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Applied cognitive psychology

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [18:00 - 20:00]

PS_3.006 - Repeated testing can enhance retention in medical education

Logan, J. 1 , Marshak, D. 2 & Thompson, A. 3

1 Rice University
2 University of Texas Medical School - Houston
3 Baylor College of Medicine

Students in the health professions should remember human anatomy well enough to apply that knowledge later, in a clinical setting. Unfortunately, human anatomy is one of the most challenging courses a first year student takes. We examined how repeated testing could benefit overall retention for medical students in a human anatomy class. In the classroom, testing is typically reserved for determining mastery of material and assigning grades, but testing one’s knowledge can provide substantial benefits to learning and retention. In two studies, medical students in a human anatomy course took weekly quizzes over information learned in class, for 6 weeks. Each quiz was given three times, repeated in a slightly different form each time. Repetitions were spaced out over a short delay (1 hour) or long delay (1 week). A final test was given 1 week after all quizzes to assess retention. On each subsequent test, the students showed robust improvement. The scores were 28% higher on the third test than on the first, and there was a positive correlation between quiz grades and final exam grades at the end of the semester. These results suggest that repeated testing can be a simple yet powerful learning aid in medical education.

PS_3.007 - Associative priming between faces and voices

Stevenage, S.

School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

A traditional priming paradigm was used to explore the implications of a theoretical framework in which face processing and voice processing represent two parallel pathways in a single multi-modality person-recognition system. Participants were presented with either the face or the voice of one celebrity, followed by the face of another celebrity, and the two celebrities were either semantically associated or were unrelated. The participants’ task was to give a speeded familiarity judgement to the second face. The results revealed the anticipated within-modality associative priming effect in which the face of one celebrity facilitated the familiarity judgement to the face of an associate. Importantly, the results also revealed cross-modality associative priming such that the voice of one celebrity successfully facilitated the familiarity judgement to the face of an associate. These data provide a clear demonstration of the capacity for one modality to influence the other. As such, they provide support for the existence of a framework in which the processing within different modalities sits in parallel within a single multi-modal system.

PS_3.008 - The role of the visuo-spatial sketchpad when learning with text and pictures

Schüler, A. , Scheiter, K. & Gerjets, P.

Multimedia Lab. Knowledge Media Research Center. Tübingen, Germany

The main goal of the reported study was to investigate whether recent specifications concerning the structure of the visuo-spatial sketchpad (VSSP) have implications for learning with text and pictures. In particular, it was assumed that pictures are beneficial for learning only when the text conveys non-spatial rather than spatial information, because the processing of spatial text contents, of the picture, and the execution of eye movements may interfere with each other in the spatial part of the VSSP.
To test this hypothesis, 85 students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, which resulted from a 2×2 between-subjects design, with picture presentation (with vs. without) and text contents (visual vs. spatial) as factors. The results confirmed the expected interference between processing of spatial text information and pictures: the beneficial effect of picture presentation was observed only when the texts conveyed visual information, but not when it conveyed spatial information. Importantly, when no pictures were presented also no differences emerged between learners with either visual or spatial texts contents, indicating that the findings are not caused by absolute differences between the two texts such as their difficulty. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

PS_3.010 - Rumination and worrying are linked to an impaired shifting ability

Beckwé, M. 1 , Deroost, N. 1 & De Lissnyder, E. 2

1 Vrije Universiteit Brussel
2 Universiteit Gent

It is commonly assumed that rumination and worrying play an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). But, despite their clinical significance, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of rumination and worrying. The present study investigated the shifting capacity of working memory, when processing non-emotional and emotional verbal information, using an Internal Shift Task (IST). The IST was administered to a group of high-ruminators (N=31) and high-worriers (N=32) versus non-ruminators (N=39) and non-worriers (N=38). The main finding was that rumination and worrying were both related to general shifting impairments. This increased shifting cost for ruminators and worriers was most pronounced when they had to shift from a negative to a neutral word. Interestingly, these results were only found when the negative words we used reflected relevant worry-themes for the participants. The possible implications of these findings in relation to vulnerability for MDD and GAD are further discussed.

PS_3.011 - Procura-PALavras (P-PAL): A web application for a new European Portuguese lexical database

Soares, A. 1 , Montserrat, C. 2 , Iriarte, A. 3 , Almeida, J. J. 4 , Simões, A. 4 , Costa, A. 2 , França, P. 2 & Machado, J. 2

1 School of Psychology, University of Minho
2 Centre for Research in Psychology, University of Minho
3 Institute of Arts and Human Sciences, Univeristy of Minho
4 Department of Informatics, University of Minho

Procura-PALavras (P-PAL) is a web application for a new European Portuguese (EP) lexical database that provides a series of objective (lexical and sublexical) and subjective indexes for ≈250.000 non-lemmatized and ≈42.000 lemmatized EP words. Based on a corpus of over 200 million EP words, the P-PAL web application enables users to obtain a broad range of statistics concerning the properties of word stimuli, including several measures of word frequency, syllable frequency, bigram and biphone frequency, orthographic and phonological structure, morphological and syntactic structure, orthographic and phonological similarity, lexical semantic indexes, concreteness, familiarity, imageability, valence, arousal, and dominance measures. In order to obtain these statistics the user should decide between a lemma or wordform search in the application and between two word-based queries: (i) generate lists of words with specific characteristics (objective and/or subjective); or (ii) analyze word lists in specific characteristics (objective and/or subjective). In this work we present the wordform and lemma frequency indexes already available (per million words and contextual diversity), as well as some structure and similarity orthographic measures such as word length, neighborhood density and frequency, transposition neighbors, and addition and deletion neighbors. Bigram and trigram type and token frequencies will be also presented.

PS_3.012 - A tendency to lie in everyday life - construction of a test

Wojciechowski, J. , Dryll, E. & RudziƄska-Wojciechowska, J.

Faculty of Psychology University of Warsaw

Lying is a fact of everyday life - people deceive strangers as well as their relatives and friends. However, not everyone lies with the same frequency and for the same reason. To address the issue the first non-self-descriptive Polish test measuring a tendency to lie was created. It considers various types of lies: from altruistic to manipulative or destructive ones. The test consists of descriptions of various social interactions and three reactions to them: telling the truth, lying or avoidance. The subjects are asked to indicate the probability of each reaction on a 1 to 4 scale. The poster depicts stages of the test construction. Firstly, over 50 items were created and examined by the judges. According to their evaluation 25 scenes were chosen. Then the test was administered to the sample of 90 undergraduates. The analyses indicated high reliability of the test scales (Cronbach’s α equaled 0.87 for the lie scale, 0.829 for the truth, and 0.77 for the avoidance). After the factor analysis the number of the items was further reduced. Ongoing research aims at assessing a personal tendency to lie and personality inventory scores and at validating the test in real-life situations.

PS_3.013 - "Science XL" project: How the use of smartphones can revolutionize research in cognitive science

Dufau, S. 1, 2 & , S. X. t. 3

2 Aix-Marseille Université

Investigating human cognitive faculties such as language, attention, and memory most often relies on testing small and homogeneous groups of volunteers coming to research facilities where they are asked to participate in behavioral experiments. We show that this limitation and sampling bias can be overcome by using smartphone technology to collect data in cognitive science experiments from thousands of subjects from all over the world. We used iPhones and iPads to measure response times in a lexical decision study involving seven languages (Basque, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Malay, Spanish). This innovative method allows millisecond-precise measurements, identical equipment across multiple countries, standardized cross-language studies, low experimental costs, and rapid transfer of data. The data collected so far show that response time distributions are strikingly similar to those obtained in laboratory conditions and predicted by mathematical models of decision processes i.e., right-skewed normal distribution. This mass coordinated use of smartphones creates a novel and powerful scientific “instrument” that yields the data necessary to test universal theories of cognition. This increase in power represents a potential revolution in cognitive science.

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