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«Editors: Nicholas Voudouris PhD MAPS and Vicky Mrowinski Assoc MAPS ISBN: 978-0-909881-40-5 Combined Abstracts of 2009 Australian Psychology ...»

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Combined Abstracts of

2009 Australian

Psychology Conferences

Editors: Nicholas Voudouris PhD MAPS

and Vicky Mrowinski Assoc MAPS

ISBN: 978-0-909881-40-5

Combined Abstracts of 2009 Australian Psychology Conferences


Nicholas Voudouris PhD MAPS

Manager, Science & Education

The Abstracts of the 36th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference

Abstracts Editor: Steven Roodenrys

Steven Roodenrys

The Abstracts of the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society Abstracts Editors: Nicholas Voudouris and Vicky Mrowinski Kate Moore

The Abstracts of the 15th Annual Conference of the APS College of Clinical Neuropsychologists Abstracts Editor: Simon Crowe Simon Crowe

The Abstracts of the 1st Joint Conference of the APS Psychology and Ageing Interest Group and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age Abstracts Editor: Deirdre McLaughlin Nancy A. Pachana and Gerard J. Byrne

Preface _________________________________________________________________________________________

I am pleased to introduce the 2009 edition of the Combined Abstracts of 2009 Australian Psychology Conferences, which includes abstracts from the following conferences: the 36th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, the 15th Annual Conference of the APS College of Clinical Neuropsychologists, and the 1st Joint Conference of the APS Psychology and Ageing Interest Group and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age.

The abstracts reflect the remarkable diversity of research in Australian psychology and attest to the richness of the conference papers presented at Australian conferences during 2009. Each of the conferences listed above are the product of teams of people acting as editors and organising committees and they deserve our collective thanks for their efforts in making these conferences happen. I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of National Office staff, Ms Jo Howard and Ms Vicky Mrowinski, in collating, formatting and preparing for publication the many abstracts contained herein.

I hope this volume will prove to be a useful resource both inthe daily work of researchers and practitioners and as a future record of the history of research in Australian psychology.

Nicholas Voudouris PhD MAPS Senior Manager, Science & Education The Australian Psychological Society Ltd NOTE The Australian Psychological Society Ltd does not hold copies of any papers presented at conferences.

Anyone wanting papers should communicate directly with the author.

–  –  –

The 36th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference was hosted and sponsored by the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong in April, 2009. There were 127 oral presentations in five streams and 71 posters in two sessions. Ninety-six of the presentations were by students. Research on a broad range of topics within experimental psychology was presented, including visual and auditory perception, cross-modal influences in perception, spatial processing, visual cognition, attention, face perception, learning, memory, categorisation, judgment and decision making, reading and language processes. The conference was attended by 225 registered delegates from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Jordan. Student prizes were awarded for three outstanding presentations. The recipients were (in alphabetical order) Stephanie Goodhew, Rhianna Shi and Erik Van der Burg.

As Chair of the organising committee I would like to thank the other members of the committee, the undergraduate students from the University of Wollongong who volunteered to man the registration desk and help with conference materials, and the conferences and functions staff of the University for their hard work and advice.

–  –  –

Attentional capture of emotional hand gestures and faces: Effects of static and dynamic stimuli ABRAHAMYAN, A., STEVENS, CJ. (University of Western Sydney), & IOANNIDES, A. (RIKEN Brain Science Institute) armana@psych.usyd.edu.au Task-irrelevant static emotional faces are known to capture attention. Hand gestures, similar to faces, are biological stimuli that are often used to express emotion. We examined the influence of static and dynamic emotional hand gestures and facial expressions on visual attention. A total of 205 participants identified the gender of static (Experiments 1 to 3) or dynamic (Experiment 4) hand or face stimuli presented briefly in the periphery, while neutral, positive, and negative valence of stimuli was manipulated. It was hypothesised that gender identification accuracy for emotional stimuli is lower compared with neutral stimuli due to attentional capture and interference for both static and dynamic stimuli. Attentional capture was found for static positive and negative hand gestures and negative faces but not for positive faces.

Attentional capture was also observed for dynamic positive hand gestures and negative faces but not for dynamic negative hand gestures and positive faces. These experiments demonstrate that both static and dynamic positive and negative hand gestures and dynamic negative faces capture attention. It is contended that attentional capture of emotional stimuli arises due to automatic processing of emotional meaning.

Low or high frequency flicker captures attention ALAIS, D. (University of Sydney), VAN DER BURG, E. (Vrije Universiteit), & CASS, J. (University of Sydney) davida@psych.usyd.edu.au Does visual flicker capture attention, and if so, are faster flicker rates more effective? This study used speeded visual search involving horizontal and vertical target singletons amongst oblique distractors, all located equidistantly around fixation. Oriented elements were surrounded by a luminance modulating annulus. In Experiment 1 distractor annuli all flickered at 1.3 or 12.1 Hz while the target temporal rate was either: 1.3, 2.7, 5.4, 8.1, 10.8, 12.1 Hz. Set size was either 4, 7 or 10. Search improved monotonically with increasing temporal frequency separation between target and distractor annuli, producing parallel search performance separations of ³5 Hz. Results were symmetrical with respect to temporal frequency (low frequencies pop out from high; and vice versa). These results imply temporal frequency is a salient and efficient segregation cue, and agrees with profiles of human temporal frequency filters. In Experiment 2, excepting a single annulus (at either target or distractor locations), all annuli modulated at either 1.2 or

12.1 Hz. In addition to symmetric temporal frequency pop-out effects we found a performance cost when the unique temporal frequency corresponded with a distractor location. The combination of pop-out and attentional costs indicates that low and high flicker frequencies can capture attention.

The perception of lightness: Is it all relative?

ANDERSON, BL., WHITBREAD, M., & DE SILVA, C. (University of Sydney) barta@psych.usyd.edu.au A prevailing view of lightness perception assumes that our experience of lightness is inherently ambiguous, and only contains relative information about surface albedo. This has led to a body of research to determine how relative lightness values are “anchored” to an absolute scale of perceived lightness (Gilchrist et al., 1999). In many experimental contexts, it has been observed that the highest luminance in an image serves as a standard, which the visual system interprets as “white”. No explanation has been offered for why the visual system would embody a rule of this kind, but it has successfully explained a broad range of data. We have performed a number of experiments to determine whether the “highest luminance rule” is a general principle, or results from the particular experimental context in which the data that support it have been performed. Our results suggest that the highest luminance “rule” is an artifact of the particular surfaces and illumination environments that have been studied. We will present theoretical arguments to explain why the visual system appears to embody a “highest luminance rule” in the contexts in which it has been observed, but why this rule both fails in general, and is unnecessary.

Combined Abstracts of 2009 Australian Psychology Conferences

Lexical tuning, reading and spelling: Hou u spel afekts hou u rede ANDREWS, S., & HERSCH, J. (University of Sydney) sallya@psych.usyd.edu.au A sample of 97 university students were assessed on measures of reading, spelling, vocabulary and working memory and categorised as Good Readers/Good Spellers, Good Readers/Poor Spellers, Poor Readers/Good Spellers and Poor Readers/Poor Spellers. They completed a masked priming lexical decision task that assessed neighbour priming effects from word and nonword primes for word targets from high and low density neighbourhoods. The results for the full sample replicated previous evidence showing facilitatory neighbourhood priming only for low neighborhood (N) words. However, comparison of priming effects for the four reading/spelling groups showed that the null priming effect for high N words in the full sample arose from averaging the performance of good and poor spellers. Good spellers showed inhibitory priming for high N words, while poor spellers showed facilitatory priming. Both groups showed facilitatory priming for low N words. The results demonstrate that the masked form priming paradigm can be used to index the “tuning” of lexical representations and suggest that tuning is driven by the need to discriminate between similar words. The findings support the lexical quality hypothesis of reading skill by showing that better spellers have more precise lexical representations.

Motion streaks cause orientation-tuned masking and adaptation APTHORP, D., CASS, J., & ALAIS, D. (University of Sydney) deboraha@psych.usyd.edu.au Geisler (Nature, 1999) suggested that the blurred trail behind fast-moving objects, caused by temporal integration, could be used by the visual system to help judge direction of motion. If fast motion were “deblurred” very early in the motion perception process, however, streaks would be unavailable at the cortical level to combine with motion signals. Here we show that fast-moving arrays of Gaussian blobs cause monoptic contrast masking of static gratings, and this masking is tuned for both orientation and spatial frequency, with similar bandwidths to masking functions for static stimuli (Phillips & Wilson, 1984).

Dichoptic masking shows little orientation tuning, but dichoptic presentation at low mask contrasts results in tuned facilitation. We explore the masking as a function of dot mask contrast, thus establishing the effective contrast of the motion streak signal. Interestingly, repeating the experiment in an adaptation paradigm (adapting to drifting dots and testing thresholds for low-contrast gratings), we show strong orientation-tuned threshold elevation in the adapted eye, with interocular functions showing very little threshold elevation, but distinct facilitation at orientations away from the adapting direction of motion.

Binocular threshold elevation tuning is well predicted by a linear combination of monocular and interocular adaptation functions.

Categorical perception of male and female faces depends on familiarity ARMANN, R., & BULTHOFF, I. (Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics) regine.armann@tuebingen.mpg.de The perception of face identity, race and also facial expressions has been shown to be categorical. For another characteristic of faces, sex, results have been conflicting so far. To resolve this controversy, we created male and female faces with similar perceived degrees of 'maleness' and 'femaleness', based on extensive ratings of faces and sex morphs from our face database. We then created sex continua using these controlled stimuli and tested categorical perception (CP) with classical discrimination and classification tasks. Participants were naïve (1), or had been familiarized with average faces of both sexes (2), or with the 'controlled' male and female faces (3). Our results confirm the lack of naturally occurring CP for sex in (1). Moreover, since only participants in (3) showed clear CP, our results suggest (as stated in the „single-route hypothesis‟) that the processing of sex and identity information in faces is not independent from each other. We found no evidence that familiarization with sex information (as given by average male and female faces) transfers to individual faces.

Effects of starting height, lighting and runway length on glideslope control and landing quality ASH, A., PALMISANO, S., KIM, J. (University of Wollongong), &. ALLISON, R. (York University) april@uow.edu.au We examined the effects of starting altitude, scene lighting and runway length on glideslope control and touchdown during simulated flight. Glideslope misperception is common during aircraft landings, especially when visibility is reduced. It is therefore important to measure the glideslope control errors

The Abstracts of the 36th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference

generated by such misperceptions and determine whether they can be adequately compensated for.

Fixed-wing aircraft landings were simulated under day or night lighting conditions, with pilots starting their final approach either “too high”, “too low” or already on the desired 3º glideslope. Eleven private and six student pilots actively controlled these simulated landings until they touched down on one of two runways (either 30 m x 1331 m or 30 m x 1819 m). Both student and private pilots were poor at compensating for approaches that started “too high” or “too low”, particularly at night. However, they were able to adjust for these glideslope control errors prior to touchdown via the proper and appropriate execution of the landing flare. While private pilots were no more accurate than students during the glideslope control phase, they typically executed the safest and smoothest landings. Application: This study suggests that flight simulation could be useful in training student pilots to carry out safe landings via the appropriate execution of the landing flare.

Are cerebellar functions more related to the processing of Chinese than English?

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