Patterns of Implicit and Explicit Attitudes: IV. Change and Stability From 2007 to 2020
Tessa E. S. Charlesworth and Mahzarin R. Banaji
How have attitudes toward bias changed in the United States? Charlesworth and Banaji examined long-term trends in implicit and explicit attitudes across 14 years (2007–2020) by analyzing more than 7.1 million tests of U.S. participants on the Project Implicit website. Since 2007, bias decreased across all explicit attitudes; decreases ranged from 22% (attitudes about age) to 98% (attitudes about race). Bias also decreased in implicit attitudes about sexuality, race, and skin-tone, by 65%, 26%, and 25%, respectively. Implicit attitudes about age, disability, and body weight, however, showed little to no long-term change. Patterns of change and stability were generally consistent across demographic groups, indicating widespread change.
Fear in the Theater of the Mind: Differential Fear Conditioning With Imagined Stimuli
Lauryn Burleigh, Xinrui Jiang, and Steven G. Greening
From fears of monsters in the closet to the internal replay of traumatic events of our past, mental imagery plays an important role in how people acquire and generalize fear responses. Real as well as imagined images engage learning processes in similar ways, enabling people to acquire fear responses to otherwise neutral objects, this research suggests. Burleigh and colleagues show that participants acquired fear conditioning to both viewed and imagined objects, as measured via self-reported fear responses and skin conductance. After acquiring fear for either visual or imagined objects, people’s fear responses generalized to the corresponding imagined or visual objects, respectively.
White (but Not Black) Americans Continue to See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game; White Conservatives (but Not Moderates or Liberals) See Themselves as Losing
Raea Rasmussen et al.
Perspectives in Psychological Science
In a 2011 article, researchers assessed Black and White Americans’ perceptions of anti-Black and anti-White bias from the 1950s to the 2000s. They found that White (but not Black) Americans perceived an association between decreased anti-Black bias and increased anti-White bias, signaling the perception that racism is a zero-sum game. They also found that by the 2000s, White Americans rated anti-White bias as more pronounced than anti-Black bias, signaling the perception that they were losing the zero-sum game. In collecting new data, Rasmussen and colleagues found that liberal, moderate, and conservative White (but not Black) Americans alike believed that racism is a zero-sum game. Also, liberal, moderate, and conservative White Americans saw racism as a zero-sum game they were winning by a lot, winning by only a little, and losing, respectively.
Sex/Gender Differences in Verbal Fluency and Verbal-Episodic Memory: A Meta-Analysis
Marco Hirnstein, Josephine Stuebs, Angelica Moè, and Markus Hausmann
In this meta-analysis, Hirsntein and colleagues analyzed 496 effect sizes to examine sex/gender differences in verbal fluency and verbal-episodic memory. They found that females outperformed males in phonemic fluency (e.g., generating words starting with “S”). However, in semantic fluency (e.g., naming things that are round), the sex/gender difference appeared to be category-dependent (e.g., females named more fruits, but males named more animals). Females also outperformed males in recall and recognition of words. The female advantage was relatively stable over the past 50 years and across lifetimes, but this appeared to be partly due to publication bias.
Computing Components of Everyday Stress Responses: Exploring Conceptual Challenges and New Opportunities
Joshua M. Smyth et al.
Perspectives in Psychological Science
Researchers use many approaches when they apply repeated assessments in everyday life to study stress responses. Smyth and colleagues focus on four questions: What is the appropriate stress-free resting state (or “baseline”) for an individual? How does one index the magnitude of the initial response to a stressor (reactivity)? Following a stressor, how can recovery be identified? Because stressors may not occur in isolation, how can one capture the temporal clustering of stressors and/or stress responses (pileup)? They also present initial ideas on applying this approach to intervention research.
Cross-Modal Interactions of the Tactile System
K. Sathian and Simon Lacey
Current Directions in Psychological Science
Touch and vision help people obtain information about object properties. Sathian and Lacey note that recent research has indicated the potential for robust and abundant interactions between the senses. For instance, visuotactile interactions contribute to a person’s sense of body ownership. Touch and hearing both rely in part on temporal-frequency information, which leads to audiotactile interactions reflecting perceptual and neural overlap. Researchers in sensory neuroscience and psychophysics are now focused on characterizing the multisensory interactions that lead to humans’ panoply of perceptual experiences.
Losing Sight of Piecemeal Progress: People Lump and Dismiss Improvement Efforts That Fall Short of Categorical Change—Despite Improving
When attempts to eradicate a major problem (e.g., climate change) fail, people might dismiss smaller but critical steps to address it, this research suggests. Across 14 experiments, O’Brien documented how people perceive and respond to relative progress in different parts of the world. As improvement efforts played out, participants had a tendency to dismiss them if they fell short of categorical reform despite representing progress. This dismissal was driven by the belief that falling short signals an absence of serious intent to change. Critically, participants underrewarded and underinvested in efforts toward “merely” incremental improvement. In all experiments, participants lumped together absolute failures with anything that was not an absolute success, highlighting a unique blindness to gradations of progress.