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Volume 11 Issue 1 (2015)

Letter from the editors editorial

pp. 1-2 | First published on 31 March 2015 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0165-7

Rob H. J. van der Lubbe, Ulrich Ansorge

Abstract

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Elucidating the Functional Relationship Between Working Memory Capacity and Psychometric Intelligence: A Fixed-Links Modeling Approach for Experimental Repeated-Measures Designs original article

pp. 3-13 | First published on 31 March 2015 | DOI: 10.5709/acp-0166-6

Philipp Thomas, Thomas Rammsayer, Karl Schweizer, Stefan Troche

Abstract

Numerous studies reported a strong link between working memory capacity (WMC) and fluid intelligence (Gf), although views differ in respect to how close these two constructs are related to each other. In the present study, we used a WMC task with five levels of task demands to assess the relationship between WMC and Gf by means of a new methodological approach referred to as fixed-links modeling. Fixed-links models belong to the family of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and are of particular interest for experimental, repeated-measures designs. With this technique, processes systematically varying across task conditions can be disentangled from processes unaffected by the experimental manipulation. Proceeding from the assumption that experimental manipulation in a WMC task leads to increasing demands on WMC, the processes systematically varying across task conditions can be assumed to be WMC-specific. Processes not varying across task conditions, on the other hand, are probably independent of WMC. Fixed-links models allow for representing these two kinds of processes by two independent latent variables. In contrast to traditional CFA where a common latent variable is derived from the different task conditions, fixed-links models facilitate a more precise or purified representation of the WMC-related processes of interest. By using fixed-links modeling to analyze data of 200 participants, we identified a non-experimental latent variable, representing processes that remained constant irrespective of the WMC task conditions, and an experimental latent variable which reflected processes that varied as a function of experimental manipulation. This latter variable represents the increasing demands on WMC and, hence, was considered a purified measure of WMC controlled for the constant processes. Fixed-links modeling showed that both the purified measure of WMC (β = .48) as well as the constant processes involved in the task (β = .45) were related to Gf. Taken together, these two latent variables explained the same portion of variance of Gf as a single latent variable obtained by traditional CFA (β = .65) indicating that traditional CFA causes an overestimation of the effective relationship between WMC and Gf. Thus, fixed-links modeling provides a feasible method for a more valid investigation of the functional relationship between specific constructs.

Keywords: working memory capacity, fluid intelligence, fixed-links modeling, confirmatory factor analysis

The Effect of Observers’ Mood on the Local Processing of Emotional Faces: Evidence from Short-Lived and Prolonged Mood States original article

pp. 14-21 | First published on 31 March 2015 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0167-5

Setareh Mokhtari, Heather Buttle

Abstract

We examined the effect of induced mood, varying in valence and longevity, on local processing of emotional faces. It was found that negative facial expression conveyed by the global level of the face interferes with efficient processing of the local features. The results also showed that the duration of involvement with a mood influenced the local processing. We observed that attending to the local level of faces is not different in short-lived happy and sad mood states. However, as the mood state is experienced for a longer period, local processing was impaired in happy mood compared to sad mood. Taken together, we concluded that both facial expressions and affective states influence processing of the local parts of faces. Moreover, we suggest that mediating factors like the duration of involvement with the mood play a role in the interrelation between mood, attention, and perception.

Keywords: attention, emotion, face perception, global-local processing, prolonged vs. short-lived mood

Counterfactual Reasoning for Regretted Situations Involving Controllable Versus Uncontrollable Events: The Modulating Role of Contingent Self-Esteem original article

pp. 22-30 | First published on 31 March 2015 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0168-4

Meredith R. Wilkinson, Linden J. Ball, David Alford

Abstract

We report a study that examined the modulating impact of contingent self-esteem on regret intensity for regretted outcomes associated with controllable versus uncontrollable events. The Contingent Self-Esteem Scale (e.g., Kernis & Goldman, 2006) was used to assess the extent to which a person’s sense of self-worth is based on self and others’ expectations. We found that there was an influence of self-esteem contingency for controllable but not for uncontrollable regret types. For controllable regret types individuals with a high contingent (i.e., unstable) self-esteem reported greater regret intensity than those with a low contingent (i.e., stable) self-esteem. We interpret this finding as reflecting a functional and adaptive role of high contingent self-esteem in terms of mobilizing the application of counterfactual reasoning and planning mechanisms that can enable personal expectations to be achieved in the future.

Keywords: contingent self-esteem, regret, counterfactual reasoning, controllable events, uncontrollable events