In the implicit learning task of McGeorge and Burton (1990) participants were exposed to 30 four-digit stimuli containing an invariant "3", and then given a forced-choice test. In most cases they preferred novel stimuli containing the invariant digit, rather than stimuli without it. This study examined the effects of an invariant digit and a memory of the stimuli. The control stimuli were generated so that all of the numbers (1-9) appeared almost equally, so in the control condition an invariant digit was not learned. The stimuli for the experimental condition however contained an invariant "3". The test-pair condition was manipulated between-participants (Experiment 1) or within-participants (Experiment 2). The results of Experiment 1 indicated that in the experimental condition there was an effect of the invariant digit and a small effect of a memory of the stimuli. But an effect of a memory of the stimuli was present in the control condition. In Experiment 2 both effects were observed in the experimental condition, but in the control condition the effect of a memory of the stimuli was absent. The implications of these results for future research are discussed.
This study examined a method of using a masking sound to improve the impression of an environment with noise. In three experiments, we presented a masking sound of several types of music, or pink noise, with road traffic noise, or white noise, and the participants evaluated the unpleasantness and restlessness of the environment. Regardless of the type of noise, the impression of the environment was improved when we presented relaxing and well known music with higher sound level (L_<eq>) than that of the noise. The improvement was greater when there was a large difference in the sound level of the noise and the music. However, if the sound level of the music was lower than that of the noise, the impression was worse than when the noise was presented by itself. These results suggest that the improvement achieved by presenting a masking sound depends upon the type of masking sound, and upon the relative sound level of the noise and the masking sound.
Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of script familiarity on the recognition of component letters in Japanese words which were represented in katakana (a moraic script). The participants in Experiment 1 were briefly presented with either a masked katakana word (a familiar script word, マスコミ) or a masked katakana-hiragana mixed word (an unfamiliar script word, マすコみ), followed by a target letter (e.g., コ). In Experiment 2 the participants were presented with the target letter, followed by a brief presentation of either the familiar or unfamiliar script word. The task in both experiments was to decide whether the target letter was presented within the word. In both experiments the correct recognition rate for katakana was higher for familiar script words than for unfamiliar script words. However, in unfamiliar script words the correct recognition rate was higher for katakana than for hiragana in Experiment 1, and the reverse was observed in Experiment 2. These results are interpreted in terms of an interactive-activation model.
The frequency effect in recognition memory refers to the fact that low frequency items have higher hit rates than do high frequency items. This study investigated whether levels of processing influenced the frequency effect. The two-factor theory predicts that the disadvantage of high-frequency items in recognition is eliminated by a task to increase elaboration of the items. Contrary to this, the one-factor theory states that levels of processing do not influence the frequency effect. We examined these predictions by using the recognition of kanji (Chinese characters) designated for everyday use in Japanese. We conducted judgment of the normative frequency as incidental learning, and performed a recognition test immediately after that, or one week later. The frequency effect was observed one week later, when frequency judgment as a task of physical analysis was repeated (three times for each item) during study. But the frequency effect was then not observed after one week, when reading kanji aloud as a phonemic level task replaced a second judgment during study. These results suggest that the frequency effect can be accounted for by the two-factor theory.
This study investigated the relationship between a spacing effect and selective attention on central and incidental learning. The subjects were given a central and incidental learning task with tweleve pairs of emotional words. Each pair consisted of a positive and negative word, and these were used as semantic cues. In the task the subjects studied one word of each pair with focused attention (central learning) and the other with divided attention (incidental learning). Each pair was repeated four times. Six of the pairs were presented at regular intervals in the spaced condition, and the other six were presented consecutively in the massed condition. The duration of eye fixation was recorded during the presentation period so that the selective attention of a subject could be examined. Immediately after the presentation period, the subjects were given a free recall test. The results indicated that a spacing effect was present in the central learning condition but not in incidental learning. Consequently, intentional attention rather than semantic cues caused the spacing effect.
Photographic images were used to examine the perception of the distance to a single human figure (the absolute distance) or the depth interval between two human figures (the relative distance). The subjects made adjustments to the figures by changing their size and position. In the absolute distance condition 10 participants made adjustments to a human figure so that the absolute distance was perceived to be from 10-70m. In the relative distance condition 20 participants adjusted the image of one of two human figures which were displayed side by side. The figure on the right side was fixed at intervals of 10m between from 10-70m from the camera. The participants adjusted the figure on the left so that the relative distance was perceived to be from 10-60m behind the figure on the right. The results indicated that perceived absolute distances were nearly equal to actual distances even when the background did not contain depth cues. This suggests that the retinal size of human figures in photographs is a powerful determinant for the perception of absolute distances. However, the results also indicated that the relative distances were consistently underestimated. These findings suggest that relative distances cannot be predicted from two corresponding absolute distances. Consequently for depth perception, the manner of processing information for the perception of absolute distance might be different from the manner of processing information for the perception of relative distance.
The various relationships between differential reinforcement procedures and behavioral variability are discussed with reference to experimental studies. The research of behavioral variability was classified into two categories: the collateral change of response variability in operant conditioning; and increasing behavioral variability by differential reinforcement procedures. The variability of response sequences is increased by three types of differential reinforcement procedures: the lag schedule; the frequency dependent reinforcement schedule; and differential reinforcement of switching. The discussion identifies two problems regarding the functional behavioral unit established under differential reinforcement procedures: the building blocks of reinforced responses, and reinforcing effects on the building blocks. Research of these problems could explore the function of differential reinforcement procedures and the disposition of behavioral variability more precisely.
One of the recent topics of emotional psychology is the study on functions of positive emotions. Positive and negative emotions are different in their functions and saliency. According to Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (2001), positive emotions broaden an individuals momentary thought-action repertoire toward specific actions and build the enduring personal resources, while many negative emotions narrow people's thought-action repertoire. One of the implication of this theory is that positive emotions have an undoing effect on the aftereffects of negative emotions. Folkman & Moskowitz (2000) reviewed recent studies and suggested that positive reappraisals of the situation are related to the occurrence and maintenance of positive emotion. Tezuka & Suzuki (2004) tested this undoing effect using psychological reappraisal method. Inoue (2003) also examined the undoing effects. Participants were randomly assigned and cardiovascular reactivity were induced by positive, negative and neutral images, and then participants were shown a secondary negative emotion-induced film. Findings show that the experience of positive emotions including psychological reappraisal had an undoing effect on accelerated cardiovascular reactivity and psychological arousal caused by negative emotions.
The social functions of laughter have been often mentioned but rarely studied in the field of psychology. This paper briefly shows the results of two studies in which we addressed the question as to when and why people laugh, and inferred some functions of laughter in conversation. In the first study, using diary method, we investigated some aspects of laughter in daily life. It was found that the diarists laughted most in social interactions, especially in conversation. Furthemore the results showed that although they were not often conscious about the reasons why they laughted, the recorded numbers of laugh episodes were positively correlated to the "other-directedness" and "acting" factors of the subjects. In the second study, we examined the laughter in an interview setting, especially focusing on the phenomenon that people phrase raughingly, i.e., laugh-speak. The conversations of the interviewer and the subjects were videotaped, and they were precisely transcribed using conversation analysis notations. On the basis of these transcripts, laughing events were identified and analyzed. The results indicated that the mean rates of laugh-speak to total laughs in the subjects should reach 50%. Some functions of laugh-speak, such as qualifier, were inferred from the contexts of conversation.
How should we approach to the origins of morality? How should we analyse the moral emotions? Recent researches in animal psychology seem to throw some light on these questions. According to Brosnan & de Waal, the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella) has a 'sense of fairness.' As Darwin thought, morality is supported by social emotions, which not only humans but also other primates should have. Then, in order to answer the preceding questions, we have to pay enough attention to the emotional responses of nonhuman primates in social contexts as well as those of humans. In addition, we should not neglect the conceptual analysis of morality and moral emotions, because morality consists of various components. In this regard, J.S. Mill's analysis of 'justice' in Utilitarianism may be regarded as a good example. We will state a brief prospect of the "evolutionary ethics."