Science posts

See science posts on page 33 below.

    • 2008
    • Chris D. Frith et al.
    • Implicit and Explicit Processes in Social Cognition
    • In this review we consider research on social cognition in which implicit processes can be compared and contrasted with explicit, conscious processes. In each case, their function is distinct, sometimes complementary and sometimes oppositional. We argue that implicit processes in social interaction are automatic and are often opposed to conscious strategies. While we are aware of explicit processes in social interaction, we cannot always use them to override implicit processes. Many studies show that implicit processes facilitate the sharing of knowledge, feelings, and actions, and hence, perhaps surprisingly, serve altruism rather than selfishness. On the other hand, higher-level conscious processes are as likely to be selfish as prosocial.
    • 2013
    • Claire Petitmengin
    • A gap in Nisbett and Wilson’s findings? A first-person access to our cognitive processes
    • The well-known experiments of Nisbett and Wilson lead to the conclusion that we have no introspective access to our decision-making processes. Johansson et al. have recently developed an original protocol consisting in manipulating covertly the relationship between the subjects’ intended choice and the outcome they were presented with: in 79.6% of cases, they do not detect the manipulation and provide an explanation of the choice they did not make, confirming the findings of Nisbett and Wilson. We have reproduced this protocol, while introducing for some choices an expert guidance to the description of this choice. The subjects who were assisted detected the manipulation in 80% of cases. Our experiment confirms Nisbett and Wilson’s findings that we are usually unaware of our decision processes, but goes further by showing that we can access them through specific mental acts.
    • 2015
    • Hoffman P
    • The meaning of 'life' and other abstract words: Insights from neuropsychology.
    • There are a number of long-standing theories on how the cognitive processing of abstract words, like 'life', differs from that of concrete words, like 'knife'. This review considers current perspectives on this debate, focusing particularly on insights obtained from patients with language disorders and integrating these with evidence from functional neuroimaging studies. The evidence supports three distinct and mutually compatible hypotheses. (1) Concrete and abstract words differ in their representational substrates, with concrete words depending particularly on sensory experiences and abstract words on linguistic, emotional, and magnitude-based information. Differential dependence on visual versus verbal experience is supported by the evidence for graded specialization in the anterior temporal lobes for concrete versus abstract words. In addition, concrete words have richer representations, in line with better processing of these words in most aphasic patients and, in particular, p..
    • 2004
    • Clarke HF et al.
    • Cognitive inflexibility after prefrontal serotonin depletion.
    • Serotonergic dysregulation within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is implicated in many neuropsychiatric disorders, but the precise role of serotonin within the PFC is poorly understood. Using a serial discrimination reversal paradigm, we showed that upon reversal, selective serotonin depletion of the marmoset PFC produced perseverative responding to the previously rewarded stimulus without any significant effects on either retention of a discrimination learned preoperatively or acquisition of a novel discrimination postoperatively. These results highlight the importance of prefrontal serotonin in behavioral flexibility and are highly relevant to obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and the cognitive sequelae of drug abuse in which perseveration is prominent.
    • 2007
    • Clarke HF et al.
    • Cognitive inflexibility after prefrontal serotonin depletion is behaviorally and neurochemically specific.
    • We have previously demonstrated that prefrontal serotonin depletion impairs orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)-mediated serial discrimination reversal (SDR) learning but not lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC)-mediated attentional set shifting. To address the neurochemical specificity of this reversal deficit, Experiment 1 compared the effects of selective serotonin and selective dopamine depletions of the OFC on performance of the SDR task. Whereas serotonin depletions markedly impaired performance, OFC dopamine depletions were without effect. The behavioral specificity of this reversal impairment was investigated in Experiment 2 by examining the effect of OFC serotonin depletion on performance of a modified SDR task designed to distinguish between 3 possible causes of the impairment. The results showed that the reversal deficit induced by prefrontal serotonin depletion was not due to a failure to approach a previously unrewarded stimulus (enhanced learned avoidance) or reduced proactive interf..
    • 2014
    • Mathieu Jaspar et al.
    • Modulating effect of COMT genotype on the brain regions underlying proactive control process during inhibition
    • Genetic variability related to the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met polymorphism) has received increasing attention as a possible modulator of cognitive control functions. Methods In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, a modified version of the Stroop task was administered to three groups of 15 young adults according to their COMT Val158Met genotype [Val/Val (VV), Val/Met (VM) and Met/Met (MM)]. Based on the theory of dual mechanisms of control (Braver et al., 2007), the Stroop task has been built to induce proactive or reactive control processes according to the task context. Results Behavioral results did not show any significant group differences for reaction times but Val allele carriers individuals are less accurate in the processing of incongruent items. fMRI results revealed that proactive control is specifically associated with increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in carriers of the Met allele, w..
    • 2015
    • Andrea Bowes et al.
    • Metaphor creates intimacy and temporarily enhances theory of mind
    • In 3 experiments we show that, relative to reading literal sentences, reading metaphor enhances performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), an instrument meant to measure first-order theory of mind. In each experiment participants read metaphorical or literal sentences in different contexts and afterwards completed an ostensibly unrelated task, the RMET. In Experiment 1, participants were presented metaphorical or literal sentences in short discourse contexts and were asked questions about the characters in the stories. We found that when one of the characters used metaphor, they were rated as having a closer relationship. A novel finding is that the degree to which the characters are perceived as being more intimate in the metaphor condition, the higher their scores on the RMET. In Experiment 2, participants created fictive contexts to prompting literal or metaphorical sentences. This writing task was followed by the RMET. Participants who created contexts for the m..
    • 2015
    • Katie Lancaster et al.
    • Plasma oxytocin explains individual differences in neural substrates of social perception
    • The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a critical role in social cognition and behavior. A number of studies using intranasal administration have demonstrated that oxytocin improves social perception. However, little is known about the relationship between individual differences in endogenous levels of oxytocin and social cognition. In the current study, we assessed the relationship between endogenous oxytocin and brain activity during an animacy perception paradigm. Thirty-seven male participants underwent scanning and provided a blood sample for oxytocin analysis. In line with previous research, perception of animacy was associated with activations in superior temporal sulcus, inferior frontal gyrus, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Notably, participants’ levels of plasma oxytocin robustly predicted activation in areas critical for social cognitive processes, such that higher oxytocin levels were related to increased activity in dorsal mPFC, ventral mPFC, dorsolateral PFC, super..
    • 2013
    • Young-Chul Jung et al.
    • Synchrony of Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Insular-Striatal Activation Predicts Ambiguity Aversion in Individuals with Low Impulsivity
    • Personal attitude toward ambiguity contributes to individual differences in decision making in uncertain situations. Operationally, these attitudes reflect the various coping strategies elected to overcome the limited information. A key brain region involved in cognitive control for performance adjustments is the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). To test how dACC functional network connectivity would be modulated by uncertainty and differ between individuals, 24 healthy participants underwent functional MRI in 3 sequential runs: 1 resting-state and 2 decision-making task runs. Individuals with lower nonplanning impulsiveness made greater use of a Pass option and avoided uncertain ambiguous situations. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis during the task runs revealed that stronger activation synchrony between the left dACC and the right anterior insula correlated with greater use of a Pass response option. During the resting-state, stronger resting-state functional conn..
    • 2014
    • Paolo Meneguzzo et al.
    • Subliminal versus supraliminal stimuli activate neural responses in anterior cingulate cortex, fusiform gyrus and insula: a meta-analysis of fMRI studies
    • Background Non-conscious neural activation may underlie various psychological functions in health and disorder. However, the neural substrates of non-conscious processing have not been entirely elucidated. Examining the differential effects of arousing stimuli that are consciously, versus unconsciously perceived will improve our knowledge of neural circuitry involved in non-conscious perception. Here we conduct preliminary analyses of neural activation in studies that have used both subliminal and supraliminal presentation of the same stimulus. Methods We use Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE) to examine functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies that uniquely present the same stimuli subliminally and supraliminally to healthy participants during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We included a total of 193 foci from 9 studies representing subliminal stimulation and 315 foci from 10 studies representing supraliminal stimulation. Results The anter..

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