Grouping Information for Decisions

Maya Leshkowitz
How do people make decisions based on complex multidimensional observations? This project examines two methods of decision-making from experience – using individual observations or groups of observations (corresponding, for example to attributes). To illustrate, when evaluating the service in a restaurant we might use our experience in the restaurant, or first group our experience by the waiter, and evaluate the waiters before deciding on the restaurant. Our findings lead us to propose a theory of decision-making from multidimensional information. We explore how principles of salience, relevance, and cognitive ease determine whether grouping occurs or not and what dimensions are used for grouping.

Now You See It- Nonconscious Prioritization

Nadav Weisler Rina Schwartz
Perceptual conscious experiences result from non-conscious processes that precede them. Previous work documented a new
characteristic of the cognitive system: the speed with which visual meaningful stimuli are prioritized to consciousness over competing noise in visual masking paradigms. This Nonconscious Prioritization Speed (NPS) is ubiquitous across a wide variety of stimuli, and
generalizes across visual masks, suppression tasks, and time, and cannot be explained by variation in general speed, perceptual decision thresholds, short-term visual memory, or three networks of attention (alerting, orienting and executive). Our current work explores how NPS may contribute to the research of clinical disorders, as well as components of perception and phenomenological experience.

Just Curious?

Maya Leshkowitz Ohad Livnat Innbal Menashri
In this work, we propose an account of a fundamental paradox in modern human behavior – the discrepancy between the knowledge we want to gain, and the information we end up consuming. In the new model we develop, the paradox is a natural outcome of the temporal dynamics of two psychological factors that shape epistemic curiosity. The new model conceptualizes curiosity as a bi-dimensional psychological phenomenon, where one factor is the urge to approach information, and the other is an evaluation of how interesting it might be. In three experiments we validate the model. The last experiment examines a simple nudge that may help people align their epistemic behavior with their longer-term goals.

Trust in Phenomenology

Ohad Livnat
People tend to spontaneously accept their own conscious experiences – be it intuitions, emotions, or percepts – as “true”, reliable representations of information sampled from the world, and to behave accordingly. However, this tendency can’t always be justified: Sometimes we perceive movement while watching static visual illusions, and sometimes an insight into how to solve a problem is simply wrong. We develop methods of measuring reliable individual differences in a two-dimensional trait of Trust in Phenomenology – manifested as the degree to which an individual trusts her conscious experiences or assumes and acts upon them as if they were objectively true. While varying across individuals and contexts, the Trust in Phenomenology dimensions successfully accounts for dissociative patterns of metacognitive appraisals, behavioral tendencies, personality traits, and accuracy in perceptual judgment.

Minority Salience

Rasha Kardosh Rina Schwartz
Our cognitive system is tuned toward spotting the uncommon and unexpected. We propose that individuals coming from minority groups are, by definition, just that—uncommon and often unexpected. Consequently, they are psychologically salient in perception, memory, and visual awareness. This minority salience creates a tendency to overestimate the prevalence of minorities, leading to an erroneous picture of our social environments—an illusion of diversity.

Nonconscious Audition

Gal Chen
We study factors that influence unconscious processing and prioritization to consciousness of auditory contents, including spoken words and speech streams. We try to understand what and how our attention is captured, and what determines the depth of computations underlying unconscious speech perception.

Under Construction