This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2023
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- Psychonomic bulletin review
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- National Science Foundation
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Many people report experiencing their thoughts in the form of natural language, i.e., they experience ‘inner speech’. At present, there exist few ways of quantifying this tendency, making it difficult to investigate whether the propensity to experience verbalize predicts objective cognitive function or whether it is merely epiphenomenal. We present a new instrument—The Internal Representation Questionnaire (IRQ)—for quantifying the subjective format of internal thoughts. The primary goal of the IRQ is to assess whether people vary in their stated use of visual and verbal strategies in their internal representations. Exploratory analyses revealed four factors: Propensity to form visual images, verbal images, a general mental manipulation factor, and an orthographic imagery factor. Here, we describe the properties of the IRQ and report an initial test of its predictive validity by relating it to a speeded picture/word verification task involving pictorial, written, and auditory verbal cues.
Do people have dispositions towards visual or verbal thinking styles, i.e., a tendency towards one default representational modality versus the other? The problem in trying to answer this question is that visual/verbal thinking styles are challenging to measure. Subjective, introspective measures are the most common but often show poor reliability and validity; neuroimaging studies can provide objective evidence but are intrusive and resource-intensive. In previous work, we observed that in order for a purely behavioral testing method to be able to objectively evaluate a person’s visual/verbal thinking style, 1) the task must be solvable equally well using either visual or verbal mental representations, and 2) it must offer a secondary behavioral marker, in addition to primary performance measures, that indicates which modality is being used. We collected four such tasks from the psychology literature and conducted a small pilot study with adult participants to see the extent to which visual/verbal thinking styles can be differentiated using an individual’s results on these tasks.
Neural efficiency and spatial task difficulty: A road forward to mapping students’ neural engagement in spatial cognitionThe current study examined the neural correlates of spatial rotation in eight engineering undergraduates. Mastering engineering graphics requires students to mentally visualize in 3D and mentally rotate parts when developing 2D drawings. Students’ spatial rotation skills play a significant role in learning and mastering engineering graphics. Traditionally, the assessment of students’ spatial skills involves no measurements of neural activity during student performance of spatial rotation tasks. We used electroencephalography (EEG) to record neural activity while students performed the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (Revised PSVT:R). The two main objectives were to 1) determine whether high versus low performers on the Revised PSVT:R show differences in EEG oscillations and 2) identify EEG oscillatory frequency bands sensitive to item difficulty on the Revised PSVT:R. Overall performance on the Revised PSVT:R determined whether participants were considered high or low performers: students scoring 90% or higher were considered high performers (5 students), whereas students scoring under 90% were considered low performers (3 students). Time-frequency analysis of the EEG data quantified power in several oscillatory frequency bands (alpha, beta, theta, gamma, delta) for comparison between low and high performers, as well as between difficulty levels of the spatial rotation problems. Although wemore »
Observations abound about the power of visual imagery in human intelligence, from how Nobel prize-winning physicists make their discoveries to how children understand bedtime stories. These observations raise an important question for cognitive science, which is, what are the computations taking place in someone’s mind when they use visual imagery? Answering this question is not easy and will require much continued research across the multiple disciplines of cognitive science. Here, we focus on a related and more circumscribed question from the perspective of artificial intelligence (AI): If you have an intelligent agent that uses visual imagery-based knowledge representations and reasoning operations, then what kinds of problem solving might be possible, and how would such problem solving work? We highlight recent progress in AI toward answering these questions in the domain of visuospatial reasoning, looking at a case study of how imagery-based artificial agents can solve visuospatial intelligence tests. In particular, we first examine several variations of imagery-based knowledge representations and problem-solving strategies that are sufficient for solving problems from the Raven’s Progressive Matrices intelligence test. We then look at how artificial agents, instead of being designed manually by AI researchers, might learn portions of their own knowledge and reasoning proceduresmore »
Are translated mathematics items a valid accommodation for dual language learners? Evidence from ECLS-KWhen measuring academic skills among students whose primary language is not English, standardized assessments are often provided in languages other than English. The degree to which alternate-language test translations yield unbiased, equitable assessment must be evaluated; however, traditional methods of investigating measurement equivalence are susceptible to confounding group differences. The primary purposes of this study were to investigate differential item functioning (DIF) and item bias across Spanish and English forms of an assessment of early mathematics skills. Secondary purposes were to investigate the presence of selection bias and demonstrate a novel approach for investigating DIF that uses a regression discontinuity design framework to control for selection bias. Data were drawn from 1,750 Spanish-speaking Kindergarteners participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999, who were administered either the Spanish or English version of the mathematics assessment based on their performance on an English language screening measure. Evidence of selection bias—differences between groups in SES, age, approaches to learning, self-control, social interaction, country of birth, childcare, household composition and number in the home, books in the home, and parent involvement—highlighted limitations of a traditional approach for investigating DIF that only controlled for ability. When controlling for selection bias, onlymore »