Lavie (1995) proposed that under high perceptual load, attentional resources for task-irrelevant distractors are exhausted by the relevant task, which leads to a decrease in the distractor's interference. In contrast, Benoni & Tsal (2010) claimed that the decreasing interference effect by additional flankers is not due to perceptual load, but rather to early visual interference that depends on visual complexity. They called this effect “dilution”. However, other studies suggest that similarities in the processing of flankers and distractors are another important factor in the dilution effect (Miles, Yamaguchi, & Proctor, 2009; Roberts & Besner, 2005). The present study investigated the influence of processing similarity and perceptual load on suppression of interference. Interference was observed only when flanker-distractor similarity was low, regardless of visual complexity and perceptual load. These results suggest that the similarity is an important factor in interference suppression and that the exhaustion of resources is not solely determined by perceptual load. Our findings are consistent with the multiple resource theory (Wickens, 1980, 2002).
This study examined whether tactile information influences tactile impressions induced by visual textures. We used 22 natural images of materials (22.4°×22.4°; presentation duration of 100 ms) and asked participants to report the intensity of four types of tactile impressions described in onomatopoeias and an adjective (i.e., “zarazara” (coarsely), “tsurutsuru” (slipperily), “kasakasa” (dryly), and “komakai” (fine)) by making notations on each line-scale with check marks. We asked the participants to evaluate the visual textures during or after touching an index finger to a rotating cylinder (7.7 cm in diameter; approximately 10 rps) with regularly indented surfaces (visuo-tactile condition), and without touching the rotating cylinder (visual condition). The results revealed that, when the tactile stimulus was presented simultaneously with the visual textures, tactile impressions of them were evaluated higher in the visuo-tactile condition than in the visual condition. Particularly, three of the four tactile impressions (i.e., “zarazara”, “kasakasa”, and “komakai”) were strongly affected by the tactile stimulation. In contrast, when the tactile stimulus was presented prior to the visual textures for twenty seconds, the three impressions were evaluated lower in the visuo-tactile condition than in the visual condition, possibly resulting from a cross-modal aftereffect of adaptation to the tactile stimulus. Moreover, these effects were observed regardless of the similarity of tactile impressions between the visual and tactile stimuli. These results indicate that tactile information influences tactile impressions induced by visual textures. This effect might occur at the level of sensory processing.
It is known that the perceived direction of a directionally ambiguous test stimulus is influenced by the moving direction of a preceding priming stimulus. To examine the spatial property of motion priming, we manipulated the spatial distance between the priming and test stimuli. Subjects judged the perceived direction of 180-deg phaseshifted sine-wave gratings (test stimulus) displayed immediately after the offset of a priming stimulus. We found that a brief priming stimulus induced negative motion priming when it was spatially distant from the test stimulus. We also found that positive motion priming was observed when both priming stimulus and test stimulus were presented at the peripheral retina. Negative motion priming was observed regardless of the position of the stimuli when the duration of the priming stimulus was longer. We conclude that the effect of spatial distance on the visual motion priming could be explained by the activation of a center-surround antagonistic motion detecting mechanism when a brief priming stimulus was used.
We investigated effects of coffee cue presentation on desire for coffee and cognitive performance. The 2 (cue and no-cue)×2 (instruction: reward and no-reward) between-subjects design was used. The smell and sight of coffee were presented in the cue condition, but not in the no-cue condition. The participants in the reward condition were instructed that they would obtain coffee after the behavioral task and the amount of coffee depended on their performance of the task. The participants in the no-reward condition were instructed to perform as many tasks as possible. The dependent variable was performance of the behavioral task and subjective desire for coffee. In the task, the participants were asked to find vowels among letters printed on task sheets. As a result, the participants in the cue condition found more vowels than those in the no-cue condition, in both instruction conditions. There was no difference in subjective rating between any conditions. These results suggest that the coffee cue may enhance cognitive performance rather than desire for coffee.
This paper reviews the last 50 years of experimental and theoretical research on Pavlovian conditioning in animals. It is the history of the movement from simple “spit-and-twitch” psychology to information processing views of associative learning. In 1962, Egger and Miller reported a pivotal study suggesting that information value is important in establishing an effective conditioned stimulus. In the late 1960s, Wagner, Rescorla, and Kamin published historic research papers demonstrating the importance of information value (i.e., predictability of the forthcoming significant event) by showing new phenomena in Pavlovian conditioning: relative cue validity, contingency effect, and associative blocking. The Rescorla–Wagner model came on stage in 1972 to explain these phenomena and successfully predicted new phenomena, although this model had some shortcomings. Subsequent theories of Pavlovian conditioning have challenged to deal with these shortcomings, and the recent theoretical development is linked to computational modeling in a variety of ways.
Cognitive function is important as the foundation of social life and communication with people. This paper focuses on the age-related changes in cognitive function in healthy aging. To summarize the features of cognitive aging, fluid ability, such as information processing speed and memory is likely to decrease, while crystallized ability, such as language knowledge tends to be maintained. However, for example, language function in daily life is a dynamic process consisting of a fluid ability and crystallized ability. As a laboratory research of age-related changes in language function, two experimental studies of word fluency and word listening are described. In addition, as applied research, an intervention study by social participation program is described. The role of psychology in aging society is that it will continue to contribute to deeper understanding of later life and older people themselves. Further developments of basic and applied research are needed.
Semantic dementia (SD) is a neurodegenerative disorder featured selective loss of semantic memory associated with a focal atrophy of the anterior temporal lobes. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical features of SD and to propose a coping method as a care for the patients with SD. Difficulties in naming and recognition of words with surface dyslexia on kanji-word reading [gogi-aphasia] are the most prominent symptoms in the patient with the left-dominant temporal lobe atrophy, while misidentification of familiar persons [prosopagnosia] and/or misunderstanding of visual objects [associative agnosia] is the characteristic of the patient with the right-dominant temporal lobe atrophy. Either symptom, however, rather appeared common in almost every SD patient from longitudinal perspectives of progressive amodal semantic impairment. Then the persistent stereotypies at an early stage of the disease turned into prominent and huge destructive behavior and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Quality associated way of care for patients with SD, early exposure to daily cognitive skill training utilizing preserved abilities and stepwise application to the care-services is essential.
Emotional and social cognitive function have been reported to be impaired in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent studies have revealed that social cognition tasks, such as facial expression recognition, mind-reading, and decision-making, are impaired in PD. PD patients show deficits in recognizing negative facial emotions, such as fear and disgust. Theory of mind ability measured by the “reading mind in the eyes” test is impaired in PD patients, and that this finding was is attributable to the visual processing of faces or the verbal comprehension of emotional adjectives. They also show disadvantageous decision-making, which is related to decreased emotional responses, as measured by skin conductance responses. Caution should be exercised because the social cognitive dysfunction is mainly non-verbal and seems to affect at a level beneath patient's awareness.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disorder that is characterized by a slow, progressive decline in mental and social function, impairing memory, thinking, reasoning, and the ability to learn. Although there is no cure for AD, the early detection can improve symptoms and slow progression of the disease and also can give patients and their families better care and treatment options. Recently, it has become increasingly important to detect AD at an early stage due to the advent of drugs with slowing progression. Psychologists are expected to develop effective methods for screening to be more sensitive for detecting individuals in the early stages of AD. This article reviewed existing dementia screening tools and examined the roles of psychology in assessment and measurement of cognitive function.
In this article, PossessedHand and its discussions are reported. PossessedHand have been researched in HCI (Human–Computer Interaction) field to tell users the finger movement from the computer. By giving a functional electrical stimulation to the forearm muscles via the electrode pads around the arm, the device control users finger motions and tell the information. While applied research of PossessedHand have been actively carried out primarily the engineering field, it is not yet elucidated perception that changes in continuous use and efficiency of motor learning using PossessedHand. Therefore, basic psychology researches of PossessedHand are required. Based on the research results in the engineering field, the real life uses of PossessedHand is discussed.
Eye movements have been extensively studied in Neuroscience as a model system to understand neural mechanisms of motor control and learning. Further they have been examined in clinical and psychological studies since neural circuitries involved in eye movements extend to wide brain areas that are also involved in other brain functions such as attention. In this paper, I summarize recent researches in neuroscience that employ eye movements to elucidate neuronal mechanisms of motor learning. Then, an example of application of the accumulated neuroscience evidence to real world engineering problem, namely adaptive robot control, is introduced. Another application of eye movements to monitor car driver's physiological states is also summarized. By showing these recent studies on eye movements, I propose that eye movements can be one of the most attractive model systems to bridge the engineering and basic psychology in harmony.
An EEG-based brain–machine interface (BMI), “Neurocommunicator” has been developed by the author's research group in AIST in order to support communication of patients with severer motor deficits. The user can select one of registered messages in real time from electroencephalography (EEG) data and express it via his/her avatar. Integration of neuroscience and psychology will contribute to the future development, at hardware, software and service levels, of Neurocommunicator toward a commercial product.
Fish is the vertebrate that first appeared on the earth. While it has been found that many fish species are highly social, their brain has less complex organization than mammals. Thus, studying social behavior in fish has a great advantage in understanding of emotion, which is common to all the vertebrates. Among all, Anemonefishes live symbiotically with sea anemones and form a social unit that consists of a breeding pair and several sexually immature individuals. The hierarchy of the social rank is strictly maintained in a group. Agonistic behaviors are observed frequently among the members of a group, which are essential for maintenance of the social structure, as well as for their sex determination. The differences in agonistic behavior according to social status were also detected directed at conspecific intruders. The aggressive behaviors were specifically directed at intruders of the same sexual status, not at those of the opposite sex. These results suggest that sexually mature resident anemonefish perceive intruders of the same sexual status as competitors for reproductive status.
Visual illusions in animals are important to study because they magnify how the perceptual system in each animal works. This paper reviews comparative studies on visual illusions in birds (pigeons and bantam chickens) and humans. Not only similarities but also dissimilarities in the perception of illusory figures between these animals have been shown, suggesting that the same physical environments may induce different visual worlds among the species.
The recording of field potentials in hippocampal slice preparations is widely used for the purpose of elucidating the biological basis of memory function, Since the hippocampus has a unique structure of cellular and fiber layers, not only action potentials but also postsynaptic potentials can be clearly recorded as field potentials using a glass electrode with a relatively large tip. That the mechanism of polarity of field potentials recorded from synaptic layers differs from that recorded from cell layers is explained by the concepts of current sink and source.
“Integrative studies of neural mechanisms and advanced information technologies for perception of material and surface qualities” is a research project supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Area from MEXT, Japan, to challenge a hard outstanding problem of sensory science, Shitsukan, through an interdisciplinary collaboration among engineering, psychophysics and neurosciences.