There is good evidence that some ape behaviors can be transmitted socially and that this can lead to group-specific traditions. However, many consider animal traditions, including those in great apes, to be fundamentally different from human cultures, largely because of lack of evidence for cumulative processes and normative conformity, but perhaps also because current research on ape culture is usually restricted to behavioral comparisons. Here, we propose to analyze ape culture not only at the surface behavioral level but also at the underlying cognitive level. To this end, we integrate empirical findings in apes with theoretical frameworks developed in developmental psychology regarding the representation of tools and the development of metarepresentational abilities, to characterize the differences between ape and human cultures at the cognitive level. Current data are consistent with the notion of apes possessing mental representations of tools that can be accessed through re-representations: apes may reorganize their knowledge of tools in the form of categories or functional schemes. However, we find no evidence for metarepresentations of cultural knowledge: apes may not understand that they or others hold beliefs about their cultures. The resulting Jourdain Hypothesis, based on Molière’s character, argues that apes express their cultures without knowing that they are cultural beings because of cognitive limitations in their ability to represent knowledge, a determining feature of modern human cultures, allowing representing and modifying the current norms of the group. Differences in metarepresentational processes may thus explain fundamental differences between human and other animals’ cultures, notably limitations in cumulative behavior and normative conformity. Future empirical work should focus on how animals mentally represent their cultural knowledge to conclusively determine the ways by which humans are unique in their cultural behavior.
animal culture; comparative cognition; field experiments; cultural mind; metarepresentation
In terms of prediction by Epstein’s integrative theory of personality, cognitive-experiential self-theory (CEST), those people with experiential-intuitive cognitive style are more inclined to induce errors than the other people with analytical-rational cognitive style in the conjunction fallacy (two events that can occur together are seen as more likely than at least one of the two events). We tested this prediction in a revised Linda problem. The results revealed that rational and experiential cognitive styles do not statistically influence the propensity for committing the conjunction fallacy, which is contrary to the CEST’s predictions. Based on the assumption that the rational vs. experiential processing is a personality trait with comparatively stabile specialities, these findings preliminarily indicate that those people who are characterized by “rational thinking” are not more inclined to use Bayes’ deduction than the other people who are labeled by “intuitive thinking” or by “poor thinking.”
conjunction fallacy; cognitive style; individual differences; information processing
Bayesian reasoning; individual differences; cognition; psychological methods; subjective probability
Spoken word recognition and production require fast transformations between acoustic, phonological, and conceptual neural representations. Bilinguals perform these transformations in native and non-native languages, deriving unified semantic concepts from equivalent, but acoustically different words. Here we exploit this capacity of bilinguals to investigate input invariant semantic representations in the brain. We acquired EEG data while Dutch subjects, highly proficient in English listened to four monosyllabic and acoustically distinct animal words in both languages (e.g., “paard”–“horse”). Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) was applied to identify EEG response patterns that discriminate between individual words within one language (within-language discrimination) and generalize meaning across two languages (across-language generalization). Furthermore, employing two EEG feature selection approaches, we assessed the contribution of temporal and oscillatory EEG features to our classification results. MVPA revealed that within-language discrimination was possible in a broad time-window (~50–620 ms) after word onset probably reflecting acoustic-phonetic and semantic-conceptual differences between the words. Most interestingly, significant across-language generalization was possible around 550–600 ms, suggesting the activation of common semantic-conceptual representations from the Dutch and English nouns. Both types of classification, showed a strong contribution of oscillations below 12 Hz, indicating the importance of low frequency oscillations in the neural representation of individual words and concepts. This study demonstrates the feasibility of MVPA to decode individual spoken words from EEG responses and to assess the spectro-temporal dynamics of their language invariant semantic-conceptual representations. We discuss how this method and results could be relevant to track the neural mechanisms underlying conceptual encoding in comprehension and production.
EEG decoding; EEG oscillations; speech perception; spoken word recognition; bilinguals; semantic representations; conceptual representation
This study investigated the neural basis of non-verbal communication. Event-related potentials were recorded while 29 nine-month-old infants were presented with a give-me gesture (experimental condition) and the same hand shape but rotated 90°, resulting in a non-communicative hand configuration (control condition). We found different responses in amplitude between the two conditions, captured in the P400 ERP component. Moreover, the size of this effect was modulated by participants’ sex, with girls generally demonstrating a larger relative difference between the two conditions than boys.
give-me gesture; ERP; P400; sex differences; non-verbal communication; social perception; infancy
Magicians utilize many techniques for misdirecting audience attention away from the secret sleight of a trick. One technique is to ask an audience member to participate in a trick either physically by asking them to choose a card or cognitively by having them keep track of a card. While such audience participation is an established part of most magic the cognitive mechanisms by which it operates are unknown. Failure to detect changes to objects while passively viewing magic tricks has been shown to be conditional on the changing feature being irrelevant to the current task. How change blindness operates during interactive tasks is unclear but preliminary evidence suggests that relevance of the changing feature may also play a role (Triesch et al., 2003). The present study created a simple on-line card trick inspired by Triesch et al.’s (2003) that allowed playing cards to be instantaneously replaced without distraction or occlusion as participants were either actively sorting the cards (Doing condition) or watching another person perform the task (Watching conditions). Participants were given one of three sets of instructions. The relevance of the card color to the task increased across the three instructions. During half of the trials a card changed color (but retained its number) as it was moving to the stack. Participants were instructed to immediately report such changes. Analysis of the probability of reporting a change revealed that actively performing the sorting task led to more missed changes than passively watching the same task but only when the changing feature was irrelevant to the sorting task. If the feature was relevant during either the pick-up or put-down action change detection was as good as during the watching block. These results confirm the ability of audience participation to create subtle dynamics of attention and perception during a magic trick and hide otherwise striking changes at the center of attention.
card trick; change blindness; attention; perception; agency; web experiment; magic
gambler's fallacy; fixed probabilities; evolutionary psychology; biases; hot hand belief; law of small numbers
In recent years, there has been growing interest in understanding a person's reaction to ambiguous situations, and two similar constructs related to ambiguity, “ambiguity aversion” and “ambiguity intolerance,” are defined in different disciplines. In the field of economic decision-making research, “ambiguity aversion” represents a preference for known risks relative to unknown risks. On the other hand, in clinical psychology, “ambiguity intolerance” describes the tendency to perceive ambiguous situations as undesirable. However, it remains unclear whether these two notions derived from different disciplines are identical or not. To clarify this issue, we combined an economic task, psychological questionnaires, and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a sample of healthy volunteers. The individual ambiguity aversion tendency parameter, as measured by our economic task, was negatively correlated with agreeableness scores on the self-reported version of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. However, it was not correlated with scores of discomfort with ambiguity, one of the subscales of the Need for Closure Scale. Furthermore, the ambiguity aversion tendency parameter was negatively correlated with gray matter (GM) volume of areas in the lateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, whereas ambiguity intolerance was not correlated with GM volume in any region. Our results suggest that ambiguity aversion, described in decision theory, may not necessarily be identical to ambiguity intolerance, referred to in clinical psychology. Cautious applications of decision theory to clinical neuropsychiatry are recommended.
ambiguity aversion; ambiguity intolerance; agreeableness; need for closure; prefrontal cortex; voxel-based morphometry
The study examines the influence of personality traits and close relationships on the coping style of women with breast cancer. A sample of 72 Italian patients receiving treatment for early stage breast cancer was recruited. Participants completed questionnaires measuring personality traits (Interpersonal Adaptation Questionnaire), interpersonal closeness (Inclusion of the Other in the Self Scale), and adjustment to cancer (Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale). We hypothesized that diverse personality traits and degrees of closeness contribute to determine the coping styles shown by participants. Multiple regression analyses were conducted for each of the five coping styles (Helplessness/Hopelessness, Anxious Preoccupation, Avoidance, Fatalism, and Fighting Spirit) using personality traits and interpersonal closeness variables (Strength of Support Relations, and Number of Support Relations) as predictors. Women who rated high on assertiveness and social anxiety were more likely to utilize active coping strategies (Fighting Spirit). Perceived strength of relationships was predictive of using an active coping style while the number of supportive relationships did not correlate with any of the coping styles. Implications for assessment of breast cancer patients at risk for negative adaptation to the illness and the development of psychosocial interventions are discussed.
coping strategies; breast cancer; personality traits; close relationships; interpersonal closeness
Surveys increasingly use mixed mode data collection (e.g., combining face-to-face and web) because this controls costs and helps to maintain good response rates. However, a combination of different survey modes in one study, be it cross-sectional or longitudinal, can lead to different kinds of measurement errors. For example, respondents in a face-to-face survey or a web survey may interpret the same question differently, and might give a different answer, just because of the way the question is presented. This effect of survey mode on the question-answer process is called measurement mode effect. This study develops methodological and statistical tools to identify the existence and size of mode effects in a mixed mode survey. In addition, it assesses the size and importance of mode effects in measurement instruments using a specific mixed mode panel survey (Netherlands Kinship Panel Study). Most measurement instruments in the NKPS are multi-item scales, therefore confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) will be used as the main analysis tool, using propensity score methods to correct for selection effects. The results show that the NKPS scales by and large have measurement equivalence, but in most cases only partial measurement equivalence. Controlling for respondent differences on demographic variables, and on scale scores from the previous uni-mode measurement occasion, tends to improve measurement equivalence, but not for all scales. The discussion ends with a review of the implications of our results for analyses employing these scales.
mixed mode survey; measurement equivalence; measurement invariance; mode effect; selection bias; propensity score adjustment
schizophrenia; vision; perception; risk; cognition; blindness; brain
Here we present a theory of human trauma and chronic stress, based on the practice of Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a form of trauma therapy that emphasizes guiding the client's attention to interoceptive, kinesthetic, and proprioceptive experience. SE™ claims that this style of inner attention, in addition to the use of kinesthetic and interoceptive imagery, can lead to the resolution of symptoms resulting from chronic and traumatic stress. This is accomplished through the completion of thwarted, biologically based, self-protective and defensive responses, and the discharge and regulation of excess autonomic arousal. We present this theory through a composite case study of SE treatment; based on this example, we offer a possible neurophysiological rationale for the mechanisms involved, including a theory of trauma and chronic stress as a functional dysregulation of the complex dynamical system formed by the subcortical autonomic, limbic, motor and arousal systems, which we term the core response network (CRN). We demonstrate how the methods of SE help restore functionality to the CRN, and we emphasize the importance of taking into account the instinctive, bodily based protective reactions when dealing with stress and trauma, as well as the effectiveness of using attention to interoceptive, proprioceptive and kinesthetic sensation as a therapeutic tool. Finally, we point out that SE and similar somatic approaches offer a supplement to cognitive and exposure therapies, and that mechanisms similar to those discussed in the paper may also be involved in the benefits of meditation and other somatic practices.
trauma; stress; interoception; meditation; somatic experiencing; autonomic nervous system; premotor system; core response network
Magic tricks violate the expected causal relationships that form an implicit belief system about what is possible in the world around us. Observing a magic effect seemingly invalidates our implicit assumptions about what action causes which outcome. We aimed at identifying the neural correlates of such expectation violations by contrasting 24 video clips of magic tricks with 24 control clips in which the expected action-outcome relationship is upheld. Using fMRI, we measured the brain activity of 25 normal volunteers while they watched the clips in the scanner. Additionally, we measured the professional magician who had performed the magic tricks under the assumption that, in contrast to naïve observers, the magician himself would not perceive his own magic tricks as an expectation violation. As the main effect of magic – control clips in the normal sample, we found higher activity for magic in the head of the caudate nucleus (CN) bilaterally, the left inferior frontal gyrus and the left anterior insula. As expected, the magician’s brain activity substantially differed from these results, with mainly parietal areas (supramarginal gyrus bilaterally) activated, supporting our hypothesis that he did not experience any expectation violation. These findings are in accordance with previous research that has implicated the head of the CN in processing changes in the contingency between action and outcome, even in the absence of reward or feedback.
expectation violation; magic; fMRI; caudate nucleus; perceptual prediction error; movement observation; action
Background: The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) saves lives but clinical experience suggests that it may have detrimental effects on mental health. The ICD shock has been largely blamed as the main offender but empirical evidence is not consistent, perhaps because of methodological differences across studies.
Objective: To appraise methodologies of studies that assessed the psychological effects of ICD shock and explore associations between methods and results.
Data Sources: A comprehensive search of English articles that were published between 1980 and 30 June 2013 was applied to the following electronic databases: PubMed, EMBASE, NHS HTA database, PsycINFO, Sciencedirect and CINAHL.
Review Methods: Only studies testing the effects of ICD shock on psychological and quality of life outcomes were included. Data were extracted according to a PICOS pre-defined sheet including methods and study quality indicators.
Results: Fifty-four observational studies and six randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Multiple differences in methods that were used to test the psychological effects of ICD shock were found across them. No significant association with results was observed.
Conclusions: Methodological heterogeneity of study methods is too wide and limits any quantitative attempt to account for the mixed findings. Well-built and standardized research is urgently needed.
implantable cardioverter defibrillator; ICD shock; quality of life; anxiety; depression; review
When not managed effectively, high levels of workplace stress can lead to several negative personal and performance outcomes. Some professional groups work in highly stressful settings and are therefore particularly at risk of conditions such as anxiety, depression, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout. However, some individuals are less affected by workplace stress and the associated negative outcomes. Such individuals have been described as “resilient.” A number of studies have found relationships between levels of individual resilience and specific negative outcomes such as burnout and compassion fatigue. However, because psychological resilience is a multi-dimensional construct it is necessary to more clearly delineate it from other related and overlapping constructs. The creation of a testable theoretical model of individual workforce resilience, which includes both stable traits (e.g., neuroticism) as well as more malleable intrapersonal factors (e.g., coping style), enables information to be derived that can eventually inform interventions aimed at enhancing individual resilience in the workplace. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new theoretical model of individual workforce resilience that includes several intrapersonal constructs known to be central in the appraisal of and response to stressors and that also overlap with the construct of psychological resilience. We propose a model in which psychological resilience is hypothesized to mediate the relationship between neuroticism, mindfulness, self-efficacy, coping, and psychological adjustment.
resilience; workplace; health professionals; burnout; professional; theoretical model; stress disorders; post-traumatic
This neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging) study investigated neural correlates of strategy selection. Young adults performed an arithmetic task in two different conditions. In both conditions, participants had to provide estimates of two-digit multiplication problems like 54 × 78. In the choice condition, participants had to select the better of two available rounding strategies, rounding-up (RU) strategy (i.e., doing 60 × 80 = 4,800) or rounding-down (RD) strategy (i.e., doing 50 × 70 = 3,500 to estimate product of 54 × 78). In the no-choice condition, participants did not have to select strategy on each problem but were told which strategy to use; they executed RU and RD strategies each on a series of problems. Participants also had a control task (i.e., providing correct products of multiplication problems like 40 × 50). Brain activations and performance were analyzed as a function of these conditions. Participants were able to frequently choose the better strategy in the choice condition; they were also slower when they executed the difficult RU than the easier RD. Neuroimaging data showed greater brain activations in right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and angular gyrus (ANG), when selecting (relative to executing) the better strategy on each problem. Moreover, RU was associated with more parietal cortex activation than RD. These results suggest an important role of fronto-parietal network in strategy selection and have important implications for our further understanding and modeling cognitive processes underlying strategy selection.
strategy selection; arithmetic problem solving; fMRI; anterior cingulate cortex; dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex
Verbatim sentence recall is widely used to test the language competence of native and non-native speakers since it involves comprehension and production of connected speech. However, we assume that, to maintain surface information, sentence recall relies particularly on attentional resources, which differentially affects native and non-native speakers. Since even in near-natives language processing is less automatized than in native speakers, processing a sentence in a foreign language plus retaining its surface may result in a cognitive overload. We contrasted sentence recall performance of German native speakers with that of highly proficient non-natives. Non-natives recalled the sentences significantly poorer than the natives, but performed equally well on a cloze test. This implies that sentence recall underestimates the language competence of good non-native speakers in mixed groups with native speakers. The findings also suggest that theories of sentence recall need to consider both its linguistic and its attentional aspects.
sentence recall; bilingualism; near-native speakers; attention; language competence; working memory
episodic; semantic; source; context; rat
linear additive integration; probability reasoning; base-rate neglect; working memory capacity; Bayesian inference
This study aimed to compare the effects of a non-linguistic auditory intervention approach with a phonological intervention approach on the phonological skills of children with speech sound disorder (SSD). A total of 17 children, aged 7–12 years, with SSD were randomly allocated to either the non-linguistic auditory temporal intervention group (n = 10, average age 7.7 ± 1.2) or phonological intervention group (n = 7, average age 8.6 ± 1.2). The intervention outcomes included auditory-sensory measures (auditory temporal processing skills) and cognitive measures (attention, short-term memory, speech production, and phonological awareness skills). The auditory approach focused on non-linguistic auditory training (e.g., backward masking and frequency discrimination), whereas the phonological approach focused on speech sound training (e.g., phonological organization and awareness). Both interventions consisted of 12 45-min sessions delivered twice per week, for a total of 9 h. Intra-group analysis demonstrated that the auditory intervention group showed significant gains in both auditory and cognitive measures, whereas no significant gain was observed in the phonological intervention group. No significant improvement on phonological skills was observed in any of the groups. Inter-group analysis demonstrated significant differences between the improvement following training for both groups, with a more pronounced gain for the non-linguistic auditory temporal intervention in one of the visual attention measures and both auditory measures. Therefore, both analyses suggest that although the non-linguistic auditory intervention approach appeared to be the most effective intervention approach, it was not sufficient to promote the enhancement of phonological skills.
speech sound disorder; phonology impairment; language therapy; auditory stimulation; children
Throughout the history of psychopathology, several meanings have been assigned to the term melancholia. The main ones were related to affective disorders (fear and sadness) and abnormal beliefs. At the time of Hippocrates melancholia was regarded mainly in its affective component. Since that time, and until the eighteenth century, authors and opinions have been divided, with both aspects (affective disorders and abnormal beliefs), being valued. Finally, in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries, with Pinel at its peak, melancholia becomes exclusively a synonym of abnormal beliefs. At the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century, the affective component returns as the main aspect characterizing melancholia.
melancholia; depression; psychopathology; history; eighteenth century; history; nineteenth century
A sample of 203 task naïve left- and right-handed participants were asked to complete a combination of the 3- and 4-disk Towers of Hanoi (ToH), manipulating novelty and complexity. Self-reported state anxiety and latency to respond (initiation time) were recorded before each ToH. Novelty had a major effect on initiation time, particularly for left-handers. Left-handers had a longer latency to start and this was significantly longer on the first trial. Irrespective of hand-preference, initiation time reduced on the second trial, however, this was greatest for left-handers. Condition of task did not systematically influence initiation time for right handers, but did for left-handers. State anxiety was influenced by task novelty and complexity in a more complicated way. During the first trial, there was a significant handedness × number of disks interaction with left-handers having significantly higher state anxiety levels before the 3-disk ToH. This suggests that the initial reaction to this task for left-handers was not simply due to perceived difficulty. On their second trial, participants completing a novel ToH had higher state anxiety scores than those completing a repeated version. Overall, left-handers had a larger reduction in their state anxiety across trials. Relating to this, the expected strong positive correlation between state and trait anxiety was absent for left-handed females in their first tower presentation, but appeared on their second. This was driven by low trait anxiety individuals showing a higher state anxiety response in the first (novel) trial, supporting the idea that left-handed females respond to novelty in a way that is not directly a consequence of their trait anxiety. A possible explanation may be stereotype threat influencing the behavior of left-handed females.
handedness; Tower of Hanoi; task complexity; novelty; state anxiety; trait anxiety
ostracism; social exclusion; rejection; pro-social behavior; anti-social behavior
Drawing on the background of positive psychology, there has only recently been a focus on adolescents’ life satisfaction (LS) in the context of education. Studies examining the relationship between adolescents’ academic achievement and LS have shown conflicting results and the reasons are not fully understood. The present study investigated the role of parents’ education as a potential moderator of the relationship between adolescents’ academic achievement and LS. A sample of German high school students (N = 411) reported parents’ educational attainment, as an indicator of family socio-economic status, and students’ academic achievement was operationalized by grade point average in five subjects. Results indicated that only mothers’ education functioned as a moderator of the relationship between academic achievement and students’ LS. The association between academic achievement and LS was only found in the group of students whose mothers had achieved the same or a higher education (at least high school diploma) as their own children. Fathers’ educational attainment, however, was not a significant moderator of the respective relationship. Directions for future research and the differential influences of fathers’ and mothers’ education are discussed with regard to potential underlying processes.
academic achievement; life satisfaction; parent’s education; socio-economic status; social mobility
Despite a lack of agreement concerning the age at which adult-like patterns of handedness emerge, it is generally understood that hand preference presents early in life and development is variable. Young children (ages 3–5 years) are described as having weak hand preference; however, older children (ages 7–10 years) display stronger patterns. Here, strength of hand preference refers to reliable use of the preferred hand. In comparison to their typically developing (TD) peers, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are described as having a weak hand preference. This study aimed to extend the literature to assess three measures of handedness (Waterloo Handedness Questionnaire – WHQ, Annett pegboard – AP, and WatHand Cabinet Test – WHCT) in two repeated sessions. The first research question aimed to delineate if the strength of hand use changes across testing sessions as a function of age in typical development. Right-handed children reported a reliable preference for the right hand on the WHQ, similar to adults. A marginally significant difference was revealed between 3- to 4- and 5- to 6-year-olds on the AP. This was attributed to weak lateralization in 3- to 4-year-olds, where the establishment of hand preference by age 6 leads to superior performance with the preferred hand in 5- to 6-year-olds. Finally, for the WHCT, 3- to 4-year-olds had the highest bimanual score, indicating use of the same hand to lift the cabinet door and retrieve an object. It is likely that the task was not motorically complex enough to drive preferred hand selection for older participants. The second research question sought to determine if there is difference between (TD) children and children with ASD. No differences were revealed; however, children with ASD did display variable AP performance, providing partial support for previous literature. Findings will be discussed in light of relevant literature.
handedness; hand preference; hand performance; children; autism spectrum disorder (ASD)