by Veltkamp, G. M., Recio, G., Jacobs, A. M., & Conrad, M. (2012)
(International Journal of Bilingualism, 17(4). 496-504. DOI: 10.1177/1367006912438894)
Background & Research
The complex relationships between language and culture, as well as thought and personality, have been the subject of great interest and research since at least the 19th century, for psychologists, linguists, philosophers and even romantic/nationalist thinkers. Linguistic relativity, for instance, was a particularly hot topic in the first half of the 20th century. As regards more recent psychological research, there are indications that different languages carry different emotional tones, in that people fluent in several languages behave and feel in different ways when speaking one language as compared to another. There is also evidence that language learning on the whole is closely tied to the internalization of cultural norms and values that appear to be inherently present in the language. It has been said that culture provides different formulaic ways for expressing thoughts and feelings, and if this is the case, language is the most likely process for this to occur through.
For multilingual individuals, researchers have suggested that by learning new languages, individuals simultaneously gain access to new cultural meaning systems, and can then switch between different culturally appropriate behaviors. If that is the case, might expressed dimensions of personality also change when using another language? Continue reading ‘AotD: Is personality modulated by language?’ »
The Stroop effect, that naming colours is slower when the coloured stimulus consists of an incongruent colour word (e.g., the word “green”, printed in red), is one of the most famous findings in research on cognitive processes. This phenomenon has been very useful in studying automatisms, in particular the fact that automated processes related to well-practised tasks can create interference in other tasks where they are as such irrelevant.
Many variants of the standard version exist, including for instance picture-word and position-word variants. There are however limitations to the use of any variant employing word reading, mainly because it is quite difficult to manipulate variables related to reading in research settings. Reading practice cannot be restrained for practical and ethical concerns, and, further, reading ability is acquired at an age when other very significant cognitive changes are occurring. Any observations regarding changes in performance (and interference effects) over time may be due to many other factors.
Psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic tradition used to view aging quite fatalistically, especially early on. Carrying out psychoanalysis for elderly or aging people was thought to be fruitless, and a decline in overall mental functioning was understood to be an unavoidable direct result of aging. The deficiencies and inabilities connected with advanced age were supposedly obvious in Rorschach protocols, too.
In the 1980s however, researchers within this tradition questioned these ideas, pointing out that research on elderly people had often been carried out in geriatric institutions, and no assessments of the participants’ cognitive or color discrimination abilities had been carried out. When studying healthy people who have aged “normally”, the quantitative differences between the Ro protocols of young and elderly adults do not appear so significant. In the last decades, plenty of psychoanalytical papers have examined more qualitative features of aging, concentrating in particular on narcissistic wounds, the revival of conflicts and anxiety, regression and ego tensions. “Each individual ages according to his/her own mental resources and fragilities”, the author here summarizes.
Mindfulness interventions for psychosis: A meta-analysis
by Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Gaudiano, B.A., & Paquin, K. (2013)
(Schizophrenia Research, 150(1). 176–184. )
Background & Research
Among the so-called Third Wave of cognitive-behavioural therapies, mindfulness-based approaches have garnered great interest in recent years, within clinical psychology as well as among the more general public. Definitions of “mindfulness” vary, but it is generally understood to refer to non-judgmental and non-reactive awareness, observation and acceptance of all inner experiences, the centering of attention and experience to the here and now, and in most cases, cultivating an attitude of kindness or (loving) compassion. In terms of interventions based on mindfulness, their unifying goal is to learn to willingly embrace and accept present experiences in the moment, both pleasant and unpleasant, without avoiding, suppressing or clinging on to them.
As regards psychosis, developing mindfulness skills could be helpful for alleviating the distress and suffering related to psychotic symptoms, instead of attempting to control them. Individuals might be able to change their ways of responding and ascribing meaning to the symptoms as they appear, regarding them as transient experiences that do not define one as a person or necessarily reflect reality. The symptoms or sensations are likely to remain unpleasant, but by promoting acceptance of them and their transient nature, individuals may reclaim power over themselves better than by attempting to fight, correct or counteract the symptoms. Continue reading ‘AotD: Mindfulness interventions for psychosis: A meta-analysis’ »
How Love Emerges in Arranged Marriages – Two Cross-cultural Studies
by Epstein, R., Pandit, M., & Thakar, M. (2012)
(Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 44(3), 341-360.)
Background & Research
Despite the prevalence of autonomous (“love”) marriages in “Western” countries, most marriages in the world are still arranged by parents or matchmakers. Quite a number of studies have been conducted comparing and contrasting arranged marriages and autonomous marriages. Such studies have arrived at somewhat mixed results as regards love and (marital) satisfaction in these two types of marriages. However, overall, most of the evidence suggests that there is at least as much love (later on) in arranged marriages as in autonomous ones, and that love in such marriages grows over time as opposed to autonomous marriages where it tends to diminish over time. Similarly, satisfaction seems to be at the same level or better in arranged marriages as in autonomous ones. Continue reading ‘AotD: How Love Emerges in Arranged Marriages’ »
Cognitive Correlates of Personality – Links Between Executive Functioning and the Big Five Personality Traits
by Murdock, K.W., Oddi, K.B., & Bridgett, D.J. O. (2013)
(Journal of Individual Differences, 34(2), 97–104. DOI: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000104)
Background & Research
Executive functioning, understood broadly as the cognitive processes that facilitate and guide planning and executing goal-oriented behavior and the regulation of affect and thought, has been of great interest to psychologists for decades, but pinning down and defining these high-level processes has remained difficult. In Miyake and Friedman’s model (2000) employed in this article, executive functioning consists of three elements: Cognitive Flexibility, Inhibition and Updating/Monitoring (information in working memory). Factor analyses as well as neuroimaging techniques have given these distinctions some empirical support.
Exploring the connections, if any, between executive functioning (EF) and personality traits could be important for understanding the origins, neurobiological and otherwise, of individual differences, for advancing theory on different predispositions toward certain behaviors (e.g., to be targeted for intervention in clinical applications), as well as for issues relating to construct overlap. In the last few years especially, quite a few studies have indeed looked at links between (mostly individual) EF components and (Big Five) personality traits. Many possible connections have been identified, but overall, according to the authors of this article, the findings have been mixed and no study has considered all core aspects of EF as laid out by Miyake and Friedman and all five Big Five personality traits simultaneously. Continue reading ‘AotD: Cognitive Correlates of Personality’ »
The idea that knowledge access is intimately related to simulations in sensory-motor systems is known as grounded cognition. In this view, conceptual representation is thought to share the same modal systems and resources with perception.
Indeed, a lot of research and evidence on the role of sensory systems in knowledge access and perceptual-conceptual interaction already exists.
In sequential tasks, the modality of the previous task appears to have a priming effect on the next one. For example, it has been shown that property verification tasks (e.g., “is GRASS typically GREEN?”) are performed faster when a preceding localization task matches the modality of the property in question (here, vision). On the other hand, research with multitasking designs has demonstrated that comprehension and memorizing of modal material is inhibited when a sensory load of the same modality is applied (more-so than when a similar contramodal load is present), indicating that perceptual and conceptual processing might share the same sensory-based resources. Continue reading ‘AotD: Memory for Words Representing Modal Concepts’ »
The processing, evaluation and recognition of faces is central to human interaction, and thus of great interest to psychological theories, in particular from the point of view of social cognition. A great deal of research already exists on these issues. As regards correct recognition of previously seen faces, previous research indicates that people remember and recognize faces similar to themselves in terms of “race” and age better, and that women recognize more faces in general as compared to men and recognize female faces better than male faces. The results on men have been more inconclusive.
In light of the importance of faces and facial features in sexual attraction, the authors of this article posit some of these gender differences may in fact represent sexual orientation differences. Some previous research articles report on the sexual orientation of participants, but some do not, and some seem to have taken a plainly heterosexist attitude to the issue (declaring it a non-issue, that is). Continue reading ‘AotD: Participant Sexual Orientation Matters’ »