New User Registration

In order to register on this site, you must first submit the passphrase below.

2002 - 9/10/11 Joint Meeting with Belgian Psychological Society, Leuven, Belgium - page 2
Article Index
2002 - 9/10/11 Joint Meeting with Belgian Psychological Society, Leuven, Belgium
Page 2
page 2
All Pages


Interfering with biological motion
Ian M. Thornton
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Most studies of biological motion - regardless of whether they involve naïve observers trying to interpret a collection of dots, or informed observers trying to determine whether a walker is present or absent, walks left-to-right, or is male or female -- involve tasks with one central display focus. That is, observers are directly looking at one part of display and are trying to interpret what they see. Here, I report on two studies which deviate from this typical design. In the first, a dual-task paradigm is used to interfere with the observers' ability to actively processes potential walkers. In the second, an Eriksen flanker task is used to explore whether task-irrelevant peripheral walkers have any impact on a central direction discrimination task. Dual-task results show very little impairment in performance as long as masking elements do not preclude local-to-global integration strategies. Flanker task performance indicates that peripheral walkers are processed and can influence the central task. Both sets of results suggest that the incidental processing of biological motion is highly efficient, making minimal demands on attentional resources.

The role of limb movements in the perception of orientation of meaningless point-lightactions
Jan Vanrie & Karl Verfaillie
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Without occlusion, a point-light figure constitutes a perfectly ambiguous stimulus: From all viewpoints, multiple interpretations are possible concerning the figure's depth orientation. In previous experiments, we demonstrated that a bi-stable point-light walker can indeed be perceived in different orientations. Moreover, we also observed a clear bias to interpret the walker as facing the viewer instead of facing away from the viewer, regardless of whether the figure was walking forwards or backwards. Subsequent research, however, suggested that this tendency was not a general property of point-light figures, but depended on the pattern of articulatory movements, i.e. the specific action the figure performed.

The present experiment was set up to investigate more closely the effect of different limb movements on the perception of depth orientation of human point-light figures. We recorded four meaningless movement patterns in which the direction of motion of the upper and lower limbs was systematically manipulated. These four actions were shown to participants which were asked to indicate the global orientation of the figure. We observed a strong effect of the direction of motion of the upper limbs, confirming the importance of the specific articulatory movements in the perception of the global orientation of point-light figures.

Thursday 11-04-02, 15:30 - 16:30, Sessions 12, 13

Session 12: Social Attitudes & Beliefs

A Recurrent Connectionist Model of Attitude Formation
Frank Van Overwalle
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This presentation discusses a recurrent connectionist network of current dual-process approaches of attitudes, focusing on the common processing principles that may underlie both central and peripheral processes. Major findings in attitude formation and change involving both forms of processes are reviewed and modeled from a connectionist perspective. The majority of these processes are illustrated with well-known experiments, and simulated with an auto-associative network architecture with linear activation update and delta learning algorithm for adjusting the connection weights. All of the phenomena considered were successfully reproduced in the simulations. Moreover, the proposed model is shown to be consistent with algebraic models of attitude formation (Fisbein & Ajzen, 1975). The discussion centers on how the particular simulation specifications may be used to develop novel hypotheses for testing the connectionist modeling approach and, more generally, for improving and unifying theorizing in the field of attitudes as well as social cognition in general.

Openness to Experience and Boundaries in the mind
Alain Van Hiel and Ivan Mervielde
Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The present research investigates whether Openness to Experience and Boundaries in the mind are related to conservatism. In the first study, a positive relationship between several scales of the Boundaries in the mind questionnaire and indicators of conservative beliefs were obtained in an adult sample (N = 78) as well as in a sample of political party activists (N = 44). In the second study, these relationships were replicated in an adult sample (N = 225). Moreover, two dimensions representing Boundaries in the mind were identified, one positively related to Openness to Experience and negatively related to conservatism, and the second showing high positive correlations with Neuroticism. The exceptional strong correlations between some Boundaries in the mind facet scales and conservatism are discussed, as well as the relationships between Openness to Experience and cultural and economic conservatism.

Session 13: Development of Concepts & Percepts

Cognitive factors and concept learning: A developmental approach.
Sabine Gelaes and Jean-Pierre Thibaut
Université de Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Many experiments have shown that in concept learning, children reach classification criterion faster when the criterion correspond to their preferred dimension. In this experiment, we tried to replicate this phenomenon with 4, 6 and 8 year-old children and to link their categorization performance with different cognitive factors (attention, memory, cognitive flexibility, cognitive inhibition and planning). First, we assessed the hierarchy of dimension preference for two sets of stimuli composed of 3 dimensions (colour, number and shape for the first set and texture, number and shape for the second set). Then, children participated in two concept learning tasks, one in which their preferred dimension was the relevant feature and one in which their least preferred dimension was relevant. Contrary to previous experiments, there was no difference between the two concept learning tasks. For the 4 year-old children, memory factor was associated with performance. Cognitive inhibition factor was the factor correlated with performance for the 6 year-old children. For the 8 year-old children, there was only an association between performance and a cognitive factor, in this case planning factor, in the condition of learning on the least preferred dimension.

Perception of Partial Collision Events in Infancy
Peter Dejonckheere1, Ad Smitsman2, and Leni Verhofstadt-Denève1
Ghent University, Belgium
University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Studies about object perception have revealed fundamental insights in the mechanical interactions between objects in infants. Several studies showed a developing understanding in infants of the way in which relations between object properties constrain the course and outcome of interactions between those objects (o.a. Aguiar & Baillargeon, 1999 ; Aguiar & Baillargeon, 1998 ; Sitskoorn & Smitsman, 1995). In this study we first questioned whether infants of 6, 9 and 12 months old perceive whether the rims of a box would provide passing through. Infants were habituated to block movements approaching a box lied in different positions, all providing enough room to pass through. In a subsequent test phase, identical block approaches were presented with the exception that the rims of the box were widened. Consequently, two collision actions and one control action (non collision) emerge. The results showed that infants of 9 and 12 months old perceived whether the width relation between block and box specified passing through. In addition we found that both the age of the infant and the amount of overlap between the block and the opening of the box played a significant role in the perception of these passing through interactions.

Thursday 11 April 2002, 13:30 - 16:30, Session 14

Session 14: Strategy, Working Memory Capacity, and Inhibitory Control

What makes an insight problem? An investigation into the role of strategy-goal congruency.
Edward P Chronicle1, James N MacGregor2, and Thomas C Ormerod1
Lancaster University, UK
School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Canada
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We have previously demonstrated that part of the difficulty of some insight problems (such as the nine-dot problem) stems from the adoption of rational local strategies that lead to impasse. Here, we explore the problem factors that influence strategy formation. A single experiment is presented, using as its basis the six-coin problem, for which we have independent evidence of the use of certain operators. Four variants of the problem were presented to subjects, with four different goal conditions: (i) abstract, in which the goal was specified only verbally, (ii) concrete-congruent, in which the goal was visually presented, and application of the operator would not result in impasse, (iii) concrete-incongruent, in which application of the operator would likely result in impasse, and (iv) both concrete goals together. Participants in conditions (iii) and (iv) solved the problem significantly more often than those in condition (i). Furthermore, there was a marked preference in all participants for concrete-congruent goals. These data support the notion that goal-directed strategy formation may - somewhat paradoxically - underlie impasse in certain classes of problem.

Strategy use in relation to mathematical ability: Developmental delay or deficit?
Joke Torbeyns1, Lieven Verschaffel2, and Pol Ghesquière2
K.U. Leuven (Research Assistant FWO - Vlaanderen), Belgium
K.U. Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In this study we investigated the variability, frequency, efficiency, and adaptiveness of young children's strategies in the domain of early arithmetic, using the choice/no-choice method (Lemaire & Siegler, 1995; Siegler & Lemaire, 1997). Seventy-seven beginning second- and third-graders, divided in three groups according to age and mathematical ability (MA), solved a series of 36 simple additions and subtractions up to 20. The first group consisted of 26 second-graders with strong MA, the second of 25 second-graders with weak MA, and the third of 26 third-graders with weak MA. All children solved the series of problems in four conditions. In the first condition, children could choose between retrieval, decomposition up to 10 (e.g., 8 + 3 = 8 + 2 + 1 = 10 + 1 = 11), and counting (e.g., 8 + 3 = (8), 9, 10, 11) to solve each problem. In the second, third, and fourth condition, children had to solve all problems with one particular strategy, respectively retrieval, decomposition up to 10, and counting. The results demonstrate that second-graders with weak MA use the same (retrieval, decomposition, and counting) strategies as their peers with strong MA, but differ in the frequency, efficiency, and adaptiveness with which they apply these strategies. Furthermore, our results indicate that the development of children with weak MA is, compared to normally progressing children, marked by a developmental delay: Third-graders with weak MA use the same strategies as second-graders with strong MA, and execute these strategies equally frequently, equally efficiently, and also equally adaptively. Finally, this study illustrates the value of Siegler's theoretical and methodological framework to describe young children's strategy use in the domain of early arithmetic.

Lemaire, P., & Siegler, R.S. (1995). Four aspects of strategic change: Contributions to children's learning of multiplication. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 83-97. Siegler, R.S., & Lemaire, P. (1997). Older and younger adults' strategy choices in multiplication: Testing predictions of ASCM using the choice/no-choice method. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 126, 71-92.

The role of working memory in the carry operation of mental arithmetic
Stijn De Rammelaere and Ineke Imbo
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We investigated the role of working memory in the carry operation of mental arithmetic. The value of the carry and the number of carries were manipulated, so that there were problems with 1 or 2 carries (= number of carries) of which the value could be 1 or 2 (e.g., in 183 + 122 + 601 = 906 there is one carry with a value of 1; in 249 + 388 + 269 = 906 there are two carries with a value of 2). These problems were solved in a control condition and in experimental conditions in which the phonological loop and the central executive were loaded. We found that the number of carries determines the difficulty of a problem and that executive processes contribute to this effect. An important new finding is that also the value of the carry is an important variable and that the phonological loop is responsible for maintaining the value of the carry. This leads us to the straightforward conclusion that the central executive is responsible for the number of carries, whereas the phonological loop handles the value of the carry.

Working memory capacity in causal reasoning: blocking background knowledge
Wim De Neys, Walter Schaeken, and Géry d'Ydewalle
KULeuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We present two of the first experiments that examine the role of working memory in reasoning with realistic, causal conditionals. A Dutch adaptation of the OSPAN (La Pointe & Engle, 1990) test was used to measure working memory span. A first experiment (n=66) established that high span participants (top quartile of first-year psychology students) were better at retrieving disabling conditions from semantic memory than low span participants (bottom quartile). Retrieving a disabling condition is known to suppress the valid Modus Ponens (MP) and Modus Tollens (MT) inferences (Cummins, 1995). In Experiment 2 (n=60) we presented participants a conditional reasoning task where the number of possible disabling conditions of the conditionals was manipulated. Participants did not receive explicit deductive reasoning instructions. Results showed that, despite the better disabler retrieval, high span participants rejected MP and MT less than low spans. However, inferences in both span groups were affected by the conditionals' number of possible disablers. These data show that both high and low span reasoners use their background knowledge when drawing conditional inferences. However, when this background knowledge conflicts with logic, high span reasoners manage to block this impact more efficiently. Implications for current reasoning theories and the debate on human rationality are discussed.

La Pointe, L. B., & Engle, R. W. (1990). Simple and complex word spans as measures of working memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16, 1118-1133. Cummins, D. D. (1995). Naive theories and causal deduction. Memory and Cognition, 19, 274-282.

How to know what to inhibit: Action-effects are used in response-suppression
Bernie Caessens1, Karen Mortier2, and André Vandierendonck1
Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
Cognitive Psychology Section, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Although many experiments have investigated the time-course of response inhibition mechanisms, few have been directed towards identifying the representations involved in the inhibition process. In the present study we started from the idea that effect codes are the cornerstones of both preparatory and inhibitory activity. This was investigated by means of a series of dual-task experiments in which subjects selectively inhibited a signalled manual response (Task 1) and quickly prepared and executed a congruent or incongruent response in a different modality (Task 2). The results showed that after successful inhibition, congruent responses were executed more slowly then incongruent responses. The consequences for behavioural inhibition are derived and discussed.

Aging effects in inhibitory control over no-longer relevant information during a garden-path sentence task
Valentine Charlot and Pierre Feyereisen
Unit Cognition and Development, UCL, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The goal of the present work was to analyse the assumption according to which cognitive ageing is associated with inefficient inhibitory mechanisms (Hasher and Zacks, 1988). In contrast, Burke (1997) assumed that a decline of memory for context could better explain the age differences. We used a modified version of the Hartman and Hasher (1991) task. Two experiments were conducted, differing by the kind of indirect memory test used. In the first stage, older and younger adults read a series of sentences whose final word was a member of semantic different categories (e.g.: flowers). Then, subjects received the same list of sentences, each missing its final word, and they had to complete them by re-using the previous words (inclusion), or by a new word (exclusion). Finally, two indirect memory tests - perceptive identification (exp. 1 & 2) and category exemplars generation (exp. 2) - and a direct memory - recognition (exp. 1) or free recall (exp. 2) - were used to examine the view of impaired inhibitory mechanisms in ageing: do older adults show equal priming of inhibited (exclusion) and facilitated (inclusion) words? The findings of the first experiment are consistent with an inhibitory framework. The second experiment is being analysed.




Evidence for evaluative but not for spatial learning in a human fear conditioning experiment

Tom Meersmans1, Frank Baeyens1, Jan De Houwer2, and Paul Eelen1
1 University of Leuven, Belgium
2 Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Evaluative conditioning refers to the changes in liking of a neutral stimulus (the CS) as a result of merely pairing it with another already liked or disliked stimulus (the US). This type of learning can be seen as a form of referential learning: as a consequence of repeatedly pairing the CS with the US, the CS in itself will activate the representation of the (valence of the) US, thereby changing the perceived valence of the CS. We used a fear-conditioning paradigm to examine whether non-evaluative stimulus properties of the US can also be activated by the CS. Participants were exposed to a contingency between the colour (CS) of a word and both the valence (aversive loud noise present vs no noise) and the direction (loud noise from left vs right) of the US. Two variants of a Simon procedure were used to assess whether transfer of a property occurred. The results only showed evidence for a CS-induced activation of the US-valence (evaluative referential learning) but not for activation of the US-direction (spatial referential learning).

Pavlovian Associations in Single Cue Fear Conditioning with Humans: Failure to Assess the Importance of Contingency and Contiguity using the Affective Priming Task

Geert Francken, Deb Vansteenwegen, and Paul Eelen
University of Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We examined the relative importance of contingency and contiguity for the acquisition of Pavlovian associations. Seventy-two volunteers underwent a single cue fear conditioning procedure followed by affective priming. Response latency modulation in the latter task was used as index of acquired Pavlovian associations. Three groups were run: (a) a random group, (b) a high excitatory group, and (c) a low excitatory group. In the first group there was a random relation between conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US). In both excitatory groups the US was presented only in the presence of the CS. The high excitatory group received as many US presentations as the random group. The low excitatory group received as many CS-US pairings as the random group. All groups failed to exhibit the acquisition of Pavlovian associations in affective priming responses. These results contrast with the observed ability of the affective priming task to detect acquired associations in a differential paradigm. The interested conditioning researcher may consider to adhere to differential paradigms.

The cognitive fallacy: Associative learning is more than expectancy learning

Tom Beckers1, Jan De Houwer2, and Paul Eelen1
1 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
2 Universiteit Gent, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We set up a stimulus-response compatibility task in which dimensional overlap did not occur between stimuli and responses, but between stimuli and response-generated outcomes. In such a task, the correspondence effect that one obtains can be taken to reflect the acquisition of response-outcome associations. To measure response-produced outcome expectancy, we instructed participants to categorise the outcomes that their responses produced as fast as possible. Outcome categorisation times decreased progressively during R-O training, indicating that participants came to anticipate the outcomes that their responses produced. R-O training also resulted in an associative S-R compatibility effect. When outcomes were subsequently omitted for several trials, outcome expectancy was completely abolished: Outcome categorisation times when outcomes were again presented were at a level comparable to the level at the start of R-O training. However, outcome omission did not abolish the associative S-R compatibility effect, indicating preservation of the associative links connecting responses and outcomes.

Delay and Knowledge Mediation in Causal Inference

Marc J Buehner
University of Sheffield, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Contemporary theories of causal induction have focussed largely on the question evidence in the form of covariations between causes and effects is used to compute measures of causal strength. A very important precursor enabling such computations is that the reasoner notices that a cause and effect have co-occurred. Standard laboratory experiments have usually bypassed this problem by presenting participants directly with covariational information. As a result, relatively little is known about how humans identify causal relations in real time. What evidence exists, however, paints a rather unflattering picture of human causal induction and converges to the conclusion that humans cannot identify causal relations if cause and effect are separated by more than a few seconds. Associationism has interpreted these findings to indicate that temporal contiguity is essential to causal inference. This paper re-investigates a paradigm commonly used to study delay in causal induction (Shanks et al., 1989), but employed one crucial additional manipulation regarding participants' awareness of potential delays. This manipulation was sufficient to reduce the detrimental effects of delay. Overall, results support the hypothesis that knowledge (both implicit and explicit) mediates the timeframe of covariation assessment in causal reasoning. Implications for associative learning and causal power theories are discussed.

Summation and overexpectation in causal learning

Darrell J Collins and David R Shanks
University College London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Results from human casual learning tasks that employ multiple cues can be interpreted either in terms of an elemental approach such as that of Rescorla and Wagner (1972) or a configural approach such as that of Pearce (1987, 1994). One method of discriminating between these alternatives is through an investigation of summation and overexpectation effects. The Rescorla-Wagner model predicts both effects while configural models predict neither. Using a novel procedure in which the magnitude of the outcome varied, evidence for both summation and overexpectation was obtained in a human causal judgment task.

Consciousness and abstraction in sequence learning

Maud Boyer and Axel Cleeremans
ULB-SRSC, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Whether people are sensitive to abstract structure constitutes a fundamental issue in domains such as language acquisition, categorization, implicit learning, or memory. Several authors have suggested that abstraction necessarily requires awareness of the relevant regularities. We explored the extent to which people become sensitive to abstract relationships between components of sequences of stimuli in the context of a 6-choice reaction time task. Participants were trained to react as fast and as accurately as possible to continuously changing sequences of 12 elements, among which the first 6 were random, with the constraint that each element appears once and only once. The next 6 elements obeyed the same constraints, but were entirely predictable based on their relationships with the corresponding initial elements. These relationships were changed during a transfer block. Participants were neither informed nor aware that the material contained structure. The results indicate impaired RTs during transfer, thus suggesting sensitivity to abstract structure in the absence of awareness.

What criteria to differentiate implicit from explicit sequence learning?

Serban C. Musca1 and Arnaud Destrebecqz2
1 CNRS UMR 5105 : Mental Functions Modelling and Cognitive Neuropsychology - Université Pierre Mendès-France Grenoble, France
2 SRSC (Cognitive Science Research Unit), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In the framework of implicit learning, the chance level is of major importance, since it is used to tell apart implicit from explicit learning.With the classical SOCs (second order conditional) sequences introduced by Reed & Johnson (1994) and broadly present in the implicit sequence learning litterature (e.g. Shanks & Johnstone, 1999), this chance level corresponds to the correct transitions that a naive participant would generate. Chance level can be calculated or established experimentally. Learning is considered implicit as participants produce above chance transitions of the training sequence when specifically instructed not to do so, i.e. generation under exclusion instructions (explicit knowledge would lead to successful exclusion of the learned transitions). We conducted a sequence learning experiment with the classical SOCs sequences and parameters known to result in explicit learning. We obtained a curious discrepancy between conclusions: Taking into account the calculated baseline one would conclude to implicit learning, and to explicit learning on the account of an experimentally established baseline. This paradox comes from the fact that calculated and experimentally established baselines are significantly different. We thus strongly recommend studies on implicit learning rely on a baseline performance established experimentally or include other indicators (e.g., Destrebecqz & Cleeremans, 2001).

Learning without awareness: The influence of sequence structure in the serial reaction time task

Nicolas Schmidt and Axel Cleeremans
Cognitive Science Research Unit - Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Various authors since Nissen & Bullemer (1987) have used the serial reaction time task (SRT) to assess implicit learning. Still, there currently is no agreement about the extent to which the observed learning effects are due to unconscious knowledge. One possible answer to that question is Jacoby's Process Dissociation Procedure (Jacoby, 1991) adapted to the SRT by Destrebecqz & Cleeremans (2001). These authors clearly showed that variations in the Response Stimulus Interval (RSI) influence explicit learning of a sequence, while leaving implicit learning intact. Moreover, the material that was used in their study was a Second Order Conditional (SOC) sequence (involving complex associations). In our study, instead of manipulating the RSI, we used different sequence structures. Indeed, we used a standard SOC sequence and two types of probabilistic sequences. In these "noisy" sequences, non-grammatical trials were inserted all over the entire learning phase. Our results showed that small amounts of noise specifically influence explicit learning, while large amounts additionally impair implicit learning.

Investigating Response Mode, Latencies and Errors in Temporal Grouping

Pauline A Hamilton and Vicki Culpin
University of Central Lancashire, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Temporal pauses within an unfamiliar list of items can improve immediate serial recall with groups of threes items being the optimal group size (Ryan, 1969; Frankish, 1985). Many of these previous studies have employed either a verbal response mode (e.g. Hitch, Burgess, Towse and Culpin, 1996) or a written response mode (e.g. Frankish, 1995). However, with a verbal response the voice may act as a suffix on the final item, and using a written response may provide feedback of items recalled to the participants. Experiment One employed a temporal grouping investigation comparing three response modes; verbal, written and response via a touchscreen. Results demonstrated that the optimal group size was three items for all three response modes, with differences at the recency portion of the serial position curve alone. Experiment Two (using the touchscreen response mode) investigated both grouping and transpositional errors for a temporal grouping experiment with experts (practiced in grouping in fours) and novice participants. Results demonstrated both the optimal group size (three) and the type of transpositional errors made were similar for both groups of participants.

Frankish, C. (1995) Intonation and auditory grouping in immediate serial recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 9, 515-522.

Hitch, G.J., Burgess, N., Towse, J.N., and Culpin, V. (1996) Temporal Grouping Effects in Immediate Recall: A Working Memory Analysis. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 49A, 116-139

Ryan, J. (1969a) Grouping and short-term memory: A different means and patterns of group. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 21, 137-47

Recognising the usual orientation of one's own face

Serge Brédart
University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study examined our ability to recognise the usual horizontal orientation of our own face (mirror orientation) as compared with another very familiar face (normal orientation). The proportion of participants who made a correct judgement was similar for the participant's own face and for the other familiar face. However, participants did not use the same kind of information in determining the orientation of self-face as in determining the orientation of the other familiar face. Most participants reported having based their judgement on the location of an asymmetric feature (e.g., a mole) when determining their own face's orientation, and on a global familiarity feeling (rather than on a particular feature) when determining the other familiar face's orientation. These results are explained from the fact that 1) we encounter our own face both in mirrors and on pictures (this experience creating competing forward and mirror-reversed representations of our own face) while we usually do not see other familiar faces in mirrors and 2) we develop precise knowledge about the location of asymmetric individual features through mirror self-inspection.

Gaze and facial expressions detection

Cédric Laloyaux1 and Robert French2
1 Neural Engineering Laboratory, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium.
2 Quantitative Psychology and Cognitive Science Unit, University of Liège (Ulg), Belgium.
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

From an evolutionary point of view, it seems adaptive to detect very quickly when someone is looking at you and moreover if his/her facial expression is aggressive. To humans (and other animals)it seems very important as well to detect at once an angry face, so much so that some authors found a pop out effect for this kind of stimuli. A pop out effect is described when a stimulus is detected immediately while there is no increase in reaction time when the number of distractors increases dramatically. In our study, however, we compared reaction times for subjects to detect a staring or a non-fixed gaze in different contexts of facial expressions. The results were surprising because we found that there was no pop out at all and that a staring gaze from an angry face was not at all detected more efficiently than a non-staring gaze in a happy or neutral context. In conclusion, the results suggest that humans are not very specialised at detecting a staring gaze from an angry face.

Probing skilled visual pattern memory using faces as stimuli

Mary M. Smyth1, Dennis C. Hay 1, Graham J. Hitch2 and Neil J. Horton1
1Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK
2Department of Psychology, University of York, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The human face is a complex visual pattern that can be recognised after a single presentation. In order to develop models of serial order and item memory that can be compared across skilled processing in the verbal and visuospatial domains, we are exploring the use of faces as stimuli in a range of memory tasks. Investigations of item recognition after serial presentation of 4 or 5 faces are reported. Recognition was tested by asking for a yes/no judgement on a one item probe. Articulatory suppression was carried out across presentation and recognition. The effects of face similarity on recognition memory were examined by manipulating the similarity of target faces to one another and the similarity of foils to target faces. Correct rejection of foils remained invariant across serial positions whereas correct recognition of previously seen items was found to differ across serial position, for both similar and less similar faces. Serial position profiles obtained are best described in terms of linear/exponential trends rather than a simple last-item recency effect as has previously been found. Multinomial modelling revealed an emerging recency effect confined to the last two serial positions. The results indicate that visual pattern memory does not show one item recency when the structural properties of stimuli are well known, even although no stimulus has been seen before.

Irrepressibility and prior knowledge effect on the Ebbinghaus illusion

Sophie Lambert, Rodrigo Brito, and Assaad E. Azzi
Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In this study, we investigated the influence of prior knowledge on the magnitude of the Ebbinghaus illusion. Illusions are assumed to depend on irrepressible cognitive processes: learning shouldn't suppress them. Several studies have shown that some optical illusions decrease as a function of the length of time of stimulus presentation or inspection, without however disappearing altogether. However, some studies on the effect of repeated presentation suggested a disappearance of optical illusions as an effect of saturation. In the study we present here, 108 participants were trained to estimate the diameter of circles presented alone on different points of a computer screen using Psyscope program. They were then presented the two parts of the Ebbinghaus illusion successively and asked to judge the diameter of the central circles. After the judgements, they were asked whether they knew the illusion prior to the study. The illusion was significantly smaller for the 35 participants who already knew it than for those who did not, though still there. These results are discussed within the context of the question of irrepressiblity in the perception of optical illusions.

Do chronometric manikin tasks provide evidence of egocentric perspective transformation?

Mark Gardner
University of Westminster, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Two experiments evaluated a chronometric version of the manikin task that has been used to investigate behavioural and neurophysiological responses to transformations of one's egocentric perspective. Experiment 1 examined left-right judgements about the location of a visual target held by a manikin and made from the point of view of the manikin ("Which Hand?"). These judgements took longer when the manikin had a contrasting perspective (front view) than the same perspective (back view) as the participant, and were also longer than those made from the participants' own perspective ("Which Side?"). In Experiment 2, a similar pattern of response times was observed when the targets were not accompanied by a manikin figure and participants were instructed to transpose a stimulus-response mapping when cued by an abstract visual pattern (that controlled for features present in the front view of the manikin). These results suggest that behavioural effects from chronometric manikin studies may be due to the attentional demands of setting up a spatially non-compatible stimulus-response mapping in response to a visual cue. They also question the interpretation of neurophysiological correlates of these effects as evidence for a specialised neural mechanism for egocentric perspective transformation.

Viewpoint-dependency of transsaccadic representations of saccade-target and flanker objects

Caroline Van Eccelpoel and Filip Germeys
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To account for the integration of extrafoveal and foveal views across eye movements Germeys et al. (in press) proposed a single-route, two-stage model of object perception. They examined transsaccadic preview benefits by manipulating (i) the spatiotemporal continuity of a to-be-identified object across a saccade, and (ii) the status of that object, i.e. saccade target versus flanker object. The results showed substantial preview benefit (reduced gaze durations) for the saccade-target object, regardless of its spatiotemporal continuity. For the flanker object, preview benefit was dependent on the object's spatiotemporal continuity. The results were framed in a model according to which at any given fixation only the saccade target object can attain the attentive stage where its separate features can be bound and long-term memory can be contacted. Features reaching only the pre-attentive stage remain unbound and are stored in an episodic object file. To get a better insight in the contents of these long-term and episodic representations, we transsaccadically manipulated the in-depth-orientation of the saccade-target and flanker objects. Any effects of this manipulation on location-independent preview benefits would suggest viewpoint-dependent representations at the level of the long-term memory object lexicon; effects on location-dependent preview benefits would indicate the representation of viewpoint information at the level of pre-attentive object files. The results are compared to recent work on the effect of intrasaccadic enantiomorphic transformations (Henderson & Siefert, in press) and on the coding of object orientation across saccades (Van Eccelpoel, Germeys, De Graef & Verfaillie, 2001).

Affordances and visual object recognition

Eun Young Yoon and Glyn Humphreys
Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, The University of Birmingham,UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This poster reports evidence that viewpoint affects decisions about how to use objects more than access to semantic information about the objects. Experiment 1 demonstrated that decisions about whether objects were used with a "twisting" action benefited when objects were placed in an appropriate orientation for manipulating them, relative to when they were not positioned appropriately. In contrast, categorization decisions about whether objects are found in the kitchen were unaffected by the viewpoint manipulation. Experiment 2 used semantic primes and showed that these affected semantic categorization but not action decisions about objects. In Experiments 3a and 3b we examined priming from objects that afforded the same action as targets. No effects were now found on semantic categorizations. The results suggest that action decisions to objects are affected by affordances derived from the visual properties of objects, and this is not necessarily contingent on access to semantic knowledge.

Vestibular evoked potentials in microgravity and under 1-G

Rainer Loose1, Thomas Probst2, Erhard Bablok3, Oliver Tucha1, Steffen Aschenbrenner1, and Klaus W. Lange1
1 Institute of Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg, Germany
2 Institute of Psychology, Technical University of Aachen, Germany
3 Bablok Laborcomputer Systeme, Regensburg, Germany
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Vestibular evoked potentials during rotation of human subjects around their naso-occipital roll-axis were recorded. The effect of stimulating the vertical semicircular canals and otolithic stimulation was investigated by comparing the evoked potentials obtained under the 1-G condition with those recorded in microgravity conditions. Subjects lay on their side with the head in the center of rotation and were tilted feet upward (roll up) and back into the lying position (roll down). The microgravity environment was created by parabolic flight maneuvers. In microgravity, transient bell-shaped negativity was recorded for roll up and roll down motion. In the 1-G condition the potentials were superimposed on sustained components, probably due to additional otolithic stimulation. It seems to be possible to separate the evoked responses in a transient canal response and a sustained otolithic response. The results are encouraging with respect to the goal of developing a tool for the selective assessment of canal and otolithic responses of the vestibular system.

EEG correlates of perceptual phases during binocular rivalry

Jan-Henryk Dombrowski, Michael Niedeggen, and Petra Stoerig
Institute of Experimental Psychology II, Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf, Germany
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

During binocular rivalry periods of unambigous percepts corresponding to one of the two stimuli presented simultaneously to the two eyes alternate with ambiguous percepts in which a mixture of both stimuli is seen. We here examined whether the unambigous and the often neglected mixed phases have different electrophysiological correlates, and recorded the EEG at 10 active leads. Photographs of appropriately colourfiltered faces (one male, one female) were superimposed and viewed by means of red-green glasses. Our 15 subjects continuously reported their perceptual state by pressing buttons during the phases of coherent perception. Coherent and incoherent phases were analysed separately with respect to EEG power and coherency.

Neither in the alpha (8-13 Hz) nor in the gamma range (22-48 Hz) did we find a significant change of EEG power between the phases. However, they were characterized by unique patterns of EEG gamma coherency: while local posterior effects dominated during perceptually incoherent phases, a widespread synchronisation process accompanied the coherent ones. If EEG coherency reflects the crosstalk between different cortical areas, our results indicate that under conditions of ambiguity the perceptual disambiguation requires activation of a widespread network prominently involving the right frontal and temporal electrode sites.

Macaque inferior temporal neurons faithfully reflect changes in metric shape dimensions

Greet Kayaert1, Rufin Vogels1, and Irving Biederman2
1 Lab. Neuro- en Psychofysiologie, KULeuven Medical School, Belgium
2 University of Southern California, USA
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Inferior Temporal (IT) neurons contribute to object recognition and categorization by coding for complex object features. Still, it is not clear how their responses can be related to similarities between complex objects. Op de Beeck et al. (2001) parametrically varied the amplitude of radial frequency components of 2D-shapes and found a faithful representation in IT-neurons. This illustrates the importance of systematically varying the underlying dimensions of high-dimensional stimuli to find a consistent presentation of a low-dimensional subspace in individual neurons. We recorded the responses of 80 IT-neurons to 3D shapes, composed of 1 or 2 single volumes. We manipulated broadness, height, and curvature or asymmetry of each volume. Most neurons were sensitive to at least two of these dimensions. Their responses could be accurately predicted by a quadratic regression using these dimensions as factors. (Median r2 = .83, average number of stimuli = 21, average number of dimensions = 3). The same neurons were also sensitive to view and nonaccidental shape changes, indicating that faithfully reflecting metric dimensions is a property embedded in a population of neurons that's sensitive for different aspects of objects, rather than a 'specialized' function.

How does attention affect motion perception? Insights from motion blindness

Guido Hesselmann1, Julia Hay2, Michael Niedeggen1, and Arash Sahraie2
1 Institute of Experimental Psychology II, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Germany
2 Vision Research Laboratories, Department of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Transient deficits in visual motion perception can be obtained in normal observers by means of rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). This 'blindness' to visual motion is induced if subjects are asked to redirect attention from local colour stimuli to global coherent motion targets with the onset of a predefined colour cue. In previous studies we have shown that variations of the paradigm modulate visual sensitivity (i.e. motion coherence thresholds), and that performance depends on attentional resources (i.e. delay between cue and target). Here, we examined whether the temporal recovery from motion blindness depends on the salience of motion targets. In 10 subjects, we measured motion detection performance as a psychophysical function of increasing cue-target SOA (0 - 400 ms). Target salience was varied between 30% and 60% motion coherence. As expected, significantly reduced detection rates were obtained for targets that required a higher effort of motion integration. However, the slopes of the attentional recovery functions did not differ between the levels of motion coherence. Thus, our results confirm that attentional demands affect the process of motion integration. This modulation can be described in terms of a pure top-down regulation that acts independently of motion signal strength.

Motion processing and the embedded figures task in autism

Elizabeth Milne, John Swettenham and Ruth Campbell
University College London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Some children with autism show elevated motion coherence thresholds, indicating a possible impairment of the Magnocellular visual pathway (Milne et al 2002, Spencer et al 2000). Children with autism can also show some visual processing strengths including enhanced performance on the embedded figures task (EFT) (Shah and Frith, 1983) where participants identify a target figure within a picture. Could impairment in the magnocellular pathway underlie enhanced performance on the EFT? The magnocellular pathway is known to carry motion and depth information, and may project low spatial frequency information to the cortex. Since low spatial frequency signals provide information about the global aspects of stimuli, an impaired M-pathway could lead to less efficient transmission of the global aspects of a stimulus. In turn, this may enable more rapid identification of the target figure in the EFT. A group of children with (N = 24) and without autism (N = 28) performed both a motion coherence task and the EFT. Motion coherence threshold in the children with autism correlated positively with number of correct items of the EFT and negatively with performance speed, indicating that there may be a relationship between the M- pathway and EFT.

Biased attentional competition in neglect patients

S. Geeraerts1, C. Lafosse2, K. Michiels3, and E. Vandenbussche1
1 Laboratorium voor Neuropsychologie, K.U.Leuven, Belgium
2: Revalidatiecentrum 'Hof ter Schelde', Antwerpen, Belgium
3 Afdeling Fysische Geneeskunde en Revalidatie, U.Z. Pellenberg, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Attentional competition in neglect patients was studied by means of contrast threshold measurements. We determined the effect of an irrelevant contralateral distracter stimulus on left and right hemifield contrast thresholds in right brain damaged patients with or without neglect, left brain damaged patients without neglect and controls without brain damage.

Task gratings were presented in the upper left or right visual field. Distracter gratings were presented at the homologous contralateral visual field position, the contrast being 20 times that of the contrast threshold previously obtained in left and right hemifield conditions without distracters. Subjects were instructed to direct their attention towards the cued target stimulus position and to disregard as much as possible the irrelevant distracter. In the neglect group, there was a highly significant effect of the right distracter stimulus on thresholds obtained in the left hemifield. Left distracter stimuli, however, had no effect on right hemifield thresholds. In the control groups, a small and symmetric distracter effect was observed. Although the thresholds in the left target right distracter condition were increased significantly, the neglect patients did reach reliable thresholds. Thus, the asymmetric competition in neglect patients can be completely resolved by increasing the contrast of the left target stimulus. The relative contrast of left and right input seems to be a moreimportant factor than the mere presence of right hemifield stimuli in determining how neglect patients will perceive their left side.

Object-based selection and the effect of irrelevant peripheral onsets.

Karen Mortier, Mieke Donk, and Jan Theeuwes
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Recently, R. A. Abrams & M. B. Law (2000) suggested that attention orienting using endogenous cueing can be object-based. They demonstrated that nonattended locations that were on a cued object had an advantage over nonattended locations that were not on the object. They concluded that attention radiates from a cued location on an object throughout the rest of the object. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether or not object-based attentional radiation is a mandatory or voluntary process. In Experiment 1, observers searched for a target circle at one of four ends of two outline rectangles. One rectangle end was reliably cued by a central arrowhead. The arrowhead was presented before (focused attention condition) or after (divided attention condition) the onset of the search display. At different SOAs an uninformative peripheral onset was presented at one of the four possible target locations. The results showed that the onset only affected performance in de divided attention condition but not in the focused attention condition. Experiment 2 demonstrated that nevertheless nonattended locations that were on the cued rectangle had an advantage over nonattended locations that were on the uncued rectangle. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 suggest that object-based attentional radiation is not a mandatory process. Object-based effects are possibly the result of a preference of observers to attentionally scan the same object first.

Abrams, R.A., & Law, M.B. (2000). Object-based visual attention with endogenous orienting. Perception & Psychophysics, 62, 818-833.

History matters: The preview benefit in search is not onset capture

Melina Kunar, Glyn Humphreys and Kelly Smith
Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, The School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Visual search for a conjunction target is made easier when distractor items are temporally segregated over time to produce two separate old and new groups (the new group containing the target item). The benefit of presenting half the distractors first is known as the preview effect. Donk and Theeuwes (2001) have recently argued that the preview effect occurs because the new stimuli capture attention. This was tested here by using a novel "top-up" condition. When previews only appear briefly before the search display, there is a minimal preview benefit (Humphreys et al., submitted; Watson & Humphreys, 1997). We show that effects of brief previews can be "topped up" by an earlier exposure of the same items, even when the preview disappears between its first and second presentations. This "top-up" effect demonstrates that the history of the old stimuli is important for the preview benefit, contrary to the account favouring new object capture. We discuss alternative accounts of how the preview benefit arises.

Color grouping in space and time: Evidence from negative color-based carry-over effects in preview search

Jason J Braithwaite, Glyn W Humphreys and John Hodsoll
Birmingham University, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Four experiments are reported that addressed the role of color grouping in preview search (Watson & Humphreys, 1997). The task required participants to discriminate whether a target letter (N or Z) occurred in the second set of letters presented after a preview of half the distractors. The color of the letters was irrelevant to the discrimination task. Experiment 1 used biased opposite color ratios of distractors in the preview and second search displays, to create equal numbers of distractors in each color group in the final full display. Consistent with other findings (Braithwaite, Humphreys & Hodsoll, submitted), there was a selective slowing for new targets that were similar to the majority color of the old items. Experiment 2 showed that this effect held even when the new items biased the overall color ratio in the opposite direction to the initial display. Experiment 3 replicated the results from earlier experiments using either equal or biased color groups in both the initial preview and second search sets. In Experiment 4 we provided participants with foreknowledge of the target color on a trial. The color ratios matched those used in Experiment 1. There was still a selective slowing of RTs that bore the color of the majority old set, even though these targets were then in a minority new set in an expected color. Collectively, the results provide positive evidence for inhibitory feature-based carry-over effects in preview search.

Watson, D.G & Humphreys, G.W. (1997). Visual marking: prioritizing selection for new objects by top-down attentional-inhibition of old objects. Psychological Review, 104, 90-122.

Contrasting Explicit and Implicit Knowledge in Contextual Cueing of Visuo-Spatial Attention

Robert A.P. Reuter and Axel Cleeremans
Cognitive Science Research Unit - Universite libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Chun and colleagues (Chun et al. 1998, 1999; Chun, 2000) have shown that visuo-spatial attention can be guided by incidentally acquired visual knowledge. In a visual search task Ss have indeed been shown to make use of global contexts (the spatial layout of distractor items) to detect a specific target stimulus. Targets surrounded by invariant visual contexts are responded to faster than those embedded in variable contexts. Such 'contextual cueing effects' have been observed despite poor explicit recognition performance. In the present study, we present a replication of the contextual cueing effect with more heterogeneously distributed distractor configurations, in order to increase the distinctiveness of the various visual configurations. Furthermore, concurrent direct and indirect measures of performance were used for variant and invariant stimuli at the end of the experiment (Shanks & Perruchet, in press). Results will be presented at the meeting and discussed in the context of the current debate about the extent to which learning can occur unconsciously.

A comparison between Simon and SNARC in a number processing task.

Wim Gevers and Bernie Caessens
Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Simon effect reveals a compatibility between a task-irrelevant stimulus location and the response location. This effect is believed to originate in the response selection phase. Furthermore, on the basis of the Sternberg hypothesis, Simon and Berbaum (1990) were able to differentiate between the Simon and the Stroop effect. Less is known about the origin of the SNARC (spatial numerical association of response codes) effect. This effect shows that relatively small numbers are responded to faster with the left hand and large numbers are responded to faster with the right hand. In our experiments, one digit is shown on the left or right side of a fixation point. Subjects have to indicate the parity of the target by means of a bimanual response or a verbal response. The results will be discussed in the framework of the Sternberg hypothesis. That is, if Simon and SNARC show an interaction, these effects are thought to have the same origin. More specifically, the SNARC effect would originate from the response selection phase. Differential origins can be postulated if SNARC and Simon are additive in nature.

EEG Biofeedback for the Enhancement of Cognitive Abilities in Normal Individuals

Wayne Argent and Nicholas Burns
Adelaide University, Australia
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Biofeedback training of electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in the theta and beta bands has been reported to improve attentional and cognitive abilities in children with attention deficit disorders. The current study applied a similar biofeedback protocol in normal adults. Twelve participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental condition, involving 24 active EEG biofeedback sessions, or a control condition, involving 24 non-contingent (i.e., inactive) EEG biofeedback sessions. All participants were measured at pretreatment and posttreatment on measures of vigilance, selective attention, fluid abilities and processing speed. With the exception of Rebus Learning, a measure of fluid abilities, there were no significant pre-post differences between the experimental and control group. Several methodological problems may explain why the current study, by and large, failed to support the hypothesised outcomes. It is concluded that fundamental EEG research is necessary before the effects of any EEG biofeedback training protocol can be elucidated.

Route finding and climbing performance

Xavier Sanchez1, Bénédicte Herbiet1, Philippe Godin1, and Marc S.J. Boschker2
1 Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium
2 Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam (VU), The Netherlands
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Before climbing, one might use route finding to find the easiest way to perform. Despite the widely recognized importance of such a process, only a few studies have focused on route finding and, to our knowledge, none has experimentally examined its impact on climbing performances. The purpose of this study was to determine if route finding affects subsequent climbing behavior (i.e. if it can enhance climbers' performances). Thirty climbers of three different levels (moderate, good, and expert) climbed two different paths (of the same moderate level) set on an artificial wall by experienced route setters. Participants climbed one route "with" route finding (i.e. they were allowed to look at the route for three minutes just before climbing) and the other "without" route finding (routes and climbers' level were counterbalanced). The climbs were videotaped in order to evaluate climbers' performances. The independent variables were climbers' skill level (moderate, good, or expert) and route finding (with or without), and the dependent variables were climbing performance (duration and number of climbing moves and non-moves) and a self-assessment rating scale (e.g., processes and strategies used, climbers' self-confidence). Results will be presented, and theoretical and applied-field implications will be discussed.

Current status of Sport Psychology in the French-speaking part of Belgium

Xavier Sanchez, Fabrice De Zanet, and Philippe Godin
Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In light of the work for a "certification" recognizing psychological fields (e.g., in Belgium regarding official political recognition of both "clinical psychologist" and "psychotherapist", in the United States regarding APA recognition of "sport psychology" as an area of proficiency within psychology), the present study was designed to gain insight into the real status of applied sport psychology in the French-speaking part of Belgium through questionnaires. Specifically, we identified, examined, and profiled professionals who are applying psychological aspects in the sport arena, independently of their academic background, membership, and/or recognized official diploma. The examination of these questionnaires reveals the current situation of sport psychology in a place where degree-holding psychologists and people without any officially recognized educational background cohabit. Conclusions highlight the imperative need for (1) developing specific trainings programs in sport psychology, (2) certifying people working as sport psychologists, and (3) informing the world of sport as well as collaborating with political bodies regarding sport psychology's status. Finally, it is argued that such a particular situation may not be so different from the current state abroad. Nevertheless, since previous studies only focused on official scientific membership lists, more research considering any professional delivering sport psychology services is necessary to draw a more comprehensive conclusion on the subject.

The ability of readers to change saccadic motor plans

Dorine Vergilino-Perez1 and Cécile Beauvillain2
Centre for Vision and Visual Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Durham,Sciences Laboratories, Durham, UK
Laboratoire de Psychologie Expérimentale, CNRS UMR 8581,Université René Descartes,Boulogne-Billancourt, France
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Recent experiments (Vergilino & Beauvillain, 2000) showed that, in reading isolated items,intra-word saccades are preplanned before the execution of the primary saccade directed to aword, on the basis of the word length in the parafovea. Inter-word saccades, on the otherhand, are planned during the fixation following the primary saccade. However, other worksuggests that the motor plan may be cancelled during the first fixation on a word as a result ofearly linguistic processing of that word. Knowledge of how long the saccadic system needs tocancel an intra-word saccade may indicate the types of low-level visual or lexical informationthat influence eye guidance in reading. An experiment was conducted to test this question.11-letter strings were changed to two 5-letter strings at different times after the primarysaccade directed to the stimulus. Results demonstrate that the saccadic system is only able tocancel the preplanned intra-word saccade and plan an inter-word saccade if the new visualinformation is available 200-250 msec before the execution of the intra-word saccade.

Vergilino, D. & Beauvillain, C. (2000). The planning of refixation saccades in reading. VisionResearch, 40(25), 3527-3538.

Studying a single linguistic phenomenon in written word recognition and production: Homophonous regular verb forms in a morphographic writing system.

Dominiek Sandra
University of Antwerp, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Psycholinguists studying the mental lexicon largely neglect spelling processes and focus almost exclusively on word recognition. This paper will present experimental data on the same linguistic phenomenon from both perspectives: written word production and recognition. The study object were regularly inflected Dutch verb forms with a homophone in their verbal paradigm (word/wordt - become/s). Even though the orthographic rule involved is transparent and leads to a morphographic spelling of Dutch verb forms, experienced writers sometimes spell the homophone instead of the correct form. Earlier spelling experiments in our team (Sandra, Frisson & Daems, 1999) demonstrated that relative homophone frequency is a major error source, suggesting that fully regular inflected forms are also stored. In two self-paced reading experiments the same verb forms were presented. In one experiment these verbs were spelled correctly, in the other they were spelled incorrectly (homophone was shown). The same factors were manipulated as in the spelling experiments: relative homophone frequency - subject/verb distance - word between subject and verb form suggesting different grammatical features than the subject. Thus it was possible to study (i) whether the same factors operate in both modalities and (ii) under which conditions spelling errors mostly disturb the reading process.

The use of orthographic cues in homophones: a further exploration

Denis Drieghe1 and Marc Brysbaert2
1 Ghent University, Belgium
2 Royal Halloway, University of London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Starting from the finding that currently phonological models of visual word processing predominate, Brysbaert, Grondelaers and Ratinckx (2000) examined what happened when important morphological information is disclosed in the orthography but not in the phonology. To do so, they made use of a peculiarity in Dutch. In this language, some forms of the present and the past tense of verbs are homophones or homographs. This allowed them to look at the power of orthographic and phonological cues to derive the tense of the verb. In two self-paced reading experiments they discovered that orthographic cues suffice to recover the tense of the verb, and that this discovery does not take more time than tense recovery on the basis of a combination of orthographic and phonological cues. The authors concluded that orthographic cues are very efficient during silent reading. In this poster session new data will be presented of an eye tracking experiment examining the validity of their conclusions.

Acquisition of new orthographic representations in literate adults

Martine Poncelet1, Steve Majerus2, and Yolande Thomé1
1 Neuropsychology Unit, University of Liège, Belgium
2 Neuropsychology Unit, University of Liège, Belgium; Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The purpose of this study was to investigate factors underlying the acquisition of new orthographic representations in normal adults. Thirty Spanish undergraduate students without any knowledge of French first learned the phonological form of French words, then learned their orthographic form (according to a procedure by Basso et al., 1999). The orthographic form of the French words was inconsistent with regard to Spanish phonology-to-orthography conversion rules. Tasks assessing phonological awareness, phonological short-term memory, serial order processing and Spanish spelling abilities were also administered. Results showed that a mean number of three visual presentations was sufficient to learn the new orthographic forms; this number varied with the degree of orthographic inconsistency of the French words relative to Spanish phonology-to-orthography conversion rules. Correlation analysis showed that speed of acquisition of French orthographic word forms was related to Spanish spelling ability and to speed of acquisition of French phonological word forms. Performance on phonological awareness, short-term memory and serial order processing tasks did not predict French orthographic word forms learning when speed of acquisition of French phonological word forms was controlled for. These data suggest that the ability to acquire orthographic representations could mainly depend on the quality of their corresponding phonological representations.

Nature of the phonological representations in SLI French speaking children

Christelle Maillart and Marie-Anne Schelstraete
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study examined the quality of the phonological representations of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and children with normal development of language (NL). Twenty-six children with SLI, allocated in three subgroups following lexical age criteria (5 ; 6 or 7 year-old), as well as 70 lexical age control children participated in an auditory lexical decision task. Pseudo-words were built by applying different phonological modifications to frequent words. Some modifications were subtle (i.e. deletion of a phoneme), while others were important (i.e. deletion of a whole syllable). The kind (deletion or addition) and the position (initial - median - final) of the modifications were controlled. We predicted that children with refined phonological modification would be able to detect both subtle and important modifications. In contrast, children with holistic representation would have difficulties in the "fine modification" condition. As expected, the children with SLI performed more poorly than the controls only on fine modification condition. An important position effect was observed for SLI children only with a deterioration of the performance in initial and final condition. The findings supported the hypothesis of an under specification of phonological representations on SLI children.

The role of CV and Rime Frequency in Dutch Reading

H. Martensen, M. Loncke, and D. Sandra
University of Antwerp, UFSIA, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The role of the subsyllabic units CV (SPA in SPARK) and rime (ARK in SPARK) in Dutch word recognition was examined in two experiments (lexical decision and naming). Nonwords with existing CVs (GRUID) were compared to those with nonexisting CVs (BLUID). Similarly, nonwords with existing (GRUID) and nonexisting rimes (GRUIR) were compared. In this way, four classes of nonwords could be distinguished (nonexisting CV with nonexisting rime, nonexisting CV with existing rime, existing CV with nonexisting rime, and existing CV with existing rime). The frequencies of the constituent parts (onset, nucleus, and coda) were controlled for. Moreover, the frequencies of existing rimes matched those of the existing CVs. In the lexical decision task, nonwords with existing CV and/or rime were rejected more slowly and less accurately. The main effect of rime-existence was equal in size to the main effect of CV-existence. There was no interaction. This suggests that in Dutch, CV-neighbourhoodsize is as crucial for performance as rime-neighbourhoodsize. Thus, the special status of the rime, as observed in numerous English experiments, could not be confirmed. The results of the lexical decision task will be compared to those of a naming task.

Dutch stress: rules, lexicon and analogy

Gert Durieux1, Emmanuel Keuleers2, Steven Frisson2, Helena Taelman3, Evelyn Martens3, Walter Daelemans3, Steven Gillis3, and Dominiek Sandra3
1 CNTS, Universiteit Antwerpen (UIA), Belgium
2 Centrum voor Psycholinguistiek, Universiteit Antwerpen (UFSIA), Belgium
3 Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dutch occupies a middle ground between languages with fixed and free stress systems. Current (psycho)linguistic theory holds that stress assignment to Dutch words follows a rule system for the majority of the words (regulars), while a minority of words (irregulars) are stored together with their stress pattern. In a reading task involving 18 native Dutch speakers, we investigated how stress was assigned to Dutch-like pseudowords -which are by definition unmarked- and how well two competing models were able to predict the participant data. The first model implemented the rules of Metrical Phonology for Dutch, thus representing the rule-based account of Dutch stress. The second model was an item-based learning algorithm, representing a complete lexical account (no rules). Firstly, the item-based model predicted participants' responses significatly better (82%) than the rule-based model (56%). Secondly, the agreement between model and participant data was higher when both models predicted the same stress pattern than when they made conflicting predictions. Although this discrepancy can be accounted for under a dual mechanism model (DMM), a simulation involving 18 item- based "learners" suggested that the difference between these item types resulted from differences in neighbourhood density for regulars and irregulars. Our data can be accounted for by an item-based mechanism alone.

The model of Kroll and Stewart (1994) evaluated: Is it possible to observe a size effect in translating newly learned number words?

Jolien De Brauwer1, Wouter Duyck1, and Marc Brysbaert2
1 Universiteit Gent, Belgium
2 Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The question whether translation is lexically or semantically mediated is a central issue in bilingual research. Concerning this topic, a language learning experiment was conducted. In a first phase of the experiment, subjects had to memorize nonwords ("Estonian") in association with the Dutch number words from one to fifteen. In the following test phase, subjects were asked to name or translate Arabic digits, Dutch number words and "Estonian" number words. A semantic size effect was found for both forward and backward translation. Translation from "Estonian" to Dutch was slower for number words representing larger quantities than for number words representing smaller quantities. These results cannot be reconciled with the model of Kroll en Stewart (1994), which assumes a lexical translation process in backward translation for beginning bilinguals.

Semantic Effects in Masked Priming from L2 to L1 in Episodic Decision and Lexical Decision

Sofie Schoonbaert1, Wouter Duyck1, and Marc Brysbaert2
1 Universiteit Gent, Belgium
2 Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In this paper we addressed some current controversies concerning the representation of L2 words in bilingual memory. Two cross-language masked priming experiments showed evidence against the recently proposed episodic model of Jiang and Forster (2001), which mainly states that L2 words are not represented lexically, but in a episodic memory system. In a first experiment, we replicated the findings of Jiang and Forster (2001) in Dutch-English bilinguals. Secondly, we tested their main hypothesis by using semantically related masked primes instead of masked translation primes. The results of both experiments showed that cross-language masked priming from L2 to L1 is possible in lexical decision and in episodic decision, using both translation and semantically related primes. The results of Experiment 2 suggest that strong links exist between L2 words and the semantic system. Some recent other studies also found evidence for this hypothesis.

Forward and Backward Translation in Balanced and Unbalanced Bilinguals Requires Conceptual Mediation: the Magnitude Effect in Number Translation

Wouter Duyck1 and Marc Brysbaert2
1 Universiteit Gent, Belgium
2 Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

An important question in literature on bilingualism is whether translation is conceptually mediated or simply based on word û word association at the lexical level. In two number naming and number translation tasks with balanced and unbalanced Dutch (L1) - French (L2) bilinguals, we showed that there is a semantic number magnitude effect in both forward and backward translation of number words: it took longer to translate number words representing large quantities (e.g. acht, huit [eight]) than small quantities (e.g. twee, deux [two]). This effect was not found when the naming language corresponded to the input language of the number words. Moreover, the effects found did not interact with L2 proficiency. Our results strongly suggest that translation processes are conceptually mediated in both directions (even at moderate levels of L2 proficiency), and therefore are not in line with asymmetric models of bilingualism such as the revised hierarchal model of Kroll and Stewart (1994).

Cross-alphabet and cross-modal long-term priming in Serbian

Jelena Havelka1, Jeffrey Bowers1, and Dragan Jankovic2
1 University of Bristol, UK
2 University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In three experiments we investigated long-term repetition priming effects in Serbian under cross-alphabet and cross-modal priming conditions. In all experiments we obtained the same pattern of results: significant priming in all conditions, with the amount of priming in the cross-alphabet and cross-modal priming conditions equivalent. This outcome differs from the

results obtained in English where modality shifts are usually associated with reductions in priming. Findings are discussed within a theoretical framework in which long-term priming is a by-product of learning within the language system.

The influence of the context of presentation of stimuli on lexical learning

Johanne Grégoire and Jean-Pierre Thibaut
Université de Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Young children learn the name of new objects either presented alone or included in a scene. Our contribution explore to what extent the context associated with the object is beneficial or detrimental to the association between an object and its name in a production and a comprehension task. We assessed whether children (three and four year old) could learn four non-words associated with unfamiliar animals or musical instruments displayed in a scene (the context of presentation) and whether their performance would be influenced by the congruence of the context of presentation between the learning and the test phases.

We hypothesized that the contextual congruence between the learning and the test will enhance children's performance. In contrast, the association between an object and a different context in the test phase (compared to the association in the learning phase) would decrease performance. The results confirm our hypothesis and do not confirm the general hypothesis that children associate a name with an object independently of the scene. Consequences on lexical learning are discussed.

Body Image Experience in bulimic and anorexic female patients

Isabelle Mayers, Isabelle Bragard, Anne-Marie Etiennne, and Catherine Demoulin
Université de Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This present study is designed to assess the body image experience in bulimic and anorexic subjects. This multidimensional concept integrates cognitive, perceptive, affective components and opinion about one's own body. Subjects (20 bulimics, 21 anorexics and matched controls) complete the Body Image Assessment-Revised (BIA-R; Beebe, Holmbeck & Grzeskiewicz, 1999), the Eating Disorder Inventory, Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction Scales (EDI; Garner, Olmstead & Polivy, 1983), the Body Attitude Test (BAT; Probst, Vandereycken, Van Coppenolle & Vanderlinden, 1995) and a general perceptive test. The results of the BIA-R shown that bulimic patients overestimate their current body size (cognitively and affectively) more than control subjects while anorexic females do not differ from the control group. On the other hand, bulimics and anorexics both want a significantly thinner size than the matched subjects. They also have a body experience significantly more negative than the control subjects on BAT and EDI. The theorical and clinical implications of these results are discussed.

Normative and psychometric data on the Body Image Assessment-Revised in a French-speaking women's population

Isabelle Bragard, Isabelle Mayers, Anne-Marie Etiennne, and Catherine Demoulin
Université de Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study is designed to create norms and psychometric data in french of the Body Image Assessment-Revised (BIA-R; Beebe, Holmbeck & Grzeskiewicz, 1999). This test consists of 9 silhouettes at varying body weights. Subjects have to choose a silhouette that represents their cognitive response (what they think they really look like), affective response (what they feel they look like) and optative response (what they want to look like). The discrepancy indexes between cognitive, affective and optative responses are also calculated. The sample is composed of 100 normal women. They completed the Self Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), the Beck Depression Inventory (1961), the Symptom Check-List 90-Revised (Derogatis, 1974), the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI; Garner, Olmstead & Polivy, 1983), the Body Attitude Test (BAT; Probst, Vandereycken, Van Coppenolle & Vanderlinden, 1995), a general perceptive test and the BIA-R (Beebe & al., 1999). We examine the relationship between BIA-R responses and scores on the different questionnaires. The results support the convergent validity of the cognitive and affective responses and the affective-cognitive and affective-optative discrepancy indexes. On the other hand, our study could not confirm the validity of the optative response and the affective-cognitive discrepancy index. The theoretical and clinical implications of these results are discussed.

Reality monitoring for actions in hallucinatory-proneness

Frank Laroi1, Philippe Marczewski1, Martial Van der Linden2, and Olivier Collignon1
1 Neuropsychology Unit, University of Liège, Belgium
2 Cognitive Psychopathology Unit, University of Geneva, Switzerland
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Research exploring cognitive processes involved in source monitoring tasks in hallucinations have mostly utilised verbal tasks and few studies have investigated these processes on tasks tapping into other modalities. 65 normal subjects were administered a covert reality monitoring task. Subjects were presented motor actions and were asked either to 1) perform the action 2) watch the experimenter perform the action 3) imagine himself performing the action 4) imagine the experimenter perform the action 5) or say the action verbally. Following a delay, actions were presented consisting of those already presented in one of the 5 conditions (old), and those never before presented (new). For each action, subjects were required to identify if the action was old or new. If the action was identified as old, subjects were required to identify the source of the word (i.e., one of the 5 conditions). Compared with non-prone subjects, hallucination-prone subjects revealed significantly higher wrongly attributed imagined motor actions (where subjects were required to imagine themselves perform the action) as coming from the visual imagined encoding condition (where subjects were required to imagine the experimenter perform the action). These results are in agreement with studies confirming a relation between source monitoring errors and hallucinations.

Identification and evaluation of school phobia: Rationale for using Paige's decision matrices

Nathalie Vercruysse
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

School phobia is generally defined as a low-incidence set of heterogeneous behaviors characterized by a persistent difficulty with school attendance not due to a medical condition or truancy. Although there is wide agreement in the literature that the best predictors of a positive outcome include early diagnosis and prompt comprehensive treatment, relatively little has been written on the identification and evaluation of children exhibiting school avoidance and refusal behaviors. More recently, Paige has developed a series of decision matrices to guide teams of professionals through the process of diagnosis, problem analysis, and treatment based upon a cognitive-behavioral model of intervention for school phobia. The main objectives of this contribution are (1) to discuss the general foundations and procedures for using Paige's decision matrices, and (2) to recommend new directions for future training and research when considering this model of intervention.

Predictors of Parent Care and Caregiver Burden in Middle-aged Daughters

Prishnee Datta and Alfons Marcoen
Center for Developmental Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Worldwide adult children provide parent care. Women are the main providers (Laditka & Laditka, 2000). Presented here are some results of a larger cross-cultural study. The aim of the present study was to examine a theoretical model of how apart from the functional dependence of the elderly mother, the recalled quality of experienced maternal care in childhood and other aspects of the adult daughter - elderly mother relationship (attachment, conflict, filial responsibility and filial concern) affect parent care provision and caregiver burden. Participants were 94 middle-aged daughters in Belgium (Dutch speaking, Mage = 46.9 years, SD = 6.0). Instruments included were the Parental Bonding Instrument, the Adult Attachment Scale, the Closeness and Conflict Scale, the Filial Responsibility Scale, the Filial Anxiety Scale, Parent Care Scale and the Caregiver Burden Scale. Results of the LISREL analysis indicate that apart from the functional dependence of the elderly mother, recalled quality of maternal care, attachment, conflict and filial concern predicted the enhancement or reduction of caregiver burden. Except for the functional dependence of the mother no other psychological factor predicted parent care. The model explained a substantial part of the variance, R2 = 55% and 39%, for parent care and caregiver burden respectively.

The effect of aging on phenomenal characteristics of emotional and neutral autobiographical memories

Christine Comblain1, Arnaud D'Argembeau2, and Martial Van Der Linden2
1 Department of Health Psychology, University of Liège, Belgium
2 Neuropsychology Unit, University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We investigated age-related differences in memory qualities for positive, negative and neutral autobiographical events. Younger and older participants recalled two personal experiences of each type that had occurred within the past five years and that were at least 6 months old. They rated their memories on several sensorial (visual, taste,etc.) and contextual characteristics (location, time,etc.). We found that positive and negative events were more detailed than neutral ones. In addition, older adults' memories were more vivid and detailed than memories of younger participants and the negative events reported by older adults encompassed more intense positive feelings than those reported by younger adults. These results indicate that emotion can influence phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories and that emotional regulation might be better for older adults.

Alexithymia and affective priming

Nicolas Vermeulen, Olivier Luminet, and Olivier Corneille
Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Alexithymia is a multidimensional personality construct which encompasses three central facets: difficulty identifying feelings, difficulty describing feelings and externally-oriented cognitive style. We examined, by using the affective priming paradigm, the moderating effect of alexithymia on the emotional processing at an automatic level of attention. Previous studies showed that the time needed to evaluate the target stimuli is significantly shorter for affectively congruent pairs (e.g. positive-positive) than for affectively incongruent pairs (e.g. positive-negative). Affective priming paradigm is one priviledged technique for assessing the early attention allocation in psychopathology. We hypothesized that deficits of emotional processing in high alexithymia scorers will be evidenced by lower facilitation effects for congruent pairs and by lower inhibition effects for incongruent pairs. Sixty-four participants were asked to rate the valence of emotional target nouns each preceded by neutral, positive and negative verbal and facial prime. Results showed that the influence of the negative face prime became smaller as participants' level of alexithymia increased and that the effects of faces on negative words response time become greater as participants' alexithymia score decreased. These results suggest that high alexithymia scorers are less efficient to process emotional facial informations, especially the negative one, at an automatic level.

The impact of high-level cognitive processes on emotional reactions.

Alexandre Schaefer and Pierre Philippot
Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

It has been documented that several conscious and volitional processes can modulate emotional responses (Davidson et al., 2000, Gross, 1999). However, little is known about the mechanisms by which these self-regulatory processes operate. The present research aimed at testing two competing models of the relations between high-level cognitive processes and emotional processing. 36 participants watched emotionally positive, negative and neutral pictures according to three conditions: In the first condition, they intentionally focused their attention on emotionally relevant elements of the picture. In the second, they intentionally focused on emotionally irrelevant elements. The third was a control condition without any specific focus. Skin conductance responses to each picture were recorded. Results showed that emotional SCR responses decreased in the irrelevant focus condition compared to control condition. In the relevant-focus condition, a dissociation was observed between positive and negative pictures: Compared to control condition, negative pictures yielded lower SCRs, and positive pictures yielded higher responses. Results are discussed in terms of the functional relations between schematic and propositional levels of emotional processing (Philippot & Schaefer, 2001).

Emotional similarity effect on intergroup behavior. The particularities of gender-based groups.

F. Sisbane1, E. Dupont1, B. Rimé1, and A. Azzi2
1 University of Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2 Free University of Brussels, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Two experimental investigations were designed to test emotional similarity's effect on intergroup behavior in the context of gender-based groups. Participants (all females) watched a stimulus video - used to elicit emotions - depicting an intergroup situation in which negative (study 1) or positive (study 2) interdependence between men and women was made salient. They were then confronted to an ingroup (female) or outgroup (male) target, whose reaction to the film was either similar or dissimilar to their own. Measures included desire of social contact and felt proximity with - as well as attitude toward - the target. Results of both studies were consistent with each other and revealed a positive effect of similarity on intergroup attitude. Moreover, the pattern of results suggests an outgroup extremity effect: participants in the similarity condition evaluated the outgroup member more positively than the ingroup member, whereas those in the dissimilarity condition evaluated the outgroup member more negatively than the ingroup one. These results are discussed in relation to the particularities of gender-based groups compared to other social groups and the effects of interdependence on intergroup behavior.

The processing of quantitative summary information in social judgements

Bert Timmermans and Frank Van Overwalle
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

How do people encode abstract quantitative information as opposed to information of separate exemplars? One view (Shanks, 1991; Lober & Shanks, 2000) assumes that people develop, based on former experience, extensive meta-knowledge about the way in which exemplars (e.g., causes and effects) coincide. Based on this meta-knowledge, people then develop rules that they apply to summary information. An alternative explanation that we propose, is that summary information is first "transformed" into a number of specific mental models or implicit exemplars, and subsequently processed in a way identical to concrete exemplars. In order to investigate this question, we presented participants with sentences containing a reference to either small or large categories, e.g., "The Belgian quality newspapers praised the prime minister's speech" versus "The Belgian media praised...", after which we asked them to judge the popularity of the prime minister's speech. We expect an effect of category size on participants' judgements. In order to explicitly demonstrate that this is due to a difference in the number of specific exemplars activated, participants perform a lexical decision task in which they are presented with category exemplars. There should be a clear difference in the number of activated exemplars.

Exposure to victims: emotional, cognitive and social responses

Gwénola Herbette and Bernard Rimé
University of Louvain, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Studies on the social sharing of emotions showed that people socially share their emotions to a very large extent. They believe that it is beneficial for them. They are also eager to listen to other people's emotional experiences. Yet, life event victims are often confronted to negative reactions of their social environment when they want to share their problem-related thoughts and emotions. The following studies examine this paradoxical attitude towards victims, and more specifically, towards ill persons.

After describing the characteristics of seriously ill person's social sharing, we will present a study investigating perceivers' reactions according to the victims' characteristics (severity of the disease and coping). Results of this study show that people who need support the most are those who are the most likely to be derogated. Results will be discussed in relation to the dilemma of emotional disclosure to which stigmatized individuals, such as seriously ill persons, are faced with: On the one hand, they may receive little social support if they do not share their emotions with others. On the other hand, they run a high risk to become derogated if they do so.

The impact of motivated social cognition on conservative beliefs and racism

Alain Van Hiel1, Mario Pandelaere2, and Bart Duriez2
1 Ghent University, Belgium
2 University of Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The present studies explore the differential relationships between right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO) on the one hand, and the motivated cognition measures need for closure, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity on the other hand. Moreover, it was investigated whether motivated cognition mediated the effects of RWA and SDO effects on racist and conservative beliefs, or whether RWA and SDO mediated the effects of motivated cognition on the target variables. Study 1 (N = 381) and Study 2 (N = 390) revealed significant correlations between RWA and motivated cognition, whereas no such relationship for SDO occurred. No evidence for a mediating role of any of the variables was found. Results are discussed in the context of previous failures to establish a relationship between cognitive styles and ideological variables.

Inadvertent plagiarism in everyday life

Anne-Catherine Defeldre and Serge Brédart
University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

An investigation of the occurrence of cryptomnesia, also known as inadvertent plagiarism, in everyday life was conducted. Participants (N=202) were asked to report one occurrence of inadvertent plagiarism and to fill in a questionnaire about different aspects of the episode, i.e. the time and location, the emotional and material consequences of the plagiarism, the characteristics of the plagiarised persons, etc. Fifty-four percent of participants reported an occurrence of inadvertent plagiarism. These episodes concerned fields related to arts such as music or literature, but also more mundane activities such as creating a cocktail or a new game for cubs. Consistent with laboratory research, it was found that plagiarisms oriented toward same-sex persons were more frequent than plagiarisms oriented toward opposite-sex persons. Classical cryptomnesia was distinguished from a more contextual form of inadvertent plagiarism (e.g., telling a piece of news to the person who precisely told you this piece of news previously). Results showed that classical cryptomnesia is almost exclusively hetero-plagiarism while contextual plagiarism was equally hetero and auto-plagiarism. The present investigation indicates that inadvertent plagiarism is not a memory error artificially provoked in laboratory settings or that occurs in the context of professional artistic creation: it may occur in everyday life.

The effects of divided attention on the occurence of false memories

Hedwige Dehon, Serge Brédart, and Jason Siffert
University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In a previous study, two different explanations for the absence of false memories in the DRM Paradigm (non activation of the critical lure vs. efficient source memory) were explored (Brédart, 2000). The results showed that the absence of false memories fitted better with the second explanation. In this study we investigated the influence of an interferent task on the rates of false memories in this modified paradigm. Two groups of participants were presented with DRM lists either under full attention or under divided attention. They were later asked to make a source monitoring judgement. The results showed that participants assigned to the divided attention condition recalled fewer studied items and exhibited poorer source monitoring abilities than control participants. However, the rates of non-activation were similar in both groups. The results are discussed with respect to the importance of encoding factors on the resistance to false memories.

The Informational Value of Subjective Representations of Reality: Evidence of a Subjective Status Bias?

Guido Peeters
Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In three experiments, involving 25 between Ss conditions, participants were asked to draw two lines, one below the other, taking into account a specification that varied across conditions. In five control conditions the specification stated, in various ways across conditions, that the upper line was longer than the lower line. In 20 experimental conditions, the specification was the same, but it was presented, in various ways across conditions, as a mental or perceptual content (e.g.: "everybody sees that the upper line is longer than the lower line"). A consistent significant finding was that in experimental conditions, upper lines were drawn proportionally shorter than in control conditions. Taking into account effects of additional manipulations, the results were consistent with previous serendipitous observations but challenged established lay epistemological theories on how mental systems believe (Gilbert) and the role of consensus (Kruglanski). However, they could be explained as the joint effect of (a) Gricean conversational rules and related attributional processes (Hilton), and (b) a subjective status bias affecting the informational value of a mental or perceptual representation of reality making that, even in accurate subjective representations of reality, salient features of reality are assumed to be slightly tempered.

Influence of perceptual and semantic components in long term repetition priming

Maud Jacquet1and Stéphane Rousset2
1 Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
2 Université Pierre Mendes France, Grenoble, France
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Long term repetition priming, an indirect memory test that does not require an intentional recollection of the learning episode to be resolved, is explained differently depending on the point of view adopted concerning memory organization. Most authors who agree with an "abstractive" point of view assume that this effect results from a particular underlying memory system, P.R.S, which is independent of the test task. Memory, in this case, is assumed to be a collection of subsystems, each being composed of a dominant component (perceptual, semantic, episodic). On the other hand, most authors who agree with an "episodic" account of memory assume that priming effects depend on the components involved in the task under consideration and reflect different combinations of processes. Memory is seen as a unitary system functioning with simple, elementary mechanisms. We will present an experiment that will make use of two opposing components (perceptual and semantic) in order to highlight differences in the episodic versus abstractive accounts of long term repetition priming

Distinguishing a bark from a bang: Electrophysiological evidence for category-specific processing of environmental sounds

Katja Goydke, Michael Niedeggen, and Petra Stoerig
Institute of Experimental Psychology II, University of Duesseldorf, Germany
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Despite their ubiquitous presence in everyday life little is known about the semantic representation of environmental sounds. For other modalities evidence was found for a category specific processing (i.e.'living' and 'non-living'). We examined whether this distinction extends to the processing of environmental sounds. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were triggered by 40 meaningful and 40 frequency-matched scrambled sound samples of 2000 ms duration. 50% of the meaningful sounds originated from living beings ("biological sounds"), 50% from tools or instruments ("artefactual sounds"). Subjects (n=28) either named the sound's origin or performed a picture-to-sound matching. Subtracting the ERPs evoked by meaningless sounds, meaningful sounds elicited a stronger negativity starting at 350 ms. Category-specific processing was reflected in latency and topography of this difference wave: "biological sounds" evoked a negative ERP starting at 200 ms focused at right posterior scalp sites while "artefactual sounds" triggered a sustained negative wave starting at 500 ms over right anterior scalp sites. Our results indicate a category-specific processing of environmental sounds. The late anterior ERP-effect invites the inference that auditory identification of artefacts requires a more elaborate semantical search process. The early posterior ERP-effect suggests an automatic processing with the topography indicating an activation of visual representations

Normal people show category-specific deficits too.

Elaine Funnell, Diana Hughes and Jayne Woodcock
Royal Holloway University of London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This study investigates the hypothesis that category specific impairments observed in individual brain-damaged individuals reflect variations in experience that can also be found in the normal population. Twenty five men and 25 women were asked to name 72 line drawings of objects selected from two categories of living things (fruit/vegetables, n=18 and animals n=18) and two categories of non-living things (implements n=18 and vehicles n=18), matched across categories for age-of acquisition. While men and women named items to an equivalent level overall, women named fruit and vegetables better than men, and men named vehicles better than women. In addition, men named living things significantly better than non-living things. Three women and three men showed significant deficits for particular categories when compared to their gender norm, and six men showed a significant discrepancy between living and non-living things. When the naming score of JBR (a male patient with a well-established and marked category-specific disorder for living things) was included in the male sample, his performance did not lie outside the normal range. It is concluded that category-specific deficits reflect variations in experience and interests, rather than differences in the organisation of semantic memory.

Specificity of autobiographical memory in Alzheimer's sufferers versus healthy older adults

Aida Moses1, Victoria Culpin1, and Chris McWilliam2
1 University of Central Lancashire, UK
2 Ribbleton Hospital, Preston, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The present study aimed to establish the existence of a negative relationship between autobiographical memory specificity and cognitive impairment specific to Alzheimer's Disease. A between-subjects quasi-experiment was conducted. The experimental groups consisted of 10 Alzheimer's sufferers and 10 healthy controls, matched for age, gender, and education level. The administration of an autobiographical memory specificity measure (Autobiographical Memory Test) followed the assessment of participant's cognitive status. A battery of neuropsychological tests produced an independent estimate of cognitive deficit severity in general intellectual function, working memory, immediate and delayed logical memory, general processing speed, and verbal fluency. A control for depression was also employed.

T-tests revealed that there was a significant difference in generating specific autobiographical memories (p = .0135). Additionally, the Alzheimer's group generated more categoric overgeneral memories (p<.001). There was a moderate correlation between cognitive status and production of categoric memories (r = -.64).

Obtained evidence supports earlier research indicating an association between specificity of autobiographical memory and cognitive impairment, and furthers it by demonstrating the existence of this relationship in a population of Alzheimer's sufferers.

Exploration of verbal short-term memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease and normal aging: the role of phonological loop, central executive and lexico-semantic representations

L. Olivier 1, 3, S. Majerus 2, F. Collette 2, M. Van der Linden 2 and E. Salmon 1, 3
1 Cyclotron Research Centre, University of Liège, Belgium
2 Department of Neuropsychology, University of Liège, Belgium
3 Department of Neurology, University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A decrease of verbal short-term memory (STM) is frequently observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and normal elderly (NE). However, the nature of this deficit is not clearly established. This study explored the integrity of different cognitive subcomponents of verbal STM in AD and NE.

Fifteen mild to moderate AD, fifteen NE and fifteen young participants were administered different tasks assessing the phonological loop (word-length and phonological similarity effects), the central executive (dual-task coordination) and the contribution of phonological and semantic long-term memory (phonotactic frequency and lexicality effects) to STM.

Despite overall reduced performance in all STM tasks in the AD and only for long words in the NE, normal word-length and phonological similarity effects were observed in both groups, suggesting normal functioning of the phonological loop. An impairment in tasks assessing the central executive was observed only on the AD group. Regarding long-term memory effects, the phonotactic frequency effect was normal, but the lexicality effect was significantly reduced in AD and NE.

These results suggest that decreased verbal STM in NE and AD might arise from reduced support of lexico-semantic representations to STM. The central executive impairment found in AD patients might further contribute to their verbal STM deficit.

Interruptions in the Tower of London task: Some initial support for a goal activation approach

Helen Hodgetts and Dylan Jones
Cardiff University, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Unexpected interruptions during execution of the Tower of London task incurred a cost in terms of time taken to make the next move in a solution sequence, but not in terms of errors (Experiment 1). Length of the interruption was found to have little effect on performance (Experiment 2). More critical was the time at which interruptions occurred; those occurring immediately following the planning stage were more disruptive than those in either the middle or towards the end of problem solving (Experiments 3 and 4). The cost of interruption was not reduced when participants were given prior warning, although expectation did result in a more cautious strategy as shown by longer planning times (Experiment 4). The results are consistent with Altmann and Trafton's (in press) goal activation model, and suggest this could be a useful theoretical basis for the study of interruptions.

Does the misunderstanding of the issues boost the framing effect in a risky choice?

Frédéric Simons
University of Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The aim of this paper was to explore the full understanding of the deterministic/probabilistic options presented in the Tversky and Kahneman life-death Asian disease decision problem. We suspected that a misunderstanding of the problem options might lead to a misestimation of the framing effect. A group of participants was tested with a modified version of the Asian disease problem. Given the near past societal context, the Asian disease was replaced by Anthrax. The comprehension of the issues was measured by a questionnaire where participants had to estimate the number of people that will actually be saved/lost within every issue of the problem. Results showed a classical framing effect. Interestingly, 15% of the participants did not fully understand the options. Nevertheless, those errors did not boost the framing effect but, rather, tended to overshadow it.

Working Memory Constraints on Genealogical Reasoning

Hannelore Van der Beken and André Vandierendonck
Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

When solving genealogical reasoning problems, e.g. "If Peter is the brother of Marie and Marie is the mother of David, how is Peter related to David?", subjects report using a two-dimensional family-tree type representation (Van der Beken & Vandierendonck, 2001a, 2001b). This finding is in accordance with the mental models theory, which claims that an integrated representation or model of the information in the premises is formed. The present study further investigates to what extent visuo-spatial resources are used by persons solving genealogical reasoning problems by means of a dual-task paradigm. In addition the involvement of the central executive and the phonological loop is examined. A group of 20 subjects have been presented with series of problems without (control) or with a secondary task (articulatory suppression, visuo-spatial suppression or central executive suppression); time to read the premises, problem solving time and free elaboration of solutions were recorded. The implications of the data for the working memory requirements of reasoning and for the mental model theory of genealogical reasoning are discussed.

An investigation of the role of implicit processes in deductive reasoning

Magda Osman
University College London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The present study investigated two predictions Evans (1989) made based on his theoretical analysis of Wason's (1966) selection task. Evans suggests that incorrect card selections are the result of an unconscious bias for selecting cards that match those named in the rule. He also suggests that unconscious attentional processes direct participants to spend more time considering cards they plan to select than reject. In the present study 40 participants were presented with 6 tasks. In 2 of the tasks participants were exposed to stimuli in quick succession and asked to respond rapidly; these tasks were designed to expose implicit processes. Two further tasks were based on standard abstract versions of the selection task, and one task involved tutoring. Finally, in a production task participants generated a conditional statement of their own and selected examples to test it, and from this it was possible to infer participants' understanding of conditionals after tutoring. The results do not support Evans' predictions. There was no difference in the amount of time participants spent deciding on cards selected or rejected. In addition, a significant proportion of participants responding with matched card selections in other tasks correctly solved the rapid response task after receiving tutoring; this suggests that participants have conscious insight into their card selections.

Evans, J. S. B. T. (1989). Biases in human reasoning: Causes and consequences. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Ltd.

Wason, P. C. (1966). Reasoning. In B. M. Foss (Ed.), New horizons in psychology I (pp. 135-151). Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin.

Irrelevant Speech Alternation Effects: Attentional capture by violation of the attentional set?

Robert Hughes and Dylan M. Jones
School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

It is well documented that irrelevant background speech disrupts serial recall of visual lists. However, we report a novel effect in which changing the nature of the irrelevant sequence every few recall trials incurred an additional 'alternation cost' at least for early serial positions. In Experiment 1, a cost was found when alternating between sequences containing 8 irrelevant speech tokens and sequences containing 16 irrelevant speech tokens (but not vice versa). However, a comparable alternation cost was obtained in Experiment 2 merely from changing the timing of the 8 irrelevant items from being concurrent to being interleaved with the to-be-remembered items thus making it ambiguous as to whether the key factor in Experiment 1 was a change in dose per se or a change in timing between to-be-ignored and to-be-remembered events. Nevertheless, initial theoretical speculation centres on the idea that some types of changes in the nature of the irrelevant sequence, or/and its relationship to the to-be-remembered sequence, violates participants' attentional set hence momentarily capturing attention away from the primary task which in turn causes the additional disruption.

Effects of inhibition and compatibility in task switching

Evelien Christiaens and André Vandierendonck
Ghent University, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Our study aimed at analysing the processes involved in the construction and maintenance of task intentions. We were especially interested in the role of inhibition in the reconfiguration of task-sets. To that end two choice-reaction time tasks and a detection task were implemented in a PRP-design with varying SOA's. A colored frame indicated the relevant choice-reaction time task: either deciding whether a digit was odd or even or deciding whether it was smaller or larger than five. The detection task consisted of a backward masked left or right pointing arrow. All tasks required a left-right response. The responses of the first and second task could thus either be compatible or incompatible. On 25% of the trials a nogo signal appeared and subjects had to inhibit their prepared response to the first task. The crucial comparison was between go trials following a go trial and go trials following a nogo trial for switch and no-switch trials, for short and long preparatory intervals, for compatible and incompatible trials and for three SOA conditions. The results are discussed in relation to task-switching and dual-task studies.

Speeded decision-making as a component of executive processing

Arnaud Szmalec, André Vandierendonck, and Eva Kemps
Ghent University
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Several research groups are developing programs to clarify the concept of "executive processes", either via a strategy aimed at the fractionation of a unitary executive system or by specifying the processes involved in particular executive functions. The present paper contributes to this effort by exploring the hypothesis that decision-making is one of the fundamental executive processes. A series of short-term memory experiments based on a dual-task methodology is reported. The effects of a simple two-choice decision task relative to the effects of other secondary tasks, such as articulatory suppression, matrix tapping and random interval repetition on verbal span, visuo-spatial span and word fluency tasks were used to evaluate the importance of decision-making as a component of executive functioning. The implications of these results for our views on executive processing are discussed.

Mapping the updating process: Conjunctive brain activations across different versions of the running span task.

F. Collette 1, M. Van der Linden 1, F. Arigoni 1, S. Laureys 2, E. Salmon2
1Neuropsychology Unit, 2Cyclotron Research Centre, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Neuroimaging studies exploring the neural substrates of executive functioning, in general, have not investigated whether the non-executive characteristics of the specific executive task used could contribute to the observed brain activations. The aim of the present study was to determine cerebral activity in three different tasks each involving the updating executive function. The experimental updating tasks required subjects to process strings of items (respectively letters, words, and sounds) of unknown length, and then to recall or identify a specific number of presented items. Control tasks only required the temporary storage of the items (with the number of items to store in the control and experimental tasks having been equated). Changes in cerebral metabolism were analysed with SPM99 (p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons. Conjunction analysis demonstrated that cerebral areas commonly activated in the three experimental tasks, by comparison to their respective control task, are the left middle and superior frontal gyrus (BA 10), the right middle and inferior frontal gyrus (BA 10/46), the cerebellum and the intra-parietal sulcus. These regions can be considered as underlying the updating function independently of the material to process. More generally, these results support the hypothesis of a fronto-parietal network involved in executive functioning.

Human supplementary eye field and self-control during response conflict

Andrew Parton1,2, Tim Hodgson1, Dominic Mort1, Geraint Rees2 & Masud Husain1,2
1Division of Neuroscience & Psychological Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK
2Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Successful behaviour requires animals to monitor their actions and exert self-control, often requiring them to alter previous plans and select new responses. In humans such cognitive control has been associated with medial frontal cortex. Embedded also within this region are areas, such as the supplementary eye field (SEF), that are conventionally considered to be motor structures, although their precise function remains unclear. We present data investigating the function of the SEF using two tasks that evaluate self-control and error monitoring during eye movements. We show that a rare patient with a highly selective SEF lesion lacks the ability to exert effective control when required to change the direction of his eye movement. This deficit was evident both (i) when making an instantaneous change to an intended eye movement and (ii) when required to revise the rules governing all subsequent eye movements (i.e. to change behavioural 'set'). Despite profound impairment of self-control, his error monitoring was unimpaired and he was able to correct his mistakes. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that the human SEF has a role in implementing self-control, but not error monitoring, during response conflict.

Exploring the central executive by using individual differences in a dual-task approach.

Baptist Liefooghe and André Vandierendonck
Ghent University
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The present study uses an individual differences approach to explore Baddeley and Hitch's (1974) central executive (CE). Using the operation span task (OS), median-split based groups were created and equally assigned to two dual-task experiments. Experiment 1 combined backward letter serial recall with Random Interval Repetition (RIR) and Random Interval Decision (RID) tasks. Global task performance, omissions and order mistakes were considered. High span subjects performed better and made less order mistakes. The number of omissions was equal for both groups. Furthermore, RID had a disrupting effect on global task performance and omissions but not on the order mistakes. RIR had no effect. Experiment 2 combined backward spatial serial recall with RIR and RID. No individual differences occurred. However, RID had a disrupting effect on global task performance, omissions and order mistakes. Again, RIR had no effect. Converging the evidence from experiment 1 and 2 indicates that CE involvement may be different for spatial compared to verbal backward serial recall and that the OS only differentiates in verbal working memory tasks. Furthermore, the disrupting effect of RID compared to RIR emphasizes the functional separability of decision-making within the CE.