Listening to your intuition in the face of distraction: Effects of working memory load on intuitive judgments of semantic coherence.

Maldei, T., Koole, S. L., & Baumann, N.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.05.012

People can intuitively estimate the semantic coherence of word triads, even when they are unable to state the triads' common denominator. The present research examines the role of working memory in such intuitive coherence judgments. Dual-process models of information processing suggest that intuition does not depend on working memory. Consistent with this, the authors predicted that taxing working memory capacity will not lower the accuracy of intuitive coherence judgments. Nevertheless, taxing working memory may impede metacognitive processing, which may lead people to become more conservative in judging triads as coherent. Two studies (combined N = 307) tested these predictions by asking participants to memorize letter-number combinations of varying lengths while providing intuitive coherence judgments. As expected, working memory load had no effect on the accuracy of intuitive coherence judgments (Studies 1 & 2). Effects on judgment bias were less consistent. In Study 1, participants became slightly more conservative in judging triads as coherent under moderate (compared to low) working memory load. In Study 2, which was pre-registered, working memory load led to more conservative intuitive coherence judgments, but only when participants prioritized a highly demanding load task. Unexpectedly, when focusing on a moderate (compared to a low) working memory load, participants were more liberal in judging triads as coherent. Together, these findings indicate that taxing working memory may interfere with people's inclination to trust their intuition, even when it leaves the accuracy of people's intuition intact.


Estudios de Psicologia/Studies in Psychology

Memory rehabilitation for older adults: Preserving independent living.

Kaschel, R., & Kazén, M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/02109395.2018.1493844

Episodic memory problems are the hallmark of cognitive ageing in normal elderly people. Learning of new material is worse in pathological cognitive ageing, such as dementia and its preliminary states (mild cognitive impairment). Because episodic learning is crucial to preserve independent living in the elderly, rehabilitation programmes for everyday memory problems are welcomed. The scope of scientific interest has switched from treatment to prevention. We claim that lifestyle interventions are the most direct way to preserve cognition. We summarize evidence for changes in nutrition and exercise. In addition, psychological interventions for elderly people with normal or pathological cognitive ageing are available. Recent meta-analyses found lacking evidence of transfer to everyday life and long-term effects. We critically assess these meta-analyses. We propose theoretically derived experimental interventions relying on spared learning mechanisms. As an example we report visual-imagery training showing positive effects in a randomized control trial, using individual memory diaries on memory improvement.

Why people do the things they do: Building on Julius Kuhl's contributions to the psychology of motivation and volition.

. Does prospective memory decline with age? An unresolved issue unless state orientation is taken into account.

Kaschel, R., Kazén, M.

A rather new topic in memory research over the last 25 years was memory for intentions (prospective memory; PM). A large number of naturalistic and laboratory studies asked the question of whether PM declines with age. It was initially postulated that this was not the case, thus reflecting a specific and remarkable exception to various aspects of retrospective memory (RM). The question of the absence of age impairments in PM therefore seemed of theoretical but also of huge practical interest. The latter refers to rapidly ageing western societies and the importance to preserve the ability of carrying out intentions to prolong independent living at old age. Astonishingly, the question of PM impairments in old age is still unsettled and this is even the case if PM is studied not only as a monolithic concept but also when several of its subdomains are assessed separately. In this chapter, we argue that this is due to methodological shortcomings and the consequence of a severe neglect of inter-individual and noncognitive factors influencing PM. Prospective state orientation is one of these noncognitive factors which proved powerful as it strongly interacts with healthy ageing and task demands. There may not exist a simple ´yes-or-no´ answer to the grand-prix question of age decline in PM but state-oriented individuals do show considerable problems in intention enactment under high demands and a lack of positive affect. This is shown by two of our own studies which used a modified PM design in order to overcome methodological problems of classical PM measures.


Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition

State orientation and memory load impair prospective memory performance in older compared to younger persons.

Kaschel, R., Kazén, M., & Kuhl, J.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2016.1225664

A modified event-based paradigm of prospective memory was applied to investigate intention initiation in older and younger participants under high versus low memory load (subsequent episodic word recall vs. recognition). State versus action orientation, a personality dimension related to intention enactment, was also measured. State-oriented persons show a superiority effect for the storage of intentions in an explicit format but have a paradoxical deficit in their actual enactment. We predicted an interaction between aging, personality, and memory load, with longer intention-initiation latencies and higher omission rates for older state-oriented participants under high memory load. Results were consistent with predictions and are interpreted according to current personality and prospective memory models of aging.



Recall and recognition hypermnesia for Socratic stimuli.

Kazén, M., & Solís-Macías, V. M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.990981

In two experiments, we investigate hypermnesia, net memory improvements with repeated testing of the same material after a single study trial. In the first experiment, we found hypermnesia across three trials for the recall of word solutions to Socratic stimuli (dictionary-like definitions of concepts) replicating Erdelyi, Buschke, and Finkelstein and, for the first time using these materials, for their recognition. In the second experiment, we had two "yes/no" recognition groups, a Socratic stimuli group presented with concrete and abstract verbal materials and a word-only control group. Using signal detection measures, we found hypermnesia for concrete Socratic stimuli-and stable performance for abstract stimuli across three recognition tests. The control group showed memory decrements across tests. We interpret these findings with the alternative retrieval pathways (ARP) hypothesis, contrasting it with alternative theories of hypermnesia, such as depth of processing, generation and retrieve-recognise. We conclude that recognition hypermnesia for concrete Socratic stimuli is a reliable phenomenon, which we found in two experiments involving both forced-choice and yes/no recognition procedures.


Biological Psychology

Inverse relation between cortisol and anger and their relation to performance and explicit memory.

Kazén, M., Kuenne, T., Frankenberg, H., & Quirin, M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.05.006

Cortisol has been found to increase in response to social evaluative threat. However, little is known about the cortisol response to induced anger. Thus, in the present study, we investigated the cortisol response to anger induction and its effects on performance and explicit memory. A variant of the Montreal Stress Imaging Task (MIST; Dedovic et al., 2005) was used to induce anger in 17 male and 17 female students. Consistent with previous observations, a significant decrease in cortisol was found from pre to post manipulation which was inversely related to increases in subjective anger. Moreover, whereas anger increase was related to impairments in performance, cortisol reduction was inversely related to cognitive performance and explicit memory (recall and recognition of persons’ features in a social memory task). The adaptive value of an increase in cortisol in response to fear or uncontrollability and of a decrease in cortisol in response to anger will be discussed.


Archivos de Neurociencias

Sentence context, associative priming, and repetition as determinants of word recognition.

Kazén, M., Nelson, K. E., & Solís – Macías, V. M.

This experiment involved tachistoscopic recognition of words and other letter strings. Half of the items formed three-word syntactically correct sentences whereas the rest began and ended with words but had a nonword as their middle element. This variable of sentence context and another contextual factor, associative priming, were orthogonally manipulated. Priming was varied by exposing subjects to zero, one, or two stimulus words, which elicited as highly associative responses the first and last words of the items. In addition, Haber and Hershenson’s (1965) repetition procedure was extended to the recognition of words embedded in sentences, by showing each of the items up to six times, keeping a very brief exposure time constant. It was hypothesized that sentence context and associative priming would affect different stages of word recognition and that repetition would improve identification of both words and nonwords. The results were consistent with the above expectations and were interpreted according to a modified version of Becker’s (1980) verification model of word recognition.


Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

. Imagery mnemonics for the rehabilitation of memory: A randomized group controlled trial.

Kaschel, R., Della Sala, S., Cantagallo, A., Fahlböck, A., Laaksonen, R., & Kazén, M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/09602010143000211

Apart from a few, encouraging, single-case studies, evidence of imagery-based mnemonics for the rehabilitation of memory in brain-damaged individuals is sparse. The literature suggests that if imagery is of any use, then it should be applied to mildly memory impaired patients, the learning process should be tailored and a direct transfer training to individual memory problems should be implemented into the training. We compared the outcome of such a programme (nine memory impaired patients) with other approaches to the rehabilitation of memory used in participating centres (12 memory impaired patients). After 4 weeks of baseline and a repeated test battery patients received 30 single sessions of therapy in 10 weeks. Results suggest that imagery training significantly improves delayed recall of everyday relevant verbal materials (stories, appointments). Frequency of memory problems observed by relatives is reduced and each of these effects is stable at 3-month follow-up. This study suggests that a simple imagery technique can improve relevant aspects of everyday verbal memory performance.


British Journal of Psychology

Recognition hypermnesia with repeated trials: Initial evidence for the alternative retrieval pathways hypothesis.

Kazén, M., & Solís-Macías, V. M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1348/000712699161495

The alternative retrieval pathways (ARP) hypothesis of hypermnesia is here proposed. This hypothesis predicts hypermnesia (net improvements in recall or recognition after initial learning) whenever alternative retrieval pathways are provided leading to the original episodic trace. Initial evidence for this hypothesis was obtained in two experiments testing a non-obvious prediction of its format transformation assumption, namely that hypermnesia would be obtained in recognition and would not occur in recall if the former, but not the latter, condition requires obligatory format transformations between item encoding and retrieval. In the first experiment the same participants, exposed to identical items and having analogous encoding and retrieval conditions, showed recognition and did not show recall hypermnesia. With a between-participant design, the second experiment replicated the recognition hypermnesia findings, using a different recognition procedure and three instead of two test trials, whereas recall hypermnesia remained absent. Results are discussed comparing the heuristic value of ARP hypothesis to that of other current theories. It is concluded that recognition hypermnesia using individual words and pictures is a reliable phenomenon, provided ceiling effects can be prevented, and access to the original episodic information takes place using alternative retrieval pathways.


Prospective memory: Theory and applications

Remembering what to do: Explicit and implicit memory for intentions.

Goschke, T., & Kuhl, J.

In this chapter, the authors summarize some results of a research program in which attempts were made to investigate memory for intentions under laboratory conditions. They develop a theoretical framework to integrate research on intention memory in a more general theory of action control. The focus is on three questions: whether memory representations of intentions are characterized by a special persistence, that is, by an increased or more sustained level of activation as compared to other memory contents; if intentions facilitate the subsequent processing of intention-related information even if the representation of the intention is not consciously recollected; and whether there are systematic individual differences that moderate the representation and activation of intentions in memory.


Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Self – discrimination and memory: State orientation and false self-ascription of assigned activities.

Kuhl, J., Kazén, M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.66.6.1103

A new paradigm to investigate the tendency to falsely ascribe to oneself assigned goals (misinformed introjection or self-infiltration) and the better memory of self-chosen than of assigned prospective activities (self-choice effect) is explored. In two experiments, state-oriented subjects showed significantly higher rates of false self-ascriptions of assigned activities than action-oriented subjects did (an individual-difference factor related to volitional efficiency; Kuhl & Beckmann, 1994b), whereas all subjects gave evidence of the self-choice effect. Specific manipulations to reduce and to increase the probability of occurrence of false self-ascriptions were also carried out (an intentional-learning instruction and task interruption, respectively). Finally, a first step was taken to examine the relationship between self-infiltration and the tendency to enact more self-chosen than assigned activities (self-determination).


Perceptual and Motor Skills

Visual recognition of equivalent tactile-kinesthetic and verbal information in short-term memory.

Kazén-Saad, M.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.1986.63.2.547

Short-term retention of equivalent tactile-kinesthetic and verbal information was compared, as well as subjects' ability to construct, and visually recognize information. Sixty undergraduate subjects participated, 30 in each of two groups. The first group received information through the fine movements of the subject's right index finger, whereas the second group was presented exactly the same information verbally coded. Both groups had to recognize visually each of 10 mentally constructed patterns, one at a time, depicted as drawings of a target and four distractors. Although both groups performed above chance level, there was a significant difference in the total number of correct recognitions, favoring the verbal one. It is concluded that: the transformation to a visual code is easier for the verbal system than for the kinesthetic one, perhaps because experience in coding visual information from verbal descriptions is greater. If we want to make meaningful comparisons between motor and verbal short-term memory, it is desirable to use tasks as similar as possible for both conditions. The present work suggests one way to achieve the above.


Revisto Latinoamericana de Psicología

La manipulación de imágenes en tareas de memoria reconstructiva.

Figueroa, J., Kazén, M., Mirón, & M. A.

30 Ss were asked to represent figures starting from verbal instructions of lines and extract additional information from these images that was not present in the stimulus. Four correlations were obtained using Kendall's rank correlation coefficient between the amount of information contained in the stimuli and the number of correct responses by the Ss. Negative correlations were found in all the cases. The negative relation between the amount of information presented and the number of responses indicates Ss' limited ability to manage and manipulate responses. Results suggest that imagination cannot be considered an isolated process of event representations; it is an active process of bringing information from the past to the present that was not directly learned, using an active process of reconstruction.

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