Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 18; doi:10.3390/bs6030018 - published 18 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article provides an overview of the history of substance use and misuse and chronicles the long shared history humans have had with psychoactive substances, including alcohol. The practical and personal functions of substances and the prevailing views of society towards substance users are described for selected historical periods and within certain cultural contexts. This article portrays how the changing historical and cultural milieu influences the prevailing medical, moral, and legal conceptualizations of substance use as reflected both in popular opinion and the consensus of the scientific community and represented by the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Finally, this article discusses the efforts to classify substance use disorders (SUDs) and associated psychopathology in the APA compendium. Controversies both lingering and resolved in the field are discussed, and implications for the future of SUD diagnoses are identified.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 17; doi:10.3390/bs6030017 - published 5 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Traditional factors that once explained men’s sexual difficulties appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, decreased sexual satisfaction, and diminished libido during partnered sex in men under 40. This review (1) considers data from multiple domains, e.g., clinical, biological (addiction/urology), psychological (sexual conditioning), sociological; and (2) presents a series of clinical reports, all with the aim of proposing a possible direction for future research of this phenomenon. Alterations to the brain's motivational system are explored as a possible etiology underlying pornography-related sexual dysfunctions. This review also considers evidence that Internet pornography’s unique properties (limitless novelty, potential for easy escalation to more extreme material, video format, etc.) may be potent enough to condition sexual arousal to aspects of Internet pornography use that do not readily transition to real-life partners, such that sex with desired partners may not register as meeting expectations and arousal declines. Clinical reports suggest that terminating Internet pornography use is sometimes sufficient to reverse negative effects, underscoring the need for extensive investigation using methodologies that have subjects remove the variable of Internet pornography use. In the interim, a simple diagnostic protocol for assessing patients with porn-induced sexual dysfunction is put forth.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 16; doi:10.3390/bs6030016 - published 3 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The ego-depletion hypothesis states that self-control diminishes over time and with exertion. Accordingly, the glucose hypothesis attributes this depletion of self-control resources to decreases in blood glucose levels. Research has led to mixed findings among humans and nonhuman animals, with limited evidence for such a link between glucose and self-control among closely-related nonhuman primate species, but some evidence from more distantly related species (e.g., honeybees and dogs). We tested this hypothesis in capuchin monkeys by manipulating the sugar content of a calorie-matched breakfast meal following a nocturnal fast, and then presenting each monkey with the accumulation self-control task. Monkeys were presented with food items one-by-one until the subject retrieved and ate the accumulating items, which required continual inhibition of food retrieval in the face of an increasingly desirable reward. Results indicated no relationship between self-control performance on the accumulation task and glucose ingestion levels following a fast. These results do not provide support for the glucose hypothesis of self-control among capuchin monkeys within the presented paradigm. Further research assessing self-control and its physiological correlates among closely- and distantly-related species is warranted to shed light on the mechanisms underlying self-control behavior.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 15; doi:10.3390/bs6030015 - published 21 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Little comparative work has focused on what nonhumans understand about what physical acts others are capable of performing, and none has yet done so in the wild, or within a competitive framework. This study shows that North Island robins visually attend to human limbs in the context of determining who to steal food from. We presented 24 wild North Island Robins (Petroica longipes) with two experimenters. Robins could choose to steal a mealworm from one of two experimenters: one whose limbs were exposed and one who underwent a range of visual obstructions in two experiments. In most conditions, robins preferred to steal food located near the experimenter whose limbs were obscured by a cloth or board rather than food located near the experimenter whose limbs were not obscured. The robins’ responses indicate that human limb visibility is associated with reduced access to food. Current findings lay the groundwork for a closer look at the potential general use of causal reasoning in an inter-specific context of using limbs to perform physical acts, specifically within the context of pilfering. This study presents one of the first tests of the role of visual attendance of potential limb availability in a competitive context, and could provide an alternative hypothesis for how other species have passed tests designed to examine what individuals understand about the physical acts others are capable of performing.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 14; doi:10.3390/bs6030014 - published 15 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Mood is the changing expression of emotion and can be described as a spectrum. The outermost ends of this spectrum highlight two states, the lowest low, melancholia, and the highest high, mania. These mood extremes have been documented repeatedly in human history, being first systematically described by Hippocrates. Nineteenth century contemporaries Falret and Baillarger described two forms of an extreme mood disorder, with the validity and accuracy of both debated. Regardless, the concept of a cycling mood disease was accepted before the end of the 19th century. Kraepelin then described “manic depressive insanity” and presented his description of a full spectrum of mood dysfunction which could be exhibited through single episodes of mania or depression or a complement of many episodes of each. It was this concept which was incorporated into the first DSM and carried out until DSM-III, in which the description of episodic mood dysfunction was used to build a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Criticism of this approach is explored through discussion of the bipolar spectrum concept and some recent examinations of the clinical validity of these DSM diagnoses are presented. The concept of bipolar disorder in children is also explored.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(3), 13; doi:10.3390/bs6030013 - published 7 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: What, if anything, is special about human imitation? An evaluation of enculturated apes’ imitation skills, a “best case scenario” of non-human apes’ imitation performance, reveals important similarities and differences between this special population of apes and human children. Candidates for shared imitation mechanisms include the ability to imitate various familiar transitive responses and object–object actions that involve familiar tools. Candidates for uniquely derived imitation mechanisms include: imitating novel transitive actions and novel tool-using responses as well as imitating opaque or intransitive gestures, regardless of familiarity. While the evidence demonstrates that enculturated apes outperform non-enculturated apes and perform more like human children, all apes, regardless of rearing history, generally excel at imitating familiar, over-rehearsed responses and are poor, relative to human children, at imitating novel, opaque or intransitive responses. Given the similarities between the sensory and motor systems of preschool age human children and non-human apes, it is unlikely that differences in sensory input and/or motor-output alone explain the observed discontinuities in imitation performance. The special rearing history of enculturated apes—including imitation-specific training—further diminishes arguments suggesting that differences are experience-dependent. Here, it is argued that such differences are best explained by distinct, specialized mechanisms that have evolved for copying rules and responses in particular content domains. Uniquely derived social and imitation learning mechanisms may represent adaptations for learning novel communicative gestures and complex tool-use. Given our species’ dependence on both language and tools, mechanisms that accelerated learning in these domains are likely to have faced intense selective pressures, starting with the earliest of human ancestors.