In their scholarly target article, Gilead et al. explain how abstract mental representations and the predictive brain enable prospection and time-traveling. However, their exclusive focus on intrapsychic capacities misses an important point, namely, the degree to which mind and brain are tuned by the environment. This neglected aspect of adaptive cognition is discussed and illustrated from a cognitive-ecological perspective.
We investigated the influence of stimulus base rates on the Implicit Association Test . Using an East/West-German attitude-IAT, we demonstrated that both overall response speed and differential response speed underlying IAT effects depend on the relative frequencies of the stimulus categories. First, when those stimuli that are more common in reality also occurred more frequently in the stimulus list, response speed generally increased. Second, IAT effects increased when congruent blocks profited from the compatibility of frequency-based response biases , whereas IAT (...) effects decreased when incongruent trial blocks profited from response compatibility. These findings demonstrate that the stimulus context moderates the magnitude of the IAT effect. Simultaneously, they highlight the need to explore the extent to which implicit measures reflect properties of the task or the environment rather than attributes of test-takers. (shrink)
Based on a theoretical model of the mood-cognition interface, the prediction is derived and tested empirically that positive mood enhances constructive memory biases. After reading an ambiguous personality description, participants received a positive or negative mood treatment employing different films. Within each mood group, half of the participants were then questioned about the applicability of either desirable or undesirable personality traits to the target person. This questioning treatment was predicted to bias subsequent impression judgements in the evaluative direction of the (...) questioned attributes. As earlier research had shown that such a bias is stronger for negative than positive attributes (presumably because of the higher diagnosticity of negative attributes), a non-trivial test of the sup posed mood effect was possible. Positive mood should enhance constructive effects, but this should be most apparent for negative attributes. The empirical findings lend support to these predictions. Positive mood subjects' impression judgements were biased by the prior questioning even when they did not find the questioned attributes to be particularly applicable to the target person. By contrast, negative mood subjects' judgements were more consistent with their responses to the prior questioning and did not exhibit a constructive bias. (shrink)
There are reasons to endorse Krueger & Funder's (K&F's) critique, but also to disagree with their diagnosis. A “problem-seeking approach” is hardly the cause of imbalance and lack of theoretical integration. Precommitted, ideological theories afford a more appropriate explanation.