In 1932 Frederic Bartlett laid the foundation for the later Schema Theory. His findings considerably contributed to the understanding of how previous knowledge affects processing of visual stimuli. Empirical proof however is sparse and Bartlett’s results are hardly verifiable. We replicated Bartlett’s methods of ‘serial’ (Experiment 1, N=177) and ‘repeated reproduction’ (Experiment 2, N=53). In both experiments undergraduates inspected particular one of different sketches variing in the degree of faceness. After a delay of a minimum of 15 minutes participants were asked to reproduce their visual imageries. In Experiment 1 we rotated the produced sketches among participants and repeated the procedure five times. In Experiment 2 we asked them to reproduce their visual imageries after minimum weekly delays for five times. In two subsequent studies the participant’s sketches were evaluated in the degree of faceness on a 7-point Likert-scale. In contrast to Bartlett’s findings the sketches did not become more face-like the more often the reproduction process was performed, indicating more complex cognitive processes underlying the schema formation. For Experiment 1 we even obtained reversed effects with less face-likeness after a series of reproduction. Further research should vary influential factors such as creativity, drawing abilities and delays to get further insights into the formation of memory from visual inputs.
Research on visual attention triggered by face gender is still relatively sparse. In the present study, three experiments are reported in which male and female participants were required to estimate the midpoint of a line (i.e., the “line bisection task”): at each end of the line a face was presented. Depending on the experimental condition, faces could be of the same gender (i.e., two males or two females) or the opposite gender. Experiment 1 and 2 findings converged in showing that when a male face was presented at the right and a female face at the left endpoint of the line, a clear rightward bias emerged compared to the other experimental conditions, indicating that male faces captured attention more than female faces. Importantly, male faces used across Experiment 1 and 2 were rated as more threatening than female faces, suggesting that perceived level of threat may have been responsible for the observed bias toward the male face. Experiment 3 corroborated this hypothesis by finding an attentional bias toward the male face with high threat (angry) faces but not with low threat (smiling) faces.
Universities often offer support programs to assist first-year students with the transition from school to university. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different mentoring styles on mentee academic performance after one year and two years of study. Participants consisted of 828 psychology students who started their course of study in winter term 2006/07 or 2007/08 at the University of Vienna. 328 students from winter term 2007/08 participated in the peer mentoring program Cascaded Blended Mentoring (Leidenfrost …), in which they were supported by 48 student mentors (advanced students) in small groups. The mentoring groups were classified according to one of three mentoring styles described by Leidenfrost, Strassnig, Schabmann, Carbon, and Spiel (2011): motivating master mentoring, informatory standard mentoring, and negative minimalist mentoring. Our data suggest that participants in the mentoring program performed better in their studies. Mentees from winter term 2007/08 achieved better average grades than non-mentees from winter term 2007/08. They passed a higher number of courses than non-mentees from winter term 2007/08 and students from winter term 2006/07. There was, however, no specific impact of the different mentoring styles on mentee academic performance.
What’s wrong with art fakes? We tested effects of art “forgery” on aesthetic appreciation and the quality of paintings in a multidimensional manner comprising cognitive and emotional variables: When naïve participants were exposed to replicas of works by renowned artists, information about the alleged authenticity status had a major effect on the perceived quality of the painting, and even on artist-associated values such as artist talent. All these variables were negatively influenced when depictions were labeled as copies compared to identical ones labeled as originals. Our findings show the importance of symbolic and personal values as modulators in art appreciation.
Facial recognition relies on distinct and parallel types of processing: featural processing focuses on
the individual components of a face (e.g., the shape or the size of the eyes), whereas configural (or
“relational”) processing considers the spatial interrelationships among the single facial components
(e.g., distance of the mouth from the nose). Previous neuroimaging evidence has suggested that
featural and configural processes may rely on different brain circuits. By using rTMS, here we show
for the first time a double dissociation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for different aspects of face
processing: in particular, TMS over the left middle frontal gyrus (BA8) selectively disrupted
featural processing, whereas TMS over the right inferior frontal gyrus (BA44) selectively interfered
with configural processing of faces. By establishing a causal link between activation in left and
right prefrontal areas and different modes of face processing, our data extend previous
neuroimaging evidence and may have important implications in the study of face-processing
deficits, such as those manifested in prosopagnosia and autistic spectrum disorders.
Empirical studies on the development of face processing skills with age show inconsistent patterns concerning qualitative vs. quantitative changes over time or the age range for peak cognitive performance.