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Highlights of the Research Results

Please find below a list of selected research results from all Centers of the Institute since 2011.

History of science and the emotions

Titel:

History of science and the emotions

Cover Osiris
© The University of Chicago Press Books
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

What new insights become available for historians when “emotions” are included as an analytical category? This volume of Osiris explores the historical interrelationships between science and its cultures and cultures of emotions. It argues that a dialogue between the history of emotions and the history of science leads to a rethinking of our categories of analysis, our subjects, and our periodizations.
The ten case-studies in the volume explore these possibilities and interrelationships across North America and Europe, between the twelfth and the twentieth century, in a variety of scientific disciplines. They analyze how scientific communities approached and explained the functions of emotions; how the concomitant positioning of emotions in and/or between body-mind-intersubjectivity took place; how emotions infused practices and how practices generated emotions; and, ultimately, how new and emerging identities of and criteria for emotions created new knowledge, new technologies, and new subjectivities; and vice versa.

Dror, O. E., Hitzer, B., Laukötter, A., & León-Sanz, P. (Eds.). (2016). History of science and the emotions [Special issue]. Osiris, 31(1).

On the role of psychological heuristics in operational research; and a demonstration in military stability operations

Titel:

On the role of psychological heuristics in operational research; and a demonstration in military stability operations

 European Journal of Operational Research
© EJOR
Center: 
Adaptive Behavior and Cognition
Abstract: 

Psychological heuristics are formal models for making decisions that (i) rely on core psychological capacities (e.g., recognizing patterns or recalling information from memory), (ii) do not necessarily use all available information, and process the information they use by simple computations (e.g., ordinal comparisons or un- weighted sums), and (iii) are easy to understand, apply and explain. The contribution of this article is fourfold: First, the conceptual foundation of the psychological heuristics research program is provided, along with a discussion of its relationship to soft and hard OR. Second, empirical evidence and theoretical analyses are presented on the conditions under which psychological heuristics perform on par with or even better than more complex standard models in decision problems such as multi-attribute choice, classification, and forecasting, and in domains as varied as health, economics and management. Third, we demonstrate the application of the psychological heuristics approach to the problem of reducing civilian casualties in military stability operations. Finally, we discuss the role that psychological heuristics can play in OR theory and practice.

Keller, N., Katsikopoulos, K. V. (2016). On the role of psychological heuristics in operational research; and a demonstration in military stability operations. European Journal of Operational Research, 249, 1063—1073.

Boosting medical diagnostics by pooling independent judgments

Titel:

Boosting medical diagnostics by pooling independent judgments

Artikel in PNAS
© PNAS
Center: 
Adaptive Rationality
Abstract: 

Collective intelligence refers to the ability of groups to outperform individual decision makers when solving complex cognitive problems. Despite its potential to revolutionize decision making in a wide range of domains, including medical, economic, and political decision making, at present, little is known about the conditions underlying collective intelligence in real-world contexts. The team of researchers here focuses on two key areas of medical diagnostics, breast and skin cancer detection. Using a simulation study that draws on large real-world datasets, involving more than 140 doctors making more than 20,000 diagnoses, they investigate when combining the independent judgments of multiple doctors outperforms the best doctor in a group. It was found that similarity in diagnostic accuracy is a key condition for collective intelligence: Aggregating the independent judgments of doctors outperforms the best doctor in a group whenever the diagnostic accuracy of doctors is relatively similar, but not when doctors’ diagnostic accuracy differs too much. This intriguingly simple result is highly robust and holds across different group sizes, performance levels of the best doctor, and collective intelligence rules. The enabling role of similarity, in turn, is explained by its systematic effects on the number of correct and incorrect decisions of the best doctor that are overruled by the collective. By identifying a key factor underlying collective intelligence in two important real-world contexts, the findings pave the way for innovative and more effective approaches to complex real-world decision making, and to the scientific analyses of those approaches.

Kurvers, R. H. J. M., Herzog, S. M., Hertwig, R., Krause, J., Carney, P. A., Bogart, A., et al. (in press). Boosting medical diagnostics by pooling independent judgments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi:10.1073/pnas.1601827113

Bodies and Affects in Market Societies

Titel:

Bodies and Affects in Market Societies

Titel Bodies and Affects in Market Societies
© Mohr Siebeck
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

How are bodies and affects formed in liberal market societies? And, conversely, what roles do affects and bodies play in the genesis and stabilization of and changes to market societies? These are the questions examined by the authors in several insightful and theoretically ambitious case studies. The collection aims to present new approaches from the History of Emotions, Affect Studies, Actor-Network-Theory and other fields, putting them to the test in the analysis of capitalist societies. These investigations – by sociologists, ethnologists and historians – will tackle developments in the USA, Europe and Australia from the 19th through to the 21st Century. They will also – via their analyses of issues such as speculation, industrial production, advertising and ethics – examine historical and contemporary phenomena, shedding light on emerging viewpoints on work, consumption, class and gender.

Survey of contents
Christoph Conrad/Anne Schmidt: Introduction – Thomas Welskopp: Sons of Vulcan. Industrial Relations and Attitudes towards Work among German and American Iron and Steel Workers in the 20th Century – Peter-Paul Bänziger: What Makes People Work: Producing Emotional Attachments to the Workplace in Post-WWII Western German Vocational Schools – Alexandra Michel: The Bodily Structuration of Knowledge Work: A Twelve-Year Ethnography of Wall Street Bank Socialization Practices and their Diffusion – Alexander Engel: The Exchange Floor as a Playing Field: Bodies and Affects in Open-Outcry Trading – Fiona Allon: The Wealth Affect: Speculation as Everyday Habitus – Susan J. Matt: From Sin to Economic Stimulant: Envy's Changing Place in American Capitalism – Franck Cochoy: On the Marketization of Curiosity: The Shop Window as a “Captation” Device – Anne Schmidt: From Thrifty Housewives to Shoppers with Needs: On a Capitalist Education Program

Schmidt, A. & Conrad, Ch. (Eds.). (2016): Bodies and Affects in Market Societies. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. ISBN 978-3-16-152776-0

Repeated structural imaging reveals non-linear progression of experience-dependent volume changes in human motor cortex

Titel:

Repeated structural imaging reveals non-linear progression of experience-dependent volume changes in human motor cortex

Articel Cerebral Cortex
© Cerebral Cortex
Center: 
Lifespan Psychology
Abstract: 

Evidence for experience-dependent structural brain change in adult humans is accumulating. However, its time course is not well understood, as intervention studies typically consist of only two imaging sessions (before vs. after training). We acquired up to 18 structural magnetic resonance images over a 7-week period while 15 right-handed participants practiced left-hand writing and drawing. After four weeks, we observed increases in gray matter of both left and right primary motor cortices relative to a control group; three weeks later, these differences were no longer reliable. Time-series analyses revealed that gray matter in the primary motor cortices expanded during the first four weeks and then partially renormalized, in particular in the right hemisphere, despite continued practice and increasing task proficiency. Similar patterns of expansion followed by partial renormalization are also found in synaptogenesis, cortical map plasticity, and maturation, and may qualify as a general principle of structural plasticity. Research on human brain plasticity needs to encompass more than two measurement occasions to capture expansion and potential renormalization processes over time.

Wenger, E., Kühn, S., Verrel, J., Mårtensson, J., Bodammer, N. C., Lindenberger, U., & Lövdén, M. (2016). Repeated structural imaging reveals non-linear progression of experience-dependent volume changes in human motor cortex. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication.
doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw141

Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions

Titel:

Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions

Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence fr
© Frontiers
Center: 
MPRG "Reading Education and Development (REaD)"
Abstract: 

In this study, we looked at masked morphological priming effects in German children and adults beyond mean response times by taking into account response time distributions. We conducted an experiment comparing suffixed word primes (kleidchen-KLEID),suffixed nonword primes (kleidtum-KLEID),nonsuffixed nonword primes (kleidekt-KLEID), and unrelated controls (träumerei-KLEID). The pattern of priming in adults showed facilitation from suffixed words, suffixed nonwords, and nonsuffixed nonwords relative to unrelated controls, and from both suffixed conditions relative to nonsuffixed nonwords, thus providing evidence for morpho-orthographic and embedded stem priming. Children also showed facilitation from real suffixed words, suffixed nonwords, and nonsuffixed nonwords compared to unrelated words, but no difference between the suffixed and nonsuffixed conditions, thus suggesting that German elementary school children do not make use of morpho-orthographic segmentation. Interestingly, for all priming effects, a shift of the response time distribution was observed. Consequences for theories of morphological processing are discussed.

Hasenäcker, J., Beyersmann, E., & Schroeder, S. (2016). Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 929.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00929

Children Adapt Their Questions To Achieve Efficient Search

Titel:

Children Adapt Their Questions To Achieve Efficient Search

Children adapt their questions to achieve efficient search | Cover page
© Cognition
Center: 
Adaptive Behavior and Cognition
Abstract: 

One way to learn about the world is by asking questions. We investigate how younger children (7- to 8-year-olds), older children (9- to 11-year-olds), and young adults (17- to 18-year-olds) ask questions to identify the cause of an event. We find a developmental shift in children’s reliance on hypothesis-scanning questions (which test hypotheses directly) versus constraint-seeking questions (which reduce the space of hypotheses), but also that all age groups ask more constraint-seeking questions when hypothesis-scanning questions are least likely to pay off: When the solution is one among equally likely alternatives (Study 1) or when the problem is difficult (Studies 1 and 2). These findings are the first to demonstrate that even young children dynamically adapt their strategies for inquiry to increase the efficiency of information search.

Ruggeri, A., & Lombrozo, T. (2015). Children adapt their questions to achieve efficient search. Cognition, 143, 203–216. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.07.004

Normal Aging Increases Postural Preparation Errors: Evidence from a Two-Choice Response Task with Balance Constraints

Titel:

Normal Aging Increases Postural Preparation Errors: Evidence from a Two-Choice Response Task with Balance Constraints

Verrel et al., 2016 | Cover
© Elsevier
Center: 
Lifespan Psychology
Abstract: 

Correlational studies indicate an association between age-related decline in balance and cognitive control, but these functions are rarely addressed within a single task. In this study, we investigated adult age differences in a two-choice response task with balance constraints under three levels of response conflict: lifting one foot from the floor in a standing position. This combination of task requirements allowed testing whether cognitive and motor components of the action are processed independently or in parallel. Moreover, measuring preparatory weight shifts (which are required to maintain balance in this task), allowed scrutinizing the influence of task difficulty and participant age on response times.

Sixteen healthy young (20–30 years) and 16 healthy older adult participants (59–74 years) were cued symbolically (letter L vs. R) to lift either the left or the right foot from the floor in a standing position. Response conflict was manipulated by task-irrelevant visual stimuli showing congruent, incongruent, or no foot lift movement. Preparatory weight shifts and foot lift movements were recorded using force plates and optical motion capture. Older adults showed longer response times (foot lift) and more errors in preparatory weight shifts than younger adults. Incongruent distractors interfered with performance (greater response time and weight shift errors), but this compatibility effect did not reliably differ between age groups. Response time effects of age and compatibility were strongly reduced or absent in trials without weight shift errors, and for the onset of the first (erroneous) PWS in trials with preparation error. In addition, in older adults only, compatibility effects in the foot lift task correlated significantly with compatibility effects in the Flanker task.

The present results strongly suggest that adult age differences in response latencies in a task with balance constraints are related to age-associated increases in postural preparation errors rather than being an epiphenomenon of general slowing. Moreover, increased response times in the more difficult conditions were also largely explained by increases in preparation errors, showing that cognitive and motor processing occur at least partly in parallel.

Verrel, J., Lisofsky, N., Kühn, S., & Lindenberger, U. (2016). Normal aging increases postural preparation errors: Evidence from a two-choice response task with balance constraints. Gait & Posture, 44, 143–148. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2015.12.002

Developmental Eye-Tracking Research in Reading

Titel:

Developmental Eye-Tracking Research in Reading

Journal of Cognitive Psychology | Cover
© Routledge
Center: 
MPRG "Reading Education and Development (REaD)"
Abstract: 

Extending our understanding of the interplay between visual and cognitive processes during reading is essential to understand how reading develops and changes across the lifespan. Monitoring readers’ eye movements provides a fine-grained online protocol of the reading process as it evolves over time, but until recently eye movements have rarely been collected for young developing and ageing people. Developmental eye-tracking constitutes an emerging and innovative field that addresses various theoretical questions related to changes in the process of reading across the lifespan and the mechanisms that drive intra-individual trajectories and create inter-individual differences among readers. In this Special Issue of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, several of these questions will be addressed by leading researches of the field.

Hyönä, J., Schroeder, S., & Liversedge, S. P. (Eds.). (2015): Developmental eye-tracking research in reading [Special Issue]. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27 (5). Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.
doi: 10.1080/20445911.2015.1046877

Simply Rational: Decision Making in the Real World

Titel:

Simply Rational: Decision Making in the Real World

Simply rational: Decision making in the real world (Gerd Gigerenzer) | Cover
© OUP
Center: 
Adaptive Behavior and Cognition
Abstract: 
Statistical illiteracy can have an enormously negative impact on decision making. This book brings together applied and theoretical research on risks and decision making across the fields of medicine, psychology, and economics. Collectively, the chapters demonstrate why the frame in which statistics are communicated is essential for broader understanding and sound decision making, and that understanding risks and uncertainty has wide-reaching implications for daily life. The text provides a review and catalog of concrete instances of heuristics, or rules of thumb, that people and animals rely on to make decisions under uncertainty, explaining why these are very often more rational than probability models. After a critical look at behavioral theories that do not model actual psychological processes, the book concludes with a call for a “heuristic revolution” that will enable us to understand the ecological rationality of both statistics and heuristics, and bring a dose of sanity to the study of rationality.
 

Gigerenzer, G. (2015). Simply rational: Decision making in the real world (328 pp.). Oxford University Press. ISBN-13: 9780199390076
doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390076.001.0001