50 ms (i.e., participants were equally fast both after the isochronous sequences and after 10, 20 and 50 ms deviations), suggesting that anisochronous sequences can also produce entrainment. Beyond this entrainment window, the reaction times became progressively slower. Surprisingly, no differences were found between the entrainment patterns for auditory and visual rhythms. In Experiment 2, we used a dual-task methodology by adding a working memory n-back task to the procedure of Experiment 1. Results did not show interference of the secondary task in either auditory or visual modalities, with participants showing the same entrainment pattern as in Experiment 1. These results suggest that rhythmic entrainment constitutes a cognitive process that occurs by default (automatically), regardless of the modality in which the stimuli are presented, and independent of top-down attention, to generate behavioural benefits.