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Bright-light distractions and visual performance
Visual distractions pose a significant risk to transportation safety, with laser attacks against aircraft pilots being a common example. This study used a research-grade High Dynamic Range (HDR) display to produce bright-light distractions for 12 volunteer participants performing a combined visual task across central and peripheral visual fields. The visual scene had an average luminance of 10 cd∙m−2 with targets of approximately 0.5° angular size, while the distractions had a maximum luminance of 9,000 cd∙m−2 and were 3.6° in size. The dependent variables were the mean fixation duration during task execution (representative of information processing time), and the critical stimulus duration required to support a target level of performance (representative of task efficiency). The experiment found a statistically significant increase in mean fixation duration, rising from 192 ms without distractions to 205 ms with bright-light distractions (p = 0.023). This indicates a decrease in visibility of the low contrast targets or an increase in cognitive workload that required greater processing time for each fixation in the presence of the bright-light distractions. Mean critical stimulus duration was not significantly affected by the distraction conditions used in this study. Future experiments are suggested to replicate driving and/or piloting tasks and employ bright-light distractions based on real-world data, and we advocate the use of eye-tracking metrics as sensitive measures of changes in performance.
Correction to: Broad Medical Uncertainty and the ethical obligation for openness (Synthese, (2022), 200, 2, (121), 10.1007/s11229-022-03666-2)
The original article has been corrected. During proof correction, a mistake was introduced by Springer Nature in section 2.2.1.
Functional reorganisation and recovery following cortical lesions: A preliminary study in macaque monkeys.
Damage following traumatic brain injury or stroke can often extend beyond the boundaries of the initial insult and can lead to maladaptive cortical reorganisation. On the other hand, beneficial cortical reorganisation leading to recovery of function can also occur. We used resting state FMRI to investigate how cortical networks in the macaque brain change across time in response to lesions to the prefrontal cortex, and how this reorganisation correlated with changes in behavioural performance in cognitive tasks. After prelesion testing and scanning, two monkeys received a lesion to regions surrounding the left principal sulcus followed by periodic testing and scanning. Later, the animals received another lesion to the opposite hemisphere and additional testing and scanning. Following the first lesion, we observed both a behavioural impairment and decrease in functional connectivity, predominantly in frontal-frontal networks. Approximately 8 weeks later, performance and connectivity patterns both improved. Following the second lesion, we observed a further behavioural deficit and decrease in connectivity that showed little recovery. We discuss how different mechanisms including alternate behavioural strategies and reorganisation of specific prefrontal networks may have led to improvements in behaviour. Further work will be needed to confirm these mechanisms.
Understanding Perceptual Decisions by Studying Development and Neurodiversity
A cornerstone of human information processing is how we make decisions about incoming sensory percepts. Much of psychological science has focused on understanding how these judgments operate in skilled adult observers. Although not typically the focus of this research, variability in how adults make these judgments is considerable. Here, we review complementary computational-modeling, electrophysiological-data, eye-tracking, and longitudinal approaches to the study of perceptual decisions across neurotypical development and in neurodivergent individuals. These data highlight multiple parameters and temporal dynamics feeding into how we become skilled adult perceptual decision makers, and they may help explain why we vary so much in how we make perceptual decisions.
A revised perspective on the evolution of the lateral frontal cortex in primates.
Detailed neuroscientific data from macaque monkeys have been essential in advancing understanding of human frontal cortex function, particularly for regions of frontal cortex without homologs in other model species. However, precise transfer of this knowledge for direct use in human applications requires an understanding of monkey to hominid homologies, particularly whether and how sulci and cytoarchitectonic regions in the frontal cortex of macaques relate to those in hominids. We combine sulcal pattern analysis with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and cytoarchitectonic analysis to show that old-world monkey brains have the same principles of organization as hominid brains, with the notable exception of sulci in the frontopolar cortex. This essential comparative framework provides insights into primate brain evolution and a key tool to drive translation from invasive research in monkeys to human applications.
Association of Dementia Risk With Focal Epilepsy and Modifiable Cardiovascular Risk Factors.
IMPORTANCE: Epilepsy has been associated with cognitive impairment and potentially dementia in older individuals. However, the extent to which epilepsy may increase dementia risk, how this compares with other neurological conditions, and how modifiable cardiovascular risk factors may affect this risk remain unclear. OBJECTIVE: To compare the differential risks of subsequent dementia for focal epilepsy compared with stroke and migraine as well as healthy controls, stratified by cardiovascular risk. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study is based on data from the UK Biobank, a population-based cohort of more than 500 000 participants aged 38 to 72 years who underwent physiological measurements and cognitive testing and provided biological samples at 1 of 22 centers across the United Kingdom. Participants were eligible for this study if they were without dementia at baseline and had clinical data pertaining to a history of focal epilepsy, stroke, or migraine. The baseline assessment was performed from 2006 to 2010, and participants were followed up until 2021. EXPOSURES: Mutually exclusive groups of participants with epilepsy, stroke, and migraine at baseline assessment and controls (who had none of these conditions). Individuals were divided into low, moderate, or high cardiovascular risk groups based on factors that included waist to hip ratio, history of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and smoking pack-years. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Incident all-cause dementia; measures of executive function; and brain total hippocampal, gray matter, and white matter hyperintensity volumes. RESULTS: Of 495 149 participants (225 481 [45.5%] men; mean [SD] age, 57.5 [8.1] years), 3864 had a diagnosis of focal epilepsy only, 6397 had a history of stroke only, and 14 518 had migraine only. Executive function was comparable between participants with epilepsy and stroke and worse than the control and migraine group. Focal epilepsy was associated with a higher risk of developing dementia (hazard ratio [HR], 4.02; 95% CI, 3.45 to 4.68; P
How "peer-fear" of others' evaluations can regulate young children's cooperation.
Children's cooperation with peers undergoes substantial developmental changes between 3 and 10 years of age. Here we stipulate that young children's initial fearfulness of peers' behaviour develops into older children's fearfulness of peers' evaluations of their own behaviour. Cooperation may constitute an adaptive environment in which the expressions of fear and self-conscious emotions regulate the quality of children's peer relationships.
Temporal lobe perceptual predictions for speech are instantiated in motor cortex and reconciled by inferior frontal cortex
Humans use predictions to improve speech perception, especially in noisy environments. Here we use 7-T functional MRI (fMRI) to decode brain representations of written phonological predictions and degraded speech signals in healthy humans and people with selective frontal neurodegeneration (non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia [nfvPPA]). Multivariate analyses of item-specific patterns of neural activation indicate dissimilar representations of verified and violated predictions in left inferior frontal gyrus, suggestive of processing by distinct neural populations. In contrast, precentral gyrus represents a combination of phonological information and weighted prediction error. In the presence of intact temporal cortex, frontal neurodegeneration results in inflexible predictions. This manifests neurally as a failure to suppress incorrect predictions in anterior superior temporal gyrus and reduced stability of phonological representations in precentral gyrus. We propose a tripartite speech perception network in which inferior frontal gyrus supports prediction reconciliation in echoic memory, and precentral gyrus invokes a motor model to instantiate and refine perceptual predictions for speech.
Teaching open and reproducible scholarship: a critical review of the evidence base for current pedagogical methods and their outcomes.
In recent years, the scientific community has called for improvements in the credibility, robustness and reproducibility of research, characterized by increased interest and promotion of open and transparent research practices. While progress has been positive, there is a lack of consideration about how this approach can be embedded into undergraduate and postgraduate research training. Specifically, a critical overview of the literature which investigates how integrating open and reproducible science may influence student outcomes is needed. In this paper, we provide the first critical review of literature surrounding the integration of open and reproducible scholarship into teaching and learning and its associated outcomes in students. Our review highlighted how embedding open and reproducible scholarship appears to be associated with (i) students' scientific literacies (i.e. students' understanding of open research, consumption of science and the development of transferable skills); (ii) student engagement (i.e. motivation and engagement with learning, collaboration and engagement in open research) and (iii) students' attitudes towards science (i.e. trust in science and confidence in research findings). However, our review also identified a need for more robust and rigorous methods within pedagogical research, including more interventional and experimental evaluations of teaching practice. We discuss implications for teaching and learning scholarship.
The Oxford Positive Self Scale: psychometric development of an assessment of cognitions associated with psychological well-being.
BACKGROUND: Developing, elaborating, and consolidating positive views of the self is a plausible route to increased psychological well-being. We set out to provide an assessment of positive self-beliefs that could be used in research and clinical practice. METHODS: A non-probability online survey was conducted with 2500 UK adults, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, ethnicity, income, and region. Exploratory factor analysis of a 94-item pool - generated with guidance from people with lived experience of mental health difficulties - was conducted to develop the Oxford Positive Self Scale (OxPos). The item pool was further reduced using regularised structural equation modelling (SEM) before confirmatory factor analysis. Optimal cut-off scores were developed using receiver operating characteristic curves. Additional validations were carried out with two further general population cohorts (n = 1399; n = 1693). RESULTS: A 24-item scale was developed with an excellent model fit [robust χ2 = 995.676; df = 246; CFI = 0.956; TLI = 0.951; RMSEA = 0.049 (0.047, 0.052); SRMR = 0.031]. The scale comprises four factors: mastery; strength; enjoyment; and character. SEM indicated that the scale explains 68.6% of variance in psychological well-being. The OxPos score was negatively correlated with depression (r = -0.49), anxious avoidance (r = -0.34), paranoia (r = -0.23), hallucinations (r = -0.20), and negative self-beliefs (r = -0.50), and positively correlated with psychological well-being (r = 0.79), self-esteem (r = 0.67), and positive social comparison (r = 0.72). Internal reliability and test-retest reliability were excellent. Cut-offs by age and gender were generated. A short-form was developed, explaining 96% of the full-scale variance. CONCLUSIONS: The new open access scale provides a psychometrically robust assessment of positive cognitions that are strongly connected to psychological well-being.
Do they really care? Specificity of social support issues in hoarding disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OBJECTIVES: Unmet interpersonal needs may play a role in excessive emotional attachments to objects for people with hoarding disorder (HD). Previous research indicates that social support (but not attachment difficulties) may be specific to HD. The study aimed to evaluate social networks and support in HD relative to clinical controls with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and healthy controls (HC). The secondary aim was to explore the extent of loneliness and thwarted belongingness. Potential mechanisms for deficits in social support were also considered. DESIGN: A cross-sectional between-groups design was used to compare scores on measures in those with HD (n = 37); OCD (n = 31); and HCs (n = 45). METHODS: Participants completed a structured clinical interview by telephone (to assign diagnostic categories) followed by online questionnaires. RESULTS: Whilst individuals with HD and OCD both report smaller social networks than HC, lower levels of perceived social support appear to be specific to HD. The HD group also showed higher levels of loneliness and thwarted belonging compared to OCD and HC. No differences were found between groups for perceived criticism or trauma. CONCLUSIONS: The results support previous findings of lower levels of self-reported social support within HD. Loneliness and thwarted belongingness also appear significantly elevated within HD compared with OCD and HC. Further research is required to explore the nature of felt support and belonging, direction of effect and to identify potential mechanisms. Clinical implications include advocating and promoting support systems (both personal supporters and professionals) for individuals with HD.
Sudden gains in face-to-face and internet-based Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder
Sudden gains are large and stable decreases in clinical symptoms between consecutive therapy sessions. This work examined the frequency and possible determinants of sudden gains in Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder, comparing face-to-face (CT) and internet-based (iCT) formats of treatment delivery. Data from 99 participants from a randomised controlled trial were analysed. The frequency of sudden gains was high: 64% and 51% of participants experienced a sudden gain in CT and iCT respectively. Having a sudden gain was associated with lower social anxiety symptoms at posttreatment and follow-up. There was evidence of reductions in negative social cognitions and self-focused attention immediately prior to the sudden gain, contrasting with no prior reductions in depression symptoms. Ratings of session videotapes in CT showed that clients’ statements indicated greater generalised learning in sessions immediately prior to gains, compared to control sessions. This may suggest a role for generalised learning in facilitating these large symptom reductions. There were no significant differences in results between the CT and iCT treatment formats, suggesting that the therapy content appears to play a more important role in determining participants’ large symptom improvements than the medium of treatment delivery.
Cognitive, behavioural and familial maintenance mechanisms in childhood obsessive compulsive disorders: A systematic review
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for preadolescent children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is typically derived from adult cognitive behavioural models of OCD; however, it is unknown whether these adult models apply to preadolescent children. This systematic review examined whether 11 cognitive, behavioural and familial maintenance mechanisms identified from adult cognitive behavioural models of OCD and descriptions of how family factors may maintain OCD applied to preadolescent children with obsessive compulsive symptoms/disorder (OCS/OCD; Prospero:CRD42019153371). PsycINFO, MEDLINE and Web of Science Core Collection were searched in March 2019, with forward citation handsearching conducted in March/April 2020. Twenty-nine studies were synthesised. Studies were identified for only six of the 11 proposed maintenance factors. Of the cognitive and behavioural factors, only inflated responsibility and meta-cognitive beliefs showed evidence of independent and/or specific associations with childhood OCS. Of the family factors, only less frequent displays of parental confidence, positive problem solving and rewarding of children’s independence showed some evidence of specificity to childhood OCD. Notably, findings across studies were inconsistent and existing studies have considerable methodological limitations. Experimental and prospective longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether the proposed factors maintain childhood OCS/OCD, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of CBT for preadolescent children with OCD.
Research Review: Do antibullying interventions reduce internalizing symptoms? A systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression exploring intervention components, moderators, and mechanisms.
BACKGROUND: Effective antibullying interventions may reduce the impact of bullying on young people's mental health. Nevertheless, little is known about their effectiveness in reducing internalizing symptoms such as anxiety or depression, and what factors may influence intervention effects. The aim of this systematic review, meta-analysis, and metaregression is to assess the effects of school-based antibullying interventions on children's and adolescent's internalizing symptoms. The secondary aims are to explore potential moderators, intervention components, and reductions in bullying as mediators of intervention effects on internalizing symptoms. METHODS: We searched nine databases: PsycINFO, Web of Science, ERIC, SCOPUS, CINAHL, Medline, Embase, ProQuest, and Cochrane Library, and performed an author search of included studies in English from January 1983 to April 2021. We included studies that evaluated school-based antibullying interventions using controlled designs and reporting on both bullying and internalizing outcomes. Random-effects and metaregression models were used to derive Hedges g values with pooled 95% CIs as estimates of effect size and to test associations between moderator variables and effect size estimates. Path analysis was used to test potential mediation using effect size measures of victimization, perpetration, and internalizing outcomes. Quality and risk of bias were assessed using Cochrane collaboration tools. RESULTS: This review included 22 studies with 58,091 participants in the meta-analysis. Antibullying interventions had a very small effect in reducing overall internalizing symptoms (ES, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.0284 to 0.1005), anxiety (ES, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.011 to 0.158), and depression (ES, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.014 to 0.107) at postintervention. The reduction in internalizing symptoms did not vary significantly across geographic location, grade level, program duration, and intensity. The intervention component 'working with peers' was associated with a significant reduction, and 'using CBT techniques' was associated with a significant increase in internalizing outcomes. Bullying victimization and perpetration did not mediate the relationship between intervention condition and internalizing outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Antibullying interventions have a small impact on reducing internalizing symptoms. Ongoing development of antibullying interventions should address how best to maximize their impact on internalizing symptoms to safeguard young people from the damaging mental health outcomes of bullying.
Online Support and Intervention (OSI) for child anxiety: a case series within routine clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Online treatments for child anxiety offer a potentially cost-effective and non-stigmatizing means to widen access to evidence-based treatments and meet the increasing demand on services; however, uptake in routine clinical practice remains a challenge. This study conducted an initial evaluation of the clinical effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of OSI (Online Support and Intervention for child anxiety) within clinical practice. OSI is a co-designed online therapist-supported, parent-led CBT treatment for pre-adolescent children with anxiety problems. METHOD: This case series was part of routine service evaluation in a clinic in England where families were offered OSI to treat a primary anxiety difficulty among 7- to 12-year-old children; 24 families were offered OSI, and 23 took it up. Measures of anxiety symptomatology, functional impairment and progress towards therapeutic goals were taken at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 4-week follow-up. Treatment satisfaction and engagement were also measured throughout the intervention. RESULTS: Mean anxiety symptoms significantly improved to below the clinical cut-off post-treatment, with further reduction at follow-up. Functional impairment also significantly improved and significant progress was made towards treatment goals. The majority of children showed reliable change in anxiety symptoms and reliable recovery by follow-up, and were discharged without needing further treatment for anxiety. Uptake, adherence and engagement in OSI were excellent, and parents reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment. CONCLUSIONS: We have provided initial evidence that OSI is feasible, acceptable to families, and appears to be associated with good outcomes within routine clinical practice.
Parent-led cognitive behaviour therapy for child anxiety problems: overcoming challenges to increase access to effective treatment.
BACKGROUND: Anxiety problems have a particularly early age of onset and are common among children. As we celebrate the anniversary of the BABCP, it is important to recognise the huge contribution that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has made to the treatment of anxiety problems in children. CBT remains the only psychological intervention for child anxiety problems with a robust evidence base, but despite this, very few children with anxiety problems access CBT. Creative solutions are urgently needed to ensure that effective treatments can be delivered at scale. Here we focus on parent-led CBT as this offers a potential solution that is brief and can be delivered by clinicians without highly specialised training. Over the last decade there has been a substantial increase in randomised controlled trials evaluating this approach with consistent evidence of effectiveness. Nonetheless clinicians, and parents, often have concerns about trying the approach and can face challenges in its delivery. METHOD: We draw on empirical evidence and our clinical experience to address some of these common concerns and challenges, with particular emphasis on the key principles of empowering parents and working with them to provide opportunities for new learning for their children. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude by highlighting some important directions for future research and practice, including further evaluation of who does and does not currently benefit from the approach, determining how it should be adapted to optimise outcomes among groups that may not currently get maximum benefits and across cultures, and capitalising on recent technological developments to increase engagement and widen access.