Matching Items (91)

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Human Auditory Biases Match Natural Regularities Found With Animal Calls

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Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic

Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic frequency and intensity has shown that people exhibit a bias to expect the perception of pitch and loudness to change together. Researchers have proposed that this perceptual bias occurs because sound sources tend to follow a natural regularity of a correlation between changes in intensity and frequency of sound. They postulate that the auditory system has adapted to expect this naturally occurring relationship to facilitate auditory scene analysis, the tracking and parsing sources of sound as listeners analyze their auditory environments. However, this correlation has only been tested with human speech and musical sounds. The current study explores if animal sounds also exhibit the same natural correlation between intensity and frequency and tests if people exhibit a perceptual bias to assume this correlation when listening to animal calls. Our principal hypotheses are that animal sounds will tend to exhibit a positive correlation between intensity and frequency and that, when hearing such sounds change in intensity, listeners will perceive them to also change in frequency and vice versa. Our tests with 21 animal calls and 8 control stimuli along with our experiment with participants responding to these stimuli supported these hypotheses. This research provides a further example of coupling of perceptual biases with natural regularities in the auditory domain, and provides a framework for understanding perceptual biases as functional adaptations that help perceivers more accurately anticipate and utilize reliable natural patterns to enhance scene analyses in real world environments.

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  • 2014-05

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Sum sed cogitone? Can children introspect their mental states?

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Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand

Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand our access to our mental states. Simulation theory (Harris, 1991) involves imagining yourself in another person’s situation, reading off of your mental state, and attributing that state to the other person. Theory-theory (Gopnik, 1993) involves an interrelated body of knowledge, based on core mental-state constructs, including beliefs and desires, that may be applied to everyone—self and others (Gopnik & Wellman, 1994). Introspection is taken for granted by simulation theory, and explicitly denied by theory-theory. This study is designed to test for evidence of introspection in young children using simple perception and knowledge task. The current evidence is against introspective awareness in children because the data suggest that children cannot report their own false beliefs and they cannot report their on-going thoughts (Flavell, Green & Flavell, 1993; Gopnik & Astington, 1988). The hypothesis in this study states that children will perform better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks, which will be evidence for introspection. The Other-Perception tasks require children to calculate the other’s line of sight and determine if there is something obscuring his or her vision. The Other-Knowledge tasks require children to reason that the other’s previous looking inside a box means that he or she will know what is inside the box when it is closed. The corresponding Self tasks could be answered either by using the same reasoning for the self or by introspection to determine what it is they see and do not see, and know and do not know. Children performing better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks will be an indication of introspection. Tests included Yes/No and Forced Choice questions, which was initially to ensure that the results will not be caused by a feature of a single method of questioning. I realized belatedly, however, that Forced Choice was not a valid measure of introspection as children could introspect in both the Self and Other conditions. I also expect to replicate previous findings that reasoning about Perception is easier for children than reasoning about Knowledge.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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The Relations Between Childhood Trauma, Cortisol Levels, and Pain Perceptions in Response to Induced Thermal Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients

Description

Childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of chronic pain in adulthood. One potential mechanism is via childhood trauma's impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) response to stress,

Childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of chronic pain in adulthood. One potential mechanism is via childhood trauma's impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) response to stress, reflected in changes in salivary cortisol levels (Nicolson et al., 2010). This study sought to determine the relations between childhood trauma, increases in cortisol levels following induced pain, and pain perceptions in adults with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. It drew on data collected from participants enrolled in an investigation comparing the effectiveness of behavioral treatments for chronic pain. Before receiving treatment, participants attended a laboratory session during which they first rested, and then were exposed to heat stimuli to assess pain threshold and tolerance. Saliva samples were collected from each participant immediately following the rest, and twice during pain induction. Fibromyalgia participants with a history of childhood trauma were expected: 1) to report lower pain threshold and tolerance levels (i.e., have higher pain sensitivity), 2) to exhibit a higher resting cortisol level, and 3) to have greater increases in cortisol in response to acute pain induction than fibromyalgia participants without a history of childhood trauma. Findings showed that childhood trauma scores were: 1) related to lower pain tolerance (but not pain threshold), 2) unrelated to resting cortisol levels, and 3) unrelated to changes in cortisol in response to pain induction and pain tolerance, contrary to prediction. However, a subtype of childhood trauma, i.e., emotional maltreatment: 1) predicted lower pain tolerance, and 2) moderated the cortisol changes over time in response to pain induction during the laboratory session in the expected direction. That is, individuals who reported higher levels of childhood emotional maltreatment showed greater cortisol responses to the pain induction than individuals who reported lower levels of exposure to emotional maltreatment. Cortisol responses did not relate to pain perception. Thus, childhood emotional trauma predicted greater pain sensitivity and cortisol reactivity, but cortisol did not relate to pain perception. The findings suggest that early childhood trauma predicts cortisol reactivity and pain sensitivity, but that cortisol reactivity is not a mediator in the trauma-pain relation.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Predicting and Promoting Healthy Diet in College-Aged Women Using the Health Action Process Approach Model

Description

One of the nation's most pressing health related issues is that of healthy diet and proper nutrition. Because much research has shown that many Americans are in poor health or

One of the nation's most pressing health related issues is that of healthy diet and proper nutrition. Because much research has shown that many Americans are in poor health or are at risk to become so due to poor diet and nutrition, understanding the psychological factors of a healthy diet or lack thereof is of the utmost importance. In order to understand the adoption and maintenance of health related behaviors, the link between intentions and behaviors must be evaluated. Of current health behavior models, the model utilized in this study was the Health Action Process Approach model (HAPA), which addressed this "intention-behavior gap." The HAPA model proposes that planning is the key mediator of the link between intentions and behavior. The current research was performed in two stages. The first stage evaluated the psychosocial constructs of the HAPA model, and their predictive utility for current diet and the second stage evaluated a planning-based intervention that aimed to increase proper nutrition in college-aged women. All HAPA constructs were found to be significantly correlated with one another, and planning was found to significantly and fully mediate the link between intention and healthy diet. The intervention did not lead to an increase in healthy diet relative to a standard-of-care control, although all participants across conditions reported increased intention, self-efficacy, and healthy diet from pre-test to follow-up.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Relations among Religiosity, Age of Self-Identification as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual, and Alcohol Use among College Students

Description

Recent research on alcohol use among LGB young adults indicates that sexual minority youth are at increased risk relative to their heterosexual peers. One possible contributing factor is that religiosity

Recent research on alcohol use among LGB young adults indicates that sexual minority youth are at increased risk relative to their heterosexual peers. One possible contributing factor is that religiosity fails to provide the significant protection for LGB youth that it has been demonstrated to provide in general population samples. Although recent studies provide some support for this hypothesis, there is little research seeking to understand the reasons that religiosity may fail to protect against heavy drinking among LGB youth. The current study attempted to address this gap by examining relations among religiosity, age of self-identification, and alcohol use in a sample of 103 young adults self identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Using multiple regression, we found that religiosity had an indirect effect on alcohol use operating through age of identification as LGB. Higher religiosity was associated with a later age of self-identification, which in turn, predicted greater increases in alcohol use among LGB youth during the transition from high school through college. Exploratory analyses found that gender significantly moderated the influence of age of self-identification on alcohol use such that a later age of self-identification was a risk factor for increased drinking for women, but not for men. The findings have important implications for understanding complex relations between religiosity and alcohol use among LGB youth. In addition, the findings may inform the development of religious support groups for LGB youth that will allow them to experience the benefits of religious involvement that heterosexual youth experience.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Social Intelligence Training: A Pilot Study

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Humans require sufficient social understanding and connectedness to thrive (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). The current study evaluates the effectiveness of the Social Intelligence Institute's training program pilot. At a middle

Humans require sufficient social understanding and connectedness to thrive (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). The current study evaluates the effectiveness of the Social Intelligence Institute's training program pilot. At a middle school in Phoenix, Arizona, students in a 7th and 8th grade class participated in this pilot program during the spring of 2013. Pre- and post-test questionnaires administered indicated changes in participants reported measures of Perspective Taking, Empathetic Concern, Interpersonal Expectations, and Relationship Self-Efficacy. The program consists of seven modules, each with several sessions, including instructional videos with reflection questions and class discussions. It was predicted that there would be a significant increase in mean scores for the dependent variables in the questionnaire mentioned above from the pre-test to the post-test. However, the null hypotheses were not rejected; statistical significance in t-tests of the measured variables were not met. Yet, the program was more effective for 8th graders than for 7th graders for Perspective Taking. This study of the SI pilot program demonstrates areas of improvement and provides support for wider implementation in the future.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Exploring the Relation Between Motivational and Cognitive Systems: The Case of Individual Differences in Religiosity and Working Memory

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This study examined the relation between Religiosity (a motivational system) and Working Memory Capacity (a cognitive system) to determine how they interact to promote goal-directed behavior. Participants completed a religiosity

This study examined the relation between Religiosity (a motivational system) and Working Memory Capacity (a cognitive system) to determine how they interact to promote goal-directed behavior. Participants completed a religiosity questionnaire and engaged in a battery of tasks that were used to assess their Working Memory Capacity (WMC) and overall ability to maintain goal-directed behavior. The Stroop task was used to examine the participants' ability to maintain goals in the face of interference. It was predicted that religiosity and WMC would be inversely related and that when we controlled for religiosity, WMC would be the only significant predictor of Stroop performance. Furthermore, we hypothesized that religiosity and Stoop would be inversely related, whereas WMC and Stroop would be positively correlated with one another. Religiosity and Stroop performance were each divided into three different components. Religiosity was divided into: Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, and CARMA. Stroop Performance was measured through Stroop Accuracy, the Stroop Effect, and Post-Error Slowing. The results of our study supported each of our hypotheses. These findings demonstrated that there is a cognitive process underlying motivational systems, such as religion, which affect an individual's ability to sustain goal-directed behavior.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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The Effects of Dip and Distraction on Consumption of Vegetables in Adults

Description

Increasing vegetable consumption among the adult population is a major goal, as the health benefits of vegetables can decrease one's risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The current

Increasing vegetable consumption among the adult population is a major goal, as the health benefits of vegetables can decrease one's risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The current study examined a potential strategy to increase consumption of vegetables by pairing them with a dip and a TV distraction. Based upon results of previous, similar research studies (Blass et al., 2006; Fisher et al., 2012; Johnston et al., 2012; Mittal, Stevenson, Oaten, & Miller, 2011), we hypothesized that eating vegetables with dip or while distracted with a television sitcom would result in increased consumption. We also hypothesized that both dip and a distraction together will synergistically increase vegetable consumption. A total of 126 college students were assigned to one of four conditions: eating vegetables with dip, with dip and a television distractor, with only a television distractor, or without either dip or a television distractor. While television had no significant influence on vegetable consumption, pairing vegetables with a dip significantly increased consumption of vegetables. Pairing vegetables with a dip may prove to be an effective strategy for increasing vegetable intake in the adult population.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Do Fame, Money and Performance follow Altruistic or Narcissistic Playing Styles in the NBA?

Description

The media often portrays professional basketball players as narcissistic, entitled and selfish, but are these portrayals accurate? After all, basketball is a team sport and team sport research indicates that

The media often portrays professional basketball players as narcissistic, entitled and selfish, but are these portrayals accurate? After all, basketball is a team sport and team sport research indicates that players are more altruistic and selfless. This study proposes a way to assess narcissism and altruism through observable behaviors from all the active players in the NBA.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Individual Differences in Simulating Language: Do Good Readers Embody More or Less?

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Do good readers embody more or less? The current investigation examined embodiment effects as a function of individual reading skill in the context of two cognitive theories of reading comprehension.

Do good readers embody more or less? The current investigation examined embodiment effects as a function of individual reading skill in the context of two cognitive theories of reading comprehension. The Construction-Integration model predicts that sensorimotor activity during reading will correlate negatively with reading skill, because good readers focus on relations among abstract ideas derived from the text. Supposedly those abstract ideas have little or no sensorimotor content, hence any sensorimotor activity while reading is wasted effort. In contrast, the simulation theory predicts that sensorimotor activity will correlate positively with reading skill, because good readers create a simulation of what is happening within the text to comprehend it. The simulation is based in neural and bodily systems of action, perception, and emotion. These opposing predictions were tested using the reading-by-rotation paradigm to measure embodiment effects. Those effects were then correlated with reading skill measured using the Gates-McGinite standardized reading test. Analyses revealed an unexpected interaction between condition and congruency, and a negative relationship between embodiment and reading skill. Several caveats to the results are discussed.

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  • 2013-12