New Ideas in Psychology

  • A social-cognitive framework for understanding serious lies: Activation-decision-construction-action theory
    Publication date: August 2014
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 34

    Author(s): Jeffrey J. Walczyk , Laura L. Harris , Terri K. Duck , Devyani Mulay

    Little is known about the cognition of deception (Gombos, 2006). We propose a cognitive account of serious lying (i.e., deception involving high stakes) in response to a solicitation of a truth: Activation-Decision-Construction-Action Theory (ADCAT). Built on the Activation-Decision-Construction Model of answering questions deceptively (Walczyk, Roper, Seeman, & Humphrey, 2003), the theory elaborates on the roles of executive processes, theory of mind, emotions, motivation, specifies cognitive processing thoroughly, and considers the rehearsal of lies. ADCAT’s four processing components are (a) activation of the truth, the (b) decision whether and how to alter deceptively the information shared, (c) construction of a deception, and (d) action [acting sincere while delivering a lie]. Core constructs are “theory of mind” and “cognitive resources”. Specifically, throughout serious deception, individuals are inferring the current or potential mental states of targets and taking steps to minimize the allocation of cognitive resources during delivery to appear honest and lie well.

  • The structure and evolution of symbol
    Publication date: August 2013
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 31, Issue 2

    Author(s): Erkki Luuk

    The received opinion is that symbol is an evolutionary prerequisite for syntax. This paper shows two things: 1) symbol is not a monolithic phenomenon, and 2) symbol and syntax must have co-evolved. I argue that full-blown syntax requires only three building blocks: signs, concatenation, grammar (constraints on concatenation). Functional dependencies between the blocks suggest the four-stage model of syntactic evolution, compatible with several earlier scenarios: (1) signs, (2) increased number of signs, (3) commutative concatenation of signs, (4) grammatical (noncommutative) concatenation of signs. The main claim of the paper is that symbolic reference comprises up to five distinct interpretative correlates: mental imagery, denotation, paradigmatic connotation, syntagmatic connotation, and definition. I show that the correlates form an evolutionary sequence, some stages of which can be aligned with certain stages of syntactic evolution.

  • Theory use in social predictions
    Publication date: December 2012
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 30, Issue 3

    Author(s): Claudia Bazinger , Anton Kühberger

    In a commentary to our article on the role of theory and simulation in social predictions, Krueger (2012) argues that the role of theory is neglected in social psychology for a good reason. He considers evidence indicating that people readily generalize from themselves to others. In response, we stress the role of theoretical knowledge in predicting other people’s behavior. Importantly, prediction by simulation and prediction by theory can lead to high as well as to low correlations between own and predicted behavior. This renders correlations largely useless for identifying the prediction strategy. We argue that prediction by theory is a serious alternative to prediction by simulation, and that reliance on correlation has led to a bias toward simulation.

  • Is social projection based on simulation or theory? Why new methods are needed for differentiating
    Publication date: December 2012
    Source:New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 30, Issue 3

    Author(s): Claudia Bazinger , Anton Kühberger

    The literature on social cognition reports many instances of a phenomenon titled ‘social projection’ or ‘egocentric bias’. These terms indicate egocentric predictions, i.e., an over-reliance on the self when predicting the cognition, emotion, or behavior of other people. The classic method to diagnose egocentric prediction is to establish high correlations between our own and other people’s cognition, emotion, or behavior. We argue that this method is incorrect because there is a different way to come to a correlation between own and predicted states, namely, through the use of theoretical knowledge. Thus, the use of correlational measures is not sufficient to identify the source of social predictions. Based on the distinction between simulation theory and theory theory, we propose the following alternative methods for inferring prediction strategies: independent vs. juxtaposed predictions, the use of ‘hot’ mental processes, and the use of participants’ self-reports.


    ► Methodological problems exist in research on social predictions. ► Correlating own judgments with predictions does not show simulation. ► We point out inconsistent results and possible use of theory. ► We suggest alternative methods based on the difference between simulation and theory. ► Independent vs. juxtaposed predictions, use of ‘hot’ mental processes, self-reports.

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