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Biological Psychology

Anne-Clémence Chaillou, Anne Giersch, Marc Hoonakker, Rémi L Capa, Anne Bonnefond
Positive affect strongly modulates goal-directed behaviors and cognitive control mechanisms. It often results from the presence of a pleasant stimulus in the environment, whether that stimulus appears unpredictably or as a consequence of a particular behavior. The influence of positive affect linked to a random pleasant stimulus differs from the influence of positive affect resulting from performance-contingent pleasant stimuli. However, the mechanisms by which the performance contingency of pleasant stimuli modulates the influence of positive affect on cognitive control mechanisms have not been elucidated...
March 18, 2017: Biological Psychology
Cheuk Yee Pang, Matthias M Müller
We investigated the effect of visual separation of the left and right hemispaces within peripersonal space to sustained tactile spatial attention processing and show that visually perceived object separation weakens the competitive interaction for concurrent vibrotactile stimulation to two hands. Participants received concurrent vibrotactile stimulation at different frequencies on two hands (right: 20Hz; left: 24Hz) for 4500ms to elicit steady-state somatosensory evoked potentials (SSSEPs). They attended to one of the stimulated hands and reacted to rare transient events embedded in the attended ongoing stream...
March 17, 2017: Biological Psychology
Jessica C Hodgson, John M Hudson
It is well established that some individuals present with atypical, non-left hemisphere, cerebral lateralisation for language processing. However previous studies exploring the reliability of functional blood flow responses to detect lateralised activation during speech have focused only on individuals with typical left sided dominance. Here we report test-retest and between-task reliability measures obtained with functional transcranial Doppler ultrasound in 47 participants, including 9 with atypical language presentation...
March 16, 2017: Biological Psychology
Kathleen Landolt, Emma O'Donnell, Agnes Hazi, Nico Dragano, Bradley J Wright
Effort-reward imbalance in the workplace is linked to a variety of negative health and organisational outcomes, but it has rarely been assessed experimentally. We manipulated reward (while keeping effort constant) in a within-subjects design with female participants (N= 60) who were randomly assigned to high and standard reward conditions within a simulated office environment. Self-report, behavioural (task performance), and physiological (heart rate variability, salivary alpha amylase) measures assessed the impact of increased financial reward...
March 16, 2017: Biological Psychology
Elke Vlemincx, Michel Meulders, James L Abelson
Evidence suggests that sighs regulate stress and emotions, e.g. by facilitating relief. This study aimed to investigate sigh rates during relief. In addition, links between sighs, anxiety sensitivity and HPA-axis activity were explored. Healthy volunteers (N=29) were presented cues predicting the valence of subsequent stimuli. By sequencing cues that predicted pleasant or unpleasant stimuli with or without certainty, transitions to certain pleasantness (relief) or to certain unpleasantness (control) were created and compared to no transitions...
March 14, 2017: Biological Psychology
Andrine M Lemieux, Mustafa al'Absi
Ghrelin and peptide YY (PYY) during ad libitum smoking have been associated with decreased reported craving (ghrelin) and increased positive affect (PYY), and higher baseline ghrelin levels predicted subsequent increased risk of smoking relapse. The current study assessed PYY and ghrelin during ad libitum smoking and again after the initial 48hours of a smoking cessation attempt. The data compared smokers who abstained for 28days (n=37), smokers who relapsed (n=54), and nonsmokers (n=37). Plasma samples and subjective measures assessing craving and mood were collected at the beginning of each session...
March 11, 2017: Biological Psychology
Anna Marzecová, Andreas Widmann, Iria SanMiguel, Sonja A Kotz, Erich Schröger
The potentially interactive influence of attention and prediction was investigated by measuring event-related potentials (ERPs) in a spatial cueing task with attention (task-relevant) and prediction (probabilistic) cues. We identified distinct processing stages of this interactive influence. Firstly, in line with the attentional gain hypothesis, a larger amplitude response of the contralateral N1, and Nd1 for attended gratings was observed. Secondly, conforming to the attenuation-by-prediction hypothesis, a smaller negativity in the time window directly following the peak of the N1 component for predicted compared to unpredicted gratings was observed...
March 9, 2017: Biological Psychology
Leslie E Roos, Erik L Knight, Kathryn G Beauchamp, Elliot T Berkman, Kelsie Faraday, Katie Hyslop, Philip A Fisher
Identifying environmental influences on inhibitory control (IC) may help promote positive behavioral and social adjustment. Although chronic stress is known to predict lower IC, the immediate effects of acute stress are unknown. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) may be a mechanism of the stress-IC link, given its psychophysiological regulatory role and connections to prefrontal brain regions critical to IC. We used a focused assessment of IC (the stop-signal task) to test whether an acute social stressor (the Trier Social Stress Test) affected participants' pre- to post-IC performance (n=58), compared to a control manipulation (n=31)...
March 6, 2017: Biological Psychology
S A Nelemans, W W Hale, S J T Branje, P A C van Lier, H M Koot, W H J Meeus
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) symptoms demonstrate a marked persistence over time, but little is known empirically about short-term processes that may account for this long-term persistence. In this study, we examined how self-reported and physiological stress reactivity were associated with persistence of SAD symptoms from early to late adolescence. A community sample of 327 adolescents (56% boys, Mage=13.01 at T1) reported their SAD symptoms for 6 successive years and participated in a public speaking task, during which self-reported (i...
March 5, 2017: Biological Psychology
Helena J V Rutherford, Simon P Byrne, Grace M Austin, Jonathan D Lee, Michael J Crowley, Linda C Mayes
Women are vulnerable to anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum. However, little is known about antenatal anxiety and neural processing of infant-relevant information. In this experiment, the N170, P300, and LPP (late positive potential) event-related potentials were measured from 43 pregnant women as they viewed infant and adult faces, which were either neutral or distressed in expression. Mother's self-reported anxiety levels were also assessed. The N170 was comparable across face conditions, and was not associated with anxiety...
March 5, 2017: Biological Psychology
Florian Bublatzky, Georg W Alpers
It can be unsettling to be watched by a group of people, and when they express anger or hostility, this can prime defensive behavior. In contrast, when others smile at us, this may be comforting. This study tested to which degree the impact of facial expressions (happy, neutral, and angry) varies with the personal relevance of a social situation. Modelling a triadic situation, two faces looked either directly at the participant, faced each other, or they were back to back. Results confirmed that this variation constitutes a gradient of personal relevance (directed frontally > towards > away), as reflected by corresponding defensive startle modulation and autonomic nervous system activity...
March 4, 2017: Biological Psychology
Yingzhi Lu, Kyle J Jaquess, Bradley D Hatfield, Chenglin Zhou, Hong Li
It is widely recognized that emotions impact an individual's ability to perform in a given task. However, little is known about how emotion impacts the various aspects of cognitive -motor performance. We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) and chronometric responses from twenty-six participants while they performed a cognitive-motor oddball task in regard to four categories of emotional stimuli (high-arousing positive-valence, low-arousing positive-valence, high-arousing negative-valence, and low-arousing negative-valence) as "deviant" stimuli...
March 2, 2017: Biological Psychology
Patrick Johnston, Jonathan Robinson, Athanasios Kokkinakis, Samuel Ridgeway, Michael Simpson, Sam Johnson, Jordy Kaufman, Andrew W Young
It has been suggested that the brain pre-empts changes in the environment through generating predictions, although real-time electrophysiological evidence of prediction violations in the domain of visual perception remain elusive. In a series of experiments we showed participants sequences of images that followed a predictable implied sequence or whose final image violated the implied sequence. Through careful design we were able to use the same final image transitions across predictable and unpredictable conditions, ensuring that any differences in neural responses were due only to preceding context and not to the images themselves...
February 28, 2017: Biological Psychology
Giulia Galli, Matteo Feurra, Enea Francesco Pavone, Miroslav Sirota, Simone Rossi
During encoding, the neural activity immediately before or during an event can predict whether that event will be later remembered. The contribution of brain activity immediately after an event to memory formation is however less known. Here, we used repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to investigate the temporal dynamics of episodic memory encoding with a focus on post-stimulus time intervals. At encoding, rTMS was applied during the online processing of the word, at its offset, or 100, 200, 300 or 400ms thereafter...
February 24, 2017: Biological Psychology
Simone Messerotti Benvenuti, Giulia Buodo, Daniela Palomba
The study of emotional response inhibition could provide novel insight into dysphoria-related deficits in appetitive and aversive motivational systems. Therefore, dysphoric (N=21) and nondysphoric (N=21) participants completed an emotional Go/Nogo paradigm, including the presentation of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant pictures. Behavioral measures [reaction times (RTs), accuracy to Go and Nogo stimuli] and neural correlates (Go/Nogo-N2 and Go/Nogo-P3) of response inhibition were compared between the two groups...
February 24, 2017: Biological Psychology
Siobhán Howard, Ann-Marie Creaven, Brian M Hughes, Éanna D O'Leary, Jack E James
The benefits of perceived social support for physical and psychological health are well-established. However, little research has explored associations between perceived social support and cardiovascular reactivity in older adults. This exploratory study recruited a sample of older adults (Mage=69years, SD=5.62) and examined quality and quantity of perceived social support as predictors of cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory-based stress (N=39 participants) and ambulatory cardiovascular activity in everyday life (n=28)...
February 22, 2017: Biological Psychology
Stella Banis, Monicque M Lorist
We investigated the combined effects of menstrual cycle phase and acute stress on reward-related processing, employing a monetary incentive delay task in combination with EEG. Females participated during late follicular and late luteal phases, performing in both control and stress conditions. We found evidence for both independent and interaction effects of phase and stress on reward-related brain activity. Phase modulated the sensitivity to feedback valence, with a stronger signaling of negative performance outcomes in the late follicular versus late luteal phase...
February 22, 2017: Biological Psychology
Anja Leue, Carmen Cano Rodilla, André Beauducel
This study relates predictions on reactive and proactive cognitive control to findings on anxious apprehension/worry and ERN/Ne. We investigated whether worry-inducing stimuli in an aversive performance setting lead to a more pronounced increase of the ERN/Ne in individuals with lower anxious apprehension/worry. We also explored the N2 amplitude in the context of worry-inducing stimuli. Fifty-eight participants performed an extended Go/NoGo task. A neutral or fearful face was presented at the beginning of each trial, with the fearful face as a worry-inducing, distracting stimulus...
February 17, 2017: Biological Psychology
Manon Maheux, Pierre Jolicœur
We examined the role of attention and visual working memory in the evaluation of the number of target stimuli as well as their relative spatial position using the N2pc and the SPCN. Participants performed two tasks: a simple counting task in which they had to determine if a visual display contained one or two coloured items among grey fillers and one in which they had to identify a specific relation between two coloured items. The same stimuli were used for both tasks. Each task was designed to permit an easier evaluation of either the same-coloured or differently-coloured stimuli...
January 27, 2017: Biological Psychology
Jana Strahler, Urs M Nater
INTRODUCTION: Various behaviors, such as physical activity and sleep, have been shown to have stress-reducing and beneficial effects on wellbeing. In contrast, the rewarding effects of eating and drinking have rarely been investigated, particularly using ecologically valid approaches, and little is known about mediating mechanisms on the biological level. METHODS: Seventy-seven healthy young adults completed items on eating and drinking as well as momentary wellbeing (measured by mood, energy, tension, stress and fatigue levels) on an iPod touch 5×/day for 4 consecutive days...
January 22, 2017: Biological Psychology
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