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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
A neuroscience agenda for counseling psychology research.
J Couns Psychol
PUBLISHED: 10-07-2014
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Recent advances in the field of neuroscience have dramatically changed our understanding of brain-behavior relationships. In this article, we illustrate how neuroscience can provide a conceptual and methodological framework to understand our clients within a transdiagnostic developmental perspective. We provide directions for integrating neuroscience into future process and outcome research. We present examples on how neuroscience can be integrated into researching the effects of contextual counseling interventions. We posit that interpersonal and environmental factors, such as neurotoxic factors (e.g., emotional neglect, stress), positive neurodevelopmental factors (e.g., nurturing and caring, environmental enrichment), and therapeutic interventions influence psychological processes (executive control, behavioral flexibility, reinforcement learning and approach motivation, emotional expression and regulation, self-representation and theory of mind). These psychological processes influence brain networks (attention, motivational, emotional regulation, social cognition), which influence cognitive, social, emotional, identity, and vocational development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Differential activation of the default mode network in jet lagged individuals.
Chronobiol. Int.
PUBLISHED: 09-02-2014
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Long-term exposure to transmeridian flights has been shown to impact cognitive functioning. Nevertheless, the immediate effects of jet lag in the activation of specific brain networks have not been investigated. We analyzed the impact of short-term jet lag on the activation of the default mode network (DMN). A group of individuals who were on a transmeridian flight and a control group went through a functional magnetic resonance imaging acquisition. Statistical analysis was performed to test for differences in the DMN activation between groups. Participants from the jet lag group presented decreased activation in the anterior nodes of the DMN, specifically in bilateral medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. No areas of increased activation were observed for the jet lag group. These results may be suggestive of a negative impact of jet lag on important cognitive functions such as introspection, emotional regulation and decision making in a few days after individuals arrive at their destination.
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Are cognitive interventions for Multiple Sclerosis effective and feasible?
Restor. Neurol. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 08-07-2014
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Fifty percent of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are estimated to have cognitive impairments leading to considerable decline in productivity and quality of life. Cognitive intervention has been considered to complement pharmacological treatments. However, a lack of agreement concerning the efficacy of cognitive interventions in MS still exists. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to assess the effects of cognitive interventions in MS.
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Brain activation of the defensive and appetitive survival systems in obsessive compulsive disorder.
Brain Imaging Behav
PUBLISHED: 04-25-2014
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Several studies have shown that basic emotions are responsible for a significant enhancement of early visual processes and increased activation in visual processing brain regions. It may be possible that the cognitive uncertainty and repeated behavioral checking evident in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is due to the existence of abnormalities in basic survival circuits, particularly those associated with the visual processing of the physical characteristics of emotional-laden stimuli. The objective of the present study was to test if patients with OCD show evidence of altered basic survival circuits, particularly those associated with the visual processing of the physical characteristics of emotional stimuli. Fifteen patients with OCD and 12 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging acquisition while being exposed to emotional pictures, with different levels of arousal, intended to trigger the defensive and appetitive basic survival circuits. Overall, the present results seem to indicate dissociation in the activity of the defense and appetitive survival systems in OCD. Results suggest that the clinical group reacts to basic threat with a strong activation of the defensive system mobilizing widespread brain networks (i.e., frontal, temporal, occipital-parietal, and subcortical nucleus) and blocking the activation of the appetitive system when facing positive emotional triggers from the initial stages of visual processing (i.e., superior occipital gyrus).
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Abnormal interactions between context, memory structure, and mood in schizophrenia: An ERP investigation.
Psychophysiology
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2014
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This study used event-related potentials to examine interactions between mood, sentence context, and semantic memory structure in schizophrenia. Seventeen male chronic schizophrenia and 15 healthy control subjects read sentence pairs after positive, negative, or neutral mood induction. Sentences ended with expected words (EW), within-category violations (WCV), or between-category violations (BCV). Across all moods, patients showed sensitivity to context indexed by reduced N400 to EW relative to both WCV and BCV. However, they did not show sensitivity to the semantic memory structure. N400 abnormalities were particularly enhanced under a negative mood in schizophrenia. These findings suggest abnormal interactions between mood, context processing, and connections within semantic memory in schizophrenia, and a specific role of negative mood in modulating semantic processes in this disease.
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Volumetric alterations in the nucleus accumbens and caudate nucleus in bulimia nervosa: A structural magnetic resonance imaging study.
Int J Eat Disord
PUBLISHED: 02-25-2014
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Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors (such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise) to prevent weight gain. BN has been associated with deficits in inhibitory control processes. The basal ganglia specifically, the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the caudate nucleus (CN) are part of the frontostriatal circuits involved in inhibitory control. The main goal of this study was to investigate the presence of morphological alterations in the NAc and the CN in a sample of patients diagnosed with BN.
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Cerebral and cerebellar MRI volumes in Williams syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 02-14-2014
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Individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) present a set of cognitive, affective and motor symptoms that resemble those of patients with lesions to the cerebellum. Although there is some evidence for overall structural alterations in this brain region in WS, explorations on cerebellar white matter and cerebellar cortex volumes remain rather neglected. We aimed to compare absolute and relative cerebellar volumes, as well as patterns of white matter to cortex volumes in this brain region, between a group of individuals with WS and a group of healthy controls. T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired in 17 individuals with WS and in 15 typically developing individuals. Our results showed that even though individuals from the clinical group had significantly smaller cerebrums (and cerebellums), cerebellar volumes relative to intracranial volumes were significantly enlarged. In addition, while gray matter was relatively spared and white matter disproportionately reduced in the cerebrum in WS, relative cerebellar cortex and white matter volumes were preserved. These findings support the hypothesis that volume alterations in the cerebellum are associated with the cognitive, affective and motor profiles in WS.
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Cognitive stimulation for portuguese older adults with cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial of efficacy, comparative duration, feasibility, and experiential relevance.
Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen
PUBLISHED: 02-13-2014
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Although some studies point to cognitive stimulation as a beneficial therapy for older adults with cognitive impairments, this area of research and practice is still lacking dissemination and is underrepresented in many countries. Moreover, the comparative effects of different intervention durations remain to be established and, besides cognitive effects, pragmatic parameters, such as cost-effectiveness and experiential relevance to participants, are seldom explored. In this work, we present a randomized controlled wait-list trial evaluating 2 different intervention durations (standard = 17 vs brief = 11 sessions) of a cognitive stimulation program developed for older adults with cognitive impairments with or without dementia. 20 participants were randomly assigned to the standard duration intervention program (17 sessions, 1.5 months) or to a wait-list group. At postintervention of the standard intervention group, the wait-list group crossed over to receive the brief intervention program (11 sessions, 1 month). Changes in neuropsychological, functionality, quality of life, and caregiver outcomes were evaluated. Experience during intervention and costs and feasibility were also evaluated. The current cognitive stimulation programs (ie, standard and brief) showed high values of experiential relevance for both intervention durations. High adherence, completion rates, and reasonable costs were found for both formats. Further studies are needed to definitively establish the potential efficacy, optimal duration, cost-effectiveness, and experiential relevance for participants of cognitive intervention approaches.
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Facilitative effects of bi-hemispheric tDCS in cognitive deficits of Parkinson disease patients.
Med. Hypotheses
PUBLISHED: 08-20-2013
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Parkinsons disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, primarily characterized by motor symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, stiffness, slowness and impaired equilibrium. Although the motor symptoms have been the focus in PD, slight cognitive deficits are commonly found in non-demented and non-depressed PD patients, even in early stages of the disease, which have been linked to the subsequent development of pathological dementia. Thus, strongly reducing the quality of life (QoL). Both levodopa therapy and deep brain stimulation (DBS) have yield controversial results concerning the cognitive symptoms amelioration in PD patients. That does not seems to be the case with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), although better stimulation parameters are needed. Therefore we hypothesize that simultaneously delivering cathodal tDCS (or ctDCS), over the right prefrontal cortex delivered with anodal tDCS (or atDCS) to left prefrontal cortex could be potentially beneficial for PD patients, either by mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity and by increases in the extracellular dopamine levels over the striatum.
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The Big Five default brain: functional evidence.
Brain Struct Funct
PUBLISHED: 07-05-2013
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Recent neuroimaging studies have provided evidence that different dimensions of human personality may be associated with specific structural neuroanatomic correlates. Identifying brain correlates of a situation-independent personality structure would require evidence of a stable default mode of brain functioning. In this study, we investigated the correlates of the Big Five personality dimensions (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Openness/Intellect, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) and the default mode network (DMN). Forty-nine healthy adults completed the NEO-Five Factor. The results showed that the Extraversion (E) and Agreeableness (A) were positively correlated with activity in the midline core of the DMN, whereas Neuroticism (N), Openness (O), and Conscientiousness (C) were correlated with the parietal cortex system. Activity of the anterior cingulate cortex was positively associated with A and negatively with C. Regions of the parietal lobe were differentially associated with each personality dimension. The present study not only confirms previous functional correlates regarding the Big Five personality dimensions, but it also expands our knowledge showing the association between different personality dimensions and specific patterns of brain activation at rest.
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Abnormalities in the processing of emotional prosody from single words in schizophrenia.
Schizophr. Res.
PUBLISHED: 07-04-2013
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Abnormalities in emotional prosody processing have been consistently reported in schizophrenia and are related to poor social outcomes. However, the role of stimulus complexity in abnormal emotional prosody processing is still unclear.
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Non-pharmacological cognitive intervention for aging and dementia: Current perspectives.
World J Clin Cases
PUBLISHED: 06-28-2013
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In recent years, cognitive difficulties associated with normal aging and dementia have been receiving increased attention from both public and scientific communities. With an increase in overall lifespan, promoting healthy cognition has become a priority and a necessity for minimizing and preventing individual and societal burdens associated with cognitive dysfunctions in the elderly. The general awareness concerning the efficacy of preventive (e.g., lifestyles) and palliative treatment strategies of cognitive impairments, related to either healthy or unhealthy trajectories in cognitive aging, is continuously rising. There are several therapeutic strategies which can be broadly classified as either pharmacological or non-pharmacological/psychosocial. In face of the modest evidence for success of pharmacological treatments, especially for dementia related impairments, psychosocial interventions are progressively considered as a complementary treatment. Despite the relative spread of psychosocial interventions in clinical settings, research in this area is rather scarce with evidence for success of these therapies remaining controversial. In this work we provide an evidence based perspective on cognitive intervention(s) for healthy aging, pre-dementia (mild cognitive impairment), and dementia populations. Current evidence and future directions for improving cognitive functions in the elderly are discussed as well.
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Posterior cortical atrophy and Alzheimers disease: a meta-analytic review of neuropsychological and brain morphometry studies.
Brain Imaging Behav
PUBLISHED: 05-22-2013
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This paper presents the first systematic review and meta-analysis of neuropsychological and brain morphometry studies comparing posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) to typical Alzheimers disease (tAD). Literature searches were conducted for brain morphometry and neuropsychological studies including a PCA and a tAD group. Compared to healthy controls (HC), PCA patients exhibited significant decreases in temporal, occipital and parietal gray matter (GM) volumes, whereas tAD patients showed extensive left temporal atrophy. Compared to tAD patients, participants with PCA showed greater GM volume reduction in the right occipital gyrus extending to the posterior lobule. In addition, PCA patients showed less GM volume loss in the left parahippocampal gyrus and left hippocampus than tAD patients. PCA patients exhibit significantly greater impairment in Immediate Visuospatial Memory as well as Visuoperceptual and Visuospatial Abilities than patients with tAD. However, tAD patients showed greater impairment in Delayed Auditory/Verbal Memory than patients with PCA. PCA is characterized by significant atrophy of the occipital and parietal regions and severe impairments in visuospatial functioning.
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Enhanced optomotor efficiency by expression of the human gene superoxide dismutase primarily in Drosophila motorneurons.
J. Neurogenet.
PUBLISHED: 04-18-2013
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Mutation of the human gene superoxide dismutase (hSOD1) triggers the fatal neurodegenerative motorneuron disorder, familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrigs disease). Broad expression of this gene in Drosophila has no effect on longevity or functional senescence. We show here that restricting expression of human SOD1 primarily to motorneurons of Drosophila has significant effects on optomotor efficiency during in-flight tracking of rapidly moving visual targets. Under high-stress workloads with a recursive visual-motion stimulus cycle, young isogenic controls failed to track rapidly changing visual cues, whereas their same-aged hSOD1-activated progeny maintained coordinated in-flight tracking of the target by phase locking to the dynamic visual movement patterns. Several explanations are considered for the observed effects, including antioxidant intervention in motorneurons, changes in signal transduction pathways that regulate patterns of gene expression in other cell types, and expression of hSOD1 in a small set of neurons in the central brain. That hSOD1 overexpression improves sensorimotor coordination in young organisms may suggest possible therapeutic strategies for early-onset ALS in humans.
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Improved functional abilities of the life-extended Drosophila mutant Methuselah are reversed at old age to below control levels.
Age (Dordr)
PUBLISHED: 03-27-2013
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Methuselah (mth) is a chromosome 3 Drosophila mutant with an increased lifespan. A large number of studies have investigated the genetic, molecular, and biochemical mechanisms of the mth gene. Much less is known about the effects of mth on preservation of sensorimotor abilities throughout Drosophilas lifespan, particularly in late life. The current study investigated functional senescence in mth and its parental-control line (w1118) in two experiments that measured age-dependent changes in flight functions and locomotor activity. In experiment 1, a total of 158 flies (81 mth and 77 controls) with an age range from 10 to 70 days were individually tethered under an infrared laser-sensor system that allowed monitoring of flight duration during phototaxic flight. We found that mth has a statistically significant advantage in maintaining continuous flight over control flies at age 10 days, but not during middle and late life. At age 70 days, the trend reversed and parental control flies had a small but significant advantage, suggesting an interaction between age and genotype in the ability to sustain flight. In experiment 2, a total of 173 different flies (97 mth and 76 controls) with an age range from 50 to 76 days were individually placed in a large well-lit arena (60?×?45 cm) and their locomotor activity quantified as the distance walked in a 1-min period. Results showed that mth flies had lower levels of locomotor activity relative to controls at ages 50 and 60 days. These levels converged for the two genotypes at the oldest ages tested. Findings show markedly different patterns of functional decline for the mth line relative to those previously reported for other life-extended genotypes, suggesting that different life-extending genes have dissimilar effects on preservation of sensory and motor abilities throughout an organisms lifespan.
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Brain correlates of pro-social personality traits: a voxel-based morphometry study.
Brain Imaging Behav
PUBLISHED: 03-21-2013
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Of the five personality dimensions described by the Big Five Personality Model (Costa and McCrae 1992), Extraversion and Agreeableness are the traits most commonly associated with a pro-social orientation. In this study we tested whether a pro-social orientation, as expressed in terms of Extraversion and Agreeableness, is associated with a specific grey matter phenotype. Fifty-two healthy participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and completed the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), a self-report measure of the Big Five personality traits. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to investigate the correlation between brain structure and the personality traits of Agreeableness and Extraversion. We found that Extraversion was negatively correlated with grey matter density in the middle frontal and orbitofrontal gyri while Agreeableness was negatively correlated with grey matter density in the inferior parietal, middle occipital and posterior cingulate gyri. No positive correlations were found. These results suggest that pro-social personality traits seem to be associated with decreases in grey matter density in more frontal regions for Extraversion, and more posterior regions for Agreeableness.
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Visual emotional information processing in male schizophrenia patients: combining ERP, clinical and behavioral evidence.
Neurosci. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 03-17-2013
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We used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the time course of visual emotion processing in schizophrenia. ERPs were recorded in 19 chronic male schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy controls (HC) while they viewed IAPS pictures used to induce positive, negative, or neutral mood, presented in a blocked design across three separate occasions. Electrophysiologically, groups differences were found in early potentials (the first 200 ms of picture viewing): C1, P1, and N1; also, less positive, broadly distributed P2 was found in the patient group. P2 amplitude to negative valenced pictures only was correlated with self-reported negative mood in the patients. The groups did not differ in late-occurring potentials, specifically the late positive potential (500-1000 ms latency window). Patients reported more negative affect before and after the three types of mood induction; however, mood induction influenced both groups in the same direction. Both groups showed similar subjective valence and arousal ratings of evocative stimuli. The ERP results suggest that visual evocative stimuli are differentially processed within the first 200 ms, and that the early stages of visual evocative stimuli processing are abnormal in schizophrenia, irrespective of stimulus valence. The correlation found between sensory abnormalities in negative pictures processing and negative mood suggests a relationship between abnormal sensory processes and increased negative mood experience in patients.
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Is there evidence for cognitive intervention in Alzheimer disease? A systematic review of efficacy, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord
PUBLISHED: 01-15-2013
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Several studies have shown that cognitive intervention may be beneficial for people with Alzheimer disease (AD), but literature reviews conducted so far, have yielded mixed and inconclusive results. In this work, through an extensive bibliographic search, we aim: (1) to analyze the efficacy of cognitive intervention in patients diagnosed with AD; (2) to provide an estimate of the feasibility of cognitive intervention; and (3) to review available cost-effectiveness data of this approach. Four randomized controlled trials of cognitive intervention, for patients diagnosed with AD that incorporated cognitive intervention and mock intervention control conditions, were included in the analysis. Only the domain of global cognitive functioning, as measured by Mini-Mental State Examination, showed significant intervention effects. No effects were observed in the remaining domains. Concerning feasibility, high rates of completion and adherence were found. A single randomized controlled trial, with unspecified dementia, suggested cognitive intervention to be cost-effective. Given the currently available dearth of well-controlled and focused trials in AD, these results should be carefully interpreted and remain to be confirmed in the future. There is a clear need for more high-quality research.
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Responding empathically: a question of heart, not a question of skin.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback
PUBLISHED: 07-01-2011
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Empathy entails the capacities to resonate with another persons emotions, understand his/her thoughts and feelings, separate our own thoughts and emotions from those of the observed and responding with the appropriate prosocial and helpful behavior. While there is abundant research on the neurobiological mechanisms of some components of empathy (e.g., emotional contagion), few studies have considered the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the empathic response. The present study explores psychophysiological correlates (skin conductance level and the interbeat interval) as a function of the empathic response while participants watch and respond to actors portraying emotionally laden vignettes. Forty undergraduate psychology students were each presented with 40 emotional vignettes of positive or negative valence and asked to choose among three different empathic responses while their electrodermal and cardiac responses were measured. Overall, the study shows that higher levels of additive empathy are associated with increased cardiac activity (i.e., decreased Interbeat Interval) but not electrodermal activity.
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MRI amygdala volume in Williams Syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2011
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One of the most intriguing characteristics of Williams Syndrome individuals is their hypersociability. The amygdala has been consistently implicated in the etiology of this social profile, particularly given its role in emotional and social behavior. This study examined amygdala volume and symmetry in WS individuals and in age and sex matched controls. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained on a GE 1.5-T magnet with 1.5-mm contiguous slices and were used to measure whole gray matter, white matter and cerebrospinal fluid volumes, as well as amygdala volume (right and left). Results revealed significantly reduced intracranial volume in individuals with WS, compared with controls. There were no differences between groups in absolute amygdalae volume, although there was a relative increase in amygdalae volumes, when adjusted for total intracranial content. There were no inter-hemispheric differences in amygdalae volumes in both groups. These results suggest a relative increase in amygdala volume in WS compared with healthy controls that likely reflects abnormal neurodevelopmental processes of midline brain structures.
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Psychophysiological correlates of sexually and non-sexually motivated attention to film clips in a workload task.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 05-16-2011
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Some authors have speculated that the cognitive component (P3) of the Event-Related Potential (ERP) can function as a psychophysiological measure of sexual interest. The aim of this study was to determine if the P3 ERP component in a workload task can be used as a specific and objective measure of sexual motivation by comparing the neurophysiologic response to stimuli of motivational relevance with different levels of valence and arousal. A total of 30 healthy volunteers watched different films clips with erotic, horror, social-positive and social-negative content, while answering an auditory oddball paradigm. Erotic film clips resulted in larger interference when compared to both the social-positive and auditory alone conditions. Horror film clips resulted in the highest levels of interference with smaller P3 amplitudes than erotic and also than social-positive, social-negative and auditory alone condition. No gender differences were found. Both horror and erotic film clips significantly decreased heart rate (HR) when compared to both social-positive and social-negative films. The erotic film clips significantly increased the skin conductance level (SCL) compared to the social-negative films. The horror film clips significantly increased the SCL compared to both social-positive and social-negative films. Both the highly arousing erotic and non-erotic (horror) movies produced the largest decrease in the P3 amplitude, a decrease in the HR and an increase in the SCL. These data support the notion that this workload task is very sensitive to the attentional resources allocated to the film clip, although they do not act as a specific index of sexual interest. Therefore, the use of this methodology seems to be of questionable utility as a specific measure of sexual interest or as an objective measure of the severity of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.
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Task-specific effects of tDCS-induced cortical excitability changes on cognitive and motor sequence set shifting performance.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-26-2011
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In this study, we tested the effects of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on two set shifting tasks. Set shifting ability is defined as the capacity to switch between mental sets or actions and requires the activation of a distributed neural network. Thirty healthy subjects (fifteen per site) received anodal, cathodal and sham stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) or the primary motor cortex (M1). We measured set shifting in both cognitive and motor tasks. The results show that both anodal and cathodal single session tDCS can modulate cognitive and motor tasks. However, an interaction was found between task and type of stimulation as anodal tDCS of DLPFC and M1 was found to increase performance in the cognitive task, while cathodal tDCS of DLPFC and M1 had the opposite effect on the motor task. Additionally, tDCS effects seem to be most evident on the speed of changing sets, rather than on reducing the number of errors or increasing the efficacy of irrelevant set filtering.
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Analysis of speech fluency in Williams syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 04-21-2011
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Williams syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder, often referred as being characterized by dissociation between verbal and non-verbal abilities, although the number of studies disputing this proposal is emerging. Indeed, although they have been traditionally reported as displaying increased speech fluency, this topic has not been fully addressed in research. In previous studies carried out with a small group of individuals with WS, we reported speech breakdowns during conversational and autobiographical narratives suggestive of language difficulties. In the current study, we characterized the speech fluency profile using an ecologically based measure--a narrative task (story generation) was collected from a group of individuals with WS (n = 30) and typically developing group (n = 39) matched in mental age. Oral narratives were elicited using a picture stimulus--the cookie theft picture from Boston Diagnosis Aphasia Test. All narratives were analyzed according to typology and frequency of fluency breakdowns (non-stuttered and stuttered disfluencies). Oral narratives in WS group differed from typically developing group, mainly due to a significant increase in the frequency of disfluencies, particularly in terms of hesitations, repetitions and pauses. This is the first evidence of disfluencies in WS using an ecologically based task (oral narrative task), suggesting that these speech disfluencies may represent a significant marker of language problems in WS.
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a functional interhemispheric imbalance at the thalamic level.
Med. Hypotheses
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2011
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves failures in two main inhibitory processes, namely cognitive (obsessions) and behavioral (compulsions). Recent research has supported two cortical-subcortical pathways on OCD pathogenesis: (a) the frontostriatal loop (dorsolateral-caudate-striatum-thalamus) responsible for impairments of behavioral inhibition; (b) the orbitofrontal loop (orbitofrontal, medial prefrontal and cingulate) responsible for impairments with cognitive inhibitory processes. These failures in both cognitive and motor inhibitory systems may mediate several neuropsychological deficits in these patients, namely memory, attention, planning and decision making. But are those deficits related to specific hemispheric effects, namely functional imbalance between hemispheres? In this article we hypothesize that: (1) OCD patients have an inter-hemispheric functional imbalance, probably due to inadequate filtering at the thalamic level; (2) the restoration of inter-hemispheric balance, will be correlative to symptomatic improvement.
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Observer weighting of interaural cues in positive and negative envelope slopes of amplitude-modulated waveforms.
Hear. Res.
PUBLISHED: 01-12-2011
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The auditory system can encode interaural delays in highpass-filtered complex sounds by phase locking to their slowly modulating envelopes. Spectrotemporal analysis of interaurally time-delayed highpass waveforms reveals the presence of a concomitant interaural level cue. The current study systematically investigated the contribution of time and concomitant level cues carried by positive and negative envelope slopes of a modified sinusoidally amplitude-modulated (SAM) high-frequency carrier. The waveforms were generated from concatenation of individual modulation cycles whose envelope peaks were extended by the desired interaural delay, allowing independent control of delays in the positive and negative modulation slopes. In experiment 1, thresholds were measured using a 2-interval forced-choice adaptive task for interaural delays in either the positive or negative modulation slopes. In a control condition, thresholds were measured for a standard SAM tone. In experiment 2, decision weights were estimated using a multiple-observation correlational method in a single-interval forced-choice task for interaural delays carried simultaneously by the positive, and independently, negative slopes of the modulation envelope. In experiment 3, decision weights were measured for groups of 3 modulation cycles at the start, middle, and end of the waveform to determine the influence of onset dominance or recency effects. Results were consistent across experiments: thresholds were equal for the positive and negative modulation slopes. Decision weights were positive and equal for the time cue in the positive and negative envelope slopes. Weights were also larger for modulations cycles near the waveform onset. Weights estimated for the concomitant interaural level cue were positive for the positive envelope slope and negative for the negative slope, consistent with exclusive use of time cues.
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Williams syndrome hypersociability: a neuropsychological study of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex hypotheses.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2011
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Individuals with Williams syndrome display indiscriminate approach towards strangers. Neuroimaging studies conducted so far have linked this social profile to structural and/or functional abnormalities in WS amygdala and prefrontal cortex. In this study, the neuropsychological hypotheses of amygdala and prefrontal cortex involvement in WS hypersociability was explored using three behavioral tasks--facial emotional recognition task, a social approach task and a go no/go task. Thus, a group 15 individuals with Williams syndrome was compared to two groups of normal developing individuals--a group of 15 individuals matched for chronological age (CA) and 15 individuals matched for mental age (MA), and sex. Individuals with WS present a specific impairment in recognizing negative facial expressions and do not display impairments in response inhibition when compared with typically developing groups. Although these findings partially support the amygdala contribution to WS hypersociability, we found that general cognitive functioning predicted this performance. Additionally, individuals with WS did not differ from both CA and MA groups in the recognition of angry facial expressions, a finding suggesting that they are actually able to identify stimuli associated with social threat. Overall, the results seem to indicate that this social profile must be understood within a developmental framework.
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Sentence-final word completion norms for European Portuguese children and adolescents.
Behav Res Methods
PUBLISHED: 12-09-2010
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This study presents a set of sentence contexts and their cloze probabilities for European Portuguese children and adolescents. Seventy-three sentence contexts (35 low- and 38 high-constraint sentence stems) were presented to 90 children and 102 adolescents. Participants were asked to complete the sentence contexts with the first word that came to mind. For each sentence context, responses were listed and cloze probabilities of the words that were chosen to complete the sentence context were computed. Additionally, idiosyncratic and invalid responses (structural and semantic errors) were analyzed. A high degree of consistency in responses among the two age samples (children and adolescents) was found, along with a decrease of idiosyncratic and invalid responses in older participants. These results shed light on age-related changes in the effects of linguistic context on word production, and also in knowledges representation. The full set of norms may be downloaded from http://brm.psychonomic-journals.org/content/supplemental.
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Cross-modulation interference with lateralization of mixed-modulated waveforms.
J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res.
PUBLISHED: 08-05-2010
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This study investigated the ability to use spatial information in mixed-modulated (MM) sounds containing concurrent frequency-modulated (FM) and amplitude-modulated (AM) sounds by exploring patterns of interference when different modulation types originated from different loci as may occur in a multisource acoustic field.
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Abnormal processing of emotional prosody in Williams syndrome: an event-related potentials study.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 08-02-2010
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Williams syndrome (WS), a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder due to a microdeletion in chromosome 7, is described as displaying an intriguing socio-cognitive phenotype. Deficits in prosody production and comprehension have been consistently reported in behavioral studies. It remains, however, to be clarified the neurobiological processes underlying prosody processing in WS. This study aimed at characterizing the electrophysiological response to neutral, happy, and angry prosody in WS, and examining if this response was dependent on the semantic content of the utterance. A group of 12 participants (5 female and 7 male), diagnosed with WS, with age range between 9 and 31 years, was compared with a group of typically developing participants, individually matched for chronological age, gender and laterality. After inspection of EEG artifacts, data from 9 participants with WS and 10 controls were included in ERP analyses. Participants were presented with neutral, positive and negative sentences, in two conditions: (1) with intelligible semantic and syntactic information; (2) with unintelligible semantic and syntactic information (pure prosody condition). They were asked to decide which emotion was underlying the auditory sentence. Atypical event-related potentials (ERP) components were related with prosodic processing (N100, P200, N300) in WS. In particular, reduced N100 was observed for prosody sentences with semantic content; more positive P200 for sentences with semantic content, in particular for happy and angry intonations; and reduced N300 for both types of sentence conditions. These findings suggest abnormalities in early auditory processing, indicating a bottom-up contribution to the impairment in emotional prosody processing and comprehension. Also, at least for N100 and P200, they suggest the top-down contributions of semantic processes in the sensory processing of speech. This study showed, for the first time, that abnormalities in ERP measures of early auditory processing in WS are also present during the processing of emotional vocal information. This may represent a physiological signature of underlying impaired on-line language and socio-emotional processing.
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Electrophysiological correlates of semantic processing in Williams syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
PUBLISHED: 06-05-2010
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Williams syndrome (WS), a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder due to microdeletion in chromosome 7, has been described as a syndrome with an intriguing socio-cognitive phenotype. Cognitively, the relative preservation of language and face processing abilities coexists with severe deficits in visual-spatial tasks, as well as in tasks involving abstract reasoning. However, in spite of early claims of the independence of language from general cognition in WS, a detailed investigation of language subcomponents has demonstrated several abnormalities in lexical-semantic processing. Nonetheless, the neurobiological processes underlying language processing in Williams syndrome remain to be clarified. The aim of this study was to examine the electrophysiological correlates of semantic processing in WS, taking typical development as a reference. A group of 12 individuals diagnosed with Williams syndrome, with age range between 9 and 31 years, was compared with a group of typically developing participants, individually matched in chronological age, gender and handedness. Participants were presented with sentences that ended with words incongruent (50%) with the previous sentence context or with words judged to be its best completion (50%), and they were asked to decide if the sentence made sense or not. Results in WS suggest atypical sensory ERP components (N100 and P200), preserved N400 amplitude, and abnormal P600 in WS, with the latter being related to late integration and re-analysis processes. These results may represent a physiological signature of underlying impaired on-line language processing in this disorder.
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Williams syndrome and memory: a neuroanatomic and cognitive approach.
J Autism Dev Disord
PUBLISHED: 01-27-2010
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Williams Syndrome (WS) is described as displaying a dissociation within memory systems. As the integrity of hippocampal formation (HF) is determinant for memory performance, we examined HF volumes and its association with memory measures in a group of WS and in a typically development group. A significantly reduced intracranial content was found in WS, despite no differences were observed for HF absolute volumes between groups. When volumes were normalized, left HF was increased in WS. Moreover, a lack of the normal right > left HF asymmetry was observed in WS. No positive correlations were found between volumetric and neurocognitive data in WS. In sum, a relative enlargement of HF and atypical patterns of asymmetry suggest abnormal brain development in WS.
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Cognitive functioning in Williams syndrome: a study in Portuguese and Spanish patients.
Eur. J. Paediatr. Neurol.
PUBLISHED: 08-13-2009
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Williams Syndrome (WS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a submicroscopic deletion on chromosome 7 q11.23. This is a systemic disorder in which cardiac problems and mental retardation are the key phenotypic symptoms. Although displaying a general cognitive impairment, they are most often described as exhibiting a peak and valley profile, with relative sparing of language and face processing abilities and severe impairment of visual-spatial cognition. In this study, we conducted a detailed cognitive assessment using Wechsler Intelligence Scales on a WS and a normal development control group. To explore the hypothesis of a dissociative cognitive architecture in WS, performance on subtests, factorial indexes and composite measures of Verbal, Performance and Full Scale Intelligence Quotient were analysed. Individuals with WS were found to score in Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) within mild to moderate mental retardation interval, and had significantly lower scores in all measures when they were compared with the normal development group. However, a specific intragroup cognitive profile was found for Williams Syndrome (confirming Mervis definition of the WS cognitive profile) along with a specific developmental pathway (absence of an age-associated cognitive decline).
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Obsessive-compulsive disorder as a visual processing impairment.
Med. Hypotheses
PUBLISHED: 07-22-2009
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OCD has been hypothesized to involve the failures in both cognitive and behavioral inhibitory processes. There is evidence that the hyperactivation of cortical-subcortical pathways may be involved in the failure of these inhibitory systems associated with OCD. Despite this consensus on the role of frontal-subcortical pathways in OCD, recent studies have been showing that brain regions other than the frontal-subcortical loops may be needed to understand the different cognitive and emotional deficits in OCD. Some studies have been finding evidence for decreased metabolic activity in areas such as left inferior parietal and parieto-occipital junction suggesting the possible existence of visual processing deficits. While there has been inconsistent data regarding visual processing in OCD, recent studies have been claiming that these patients have abnormal patterns of visual processing social rich stimuli, particularly emotional arousing stimuli. Thus, in this article, we hypothesize that the fronto-subcortical activation consistently found in OCD may be due to a deactivation of occipital/parietal regions associated with visual-perceptual processing of incoming social rich stimuli. Additionally, this dissociation may be more evident as the emotional intensity of the social stimulus increases.
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The effects of cross-hemispheric dorsolateral prefrontal cortex transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on task switching.
Brain Stimul
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Task switching, defined as the ability to flexibly switch between tasks in the face of goal shifting, is a central mechanism in cognitive control. Task switching is thought to involve both prefrontal cortex (PFC) and parietal regions. Our previous work has shown that it is possible to modulate set shifting tasks using 1 mA tDCS on both the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left primary motor area. However, it remains unclear whether the effects of PFC tDCS on task switching are hemisphere-dependent.
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From semantics to feelings: how do individuals with schizophrenia rate the emotional valence of words?
Schizophr Res Treatment
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Schizophrenia is characterized by both emotional and language abnormalities. However, in spite of reports of preserved evaluation of valence of affective stimuli, such as pictures, it is less clear how individuals with schizophrenia assess verbal material with emotional valence, for example, the overall unpleasantness/displeasure relative to pleasantness/attraction of a word. This study aimed to investigate how schizophrenic individuals rate the emotional valence of adjectives, when compared with a group of healthy controls. One hundred and eighty-four adjectives differing in valence were presented. These adjectives were previously categorized as "neutral," "positive" (pleasant), or "negative" (unpleasant) by five judges not participating in the current experiment. Adjectives from the three categories were matched on word length, frequency, and familiarity. Sixteen individuals with schizophrenia diagnosis and seventeen healthy controls were asked to rate the valence of each word, by using a computerized version of the Self-Assessment Manikin (Bradley and Lang, 1994). Results demonstrated similar ratings of emotional valence of words, suggesting a similar representation of affective knowledge in schizophrenia, at least in terms of the valence dimension.
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The Emotional Movie Database (EMDB): a self-report and psychophysiological study.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback
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Film clips are an important tool for evoking emotional responses in the laboratory. When compared with other emotionally potent visual stimuli (e.g., pictures), film clips seem to be more effective in eliciting emotions for longer periods of time at both the subjective and physiological levels. The main objective of the present study was to develop a new database of affective film clips without auditory content, based on a dimensional approach to emotional stimuli (valence, arousal and dominance). The study had three different phases: (1) the pre-selection and editing of 52 film clips (2) the self-report rating of these film clips by a sample of 113 participants and (3) psychophysiological assessment [skin conductance level (SCL) and the heart rate (HR)] on 32 volunteers. Film clips from different categories were selected to elicit emotional states from different quadrants of affective space. The results also showed that sustained exposure to the affective film clips resulted in a pattern of a SCL increase and HR deceleration in high arousal conditions (i.e., horror and erotic conditions). The resulting emotional movie database can reliably be used in research requiring the presentation of non-auditory film clips with different ratings of valence, arousal and dominance.
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Morphometry of corpus callosum in Williams syndrome: shape as an index of neural development.
Brain Struct Funct
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Brain abnormalities in Williams syndrome (WS) have been consistently reported, despite few studies have devoted attention to connectivity between different brain regions in WS. In this study, we evaluated corpus callosum (CC) morphometry: bending angle, length, thickness and curvature of CC using a new shape analysis method in a group of 17 individuals with WS matched with a typically developing group. We used this multimethod approach because we hypothesized that neurodevelopmental abnormalities might result in both volume changes and structure deformation. Overall, we found reduced absolute CC cross-sectional area and volume in WS (mean CC and subsections). In parallel, we observed group differences regarding CC shape and thickness. Specifically, CC of WS is morphologically different, characterized by a larger bending angle and being more curved in the posterior part. Moreover, although CC in WS is shorter, a larger relative thickness of CC was found in all callosal sections. Finally, groups differed regarding the association between CC measures, age, white matter volume and cognitive performance. In conclusions, abnormal patterns of CC morphology and shape may be implicated in WS cognitive and behavioural phenotype.
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How executive functions are related to intelligence in Williams syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
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Williams syndrome is characterized by impairments in executive functions (EFs). However, it remains unknown how distinct types of EFs relate to intelligence in this syndrome. The present study analyzed performance on working memory, inhibiting and shifting, and its links to IQ in a sample of 17 individuals with WS, and compared them with a group of 17 typically developing individuals matched on chronological age and gender. In conclusion, our results suggest that working memory, inhibiting, and shifting relate differently to intelligence in WS as well as in typical development, with working memory being the EF most closely related to intelligence in both groups. Notably, the magnitude of the associations between the three EFs and IQ was substantially higher in the WS group than in the TD group, bringing further confirmation to the notion that frontal lobe impairments may produce a general compromise of several EFs.
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Interactions between mood and the structure of semantic memory: event-related potentials evidence.
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
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Recent evidence suggests that affect acts as modulator of cognitive processes and in particular that induced mood has an effect on the way semantic memory is used on-line. We used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine affective modulation of semantic information processing under three different moods: neutral, positive and negative. Fifteen subjects read 324 pairs of sentences, after mood induction procedure with 30 pictures of neutral, 30 pictures of positive and 30 pictures of neutral valence: 108 sentences were read in each mood induction condition. Sentences ended with three word types: expected words, within-category violations, and between-category violations. N400 amplitude was measured to the three word types under each mood induction condition. Under neutral mood, a congruency (more negative N400 amplitude for unexpected relative to expected endings) and a category effect (more negative N400 amplitude for between- than to within-category violations) were observed. Also, results showed differences in N400 amplitude for both within- and between-category violations as a function of mood: while positive mood tended to facilitate the integration of unexpected but related items, negative mood made their integration as difficult as unexpected and unrelated items. These findings suggest the differential impact of mood on access to long-term semantic memory during sentence comprehension.
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Psycholinguistic abilities of children with Williams syndrome.
Res Dev Disabil
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The objective of this study was to investigate the psycholinguistic abilities of children with Williams syndrome (WS) and typically developing children using the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA). Performance on the ITPA was analysed in a group with WS (N=20, mean age=8.5 years, SD=1.62) and two typically developing groups, matched in mental (MA, N=20, mean age=4.92 years, SD=1.14) and chronological age (CA, N=19, mean age=8.35 years, SD=3.07). Overall, within-group analyses showed that individuals with WS displayed higher scalar scores on the visual reception and visual association subtests. When groups were compared, we observed inferior performance of the WS group on all ITPA subtests when compared with typically developing groups. Moreover, an interaction between reception and group was found, only the WS group demonstrated superior performance on the visual reception subtest when compared to the auditory reception subtest. Evidence from this study offers relevant contributions to the development of educational intervention programs for children with WS.
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Affective picture modulation: valence, arousal, attention allocation and motivational significance.
Int J Psychophysiol
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The present study analyses the modulatory effects of affective pictures in the early posterior negativity (EPN), the late positive potential (LPP) and the human startle response on both the peripheral (eye blink EMG) and central neurophysiological levels (Probe P3), during passive affective pictures viewing. The affective pictures categories were balanced in terms of valence (pleasant; unpleasant) and arousal (high; low). The data shows that EPN may be sensitive to specific stimulus characteristics (affective relevant pictures versus neutral pictures) associated with early stages of attentional processing. In later stages, the heightened attentional resource allocation as well as the motivated significance of the affective stimuli was found to elicit enhanced amplitudes of slow wave processes thought to be related to enhanced encoding, namely LPP,. Although pleasant low arousing pictures were effective in engaging the resources involved in the slow wave processes, the highly arousing affective stimuli (pleasant and unpleasant) were found to produce the largest enhancement of the LPP, suggesting that high arousing stimuli may are associated with increased motivational significance. Additionally the response to high arousing stimuli may be suggestive of increased motivational attention, given the heightened attentional allocation, as expressed in the P3 probe, especially for the pleasant pictures. The hedonic valence may then serve as a mediator of the attentional inhibition to the affective priming, potentiating or inhibiting a shift towards defensive activation, as measured by the startle reflex.
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Effects of Empathy and Conflict Resolution Strategies on Psychophysiological Arousal and Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback
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The present research builds upon the extant literature as it assesses psychophysiological factors in relation to empathy, conflict resolution, and romantic relationship satisfaction. In this study, we examined physiological reactivity of individuals in the context of emotionally laden interactions with their romantic partners. Participants (N = 31) completed self-report measures and attended in-person data collection sessions with their romantic partners. Participants were guided through discussions of problems and strengths of their relationships in vivo with their partners while we measured participants skin conductance level (SCL) and interbeat interval (IBI) of the heart. We hypothesized that participants level of empathy towards their partners would be reflected by physiological arousal (as measured by SCL and IBI) and relationship satisfaction, such that higher levels of empathy would be linked to changes in physiological arousal and higher relationship satisfaction. Further, we hypothesized that differences would be found in physiological arousal (as measured by SCL and IBI) based on the type of conflict resolution strategy used by participants. Finally, we hypothesized that differences would be found in empathy towards partner and relationship satisfaction based on the type of conflict resolution strategies used by participants. Results partially supported hypotheses and were discussed in light of existing knowledge based on empirical and theoretical sources.
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Biological Markers in Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Trials in Major Depressive Disorder: A Systematic Review.
J ECT
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The therapeutic effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation in patients with major depression have shown promising results; however, there is a lack of mechanistic studies using biological markers (BMs) as an outcome. Therefore, our aim was to review noninvasive brain stimulation trials in depression using BMs.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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