When this happens, they often attempt to put the unwanted memories out of awareness. Recent research shows that the capacity to suppress distracting traces is mediated by executive-control processes that are analogous to those involved in overriding prepotent motor responses, and it is these processes that cause persisting memory failures for the suppressed items.
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There is evidence that memory retrieval and motor tasks that are likely to demand executive control recruit overlapping neural mechanisms, suggesting that a common process mediates control in these domains. Together, these findings indicate that memory failures often arise from the mechanisms that lie at the heart of our capacity to influence the focus of thought. Growing cross-cultural evidence suggests that East Asians are less likely to show the correspondence bias, or a preference for explanations of behavior in terms of traits, dispositions, or other internal attributes of the target.
The scope of this evidence spans several research paradigms and diverse methodologies.
The cultural difference, however, appears not to be caused by an absence of dispositional thinking in East Asian cultures. Indeed, extensive ethnographic and psychological data indicate that "dispositionism" is a cross-culturally widespread mode of thinking, although East Asians believe dispositions to be more malleable and have a more holistic conception of the person as being situated in a broad social context.
The East-West split in attribution thus originates primarily from a stronger "situationism" or belief in the importance of the context of behavior in East Asia. Consequently, East Asians are more likely than Westerners to avoid the correspondence bias as long as situational constraints are salient. November 14 - "The contribution of information theory to psychology" by Wendell R. Berfore discussing in detail the contribution of information theory to psychology, a brief introduction to information theory will set the stage for my later comments about it. Information theory, at least for the purpose of understanding its role in psychology, consists of both a set of concepts and a system of measurement appropriate to quantification of the concepts.
Although these two aspects are closely related in formal information theory, in at least some applications in psychology the concepts are more important than the measurement November 7 - " The importance of context: Evidence that contextual representations increase intrusive memories " , Pearson et al.
Background and objectives : Intrusive memories appear to enter consciousness via involuntary rather than deliberate recollection. Some clinical accounts of PTSD seek to explain this phenomenon by making a clear distinction between the encoding of sensory-based and contextual representations. Contextual representations have been claimed to actively reduce intrusions by anchoring encoded perceptual data for an event in memory. The current analogue trauma study examined this hypothesis by manipulating contextual information independently from encoded sensory-perceptual information.
Method : Participants' viewed images selected from the International Affective Picture System that depicted scenes of violence and bodily injury. Images were viewed either under neutral conditions or paired with contextual information. Results : Two experiments revealed a significant increase in memory intrusions for images paired with contextual information in comparison to the same images viewed under neutral conditions. In contrast to the observed increase in intrusion frequency there was no effect of contextual representations on voluntary memory for the images.
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The vividness and emotionality of memory intrusions were also unaffected. Limitations : The analogue trauma paradigm may fail to replicate the effect of extreme stress on encoding postulated to occur during PTSD. Conclusions : These findings question the assertion that intrusive memories develop from a lack of integration between sensory-based and contextual representations in memory. Instead it is argued contextual representations play a causal role in increasing the frequency of intrusions by increasing the sensitivity of memory to involuntary retrieval by associated internal and external cues.
October 31 - " On the interpretation of the number attraction effect: Response time evidence " by Staub. Speakers frequently make subject-verb number agreement errors in the presence of a local noun with a different number from the head of the subject phrase. A series of four experiments used a two-choice response time RT paradigm to investigate how the latency of correct agreement decisions is modulated by the presence of a number attractor, and to investigate the relative latency of errors and correct agreement decisions.
The presence of a number attractor reliably increased correct RT, and the size of this RT effect was consistently larger in conditions that also had larger effects on accuracy. Number attraction errors, however, were similar in RT to correct responses in the same experimental condition.
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However, attraction from a non-intervening noun resulted in only mildly inflated correct RT, but dramatically inflated error RT, suggesting that non-intervening attraction errors may reflect confusion about the structure of the subject phrase. This chapter overviews topics in judgment and decision making from a cognitive science perspective. It advocates a "closed-loop" view of decision making: an interactive and continuous dynamic process of exchanges between humans and their environment.
The chapter first discusses the "open-loop" view of decision making that has dominated the field for many decades, beginning with a historical perspective on rationality and bounded rationality to distinguish the closed and open-loop views and the research from two major fields that study decision making: economics and psychology. It then presents foundational research for the closed-loop view that involves probability learning and dynamic decision making, adaptive decision making, and recent research on dynamic decision making and decisions from experience.
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