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  Subjects -> PSYCHOLOGY (Total: 983 journals)
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Open Mind
Number of Followers: 1  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2470-2986
Published by MIT Press Homepage  [39 journals]
  • Zipfian Distributions in Child-Directed Speech

    • Pages: 1 - 30
      Abstract: AbstractAcross languages, word frequency and rank follow a power law relation, forming a distribution known as the Zipfian distribution. There is growing experimental evidence that this well-studied phenomenon may be beneficial for language learning. However, most investigations of word distributions in natural language have focused on adult-to-adult speech: Zipf’s law has not been thoroughly evaluated in child-directed speech (CDS) across languages. If Zipfian distributions facilitate learning, they should also be found in CDS. At the same time, several unique properties of CDS may result in a less skewed distribution. Here, we examine the frequency distribution of words in CDS in three studies. We first show that CDS is Zipfian across 15 languages from seven language families. We then show that CDS is Zipfian from early on (six-months) and across development for five languages with sufficient longitudinal data. Finally, we show that the distribution holds across different parts of speech: Nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions follow a Zipfian distribution. Together, the results show that the input children hear is skewed in a particular way from early on, providing necessary (but not sufficient) support for the postulated learning advantage of such skew. They highlight the need to study skewed learning environments experimentally.
      PubDate: Tue, 24 Jan 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00070
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Grammatical Perspective-Taking in Comprehension and Production

    • Pages: 31 - 78
      Abstract: AbstractLanguage use in conversation requires conversation partners to consider each other’s points-of-view, or perspectives. A large body of work has explored how conversation partners take into account differences in knowledge states when choosing referring expressions. This paper explores how well findings from perspective-taking in reference generalize to a relatively understudied domain of perspective: the processing of grammatical perspectival expressions like the motion verbs come and go in English. We re-visit findings from perspective-taking in reference that conversation participants are subject to egocentric biases: they are biased towards their own perspectives. Drawing on theoretical proposals for grammatical perspective-taking and prior experimental studies of perspective-taking in reference, we compare two models of grammatical perspective-taking: a serial anchoring-and-adjustment model, and a simultaneous integration model. We test their differing predictions in a series of comprehension and production experiments using the perspectival motion verbs come and go as a case study. While our comprehension studies suggest that listeners reason simultaneously over multiple perspectives, as in the simultaneous integration model, our production findings are more mixed: we find support for only one of the simultaneous integration model’s two key predictions. More generally, our findings suggest a role for egocentric bias in production for grammatical perspective-taking as well as when choosing referring expressions.
      PubDate: Wed, 01 Feb 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00071
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Latent Diversity in Human Concepts

    • Pages: 79 - 92
      Abstract: AbstractMany social and legal conflicts hinge on semantic disagreements. Understanding the origins and implications of these disagreements necessitates novel methods for identifying and quantifying variation in semantic cognition between individuals. We collected conceptual similarity ratings and feature judgements from a variety of words in two domains. We analyzed this data using a non-parametric clustering scheme, as well as an ecological statistical estimator, in order to infer the number of different variants of common concepts that exist in the population. Our results show at least ten to thirty quantifiably different variants of word meanings exist for even common nouns. Further, people are unaware of this variation, and exhibit a strong bias to erroneously believe that other people share their semantics. This highlights conceptual factors that likely interfere with productive political and social discourse.
      PubDate: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00072
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Competition Between Object Topology and Surface Features in Children’s
           Extension of Novel Nouns

    • Pages: 93 - 110
      Abstract: AbstractObjects’ topological properties play a central role in object perception, superseding objects’ surface features in object representation and tracking from early in development. We asked about the role of objects’ topological properties in children’s generalization of novel labels to objects. We adapted the classic name generalization task of Landau et al. (1988, 1992). In three experiments, we showed children (n = 151; 3–8-year-olds) a novel object (the standard) and gave the object a novel label. We then showed children three potential target objects and asked children which of the objects shared the same label as the standard. In Experiment 1, the standard object either did or did not contain a hole, and we asked whether children would extend the standard’s label to a target object that shared either metric shape or topology with the standard. Experiment 2 served as a control condition for Experiment 1. In Experiment 3, we pitted topology against another surface feature, color. We found that objects’ topology competed with objects’ surface features (both shape and color) in children’s extension of labels to novel objects. We discuss possible implications for our understanding of the inductive potential of objects’ topologies for making inferences about objects’ categories across early development.
      PubDate: Wed, 05 Apr 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00073
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Active Iterative Social Inference in Multi-Trial Signaling Games

    • Pages: 111 - 129
      Abstract: AbstractHuman behavioral choices can reveal intrinsic and extrinsic decision-influencing factors. We investigate the inference of choice priors in situations of referential ambiguity. In particular, we use the scenario of signaling games and investigate to which extent study participants profit from actively engaging in the task. Previous work has revealed that speakers are able to infer listeners’ choice priors upon observing ambiguity resolution. However, it was also shown that only a small group of participants was able to strategically construct ambiguous situations to create learning opportunities. This paper sets to address how prior inference unfolds in more complex learning scenarios. In Experiment 1, we examine whether participants accumulate evidence about inferred choice priors across a series of four consecutive trials. Despite the intuitive simplicity of the task, information integration turns out to be only partially successful. Integration errors result from a variety of sources, including transitivity failure and recency bias. In Experiment 2, we investigate how the ability to actively construct learning scenarios affects the success of prior inference and whether the iterative settings improve the ability to choose utterances strategically. The results suggest that full task engagement and explicit access to the reasoning pipeline facilitates the invocation of optimal utterance choices as well as the accurate inference of listeners’ choice priors.
      PubDate: Wed, 05 Apr 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00074
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • What is “Where”: Physical Reasoning Informs Object Location

    • Pages: 130 - 140
      Abstract: AbstractA central puzzle the visual system tries to solve is: “what is where'” While a great deal of research attempts to model object recognition (“what”), a comparatively smaller body of work seeks to model object location (“where”), especially in perceiving everyday objects. How do people locate an object, right now, in front of them' In three experiments collecting over 35,000 judgements on stimuli spanning different levels of realism (line drawings, real images, and crude forms), participants clicked “where” an object is, as if pointing to it. We modeled their responses with eight different methods, including both human response-based models (judgements of physical reasoning, spatial memory, free-response “click anywhere” judgements, and judgements of where people would grab the object), and image-based models (uniform distributions over the image, convex hull, saliency map, and medial axis). Physical reasoning was the best predictor of “where,” performing significantly better than even spatial memory and free-response judgements. Our results offer insight into the perception of object locations while also raising interesting questions about the relationship between physical reasoning and visual perception.
      PubDate: Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00075
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Eight-Month-Old Infants Meta-Learn by Downweighting Irrelevant Evidence

    • Pages: 141 - 155
      Abstract: AbstractInfants learn to navigate the complexity of the physical and social world at an outstanding pace, but how they accomplish this learning is still largely unknown. Recent advances in human and artificial intelligence research propose that a key feature to achieving quick and efficient learning is meta-learning, the ability to make use of prior experiences to learn how to learn better in the future. Here we show that 8-month-old infants successfully engage in meta-learning within very short timespans after being exposed to a new learning environment. We developed a Bayesian model that captures how infants attribute informativity to incoming events, and how this process is optimized by the meta-parameters of their hierarchical models over the task structure. We fitted the model with infants’ gaze behavior during a learning task. Our results reveal how infants actively use past experiences to generate new inductive biases that allow future learning to proceed faster.
      PubDate: Thu, 01 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00079
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • High Performance on a Pragmatic Task May Not Be the Result of Successful
           Reasoning: On the Importance of Eliciting Participants’ Reasoning

    • Pages: 156 - 178
      Abstract: AbstractFormal probabilistic models, such as the Rational Speech Act model, are widely used for formalizing the reasoning involved in various pragmatic phenomena, and when a model achieves good fit to experimental data, that is interpreted as evidence that the model successfully captures some of the underlying processes. Yet how can we be sure that participants’ performance on the task is the result of successful reasoning and not of some feature of experimental setup' In this study, we carefully manipulate the properties of the stimuli that have been used in several pragmatics studies and elicit participants’ reasoning strategies. We show that certain biases in experimental design inflate participants’ performance on the task. We then repeat the experiment with a new version of stimuli which is less susceptible to the identified biases, obtaining a somewhat smaller effect size and more reliable estimates of individual-level performance.
      PubDate: Thu, 01 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00077
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Eye Movement Traces of Linguistic Knowledge in Native and Non-Native

    • Pages: 179 - 196
      Abstract: AbstractThe detailed study of eye movements in reading has shed considerable light into how language processing unfolds in real time. Yet eye movements in reading remain inadequately studied in non-native (L2) readers, even though much of the world’s population is multilingual. Here we present a detailed analysis of the quantitative functional influences of word length, frequency, and predictability on eye movement measures in reading in a large, linguistically diverse sample of non-native English readers. We find many similar qualitative effects as in L1 readers, but crucially also a proficiency-sensitive “lexicon-context tradeoff”. The most proficient L2 readers’ eye movements approach an L1 pattern, but as L2 proficiency diminishes, readers’ eye movements become less sensitive to a word’s predictability in context and more sensitive to word frequency, which is context-invariant. This tradeoff supports a rational, experience-dependent account of how context-driven expectations are deployed in L2 language processing.
      PubDate: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00084
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The Development of Relational Reasoning: An Eyetracking Analysis of
           Strategy Use and Adaptation in Children and Adults Performing Matrix

    • Pages: 197 - 220
      Abstract: AbstractRelational reasoning is a key component of fluid intelligence and an important predictor of academic achievement. Relational reasoning is commonly assessed using matrix completion tasks, in which participants see an incomplete matrix of items that vary on different dimensions and select a response that best completes the matrix based on the relations among items. Performance on such assessments increases dramatically across childhood into adulthood. However, despite widespread use, little is known about the strategies associated with good or poor matrix completion performance in childhood. This study examined the strategies children and adults use to solve matrix completion problems, how those strategies change with age, and whether children and adults adapt strategies to difficulty. We used eyetracking to infer matrix completion strategy use in 6- and 9-year-old children and adults. Across ages, scanning across matrix rows and columns predicted good overall performance, and quicker and higher rates of consulting potential answers predicted poor performance, indicating that optimal matrix completion strategies are similar across development. Indices of good strategy use increased across childhood. As problems increased in difficulty, children and adults increased their scanning of matrix rows and columns, and adults and 9-year-olds also shifted strategies to rely more on consulting potential answers. Adapting strategies to matrix difficulty, particularly increased scanning of rows and columns, was associated with good overall performance in both children and adults. These findings underscore the importance of both spontaneous and adaptive strategy use in individual differences in relational reasoning and its development.
      PubDate: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00078
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The Pandemic in Words: Tracking Fast Semantic Changes via a Large-Scale
           Word Association Task

    • Pages: 221 - 239
      Abstract: AbstractMost words have a variety of senses that can be added, removed, or altered over time. Understanding how they change across different contexts and time periods is crucial for revealing the role of language in social and cultural evolution. In this study we aimed to explore the collective changes in the mental lexicon as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. We performed a large-scale word association experiment in Rioplatense Spanish. The data were obtained in December 2020, and compared with responses previously obtained from the Small World of Words database (SWOW-RP, Cabana et al., 2023). Three different word-association measures detected changes in a word’s mental representation from Precovid to Covid. First, significantly more new associations appeared for a set of pandemic-related words. These new associations can be interpreted as incorporating new senses. For example, the word ‘isolated’ incorporated direct associations with ‘coronavirus’ and ‘quarantine’. Second, when analyzing the distribution of responses, we observed a greater Kullback-Leibler divergence (i.e., relative entropy) between the Precovid and Covid periods for pandemic words. Thus, some words (e.g., ‘protocol’, or ‘virtual’) changed their overall association patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, using semantic similarity analysis, we evaluated the changes between the Precovid and Covid periods for each cue word’s nearest neighbors and the changes in their similarity to certain word senses. We found a larger diachronic difference for pandemic cues where polysemic words like ‘immunity’ or ‘trial’ increased their similarity to sanitary/health words during the Covid period. We propose that this novel methodology can be expanded to other scenarios of fast diachronic semantic changes.
      PubDate: Fri, 09 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00081
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The Agent Preference in Visual Event Apprehension

    • Pages: 240 - 282
      Abstract: AbstractA central aspect of human experience and communication is understanding events in terms of agent (“doer”) and patient (“undergoer” of action) roles. These event roles are rooted in general cognition and prominently encoded in language, with agents appearing as more salient and preferred over patients. An unresolved question is whether this preference for agents already operates during apprehension, that is, the earliest stage of event processing, and if so, whether the effect persists across different animacy configurations and task demands. Here we contrast event apprehension in two tasks and two languages that encode agents differently; Basque, a language that explicitly case-marks agents (‘ergative’), and Spanish, which does not mark agents. In two brief exposure experiments, native Basque and Spanish speakers saw pictures for only 300 ms, and subsequently described them or answered probe questions about them. We compared eye fixations and behavioral correlates of event role extraction with Bayesian regression. Agents received more attention and were recognized better across languages and tasks. At the same time, language and task demands affected the attention to agents. Our findings show that a general preference for agents exists in event apprehension, but it can be modulated by task and language demands.
      PubDate: Fri, 09 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00083
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • “The Red Spots Are Now Lava, We Shouldn’t Step on Them”—The Joint
           Creation of Novel Arbitrary Social Contexts in Pretend Play

    • Pages: 283 - 293
      Abstract: AbstractPretend play has been extensively studied in developmental science, nevertheless important questions remain about how children engage in and navigate between pretend episodes. In this proposal, we scrutinize childhood pretense from a social cognitive developmental point of view. First, we review previous theories of pretend play structured around important questions that pinpoint some attributes of pretend episodes, such as their transient and socially defined nature. In these sections, evidence is also reviewed about children’s understanding of these attributes. Following this, we describe a novel proposal of pretend play which extends recent accounts of (pretend) play (Wyman & Rakoczy, 2011; Chu & Schulz, 2020a) by exploiting the importance of social interactions in pretense. We contend that engaging in shared pretending can be considered a manifestation of and support for children’s ability to participate in and set up arbitrary contextual boundaries with others. These claims are discussed with regards to how pretend play may figure into social development, its potential implications for intra- as well as intercultural variation, as well as future research.
      PubDate: Fri, 09 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00082
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Not Playing by the Rules: Exploratory Play, Rational Action, and Efficient

    • Pages: 294 - 317
      Abstract: AbstractRecent studies suggest children’s exploratory play is consistent with formal accounts of rational learning. Here we focus on the tension between this view and a nearly ubiquitous feature of human play: In play, people subvert normal utility functions, incurring seemingly unnecessary costs to achieve arbitrary rewards. We show that four-and-five-year-old children not only infer playful behavior from observed violations of rational action (Experiment 1), but themselves take on unnecessary costs during both retrieval (Experiment 2) and search (Experiments 3A–B) tasks, despite acting efficiently in non-playful, instrumental contexts. We discuss the value of such apparently utility-violating behavior and why it might serve learning in the long run.
      PubDate: Thu, 15 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00076
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The Bayesian Mutation Sampler Explains Distributions of Causal Judgments

    • Pages: 318 - 349
      Abstract: AbstractOne consistent finding in the causal reasoning literature is that causal judgments are rather variable. In particular, distributions of probabilistic causal judgments tend not to be normal and are often not centered on the normative response. As an explanation for these response distributions, we propose that people engage in ‘mutation sampling’ when confronted with a causal query and integrate this information with prior information about that query. The Mutation Sampler model (Davis & Rehder, 2020) posits that we approximate probabilities using a sampling process, explaining the average responses of participants on a wide variety of tasks. Careful analysis, however, shows that its predicted response distributions do not match empirical distributions. We develop the Bayesian Mutation Sampler (BMS) which extends the original model by incorporating the use of generic prior distributions. We fit the BMS to experimental data and find that, in addition to average responses, the BMS explains multiple distributional phenomena including the moderate conservatism of the bulk of responses, the lack of extreme responses, and spikes of responses at 50%.
      PubDate: Thu, 15 Jun 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00080
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The Plausibility of Sampling as an Algorithmic Theory of Sentence

    • Pages: 350 - 391
      Abstract: AbstractWords that are more surprising given context take longer to process. However, no incremental parsing algorithm has been shown to directly predict this phenomenon. In this work, we focus on a class of algorithms whose runtime does naturally scale in surprisal—those that involve repeatedly sampling from the prior. Our first contribution is to show that simple examples of such algorithms predict runtime to increase superlinearly with surprisal, and also predict variance in runtime to increase. These two predictions stand in contrast with literature on surprisal theory (Hale, 2001; Levy, 2008a) which assumes that the expected processing cost increases linearly with surprisal, and makes no prediction about variance. In the second part of this paper, we conduct an empirical study of the relationship between surprisal and reading time, using a collection of modern language models to estimate surprisal. We find that with better language models, reading time increases superlinearly in surprisal, and also that variance increases. These results are consistent with the predictions of sampling-based algorithms.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00086
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Metacognitive Information Theory

    • Pages: 392 - 411
      Abstract: AbstractThe capacity that subjects have to rate confidence in their choices is a form of metacognition, and can be assessed according to bias, sensitivity and efficiency. Rich networks of domain-specific and domain-general regions of the brain are involved in the rating, and are associated with its quality and its use for regulating the processes of thinking and acting. Sensitivity and efficiency are often measured by quantities called meta–d′ and the M-ratio that are based on reverse engineering the potential accuracy of the original, primary, choice that is implied by the quality of the confidence judgements. Here, we advocate a straightforward measure of sensitivity, called meta–𝓘, which assesses the mutual information between the accuracy of the subject’s choices and the confidence reports, and two normalized versions of this measure that quantify efficiency in different regimes. Unlike most other measures, meta–𝓘-based quantities increase with the number of correctly assessed bins with which confidence is reported. We illustrate meta–𝓘 on data from a perceptual decision-making task, and via a simple form of simulated second-order metacognitive observer.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00091
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Gaps in the Lexicon Restrict Communication

    • Pages: 412 - 434
      Abstract: AbstractAcross languages, words carve up the world of experience in different ways. For example, English lacks an equivalent to the Chinese superordinate noun tiáowèipǐn, which is loosely translated as “ingredients used to season food while cooking.” Do such differences matter' A conventional label may offer a uniquely effective way of communicating. On the other hand, lexical gaps may be easily bridged by the compositional power of language. After all, most of the ideas we want to express do not map onto simple lexical forms. We conducted a referential Director/Matcher communication task with adult speakers of Chinese and English. Directors provided a clue that Matchers used to select words from a word grid. The three target words corresponded to a superordinate term (e.g., beverages) in either Chinese or English but not both. We found that Matchers were more accurate at choosing the target words when their language lexicalized the target category. This advantage was driven entirely by the Directors’ use/non-use of the intended superordinate term. The presence of a conventional superordinate had no measurable effect on speakers’ within- or between-category similarity ratings. These results show that the ability to rely on a conventional term is surprisingly important despite the flexibility languages offer to communicate about non-lexicalized categories.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00089
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Can 18-Month-Olds Revise Attributed Beliefs'

    • Pages: 435 - 444
      Abstract: AbstractSuccessful social interactions rely on flexibly tracking and revising others’ beliefs. These can be revised prospectively, new events leading to new beliefs, or retrospectively, when realizing that an attribution may have been incorrect. However, whether infants are capable of such belief revisions is an open question. We tested whether 18-month-olds can revise an attributed FB into a TB when they learn that a person may have witnessed an event that they initially thought she could not see. Infants first observed Experimenter 1 (E1) hiding two objects into two boxes. Then E1 left the room, and the locations of the objects were swapped. Infants then accompanied Experimenter 2 (E2) to the adjacent room. In the FB-revised-to-TB condition, infants observed E1 peeking into the experimental room through a one-way mirror, whereas in the FB-stays-FB condition, they observed E1 reading a book. After returning to the experimental room E1 requested an object by pointing to one of the boxes. In the FB-stays-FB condition, most infants chose the non-referred box, congruently with the agent’s FB. However, in the FB-revised-to-TB condition, most infants chose the other, referred box. Thus, 18-month-olds revised an already attributed FB after receiving evidence that this attribution might have been wrong.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00087
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Spatial Scene Memories Are Biased Towards a Fixed Amount of Semantic

    • Pages: 445 - 459
      Abstract: AbstractScene memory has known spatial biases. Boundary extension is a well-known bias whereby observers remember visual information beyond an image’s boundaries. While recent studies demonstrate that boundary contraction also reliably occurs based on intrinsic image properties, the specific properties that drive the effect are unknown. This study assesses the extent to which scene memory might have a fixed capacity for information. We assessed both visual and semantic information in a scene database using techniques from image processing and natural language processing, respectively. We then assessed how both types of information predicted memory errors for scene boundaries using a standard rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) forced error paradigm. A linear regression model indicated that memories for scene boundaries were significantly predicted by semantic, but not visual, information and that this effect persisted when scene depth was considered. Boundary extension was observed for images with low semantic information, and contraction was observed for images with high semantic information. This suggests a cognitive process that normalizes the amount of semantic information held in memory.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00088
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Virtue Discounting: Observability Reduces Moral Actors’ Perceived

    • Pages: 460 - 482
      Abstract: AbstractPerforming prosociality in public presents a paradox: only by doing so can people demonstrate their virtue and also influence others through their example, yet observers may derogate actors’ behavior as mere “virtue signaling.” Here we investigate the role of observability of actors’ behavior as one reason that people engage in such “virtue discounting.” Further, we investigate observers’ motivational inferences as a mechanism of this effect, using the comparison of generosity and fairness as a case study among virtues. Across 14 studies (7 preregistered, total N = 9,360), we show that public actors are perceived as less virtuous than private actors, and that this effect is stronger for generosity compared to fairness (i.e., differential virtue discounting). Exploratory factor analysis suggests that three types of motives—principled, reputation-signaling, and norm-signaling—affect virtue discounting. Using structural equation modeling, we show that observability’s effect on actors’ trait virtue ratings is largely explained by inferences that actors have less principled motivations. Further, we leverage experimental evidence to provide stronger causal evidence of these effects. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings, as well as future directions for research on the social perception of virtue.
      PubDate: Wed, 26 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00085
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Children’s Early Spontaneous Comparisons Predict Later Analogical
           Reasoning Skills: An Investigation of Parental Influence

    • Pages: 483 - 509
      Abstract: AbstractLaboratory studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of making comparisons on children’s analogical reasoning skills. We extend this finding to an observational dataset comprising 42 children. The prevalence of specific comparisons, which identify a feature of similarity or difference, in children’s spontaneous speech from 14–58 months is associated with higher scores in tests of verbal and non-verbal analogy in 6th grade. We test two pre-registered hypotheses about how parents influence children’s production of specific comparisons: 1) via modelling, where parents produce specific comparisons during the sessions prior to child onset of this behaviour; 2) via responsiveness, where parents respond to their children’s earliest specific comparisons in variably engaged ways. We do not find that parent modelling or responsiveness predicts children’s production of specific comparisons. However, one of our pre-registered control analyses suggests that parents’ global comparisons—comparisons that do not identify a specific feature of similarity or difference—may bootstrap children’s later production of specific comparisons, controlling for parent IQ. We present exploratory analyses following up on this finding and suggest avenues for future confirmatory research. The results illuminate a potential route by which parents’ behaviour may influence children’s early spontaneous comparisons and potentially their later analogical reasoning skills.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00093
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Speech Segmentation and Cross-Situational Word Learning in Parallel

    • Pages: 510 - 533
      Abstract: AbstractLanguage learners track conditional probabilities to find words in continuous speech and to map words and objects across ambiguous contexts. It remains unclear, however, whether learners can leverage the structure of the linguistic input to do both tasks at the same time. To explore this question, we combined speech segmentation and cross-situational word learning into a single task. In Experiment 1, when adults (N = 60) simultaneously segmented continuous speech and mapped the newly segmented words to objects, they demonstrated better performance than when either task was performed alone. However, when the speech stream had conflicting statistics, participants were able to correctly map words to objects, but were at chance level on speech segmentation. In Experiment 2, we used a more sensitive speech segmentation measure to find that adults (N = 35), exposed to the same conflicting speech stream, correctly identified non-words as such, but were still unable to discriminate between words and part-words. Again, mapping was above chance. Our study suggests that learners can track multiple sources of statistical information to find and map words to objects in noisy environments. It also prompts questions on how to effectively measure the knowledge arising from these learning experiences.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Jul 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00095
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Why Children Believe They Are Owned

    • Pages: 534 - 549
      Abstract: AbstractOwners decide what happens to their property, and so adults typically view autonomous beings as non-owned. If children likewise consider autonomy when judging what is owned, this may have implications for how they view themselves. If children believe that parents have power over them, that they themselves lack autonomy, and that only the autonomous cannot be owned, this may lead them to believe that they are owned by their parents. Across three experiments, we found that 4- to 7-year-old children (N = 206) consistently affirm that children are owned by their parents. In Experiment 1, children judged that children and domesticated animals are owned, but denied this for adults and wild animals. In Experiment 2, children were more likely to see children as owned by their parents than by their teachers, and also denied that children own either kind of adult. Finally, in Experiment 3, children were less likely to view a child who makes decisions against parental authority as owned. These judgments are unlikely to mirror what children have been told. Instead, they likely result from children spontaneously using autonomy principles, and possibly other principles of ownership, in reasoning about the ownership of living entities.
      PubDate: Tue, 01 Aug 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00090
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Noun Sequence Statistics Affect Serial Recall and Order Recognition Memory

    • Pages: 550 - 563
      Abstract: AbstractMost theories of verbal working memory recognize that language comprehension and production processes play a role in word memory for familiar sequences, but not for novel lists of nouns. Some language emergent theories propose that language processes can support verbal working memory even for novel sequences. Through corpus analyses, we identify sequences of two nouns that resemble patterns in natural language, even though the sequences are novel. We present 2 experiments demonstrating better recall in college students for these novel sequences over the same words in reverse order. In a third experiment, we demonstrate better recognition of the order of these sequences over a longer time scale. These results suggest verbal working memory and recognition of order over a delay are influenced by language knowledge processes, even for novel memoranda that approximate noun lists typically employed in memory experiments.
      PubDate: Fri, 11 Aug 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00092
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • The “Hard Problem of Consciousness” Arises from Human

    • Pages: 564 - 587
      Abstract: AbstractConsciousness presents a “hard problem” to scholars. At stake is how the physical body gives rise to subjective experience. Why consciousness is “hard”, however, is uncertain. One possibility is that the challenge arises from ontology—because consciousness is a special property/substance that is irreducible to the physical. Here, I show how the “hard problem” emerges from two intuitive biases that lie deep within human psychology: Essentialism and Dualism. To determine whether a subjective experience is transformative, people judge whether the experience pertains to one’s essence, and per Essentialism, one’s essence lies within one’s body. Psychological states that seem embodied (e.g., “color vision” ∼ eyes) can thus give rise to transformative experience. Per intuitive Dualism, however, the mind is distinct from the body, and epistemic states (knowledge and beliefs) seem particularly ethereal. It follows that conscious perception (e.g., “seeing color”) ought to seem more transformative than conscious knowledge (e.g., knowledge of how color vision works). Critically, the transformation arises precisely because the conscious perceptual experience seems readily embodied (rather than distinct from the physical body, as the ontological account suggests). In line with this proposal, five experiments show that, in laypeople’s view (a) experience is transformative only when it seems anchored in the human body; (b) gaining a transformative experience effects a bodily change; and (c) the magnitude of the transformation correlates with both (i) the perceived embodiment of that experience, and (ii) with Dualist intuitions, generally. These results cannot solve the ontological question of whether consciousness is distinct from the physical. But they do suggest that the roots of the “hard problem” are partly psychological.
      PubDate: Fri, 11 Aug 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00094
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • Dogs Rely On Visual Cues Rather Than On Effector-Specific Movement
           Representations to Predict Human Action Targets

    • Pages: 588 - 607
      Abstract: AbstractThe ability to predict others’ actions is one of the main pillars of social cognition. We investigated the processes underlying this ability by pitting motor representations of the observed movements against visual familiarity. In two pre-registered eye-tracking experiments, we measured the gaze arrival times of 16 dogs (Canis familiaris) who observed videos of a human or a conspecific executing the same goal-directed actions. On the first trial, when the human agent performed human-typical movements outside dogs’ specific motor repertoire, dogs’ gaze arrived at the target object anticipatorily (i.e., before the human touched the target object). When the agent was a conspecific, dogs’ gaze arrived to the target object reactively (i.e., upon or after touch). When the human agent performed unusual movements more closely related to the dogs’ motor possibilities (e.g., crawling instead of walking), dogs’ gaze arrival times were intermediate between the other two conditions. In a replication experiment, with slightly different stimuli, dogs’ looks to the target object were neither significantly predictive nor reactive, irrespective of the agent. However, when including looks at the target object that were not preceded by looks to the agents, on average dogs looked anticipatorily and sooner at the human agent’s action target than at the conspecific’s. Looking times and pupil size analyses suggest that the dogs’ attention was captured more by the dog agent. These results suggest that visual familiarity with the observed action and saliency of the agent had a stronger influence on the dogs’ looking behaviour than effector-specific movement representations in anticipating action targets.
      PubDate: Sun, 20 Aug 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00096
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
  • A (Dis-)information Theory of Revealed and Unrevealed Preferences:
           Emerging Deception and Skepticism via Theory of Mind

    • Pages: 608 - 624
      Abstract: AbstractIn complex situations involving communication, agents might attempt to mask their intentions, exploiting Shannon’s theory of information as a theory of misinformation. Here, we introduce and analyze a simple multiagent reinforcement learning task where a buyer sends signals to a seller via its actions, and in which both agents are endowed with a recursive theory of mind. We show that this theory of mind, coupled with pure reward-maximization, gives rise to agents that selectively distort messages and become skeptical towards one another. Using information theory to analyze these interactions, we show how savvy buyers reduce mutual information between their preferences and actions, and how suspicious sellers learn to reinterpret or discard buyers’ signals in a strategic manner.
      PubDate: Sun, 20 Aug 2023 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1162/opmi_a_00097
      Issue No: Vol. 7 (2023)
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