BSc(Hons), PhD Lancaster University
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Phone number: 01865 483777
Representational Momentum refers to observers' distortion of recognition memory for pictures that imply motion because of an automatic mental process which extrapolates along the implied trajectory of the picture. Neuroimaging evidence suggests that activity in the magnocellular visual pathway is necessary for representational momentum to occur. It has been proposed that individuals with dyslexia have a magnocellular deficit, so it was hypothesised that these individuals would show reduced or absent representational momentum. In this study, 30 adults with dyslexia and 30 age-matched controls were compared on two tasks, one linear and one rotation, which had previously elicited the representational momentum effect. Analysis indicated significant differences in the performance of the two groups, with the dyslexia group having a reduced susceptibility to representational momentum in both linear and rotational directions. The findings highlight that deficits in temporal spatial processing may contribute to the perceptual profile of dyslexia.
The role of mental accounts in consumer credit decision making was investigated. First, in a conversation-based process-tracing study, 96 adults with experience of credit were presented with minimal descriptions of three instalment credit options in realistic consumer scenarios. They chose a credit option and a repayment plan, but before doing so could request further information. When choosing the source of credit, participants usually sought and compared information on Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or total cost (TC), often using simple decision heuristics. When choosing repayment plans, they frequently asked about, and made trade-offs between, monthly repayment amounts, TC, and loan duration. Second, in an independent groups experiment, TC and APR information were systematically varied. Participants chose from pairs of repayment plans conflicting in loan duration and monthly repayment amount (N = 28). Although APR significantly influenced choice, its effect was substantially moderated by TC information. It was concluded that (i) although APR is an important attribute for source of credit decisions, TC is more important for repayment plan decisions, since consumers often represent specific credit plans in terms of total mental accounts; and (ii) recurrent budget period accounts are used to evaluate monthly repayments and anticipate future goals and hazards. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Visual recognition memory for shape-colour associations is superior when the colours were originally perceived to belong to the shapes, rather than to the backgrounds against which the shapes appeared. Recognition is at chance in the latter case. In two experiments, the nature of the shape representations supporting visual memory for shape-colour conjunctions is examined. Letters are used as to-be-remembered shapes and the impact of two types of change in their appearance as recognition probes is assessed. When letters reappear in the same case, recognition performance is unaffected by a change in font (Experiment 1). However, when letters reappear in the same font, recognition performance drops to chance if letter case is changed (Experiment 2). The contrast between these two types of change was not confounded with differences in the visual similarity of the memory and probe letters. It seems that colour is linked to structural descriptions of letter shape in visual memory. The relationship between these descriptions and other forms of representation, including abstract representations of letter identity, is discussed.
A study is described of the risk management strategies employed by consumers who have made a purchase by credit. Realistic scenarios involving the purchase of consumer durables were used and adults with a variety of occupations and a range of experience of credit participated (N = 96). They were presented with minimal descriptions of alternative credit offers and an option to buy insurance to cover repayment difficulties due to job loss or illness. Participants could request any information required while deciding, and afterwards they summarized how they had reached their decision. Verbal protocols for the repayment insurance decision were generally consistent with a revised version of Huber's (1997) model of risk management. In this two-dimensional threshold model, if a risk exceeds both a loss probability and a loss value threshold, risk defusing operators are activated. Some strategies not consistent with the model were also observed, either involving more complex compensatory thinking, or simply anticipating and bearing the risk. Finally, previous experience and emotional responses were found to be associated with risk management behaviour.