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Entries in Location (2)

Thursday
Jan192012

Polling Location May Influence Vote, Study Finds

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WACO, Texas) -- A new study adds to growing evidence that where you vote might affect how you vote.

When asked about gun laws, the death penalty and climate change, people responded with more conservative views if a church was nearby, the study found.

"One of most common polling places in the United States is a church," said Jordan LaBouff, a psychology lecturer at the University of Maine and lead author of the study published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. "This study definitely demonstrates it can change attitudes.  The extent to which those attitudes change how people behave at the ballot box is the next question."

LaBouff and colleagues from Baylor University surveyed 99 people outside either religious or nonreligious landmarks in London and Maastricht, Netherlands.  Regardless of their religious views, people surveyed near a church responded with more conservative views on a range of political issues, from border patrol to gay marriage.

It's still unclear whether polling location can influence the outcome of a vote, but LaBouff said it's worth investigating.

"I don't think we can definitely say these potential changes in attitudes are threatening the validity of the electoral process, but in some cases you're talking about a fraction of a percent," he said.  "Any time decisions are being made -- particularly if they're decisions that relate to social issues and national policy -- we should pay attention to the context in which those decisions are made."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Leave a Room, Lose Your Memory?

ULTRA F/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NOTRE DAME, Ind.) -- Ever forget the reason why you walked into a room seconds after you enter, even though you know you're there for a reason?

If you answered yes, you're not alone.  As it turns out, it's pretty common.  A recent study out in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology validates this kind of forgetfulness and says the trigger may be as benign as passing through a doorway.

The study authors refer to the phenomena as the “location-updating effect,” which suggests there may be a decline in memory when you move from one location to another.  The location change doesn’t have to be dramatic; walking into the next room is all it takes.  The study questions whether this memory lapse has to do with a shift in context or whether there is something more to be learned about how we experience certain environments.

The working theory is that when you enter a new room or environment, your brain works to update your understanding of what’s going on around you.  As it turns out, this is a lot of work -- it’s “effortful,” the authors say -- for your buzzing brain.

The study consisted of three experiments in which college students performed memory tasks either while changing their location in a room or while exiting a doorway into another room.  The lead author, University of Notre Dame psychology professor Gabriel Radvansky, found that students forgot more when walking through a doorway than when they just moved across the room.

Radvansky suggests that doorways create a sort of “event boundary” and prevent us from being able to retrieve thoughts and decisions we, ironically, likely left in the previous room.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio