2015 Events

April colloquia

Title: Validity and Use of Web-Based Measures of Working Memory Capacity, Fluid Intelligence, and Attention Control

Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey L. Foster


Online subject pools such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk have recently made access to large diverse subject populations within easy reach of many researchers. But given the lack of environmental controls, there are questions regarding the validity of collecting data online. In this talk, I will discuss the merits of conducting cognitive psychology research, specifically with the measurement of executive functions and intelligence, with online subject pools. Across several studies, I will demonstrate that there are limitations in the type of data collected with online subject populations, but that solutions can be successfully implemented which result in valid measurements of executive functions. The validity of these online measures is important given recent interest in the ability to use 'brain training' to increase executive functions, and the relative high cost of conducting high-quality research in this field. In addition, I will discuss the development of an online battery of cognitive measures currently being pilot tested in several labs that will soon be made free for all researchers to utilize in their own studies.

May colloquia

Title: Young and older adults' interpersonal trust: The social economic trust game

Speaker: Dr Phoebe Bailey


It has recently been shown that interpersonal trust not only increases with age but also enhances older adults' wellbeing. However, misplaced trust also has the potential to erode the wellbeing of older adults. In the social economic trust game, participants invest with a trustee, with the knowledge that investments will be multiplied and that the trustee can decide whether to share the profits. These risky investments provide an index of interpersonal trust. In one study, young (n = 61) and older (n = 67) investors and trustees interacted either face-to-face or anonymously with same-age or other-age partners. In line with similar trust game research, young and older adults did not differ in the level of trust displayed (i.e., average amount invested). But there was a trend for an age-related increase in anonymously investing with same-age partners. In a second study, young (n = 35) and older (n = 35) adults invested repeatedly with trustees who were socially close versus distant and who reciprocated rarely (untrustworthy trustees) versus often (trustworthy trustees). It was found that, relative to young, older adults invest more with socially distant trustees. They also invested more with untrustworthy (but not trustworthy) socially close trustees. These findings will be discussed in relation to socioemotional selectivity theory.

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