Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological therapy that has been shown to have small to medium effects in improving outcomes for people experiencing psychosis. CBT’s theoretical model, drawing together cognitive and behavioral theories, outlines that it is the appraisal and response to an event which maintains distress rather than the event itself. CBT for psychosis (CBTp) specifically aims to modify appraisals and responses to psychotic experiences in order to reduce distress. CBTp has a substantial evidence base and is the most frequently offered psychological treatment for psychosis. There have been significant advancements in the field, with process-oriented therapies and digital interventions showing promise; however, more large-scale trials are required. Moreover, service users report positive experiences with CBTp and value the normalizing therapeutic relationship, improved personal understanding, and acquisition of new coping strategies. Improving dissemination and adapting CBTp so that it is appropriate for all populations is an ongoing priority for future research. Moreover, the evidence base requires more user-centered research to ensure CBTp is meeting the needs of service users.
Anthony P. Morrison and Lisa J. Wood
Humans use visual information to select, plan, and control nearly all actions that they perform. Children are born with the ability to perform some actions, while others emerge only after several months. For instance, newborn infants can direct their eyes to attractive stimuli, but they are unable to smoothly follow these stimuli if they move. Many factors influence the action abilities of children and adults. As children mature, they become stronger and able to more precisely control their bodies. The interactions that the children have with their environment matter a great deal as well, such that the age at which children gain particular action abilities varies widely. Some developmental changes are highly action- and context-specific, but other changes broadly influence cognitive development. For instance, learning to walk enhances children’s language development. An understanding of visually guided action development is thus essential to any complete theory of human mental development. Characterizing the development of visually guided action abilities provides a better understanding of mental and physical development as well as enabling insights into how visually guided actions are learned and controlled in adults.
Aviv Avitan and Avishai Henik
Quantities, amounts, and numbers are dealt with on a regular basis. Their manipulation is necessary for making countless decisions. Research in the area of numerical cognition seeks to delineate how numerical information is represented, manipulated, and utilized. In parallel, research in this area traces the phylogenetic and ontogenetic trajectories of numerical abilities. A comprehensive understanding of numerical cognition and its brain basis has important implications for various disciplines. These disciplines include education, neuroscience, and economics. Furthermore, understating numerical cognition will help to foster good mathematical skills and support those who struggle with numerical and mathematical concepts.
Barbara Anne Dosher and Zhong-Lin Lu
Perceptual learning is the training-induced improvement in the accuracy or speed of relevant perceptual decisions about what is seen, heard, or felt. It occurs in all sensory modalities and in most tasks. The magnitude and generalizability of this learning may, however, depend on the stimulus modality, the level of sensory representation most aligned to the task, and the methods of training, including attention, feedback, reward, and the training protocol. What is known about perceptual learning in multiple modalities has been advanced based on behavioral studies and consideration of physiology and brain imaging, and the theoretical and computational models that systematize and promote understanding of the complex patterns of perceptual learning. Perceptual training might be used in translational applications, such as education, remediation of perceptual deficits, or maintenance of performance.
Louisa Bogaerts, Noam Siegelman, and Ram Frost
Statistical learning refers to the ability to pick up on the statistical regularities in our sensory environment, typically without intention or conscious awareness. Since the seminal publication on statistical learning in 1996, sensitivity to regularities has become a key concept in our understanding of language acquisition as well as other cognitive functions such as perception and attention. Neuroimaging studies investigating which brain areas underpin statistical learning have mapped a network of domain-general regions in the medial temporal lobe as well as modality-specific regions in early sensory cortices. Research using electroencephalography has further demonstrated how sensitivity to structure impacts the brain’s processing of sensory input. In response to concerns about the large discrepancy between the very simplistic artificial regularities employed in laboratory experiments on statistical learning and the much noisier and more complex regularities humans face in the real world, recent studies have taken more ecological approaches.
Time is an abstract, unobservable, multifaceted, and elusive concept, whose nature has long posited a major challenge in philosophical and scientific thought. Nonetheless, despite the fact that time is not directly perceived by our senses, a universal human experience of time does exist. People are aware of time passing by; seek ways to measure it; arrange their lives around different timelines; and constantly use verbal expressions referring to time. A key question in developmental science is when and how children develop a sense and a concept of time. Infants are equipped from birth with perceptual time-tracking mechanisms for detecting patterns and changes in the physical environment, and their biological clocks reach an adult-like level already at 3 months of age. Infants have been shown to accurately register the recency, duration, frequency, and rhythmic aspects of events. Infants also gradually become more attuned to inter-sensory (visual/auditory/tactile) temporal relations based on co-occurrences of synchrony, duration, rate, and rhythm. These early abilities establish the foundation for the emergence of a metacognitive awareness and conceptualization of time in later stages of development. Several cognitive components such as attention, memory, and language are crucial in producing and maintaining our subjective perception of time. Additional factors include the social and cultural practices of time, which determine our time perspective and time perception. Verbal interactions relating to time between parents and their children aid the child in grasping distinctions between the past, present, and future, and between proximate and remote past and future times.
Marcus T. Pearce
Music perception covers all aspects of psychological and neural processing invoked while listening to music. In order to make sense of a musical stimulus, the perceptual system must infer an internal representation of the structure present in a piece of music, including the attributes of individual events (including pitch, timbre, loudness, and timing), groups of events (such as chords, voices, and phrases), and structural relationships between such groups, so that larger-scale aspects of musical form and thematic structure can be perceived. Such representations are stored in memory at timescales ranging from seconds for echoic memory to decades in the case of long-term memory for music, which consists of schematic knowledge of musical styles, veridical memory for particular familiar pieces of music, and episodic memory for music heard at a particular place and time. Stored representations of music allow the generation of top-down expectations for the attributes of forthcoming events while listening to music, which play a role in the perception of music as it unfolds dynamically in time and also the emotional and aesthetic experience of music. Music is a communicative medium conveying affective meaning from the composer and performer to the listener, via several psychological mechanisms and using a range of cues in the music, some of which are universal, others culture-specific. Individuals show behavioral and physiological effects of listening to music from birth onward and learn the syntactic structure of the musical styles to which they are exposed within their culture, shaping their music perception. Some individuals undertake explicit musical training, which can additionally shape their perception of music, sometimes in fundamental ways. Listening to music can impair performance on concurrent tasks involving working memory due to competing access for resources but can improve performance when listening takes place prior to the task due to its positive effect on affective state. Music is a universal human cultural phenomenon whose complexity requires the activation of a diverse range of perceptual and cognitive mechanisms, making it an interesting target for psychological and neuroscientific investigation.
Jonathan R. Brennan
To “know a language” is to know, in part, the rules by which individual words can be combined to make new meaningful expressions. Theories of syntax aim to specify the mental representations that constitute this knowledge. Evidence from diverse spoken and manual languages indicates that these representations are hierarchically structured and include dependencies between elements that point to a constrained class of rules that are characteristic of human language. Experimental studies show that language users recognize and interpret these representations rapidly, in real time. Debates center on the precise format of these representations and the degree to which they share fundamental and perhaps universal properties across different languages. Theories are constrained by the fact that syntax is acquired without explicit instruction by young children, who show exquisite sensitivity to the usage patterns of their language community while also inducing rules that go beyond the surface patterns of the input they receive. Standing at the intersection of multiple scholarly traditions, syntax has faced historical tensions with adjacent disciplines in the cognitive sciences. Interdisciplinary cross-fertilization is supported by open discussion of methodological practices as well as shared interests in rigorous computational accounts of human language and linguistic diversity.
John T. Wixted
Eyewitness testimony during a criminal trial, even when made in good faith, is widely considered to be unreliable because (a) basic-science research has shown how malleable eyewitness memory can be and (b) many real-world wrongful convictions involve eyewitness misidentifications of innocent defendants. However, like other forms of forensic evidence, there are conditions under which declarations based on eyewitness memory are reliable and conditions under which they are unreliable. Precisely because memory is so malleable, declarations based on eyewitness memory are the most reliable on the first test conducted early in a police investigation. Indeed, the very act of testing memory changes (i.e., contaminates) memory, and this is true whether memory is tested by a police interview (recall of details) or by a police photo lineup (face recognition). For example, because of the contaminating effect of the first test, a witness who initially recalls a detail with low confidence is at risk of later recalling that same detail with higher confidence. Similarly, a witness who initially identifies a suspect from a photo lineup with low confidence is at risk of later identifying that same suspect with higher confidence. In addition, memory can be contaminated by extraneous factors that occur after the first test (e.g., conversations with other people), leading to higher confidence or even to an altogether different memory decision (e.g., initially claiming that a person well known to the witness was not the perpetrator but later remembering that he was). Unbeknownst to police investigators, any change in a witness’s good-faith memory of events after the first test is far more likely to reflect memory contamination than it is to reflect a more successful search of memory. Moreover, and critically, this is true no matter how the witness rationalizes the inconsistency (e.g., “I was nervous on the first test but then I calmed down and searched my memory more carefully, and now I am positive he is the perpetrator”). A witness has no awareness of the insidious effects of memory contamination and certainly has no scientific expertise in the underlying memory mechanisms involved. Therefore, asking why a witness’s memory-based declaration changed from one test to the next is a question for a memory expert, not an eyewitness. A memory expert can explain that the main problem with relying on eyewitness memory is not that it is unreliable. Instead, the main problem is that the criminal justice system ignores the results of the reliable first test of uncontaminated memory and instead relies on the results of subsequent unreliable tests of contaminated memory to win a conviction. Assuming good faith on the part of the eyewitness, this practice should be reversed by relying on the results of the first test of uncontaminated memory and ignoring all later tests, especially the maximally contaminated test of memory that occurs under oath at trial.
Fred W. Mast and Lilla M. Gurtner
Mental rotation is the ability to mentally represent the hypothetical view of an object rotated away from its actual viewpoint. It can be experimentally tested by a paradigm in which participants judge whether two stimuli are identical or not. The two stimuli are rotated and the size of angle between the two determines how long participants will take to come to a decision. This suggests that mental rotation is a mental process analogous to real rotation. This finding has been of importance for mental imagery research more broadly because (a) it illustrated that, unlike in behavioristic thinking, it is possible to research mental processes in a scientific way, and (b) because it was the foundation of many experiments supporting the similarities between mental imagery and perception, both in terms of brain activation and in terms of computational models.