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  • Indirect contact predicts direct contact: Longitudinal evidence and the mediating role of intergroup anxiety.

    12 November 2018

    Although the effects of direct and indirect forms of contact on intergroup relations are well documented, little is known about their longitudinal co-development. Based on the social-psychological literature, we hypothesize that indirect contact predicts future direct contact by reducing intergroup anxiety. Across five longitudinal studies (Study 1: German adults, N = 560; Study 2: German, Dutch, and Swedish school students, N = 6,600; Study 3: Northern Irish children, N = 1,593; Study 4: Northern Irish adults, N = 404; Study 5: German adults, N = 735), we systematically examined this effect, and further tested the mediating role of intergroup anxiety in Studies 3 to 5. Cross-lagged models provided consistent evidence for the positive effect of indirect contact on future direct contact, whereas a reduction in intergroup anxiety mediates this effect in most models. Results highlight the importance of indirect contact, which has the potential to increase direct contact, and thus promote social cohesion in diverse contexts, over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

  • Symptom Presentation in Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance With Attribution to Electromagnetic Fields: Evidence for a Nocebo Effect Based on Data Re-Analyzed From Two Previous Provocation Studies.

    12 November 2018

    Individuals with idiopathic environmental illness with attribution to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) claim they experience adverse symptoms when exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from mobile telecommunication devices. However, research has consistently reported no relationship between exposure to EMFs and symptoms in IEI-EMF individuals. The current study investigated whether presence of symptoms in IEI-EMF individuals were associated with a nocebo effect. Data from two previous double-blind provocation studies were re-analyzed based on participants' judgments as to whether or not they believed a telecommunication base station was "on" or "off". Experiment 1 examined data in which participants were exposed to EMFs from Global System for Mobile Communication, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, and sham base station signals. In Experiment 2, participants were exposed to EMFs from Terrestrial Trunked Radio Telecommunications System and sham base station signals. Our measures of subjective well-being indicated IEI-EMF participants consistently reported significantly lower levels of well-being, when they believed the base station was "on" compared to "off". Interestingly, control participants also reported experiencing more symptoms and greater symptom severity when they too believed the base station was "on" compared to "off". Thus, a nocebo effect provides a reasonable explanation for the presence of symptoms in IEI-EMF and control participants.

  • Trait anxiety and the alignment of attentional bias with controllability of danger.

    12 November 2018

    Attentional bias to threat cues is most adaptive when the dangers they signal can readily be controlled by timely action. This study examined whether heightened trait anxiety is associated with impaired alignment between attentional bias to threat and variation in the controllability of danger, and whether this is moderated by executive functioning. Participants completed a task in which threat cues signalled money loss and an aversive noise burst (the danger). In 'high control' blocks, attending to the threat cue offered a high chance of avoiding this danger. In 'low control' blocks, attending to the threat cue offered little control over the danger. The task yielded measures of attentional monitoring for threat, and attentional orienting to threat. Results indicated all participants showed greater attentional orienting to threat cues in high control relative to low control blocks (indicative of proper alignment), however, high trait-anxious participants showed no difference in attentional monitoring for threat between block types, whereas low trait-anxious participants did. This effect was moderated by N-Back scores. These results suggest heightened trait anxiety may be associated with impaired alignment of attentional monitoring for threat cues, and that such alignment deficit may be attenuated by high executive functioning.

  • Multisensory processing in event-based prospective memory

    12 November 2018

    © 2018 Elsevier B.V. Failures in prospective memory (PM) – that is, the failure to remember intended future actions – can have adverse consequences. It is therefore important to study those processes that may help to minimize such cognitive failures. Although multisensory integration has been shown to enhance a wide variety of behaviors, including perception, learning, and memory, its effect on prospective memory, in particular, is largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of multisensory processing on two simultaneously-performed memory tasks: An ongoing 2- or 3-back working memory (WM) task (20% target ratio), and a PM task in which the participants had to respond to a rare predefined letter (8% target ratio). For PM trials, multisensory enhancement was observed for congruent multisensory signals; however, this effect did not generalize to the ongoing WM task. Participants were less likely to make errors for PM than for WM trials, thus suggesting that they may have biased their attention toward the PM task. Multisensory advantages on memory tasks, such as PM and WM, may be dependent on how attention resources are allocated across dual tasks.

  • Crossmodal contributions to the perception of piquancy/spiciness

    12 November 2018

    © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The last 500 years or so has seen a phenomenal increase of interest in piquant/spicy food around the world. In this review, the latest research documenting the crossmodal influences on the perception of oral piquancy/spiciness that have been established to date are summarized: Everything from the color of the foodstuff through the color of the plateware on which that food is served has been found to influence both the expected and experienced piquancy/spiciness of food. Furthermore, certain musical parameters have also been shown to enhance the perceived piquancy of the food in a restaurant setting. By contrast, spicy smells have not, as yet, attracted anything like as much research interest from the scientific community. Intriguingly, many of the crossmodal influences on piquancy/spiciness that have been documented to date appear to be more pronounced when the actual experience on tasting the food is close to the preconsumption expectations. And while many of the crossmodal effects in this area appear to mirror those found previously for basic taste and flavor stimuli, there is a sense in which the broader range of intensities of sensation experienced in relation to chili/capsaicin may mean that crossmodal influences are somewhat different in this case. Practical applications: Piquancy/spiciness is a highly desirable food attribute. In fact, chiles are eaten by one in four of us every day. As yet, however, it has not attracted anything like the research interest that the basic tastes have. This review draws attention to the multisensory factors (including color, sound, etc.) that have recently been shown to modulate the experienced piquancy/spiciness of a dish. Given its widespread appeal, gaining a better understanding of this most desirable of oral sensations is likely to benefit food providers.

  • The Interplay of Personal and Social Identity

    20 November 2018

    © 2018 Hogrefe Publishing. Personal and social identity have generally been considered as separate components of individual's self-concept. In this review, after addressing classical models of personal and social identity, we focus on recent theoretical advancements. We propose possible interconnections, focusing on communalities between personal and social identity and outline how these processes, fed by social factors, can interact and influence one another. In addition, we advance the role of personal and social identity as a fundamental symbolic tool with which individuals can adapt to reality. Finally, we address the implications of identity for personal and social adjustment and inclusiveness.

  • Heartbeat perception in panic disorder: a reanalysis.

    2 November 2018

    This article describes a reanalysis of seven studies on heart beat perception (HBP) in panic disorder. The pooled sample had 709 participants from eight diagnostic categories. Accurate HBP was uncommon, but more prevalent among panic disorder patients than among healthy controls, depressed patients, patients with palpitations and individuals with infrequent panic attacks. No differences were found between panic disorder patients and patients with other anxiety disorders. Accurate perceivers had higher anxiety sensitivity scores than inaccurate perceivers. The data remain inconclusive as to whether perceived heart rate is correlated with anxiety in inaccurate perceivers. Physical exercise, distraction, variations in instructions and treatment each influenced HBP. However, the influence was different than previously thought. Finally, it is suggested that HBP may be understood in terms of schema-guided information processing.

  • Heartbeat perception and panic disorder: possible explanations for discrepant findings.

    2 November 2018

    Results on cardiac awareness in panic disorder are inconsistent. The present study attempted to clarify whether differences in instructions or the inclusion of patients taking antidepressant medication could account for these inconsistencies. 112 patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia were compared to 40 normal controls on the heartbeat perception task developed by Schandry (1981) [Schandry, R., Psychophysiology, 18, 483-488] using a standard instruction ("count all heartbeats you feel in your body") and a strict instruction ("count only those heartbeats about which you are sure"). Superior heartbeat perception for patients was only found with the standard instruction. Similarly, only with the standard instruction, patients taking medication affecting the cardiovascular system performed worse than patients without medication, as expected based on the relationship between stroke volume and heartbeat perception. The pattern of group differences indicates that agoraphobic patients have a better feeling for how fast their heart is beating than controls although these differences may be due to a tendency to interpret weak sensations as heartbeats. Furthermore, we tested in a subgroup of 40 patients whether cardiac awareness changes with exposure treatment. No changes in heartbeat perception were observed.

  • Do acute psychological and psychobiological responses to trauma predict subsequent symptom severities of PTSD and depression?

    2 November 2018

    The study investigated the relationship between the acute psychological and psychobiological trauma response and the subsequent development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms in 53 accident survivors attending an emergency department. Lower levels of salivary cortisol measured in the emergency room predicted greater symptom levels of PTSD and depression 6 months later, and lower diastolic blood pressure, past emotional problems, greater dissociation and data-driven processing predicted greater PTSD symptoms. Heart rate was not predictive. Low cortisol levels correlated with data-driven processing during the accident, and, in female participants only, with prior trauma and prior emotional problems. Higher evening cortisol 6 months after the accident correlated with PTSD and depressive symptoms at 6 months, but this relationship was no longer significant when levels of pain were controlled. The results support the role of the acute response to trauma in the development and maintenance of PTSD and provide promising preliminary evidence for a meaningful relationship between psychobiological and psychological factors in the acute trauma phase.