Cerebral hemispheric lateralization in the processing manner of verbal and spatial information

Seiji Nagae

The purpose of this experiment was to investigate whether there were handedness and sex differences in the processing manner of verbal and spatial information. The participants were asked to see nine 5 x 5 matrices, in which six and eight hirakana letters (Japanese cursive characters representing spoken syllables) appeared, and to recall the letters, the positions of letters, or both the letters and the positions. The results of the letters and positions recall rest indicated that handedness, sex, and target interaction was significant. The recall of positions by left-handed males was less than that by right-handed males, and less than recall of letters by males. The recall of positions by left-handed females was less than recall of letters by females. The results indicated that left-handed males were inferior to right-handed males in terms of the abilities of information processing, whereas females, both left- and right-handers, perform the recall of letters and positions equally well. These findings were discussed in terms of cerebral hemispheric lateralization referring to handedness and sex.

A study on the temperature metaphor of happiness

Zeng Wang, Feng-Yong Yang, Jun-Hua Wang, Chao Feng, Bo Zhang, Jie Wu, Ji-Lin Sun and Hong-Zhen Chen

Happiness is frequently referred to in terms of warm-related metaphors. Theory of Conceptual Metaphor (Gibbs, 1994; Lakoff & Johnson, 1999) posits that while metaphor is reflected in language, it is primarily a cognitive tool that people use to understand superficially dissimilar and concrete concepts that facilitates comprehension. The study examined whether the abstract concept of happiness is grounded in physical experience of temperature. Participants were asked to categorize happiness-related and control words as they appeared upon a background image suggestive of either warm or cold temperatures. Happiness-related words were categorized more quickly when presented upon the warm background, relative to the cold background. Background Type had no influence on categorization times for control words. Visual cues of warmth facilitated happiness-related conceptual processing. The study demonstrates that the abstract concept of happiness is grounded in physical experience of temperature. These findings are consistent with the embodied view of cognition and support the notion that conceptual thought consists of representations built on concrete sensory information (Barsalou, 1999, 2008; Lakens, 2010; Wang & Lu, 2011). Acknowledgment: The research was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province (Grant No. C2012205046) to Zeng Wang. References Barsalou, L. W. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(4), 577-609. Barsalou, L. W. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 617-645. Gibbs, R. W. (1994). The poetics of mind: Figurative thought, language, and understanding. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Lakens, D. (2010). Abstract concepts in grounded cognition. Utrecht University. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought. New York: Basic Books. Wang, Z., & Lu, Z. Y. (2011). A Study on the Metaphor of Social Exclusion from Embodied Cognition. Scientific Research and Essays, 6(10), 2225-2227.

Looking and referring in a collaborative artistic task

Kristina Ananyeva and Alexander Kharitonov

We propose a method to study gaze direction as related to joint activity in a collaborative task. Participants in pairs, each sitting in front of a display, were instructed to decorate an item in the shape of a mitten so that the two similar halves make a whole. Three mitten 'halves' and 10 colors were available for each participant. The participants were encouraged to communicate. The efficiency of the participants'activities was estimated by experts who based their judgments on correct selection of half-mitten size and orientation by the participants and on similarity of design of the two 'halves' of a mitten. We used two eye trackers to register gaze direction of the participants. Their conversation was also recorded. Special software was developed for synchronous data collection. Reach communicative phenomenology elicited by the experimental design was analyzed to find relations between the participants'efforts to coordinate their activities and their eye movements. Among our findings are anticipation fixations in both 'speaker' and 'listener', episodic coordination of areas of interest, specific coordination of phrasing and words used by the participants with gaze direction. We are thankful to RFH for support, grant # 11-06-01176a.

Is a detection of gaze direction of a person in front affected by the presence of persons in the peripheral view?

Motoyuki Takai, Satoshi Eifuku and Miyuki G. Kamachi

Some studies have identified the characteristics of the human perception of gaze direction (HPGD) in a setting where a target person is sitting in front of a participant. However, little is known about the characteristics of HPGD in more natural settings, such as with or without other people near the target person. In this study, we investigated a participant's HPGD to a person in front, with a varying number of people (stimuli) facing him/her: one (target person only), two (target person and someone to his/her left or right), and three (target person with one person on either side). We used a 3D-CG model of the stimuli showing controlled gaze directions. We conducted two experiments, one with the distance between the target person and the other people being 7.5° (near condition) and one with the distance being 15° (far condition). We found that the participant's HPGD to a person in front was not affected by the existence/nonexistence of people in the peripheral view nor the distance between the target person and the other people. In addition, the averted or direct gaze of the non-target people did not have any effect on the HPGD.

Violation of the Leggett-Garg inequality in visual process

Fortunato Tito Arecchi, Alessandro Farini, Nicola Megna and Elisabetta Baldanzi

The Leggett and Garg Inequality (LGI) [Leggett, A.J. & Garg, A. (1985) Phys Rev Lett. 54,857-860] is a test of the classical behavior of an observed system, in the case of a single measurement channel monitored at different times. LGI is based on two assumptions, both necessary, namely, macrorealism and non-invasive measurement (NIM).We report LGI violation in cognitive tasks consisting in the identification of mutually incompatible 'words' with negligible semantic content: as a first attempt we have studied the Necker Cube, a well-known bistable image; the violation is maximal at an inter-stimulus time τLG around 2 sec, close to, but consistently lower than, the characteristic times associated with other, semantically rich, linguistic endeavors. The LGI violation persists over a time window of 1 sec around τLG; outside this window NIM is recovered.

Shape (ratio of height to width) of an object affects visual weight estimation

Tatsuya Yoshizawa, Kazuaki Takahashi and Tetsuo Kawahara

Visual information is a powerful cue for an estimation of object weight before a tactile measurement. For instance, a bigger object seems to be estimated to be lighter than a smaller object, of which physical weight is the same as that of the bigger one. We, therefore, aim to know a basic property of effects of visual information, especially shape information, on the estimation of object weight. Our observers (twenty undergraduates) who consented to the experiments answered which of two juxtaposed objects was heavier visually. We measured the probability that the observers chose as a heavier object, as a function of a ratio of height to width of an object. The ratio of a reference stimulus was constant at 1.0 and that of a test stimulus was varied from 0.7 to 2.5. The probability of the object whose ratio was approximately 2.0 was lower than 20%. That is, most of the observers estimated that such object was the lightest visually. This proportion does not correspond with the Golden ratio, which has been debated on issues associated with Greek architecture and sculptures in terms of their aesthetic. Although there is no scientific relation between them, our results indicate that shape information affects weight estimation of objects.

The role of low spatial frequencies in the hemispheric processing for metric properties of objects.

Ayako Saneyoshi and Chikashi Michimata

Right handed participants performed two object-matching tasks for novel objects consisting of three geons. For each original stimulus, categorical and coordinate transformations were applied to create comparison stimuli. In the categorical transformation, a geon connected to geon A was moved to geon B. In the coordinate transformation, a geon connected to geon A was moved to a different position on geon A. These stimuli were low-pass filtered by the filter with 2D Gaussian envelope. The Categorical task consisted of the original and the categorically transformed objects. The Coordinate task consisted of the original and the coordinately transformed objects. The non-filtered stimulus image was presented on the center of the CRT monitor, followed by a comparison object presented to the right or left visual half-fields (RVF and LVF). The results showed an RVF-left hemisphere (LH) advantage for the Categorical task and an LVF-right hemisphere (RH) advantage for the Coordinate task. Furthermore, the LVF-RH advantage for coordinate task was eliminated by the removal of low spatial frequencies information from object image. These results suggested that the processing of low spatial frequencies is responsible for the LVF-RH advantage for the metric properties processing in object recognition.

Visualization of information of a Japanese onomatopoeia

Yoshie Kiritani, Kyo Suzuki and Yoichi Tamagaki

Purpose of the present study is to reveal real figures of a Japanese onomatopoeia, 'Pyon'. Japanese has many onomatopoeias, so that this is a feature of the language in comparison with Western languages (Ishibashi, 2007; Yoshimura, 2007). For instance, Japanese uses onomatopoeias to communicate nuances of action or motion. It can be possible, because Japanese users have a common ground of understanding of onomatopoeias. Japanese onomatopoeia 'Pyon' usually expresses bound, hopping, or jump. In the present study, participants move a wooden small cube to express 'Pyon' movement. An independent variable is cube's lightness, because its apparent weight may affect its movement. There are two lightness levels, white and black. Besides this condition, an effect of accessory to express rabbit and frog is also examined. Dependent variables are distance (horizontal distance), height (vertical distance) and distance to the top (horizontal distance). Although a preliminary experiment showed an individual difference of these values among participants, most trajectories of movement were smoothly parabolic to suggest the common ground of onomatopoeia. The main experiments will introduce new variables to properly express the movement of 'Pyon'. Demonstration of transition from 'Pyon' to other onomatopoeia to express movement like 'Byoon' will be also useful.

Stroop, Simon & the separation of response keys

Melanie Jonas, Cornelia Bäthge, Owino Eloka and Volker H. Franz

The recent finding that in a Stroop task, increasing physical distance between response keys attenuated color-word interference in reaction times (RTs) [Lakens et al, 2011, Psychological Science, 22(7), 887-890] might have extensive implications for psychological experiments. It suggests that perceiving the space between response keys alone leads to spatial coding of categories that are unrelated to space (e.g. colors). However, participants might have been biased towards mapping categories onto space because Lakens et al. displayed response key assignments in a spatial arrangement while testing. Eliminating this confound in a previous replication experiment, we found Stroop interference to be unaffected by key distance. The present study further investigates the potential interaction between spatial stimulus characteristics and key distance. In another Stroop task we presented letter strings centrally or lateralized to either side of the display. Twenty participants responded to the colors via differently spaced keys (separated by 6 or 108 cm). Whereas both color-word congruence and congruence of stimulus-response position influenced RTs significantly (Stroop- and Simon-effect, respectively), key distance again had no effect. This suggests that spatial separation of response keys alone does not necessarily interfere with the mental representation of categories.

The effect of visual information on a sense of being together in a virtual environment

Wataru Teramoto and Nobuko Asai

This study investigated the effect of visual information on a sense of being together in a virtual environment by using the social Simon paradigm [Sebanz et al, 2003, Cognition, 88, B11-B21]. In this paradigm, one participant presses a key in response to one colour, and the other participant presses another key in response to the other colour. Despite the fact that each participant is performing a go/no-go task, an effect similar to a standard Simon effect occurs if they feel a sense of being together. In the present experiment, a pair of participants in different rooms observed the same virtual environment through head-mounted displays and performed the task. In one condition, the participants had a 3-min session to interact with their co-actor in the virtual environment before the start of the experimental session and could see a co-actor's avatar throughout the session. In the other condition, the participants also could see a co-actor's avatar but did not have time to interact with their co-actor. The results showed that the social Simon effect occurred only for the former condition, suggesting that online visual information is not sufficient to evoke sense of being together in a virtual environment.

Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Happiness

Zeng Wang, Yan-Gang Yuan, Jian-Sui Zhang, Wei Dong, Li-Xin Li, Yan-Xia Su, Jie Wu and Ji-Lin Sun

Happiness is one of the abstract and social perceptional concepts. We hypothesized that mere tactile experiences of physical warmth (or coldness) would increase feelings of happiness (or unhappiness), without the person's awareness of the influence. In the study, participants who briefly held a cup of hot coffee judged the target person as being significantly happier than those who briefly held a cup of iced coffee. The result suggests that physical warmth increases feelings of happiness. The finding is consistent with the embodied view of cognition and support the notion that social perception involves physical and perceptual content(Barsalou, 1999, 2008; Lakens, 2010; Wang & Lu, 2011). Acknowledgment: The research was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province (Grant No. C2012205046) to Zeng Wang. References Barsalou, L. W. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22(4), 577-609. Barsalou, L. W. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 617-645. Lakens, D. (2010). Abstract concepts in grounded cognition. Utrecht University. Wang, Z., & Lu, Z. Y. (2011). A Study on the Metaphor of Social Exclusion from Embodied Cognition. Scientific Research and Essays, 6(10), 2225-2227.

View dependencies in the visual recognition of social interactions

Stephan de La Rosa, Sarah Miekes, Heinrich Bülthoff and Cristobal Curio

Humans daily physically interact with other people (e.g. when shaking hands). Understanding the action of others is important for a successful social interaction. Little is known about the visual processes underlying the visual recognition of social interactions. Here we were examined the view dependency of social interaction recognition. We used motion capture to record predefined interactions (e.g. high five; handshake; hug) acted out by pairs of participants and created 3-D models of these interactions. In the actual experiment participants were presented with these interactions one at a time and had to identify a predefined interaction (1IFC task). We manipulated the view point (front, side, top, 45 degree side view) from which participants saw the interaction and the presentation time of the social interactions. We recorded participants'accuracy (as measured by d prime) and reaction time to identify a predefined social interaction. We found that the d primes and reaction time significantly depended on the view point of the social interaction. The results suggest the existence of view dependencies in the visual recognition of social interactions. This research has been supported by the EU project TANGO (FET-Open grant number: 249858)

Rapid extraction of holistic meaning from visual displays of multiple words.

Naoto Sakuma, Eiji Kimura and Ken Goryo

When a set of meaningful symbols (e.g., numerals and Japanese Kanji characters) is briefly presented, it can be processed much more efficiently than a set of ordinary letters such as alphabets (e.g., Sakuma et al., 2009 Perception 38 ECVP Supplement, 150). We extended this finding with two-character Kanji words and found that holistic affective valence could be rapidly extracted from a set of spatially-distributed words. We presented a visual display containing two sets of 9 different words for 200 msec. Each word had either negative or positive affective valence. The proportion of positive to negative words and the frequency of use of the words were manipulated in each set. The observer's task was to determine which set was holistically more positive (or negative). The results showed that observers could efficiently and reliably indicate the correct set. This finding was not attributable to simple word counting because observers could not fully identify individual words in the set. Moreover, the performance was greatly modulated by word frequency; more frequently used words were processed more efficiently. Some observers even identified the set composed of fewer positive (or negative) words as more positive (or negative), when the fewer were frequently used words.

Mere exposure effect for amodally completed stimuli

Akitoshi Tomita, Soyogu Matsushita and Kazunori Morikawa

The mere exposure effect (MEE) refers to the phenomenon where repeated exposure to a stimulus results in increased liking for that stimulus. When a shape is partly occluded, observers usually perceive the contours to be continuous (i.e. amodally completed) behind the occluders. This study investigated whether the MEE would generalize to amodally completed perceptual representations. We used novel abstract shapes as stimuli, which were overlaid with square-wave grating occluders (i.e. stripes) of various widths. In the exposure phase of experiments, 50%-occluded shapes were repeatedly presented to observers. In the rating phase, observers rated the likeability of the same 50%-occluded stimuli, non-occluded stimuli that had not been presented, and stimuli 50%-occluded by gratings which were half-cycle shifted. The results indicated a significant MEE only for exactly the same 50%-occluded stimuli. Another experiment confirmed that observers actually perceived amodal completion in those stimuli. It is shown that the MEE for partly occluded stimuli does not generalize to amodally completed perceptual representations. Stimuli 50%-occluded by finer gratings are perceptually indistinguishable from stimuli occluded by half-cycle shifted gratings. The present study suggests that the visual system can still distinguish them at the level of affective preference.