STUDY ALERT: Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate 

Jonathan St. B. T. Evans1 and Keith E. Stanovich 

Dual-process and dual-system theories in both cognitive and social psychology have been subjected to a number of recently published criticisms. However, they have been attacked as a category, incorrectly assuming there is a generic version that applies to all. We identify and respond to 5 main lines of argument made by such critics. We agree that some of these arguments have force against some of the theories in the literature but believe them to be overstated. We argue that the dual-processing distinction is supported by much recent evidence in cognitive science. Our preferred theoretical approach is one in which rapid autonomous processes (Type 1) are assumed to yield default responses unless intervened on by distinctive higher order reasoning processes (Type 2). What defines the difference is that Type 2 processing supports hypothetical thinking and load heavily on working memory.

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STUDY ALERT: Psychoticism and salience network morphology

Psychoticism and salience network morphology

Rajeev Krishnadas, Lena Palaniyappan, Jason Lang, John McLean, Jonathan Cavanagh

The concept of salience is increasingly recognised to be fundamental to understand the neural basis of information processing. A large-scale brain network called the salience network, anchored in the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex, performs a key function in information processing by enabling ‘switching’ between brain states. Abnormalities in this function, recently termed as ‘proximal salience’, has been proposed to be a core feature in the development of psychotic symptoms. At present, it is unknown if abnormalities in the network are associated with normal variations in personality traits such as psychoticism that could predispose to psychotic experiences in otherwise healthy subjects. The aim of the paper is to examine the relationship between psychoticism and salience network morphology in a group of non-clinical male subjects. Greater psychoticism was associated with smaller salience network surface area. The findings reinforce a continuum model with psychosis- proneness and psychosis being on the same neurobiological axis. A focussed investigation of factors determining the inter-individual variations in regional surface area in the adult brain could provide further clarity in our understanding of various determinants of enduring patterns of human behaviour.

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STUDY ALERT: The Dark Triad and the seven deadly sins

The Dark Triad and the seven deadly sins

Livia Veselka, Erica A. Giammarco, Philip A. Vernon

The present study reports on the development and validation of the Vices and Virtues Scales (VAVS), which assesses individual differences in the propensity to engage in the seven deadly sins. Item-level analyses, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted on two independent samples of adults. Results indicated that all items composing the scale are psychometrically sound, and some evidence was found in support of the measure’s seven-factor structure. Further analyses of the VAVS subscales and the Dark Triad traits revealed significant positive correlations between nearly all traits assessed. Implications of these findings for the Dark Triad cluster and the overall comprehensiveness of contemporary personality frameworks are discussed.

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STUDY ALERT: Unpacking grit: Motivational correlates of perseverance and passion for long-term goals

Unpacking grit: Motivational correlates of perseverance and passion for long-term goals 

Katherine R. Von Culina, Eli Tsukayamab and Angela L. Duckworthb

In two cross-sectional studies, we explored the motivational orientations correlates of the character strength of grit and its two component facets: perseverance of effort and consistency of interests over time. Specifically, we examined how individual differences in grit are explained by distinct approaches to pursuing happiness in life: pleasure in immediately hedonically positive activities, meaning in activities that serve a higher, altruistic purpose, and engagement in attention- absorbing activities. In both samples, grit demonstrated medium-sized associations with an orientation toward engage- ment, small-to-medium associations with an orientation toward meaning, and small-to-medium (inverse) associations with an orientation toward pleasure. These motivational orientations differentially related to the two facets of grit: pursu- ing engagement was more strongly associated with perseverance of effort, whereas pursuing pleasure was more strongly (inversely) associated with consistency of interests over time. Collectively, findings suggest that individual differences in grit may derive in part from differences in what makes people happy.

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STUDY ALERT: The Entire Intelligence-Expertise Debate (UPDATED)

Click here to download the entire intelligence-expertise debate



Introduction to the intelligence special issue on the development of expertise: is ability necessary?

Douglas K. Detterman

Target Papers:

Experts are born, then made: Combining prospective and retrospective longitudinal data shows that cognitive ability matters

Jonathan Wai


Putting practice into perspective: Child prodigies as evidence of innate talent

Joanne Ruthsatz, Kyle Ruthsatz, Kimberly Ruthsatz Stephens


The role of intelligence for performance in the prototypical expertise domain of chess

Roland H. Grabner


Practice, intelligence, and enjoyment in novice chess players: A prospective study at the earliest stage of a chess career

Anique B.H. de Bruin, Ellen M. Kok, Jimmie Leppink, Gino Camp


Nature, nurture, and expertise

Robert Plomin, Nicholas G. Shakeshaft, Andrew McMillan, Maciej Trzaskowski


Nonsense, common sense, and science of expert performance: Talent and individual differences

Phillip L. Ackerman


Deliberate practice: Is that all it takes to become an expert?

David Z. Hambrick, Frederick L. Oswald, Erik M. Altmann, Elizabeth J. Meinz, Fernand Gobet, Guillermo Campitelli


Creative performance, expertise acquisition, individual differences, and developmental antecedents: An integrative research agenda

Dean Keith Simonton



Why expert performance is special and cannot be extrapolated from studies of performance in the general population: A response to criticisms

K. Anders Ericsson


The Summation Theory as a multivariate approach to exceptional performers

Joanne Ruthsatz


What does it mean to be an expert?

Jonathan Wai


Accounting for expert performance: The devil is in the details

David Z. Hambrick, Erik M. Altmann, Frederick L. Oswald, Elizabeth J. Meinz, Fernand Gobet, Guillermo Campitelli


Nature, nurture, and expertise: Response to Ericsson

Robert Plomin, Nicholas G. Shakeshaft, Andrew McMillan, Maciej Trzaskowski


Addressing the recommended research agenda instead of repeating prior arguments

Dean Keith Simonton


Facts are stubborn things

Phillip L. Ackerman

REVIEW PAPER: The default network and self-generated thought

The default network and self-generated thought: component processes, dynamic control,
and clinical relevance 

Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, Jonathan Smallwood, and R. Nathan Spreng 

Though only a decade has elapsed since the default network (DN) was first defined as a large-scale brain system, recent years have brought great insight into the network’s adaptive functions. A growing theme highlights the DN as playing a key role in internally directed or self-generated thought. Here, we synthesize recent findings from cognitive science, neuroscience, and clinical psychology to focus attention on two emerging topics as current and future directions surrounding the DN. First, we present evidence that self-generated thought is a multifaceted construct whose component processes are supported by different subsystems within the network. Second, we highlight the dynamic nature of the DN, emphasizing its interaction with executive control systems when regulating aspects of internal thought. We conclude by discussing clinical implications of disruptions to the integrity of the network, and consider disorders when thought content becomes polarized or network interactions become disrupted or imbalanced.

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STUDY ALERT: Disrupting posterior cingulate connectivity disconnects consciousness from the external environment

Disrupting posterior cingulate connectivity disconnects consciousness from the external environment 

Guillaume Herbet, Gilles Lafargue, Nicolas Menjot de Champfleur,
Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Emmanuelle le Bars, François Bonnetblanc, Hugues Duffau

Neurophysiological and neuroimaging studies including both patients with disorders of consciousness and healthy subjects with modified states of consciousness suggest a crucial role of the medial posteroparietal cortex in conscious information processing. However no direct neuropsychological evidence supports this hypothesis and studies including patients with restricted lesions of this brain region are almost non- existent. Using direct intraoperative electrostimulations, we showed in a rare patient that disrupting the subcortical connectivity of the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) reliably induced a breakdown in conscious experience. This acute phenomenon was mainly characterized by a transient behavioral unresponsiveness with loss of external connectedness. In all cases, when he regained consciousness, the patient described himself as in dream, outside the operating room. This finding suggests that functional integrity of the PPC connectivity is necessary for maintaining consciousness of external environment.

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h/t: Todd Ian Stark

STUDY ALERT: Is there a ‘‘dark intelligence’’? Emotional intelligence is used by dark personalities to emotionally manipulate others


Is there a ‘‘dark intelligence’’? Emotional intelligence is used by dark personalities to emotionally manipulate others 

Ursa K.J. Nagler, Katharina J. Reiter, Marco R. Furtner, John F. Rauthmann

Potential ‘‘darker sides’’ of socio-emotional intelligence (SEI) have been repeatedly noted. We examine whether SEI is associated with emotional manipulation of others when used by dark personalities (Dark Triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy). In N = 594 participants, narcissism was positively, Machiavellianism negatively, and psychopathy positively and negatively associated with SEI. Moreover, narcissism and psychopathy moderated links between facets of emotional intelligence and emotional manipulation. Findings are discussed in context of a ‘‘dark intelligence’’ used for malicious intents.

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