Open AccessArticle
The Aesthetic Turn in Mental Health: Reflections on an Explorative Study into Practices in the Arts Therapies
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 41; doi:10.3390/bs8040041 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The paper will draw on materials from arts therapies literature and comments from experts’ panels to discuss some specific characteristics of the arts therapies and to investigate the role of aesthetic engagement for resilience and mental well-being. The arts increasingly find their way
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The paper will draw on materials from arts therapies literature and comments from experts’ panels to discuss some specific characteristics of the arts therapies and to investigate the role of aesthetic engagement for resilience and mental well-being. The arts increasingly find their way as interventions in mental health domains. However, explorations into the specific mechanisms that underpin the therapeutic effect of arts-based activities are still scarce. Qualitative data were collected from a thematic literature review and expert comments on meaningful working procedures in arts therapies. Analysis of multiple data sources revealed core themes and core procedures that occur across arts therapy modalities. This paper presents a practice informed model of arts-based methods in mental health that may serve as a conceptual frame of reference for arts therapists and as study material on the applicability of arts therapy interventions for specific mental health settings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does Discrimination Explain High Risk of Depression among High-Income African American Men?
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 40; doi:10.3390/bs8040040 -
Abstract
Background: Higher socioeconomic status is known to decrease the risk for poor mental health overall. However, African American males of higher socioeconomic status (SES) are at an increased risk for having a major depressive episode (MDE). It is not known whether perceived discrimination
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Background: Higher socioeconomic status is known to decrease the risk for poor mental health overall. However, African American males of higher socioeconomic status (SES) are at an increased risk for having a major depressive episode (MDE). It is not known whether perceived discrimination (PD) explains this risk. The current study used nationally representative data to explore the role of PD in explaining the association between high-SES and having MDE among African American men. Methods: The National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2003, included 4461 American adults including 1271 African American men. SES indicators (i.e., household income, educational attainment, employment status, and marital status) were the independent variables. 12-month MDE measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was the outcome. Age, gender, and region were the covariates. PD was the potential mediator. For data analysis, we used logistic regression. Results: Among African American men, household income was positively associated with odds of 12-month MDE. The positive association between household income and odds of MDE remained unchanged after adding PD to the model, suggesting that PD may not explain why high-income African American men are at a higher risk of MDE. Conclusions: Perceived discrimination does not explain the increased risk for depression among African American males of higher SES. Future research should explore the role of other potential mechanisms such as stress, coping, social isolation, and/or negative social interaction that may increase psychological costs of upward social mobility for African American males. Full article
Open AccessReview
What We Know About the Brain Structure–Function Relationship
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 39; doi:10.3390/bs8040039 -
Abstract
How the human brain works is still a question, as is its implication with brain architecture: the non-trivial structure–function relationship. The main hypothesis is that the anatomic architecture conditions, but does not determine, the neural network dynamic. The functional connectivity cannot be explained
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How the human brain works is still a question, as is its implication with brain architecture: the non-trivial structure–function relationship. The main hypothesis is that the anatomic architecture conditions, but does not determine, the neural network dynamic. The functional connectivity cannot be explained only considering the anatomical substrate. This involves complex and controversial aspects of the neuroscience field and that the methods and methodologies to obtain structural and functional connectivity are not always rigorously applied. The goal of the present article is to discuss about the progress made to elucidate the structure–function relationship of the Central Nervous System, particularly at the brain level, based on results from human and animal studies. The current novel systems and neuroimaging techniques with high resolutive physio-structural capacity have brought about the development of an integral framework of different structural and morphometric tools such as image processing, computational modeling and graph theory. Different laboratories have contributed with in vivo, in vitro and computational/mathematical models to study the intrinsic neural activity patterns based on anatomical connections. We conclude that multi-modal techniques of neuroimaging are required such as an improvement on methodologies for obtaining structural and functional connectivity. Even though simulations of the intrinsic neural activity based on anatomical connectivity can reproduce much of the observed patterns of empirical functional connectivity, future models should be multifactorial to elucidate multi-scale relationships and to infer disorder mechanisms. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Role of Title IX Coordinators on College and University Campuses
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 38; doi:10.3390/bs8040038 -
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to better understand the role of Title IX coordinators and their policies across four-year universities and two-year community colleges in the United States (U.S.). There is little information regarding Title IX coordinators’ training, background, and policies on
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The purpose of this study was to better understand the role of Title IX coordinators and their policies across four-year universities and two-year community colleges in the United States (U.S.). There is little information regarding Title IX coordinators’ training, background, and policies on how they handle Title IX investigations regarding sexual violence. The data come from an online survey that included 692 Title IX coordinators across four-year (private and public) and two-year campuses and represented 42 different states in the US. The current study found that most Title IX coordinators were in part-time positions with less than three years of experience. Most of the coordinators and their investigators were trained in Title IX policies. Most coordinators provide Title IX training for their students and faculty, and most have completed a campus climate survey; however, 15% had not completed a survey. The findings suggest that the majority of campuses are continuing to increase their Title IX visibility; however, there are several recommendations for campuses to improve their policies. The current study was able to shed light on how Title IX coordinators do their jobs and the role they play in helping with the challenging issues surrounding sexual violence at institutions across the nation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Performance of the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-v1.1 in Adults with Major Depressive Disorder
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 37; doi:10.3390/bs8040037 -
Abstract
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an under-recognized comorbid disorder among patients with mood disorders. ADHD is an independent risk factor for suicidal ideation and behavior and contributes to many aspects of impaired function in adults. Diagnosis of ADHD in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
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Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an under-recognized comorbid disorder among patients with mood disorders. ADHD is an independent risk factor for suicidal ideation and behavior and contributes to many aspects of impaired function in adults. Diagnosis of ADHD in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) patients is challenging due to the overlap in cognitive symptoms between the two disorders. The ADHD Self-Report Scale, version 1.1 (ASRS-v1.1) is a widely used screening instrument for ADHD in adults but its accuracy has not been evaluated previously in treatment-seeking MDD patients. We administered the ASRS-v1.1 to 55 healthy controls and 40 adults with a primary psychiatric diagnosis of MDD who were participating in clinical research studies. ADHD diagnosis was assessed via structured interview with the adult ADHD module of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview Plus version 6.0.0 (MINI) along with a psychiatrist’s assessment. Overall, full-syndrome ADHD was diagnosed in 12.5% of the MDD patients. MDD patients endorsed all 18 items of the ASRS-v1.1 more frequently than the healthy controls and the number of ASRS-v1.1 items endorsed correlated with levels of anxiety in the MDD patients. The ASRS-v1.1 demonstrated fair performance for identifying full syndrome DSM-IV ADHD diagnosis, with sensitivity 60%, specificity: 68.6%, positive predictive value 21.4%, negative predictive value 92.3% and total classification accuracy of 67.5%. Positive predictive value improved substantially when the ADHD criterion requiring symptom onset before age 7 was omitted. In adult MDD patients, a negative ASRS-v1.1 screen strongly suggests the absence of ADHD but positive screen results require careful evaluation to determine whether self-reported ADHD symptoms simply emerge from depression or whether comorbid ADHD is present. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Pilot Testing of an Internet-Based Self-Help Intervention for Depression for Indian Users
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 36; doi:10.3390/bs8040036 -
Abstract
There is a dearth of published research on uptake and utility of mental health apps in India, despite a rising global trend in the application of technology in the field of mental health. We describe the development and pilot testing of a self-help
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There is a dearth of published research on uptake and utility of mental health apps in India, despite a rising global trend in the application of technology in the field of mental health. We describe the development and pilot testing of a self-help intervention for depression, PUSH-D (Practice and Use Self-Help for Depression) for urban Indians. This guided self-help app, with essential and optional zone sections, was developed to provide a comprehensive coverage of therapeutic strategies drawn from cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, supportive psychotherapy, and positive psychology. Pilot testing was carried out using a single group pre-, post- and follow-up design in 78 eligible participants. Participants were typically young adults with major depression or dysthymia and significant impairment in functioning. Almost two-thirds of the participants had never sought professional mental health help. Significant reductions in depression and improvement in the functioning and well-being were notedon standardized measures in participants completing all 10 essential zone sections. These gains were maintained at follow-up. The results were similar for partial completers, who completed fiveout of the 10 essential sections. PUSH-D is one of the first indigenously developed self-help apps for depression and it shows promise in reducing the treatment gap for depression in India. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Cohort Study Comparing Women with Autism Spectrum Disorder with and without Generalized Joint Hypermobility
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 35; doi:10.3390/bs8030035 -
Abstract
Reports suggest comorbidity between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). People with EDS and the broader spectrum of Generalized Joint Hypermobility (GJH) often present with immune- and endocrine-mediated conditions. Meanwhile, immune/endocrine dysregulation is a popular theme in
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Reports suggest comorbidity between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). People with EDS and the broader spectrum of Generalized Joint Hypermobility (GJH) often present with immune- and endocrine-mediated conditions. Meanwhile, immune/endocrine dysregulation is a popular theme in autism research. We surveyed a group of ASD women with/without GJH to determine differences in immune/endocrine exophenotypes. ASD women 25 years or older were invited to participate in an online survey. Respondents completed a questionnaire concerning diagnoses, immune/endocrine symptom history, experiences with pain, and seizure history. ASD women with GJH (ASD/GJH) reported more immune- and endocrine-mediated conditions than their non-GJH counterparts (p = 0.001). Autoimmune conditions were especially prominent in the ASD/GJH group (p = 0.027). Presence of immune-mediated symptoms often co-occurred with one another (p < 0.001–0.020), as did endocrine-mediated symptoms (p < 0.001–0.045), irrespective of the group. Finally, the numbers of immune- and endocrine-mediated symptoms shared a strong inter-relationship (p < 0.001), suggesting potential system crosstalk. While our results cannot estimate comorbidity, they reinforce concepts of an etiological relationship between ASD and GJH. Meanwhile, women with ASD/GJH have complex immune/endocrine exophenotypes compared to their non-GJH counterparts. Further, we discuss how connective tissue regulates the immune system and how the immune/endocrine systems in turn may modulate collagen synthesis, potentially leading to higher rates of GJH in this subpopulation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
An Individual’s Connection to Nature Can Affect Perceived Restorativeness of Natural Environments. Some Observations about Biophilia
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 34; doi:10.3390/bs8030034 -
Abstract
This study investigates the relationship between the level to which a person feels connected to Nature and that person’s ability to perceive the restorative value of a natural environment. We assume that perceived restorativeness may depend on an individual’s connection to Nature and
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This study investigates the relationship between the level to which a person feels connected to Nature and that person’s ability to perceive the restorative value of a natural environment. We assume that perceived restorativeness may depend on an individual’s connection to Nature and this relationship may also vary with the biophilic quality of the environment, i.e., the functional and aesthetic value of the natural environment which presumably gave an evolutionary advantage to our species. To this end, the level of connection to Nature and the perceived restorativeness of the environment were assessed in individuals visiting three parks characterized by their high level of “naturalness” and high or low biophilic quality. The results show that the perceived level of restorativeness is associated with the sense of connection to Nature, as well as the biophilic quality of the environment: individuals with different degrees of connection to Nature seek settings with different degrees of restorativeness and biophilic quality. This means that perceived restorativeness can also depend on an individual’s “inclination” towards Nature. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Age-Related Changes in the Behavior of Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mice
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 33; doi:10.3390/bs8030033 -
Abstract
The knockout mouse model, B6.129P2-Apoetm1Unc is homozygotic for the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) deletion; thus, it is capable of developing hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis but ApoE is also a lipid-transport protein abundantly expressed in most neurons in the central nervous system, so these animals
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The knockout mouse model, B6.129P2-Apoetm1Unc is homozygotic for the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) deletion; thus, it is capable of developing hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis but ApoE is also a lipid-transport protein abundantly expressed in most neurons in the central nervous system, so these animals could also be models of neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this study was to determine age-related changes in spontaneous behavior and in learning and memory of Apolipoprotein E knockout mice. Spontaneous behavioral measurements included sleeping pattern, motor coordination and balance by rotarod and open field activity, whereas learning and memory tests included forced alternation in Y-maze, novel object recognition and passive avoidance conditioning. Significant behavioral differences between aged knockout mice and age-matched wild type strain, C57Bl/6 were found in all the behavioral tests, except for the rotarod test. Genetically’ modified mice exhibited less huddling contact during sleeping, decreased locomotor activity in novel environments and in learning and memory deficits. These results are consistent with the cognitive impairment and memory loss seen as the earliest clinical symptoms in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The ApoE knockout mice might therefore be an appropriate model for studying the underlying mechanisms involved in behavioral changes caused by neurodegenerative diseases as well as for evaluating new therapies for these pathologies. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Humans’ Relationship to Flowers as an Example of the Multiple Components of Embodied Aesthetics
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 32; doi:10.3390/bs8030032 -
Abstract
This paper phenomenologically and qualitatively explores the relationship between humans and flowers as a relationship that throws light on the synergetic dynamics of embodied aesthetics. Its methods include qualitative description and thematic analyses of preferred flower types, as well as concept maps of
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This paper phenomenologically and qualitatively explores the relationship between humans and flowers as a relationship that throws light on the synergetic dynamics of embodied aesthetics. Its methods include qualitative description and thematic analyses of preferred flower types, as well as concept maps of the general term ‘flower’ by 120 students in Israel. The results revealed the interactive perceptual-compositional elements, as well as embodied, relational, and socially embedded elements of the aesthetic pleasure associated with flowers. Implications of this case study are generalized to understand the multiple and interactive components of embodied aesthetic experiences as a deep source of pleasure through interactive stimulation by and connection to the natural world. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Concurrent and Simultaneous Use of Cannabis and Tobacco and Its Relationship with Academic Achievement amongst University Students
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 31; doi:10.3390/bs8030031 -
Abstract
The combined use of cannabis and tobacco is frequent in Europe. Few studies have nonetheless explored this pattern of consumption and its relationship with academic achievement in Spanish population. The aim of the present study was to analyze (1) the frequency of four
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The combined use of cannabis and tobacco is frequent in Europe. Few studies have nonetheless explored this pattern of consumption and its relationship with academic achievement in Spanish population. The aim of the present study was to analyze (1) the frequency of four patterns of polydrug use the last year (non-dual users of cannabis and tobacco; concurrent users: cannabis and tobacco separately; simultaneous users: tobacco in cannabis “joints”; simultaneous users: tobacco in cannabis joints alongside alcohol) by gender and age; (2) grade point average (GPA) by gender and age; (3) the association between the frequency of the four patterns of use and the GPA amongst a sample of 477 Spanish university students. The use of cannabis and tobacco (concurrent and simultaneous) and GPA were assessed by means of self-reported questionnaires. Statistically significant differences were found for the GPA with respect to gender. The GPA by the non-dual users of cannabis and tobacco was significantly higher than the GPA corresponding to the concurrent and simultaneous users. The combined use of cannabis and tobacco, regardless of the type of use (concurrent or simultaneous), is moderately related to poor academic achievement amongst university students. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Resilience in Elders of the Sardinian Blue Zone: An Explorative Study
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 30; doi:10.3390/bs8030030 -
Abstract
Background: older adults from the Sardinian Blue Zone self-report low depressive symptoms and high psychological well-being. However, the role of dispositional resilience as a determinant of these characteristics is unknown. Objectives: the current study had three aims. First, to investigate associations
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Background: older adults from the Sardinian Blue Zone self-report low depressive symptoms and high psychological well-being. However, the role of dispositional resilience as a determinant of these characteristics is unknown. Objectives: the current study had three aims. First, to investigate associations among several putative predictors, including dispositional resilience and three established markers of positive and negative mental health. Second, to determine if gender differences in dispositional resilience, independent of age and cognitive impairment, are present in this population. Third, to examine the relative importance of the predictors of self-reported mental health and well-being. Methods: 160 elders were recruited in the Sardinian Blue Zone. The participants completed self-report measures of dispositional resilience, satisfaction with social ties, physical health, depressive symptoms, and psychological well-being. Results: trait resilience was significantly associated with predictors and markers of mental health. Males had significantly greater trait resilience. In regression analyses, dispositional resilience and satisfaction with social ties were significant predictors of all markers of mental health. Other factors were significantly associated only with certain markers. Conclusions: trait resilience and strong social ties appear to be key determinants of the high mental health of Sardinian Blue Zone older adults. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Embodied Cognition and the Direct Induction of Affect as a Compliment to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 29; doi:10.3390/bs8030029 -
Abstract
We make the case for the possible integration of affect experience induced via embodiment techniques with CBT for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings. Theoretically we propose a possible integration of cognitive behavioural theory, neuroscience, embodied cognition and important processes of
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We make the case for the possible integration of affect experience induced via embodiment techniques with CBT for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings. Theoretically we propose a possible integration of cognitive behavioural theory, neuroscience, embodied cognition and important processes of client change outcomes such as the therapeutic alliance to enhance client outcomes. We draw from evidence of bidirectional effects between embodiment modes of bottom-up (sensory-motor simulations giving rise to important basis of knowledge) and top-down (abstract mental representations of knowledge) processes such as CBT in psychotherapy. The paper first describes the dominance and success of CBT for the treatment of a wide range of clinical disorders. Some limitations of CBT, particularly for depression are also outlined. There is a growing body of evidence for the added value of experiential affect-focused interventions combined with CBT. Evidence for the embodied model of cognition and emotion is reviewed. Advantages of embodiment is highlighted as a complimentary process model to deepen the intensity and valence of affective experience. It is suggested that an integrated embodiment approach with CBT enhances outcomes across a wide range of emotional disorders. A description of our embodiment method integrated with CBT for inducing affective experience, emotional regulation, acceptance of unwanted emotions and emotional mastery is given. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of the therapeutic alliance as a critical component of the change process. The paper ends with a case study highlighting some clinical strategies that may aid the therapist to integrate embodiment techniques in CBT that can further explore in future research on affective experience in CBT for a wider range of clinical disorders. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 28; doi:10.3390/bs8020028 -
Abstract
Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. In Germany, stress-induced work absenteeism costs about 20 billion Euros per year. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Central Federal
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Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. In Germany, stress-induced work absenteeism costs about 20 billion Euros per year. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Central Federal Association of the public Health Insurance Funds in Germany ascribes particular importance to stress prevention and stress management as well as health enhancing measures. Building on current integrative and embodied stress theories, Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) or arts interventions are an innovative way to prevent stress and improve stress management. CATs encompass art, music, dance/movement, and drama therapy as their four major modalities. In order to obtain an overview of CATs and arts interventions’ efficacy in the context of stress reduction and management, we conducted a systematic review with a search in the following data bases: Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Medline, Psyndex, PsycINFO and SocINDEX. Studies were included employing the PICOS principle and rated according to their evidence level. We included 37 studies, 73% of which were randomized controlled trials. 81.1% of the included studies reported a significant reduction of stress in the participants due to interventions of one of the four arts modalities. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Understanding the Role of Negative Emotions in Adult Learning and Achievement: A Social Functional Perspective
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 27; doi:10.3390/bs8020027 -
Abstract
The role of emotions in adult learning and achievement has received increasing attention in recent years. However, much of the emphasis has been on test anxiety, rather than the wider spectrum of negative emotions such as sadness, grief, boredom and anger. This paper
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The role of emotions in adult learning and achievement has received increasing attention in recent years. However, much of the emphasis has been on test anxiety, rather than the wider spectrum of negative emotions such as sadness, grief, boredom and anger. This paper reports findings of a qualitative study exploring the experience and functionality of negative emotions at university. Thirty-six academic staff and students from an Australian university were interviewed about emotional responses to a range of learning events. Data analysis was informed by a prototype approach to emotion research. Four categories of discrete negative emotions (anger, sadness, fear, boredom) were considered by teachers and students to be especially salient in learning, with self-conscious emotions (guilt, embarrassment, shame) mentioned by more students than staff. While negative emotions were frequently viewed as detrimental to motivation, performance and learning, they were also construed under some circumstances as beneficial. The findings are discussed in relation to the value of social functional approaches for a better understanding of the diverse roles of negative emotions in learning and achievement. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Neuroprotective Effects of neuroEPO Using an In Vitro Model of Stroke
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 26; doi:10.3390/bs8020026 -
Abstract
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein initially identified as a hormone synthesized and secreted by the kidney that regulates erythropoiesis. EPO, and a group of its derivatives, are being evaluated as possible neuroprotective agents in cerebral ischemia. The objective of this study, using an
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Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein initially identified as a hormone synthesized and secreted by the kidney that regulates erythropoiesis. EPO, and a group of its derivatives, are being evaluated as possible neuroprotective agents in cerebral ischemia. The objective of this study, using an in vitro model, was to determine how neuroEPO—which is a variant of EPO with a low sialic acid content—protects neurons from the toxic action of glutamate. Primary neuronal cultures were obtained from the forebrains of Wistar rat embryos after 17 days of gestation. Excitotoxicity was induced after nine days of in vitro culture by treatment with a medium containing 100 µM glutamate for 15 min. After this time, a new medium containing 100 ng of neuroEPO/mL was added. Morphological cell change was assessed by phase-contrast microscopy. Oxidative stress was analysed by measuring antioxidant and oxidant activity. After 24 h, the treatment with 100 ng of neuroEPO/mL showed a significant (p < 0.01) decrease in mortality, compared to cells treated with glutamate alone. neuroEPO treatment decreased mortality and tended to reproduce the morphological characteristics of the control. The oxidative stress induced by glutamate is reduced after neuroEPO treatment. These results confirm that neuroEPO has a protective effect against neuronal damage induced by excitotoxicity, improving antioxidant activity in the neuron, and protecting it from oxidative stress. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Active Creation on Psychological Health: A Feasibility Study on (Therapeutic) Mechanisms
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 25; doi:10.3390/bs8020025 -
Abstract
Creation is an important part of many interventions in creative arts therapies (art, music, dance, and drama therapy). This active part of art-making in arts therapies has not yet been closely investigated. The present study commits to this field of research using a
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Creation is an important part of many interventions in creative arts therapies (art, music, dance, and drama therapy). This active part of art-making in arts therapies has not yet been closely investigated. The present study commits to this field of research using a mixed-methods design to investigate the effects of active creation on health-related psychological outcomes. In an artistic inquiry within an experimental design, N = 44 participants engaged in active art-making for eight minutes in the presence of the researcher (first author) with a choice of artistic materials: paper and colors for drawing and writing, musical instruments, space for moving or performing. Before and after the creation, participants completed a well-being, a self-efficacy and an experience of creation scale, and in addition found their own words to express the experiences during the activity. We hypothesized that the experience of empowerment, freedom, impact, and creativity (Experience of Creation Scale) mediates the positive effect of active creation on the outcomes of self-efficacy and well-being, and evaluated this assumption with a mediation analysis. Results suggest that the effect of active creation on both self-efficacy and well-being is significantly mediated by the Experience of Creation Scale. This article focuses on the quantitative side of the investigation. During the process, qualitative and quantitative results were triangulated for a more valid evaluation and jointly contribute to the emerging theory frame of embodied aesthetics. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Synchronization, Attention and Transformation: Multidimensional Exploration of the Aesthetic Experience of Contemporary Dance Spectators
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 24; doi:10.3390/bs8020024 -
Abstract
The co-presence of bodies in intersubjective situations can give rise to processes of kinesthetic empathy and physiological synchronization, especially in the context of dance: the body and attention of the spectators are oriented towards the dancers. In this study, we investigate the processes
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The co-presence of bodies in intersubjective situations can give rise to processes of kinesthetic empathy and physiological synchronization, especially in the context of dance: the body and attention of the spectators are oriented towards the dancers. In this study, we investigate the processes of “body-mind” resonance between a choreography and its spectators, and more specifically the lasting impact of this resonance post-performance. We then explore the relation between the observed effects and subjective measures of attention. The study focuses on the work of the French choreographer Myriam Gourfink, who develops a unique movement, based on the slower breathing of dancers: the breathing generates an extremely slow movement without rhythmic ruptures. Phenomenological studies of her work report changes in temporal perception and changes in bodily attentional states. We made use of two cognitive tasks in order to quantify this change in temporal perception: Spontaneous Motor Tempo (SMT) and Apparent Motion effect (AM) before and after a 40-min live performance. Subjective reports were collected at the end of the performance. Physiological data were recorded before and after the performance. We performed a control experiment with a choreography of a distinctly different quality of movement. Post-Gourfink performance, we observed a significant deceleration of SMT and a decrease in its variability, while AM was reported with longer temporal intervals. Neither of these effects was observed in the control condition. Furthermore, an increase in perception of AM was correlated with a slower breathing rate after the performance. Correlations with subjective reports suggest a link between changes in cognitive and physiological dynamics and the degree of absorption of the spectators in the performance. In addition, these changes were related to specific reported attentional dispositions that we interpret as a form of attentional resonance. The ensemble of the results suggests an expansion of the “specious present” that is related to the slowing of physiological rhythms, and an attentional resonance between spectators and the choreography. The intricate relation we observed between inter-personal resonance and temporal cognition, foregrounds the notion of shared present as a neurophenomenological construct. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Coordinated Interpersonal Behaviour in Collective Dance Improvisation: The Aesthetics of Kinaesthetic Togetherness
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 23; doi:10.3390/bs8020023 -
Abstract
Collective dance improvisation (e.g., traditional and social dancing, contact improvisation) is a participatory, relational and embodied art form which eschews standard concepts in aesthetics. We present our ongoing research into the mechanisms underlying the lived experience of “togetherness” associated with such practices. Togetherness
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Collective dance improvisation (e.g., traditional and social dancing, contact improvisation) is a participatory, relational and embodied art form which eschews standard concepts in aesthetics. We present our ongoing research into the mechanisms underlying the lived experience of “togetherness” associated with such practices. Togetherness in collective dance improvisation is kinaesthetic (based on movement and its perception), and so can be simultaneously addressed from the perspective of the performers and the spectators, and be measured. We utilise these multiple levels of description: the first-person, phenomenological level of personal experiences, the third-person description of brain and body activity, and the level of interpersonal dynamics. Here, we describe two of our protocols: a four-person mirror game and a ‘rhythm battle’ dance improvisation score. Using an interpersonal closeness measure after the practice, we correlate subjective sense of individual/group connectedness and observed levels of in-group temporal synchronization. We propose that kinaesthetic togetherness, or interpersonal resonance, is integral to the aesthetic pleasure of the participants and spectators, and that embodied feeling of togetherness might play a role more generally in aesthetic experience in the performing arts. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Sensitivity to Social Contingency in Adults with High-Functioning Autism during Computer-Mediated Embodied Interaction
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 22; doi:10.3390/bs8020022 -
Abstract
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be understood as a social interaction disorder. This makes the emerging “second-person approach” to social cognition a more promising framework for studying ASD than classical approaches focusing on mindreading capacities in detached, observer-based arrangements. According to the second-person
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be understood as a social interaction disorder. This makes the emerging “second-person approach” to social cognition a more promising framework for studying ASD than classical approaches focusing on mindreading capacities in detached, observer-based arrangements. According to the second-person approach, embodied, perceptual, and embedded or interactive capabilities are also required for understanding others, and these are hypothesized to be compromised in ASD. We therefore recorded the dynamics of real-time sensorimotor interaction in pairs of control participants and participants with High-Functioning Autism (HFA), using the minimalistic human-computer interface paradigm known as “perceptual crossing” (PC). We investigated whether HFA is associated with impaired detection of social contingency, i.e., a reduced sensitivity to the other’s responsiveness to one’s own behavior. Surprisingly, our analysis reveals that, at least under the conditions of this highly simplified, computer-mediated, embodied form of social interaction, people with HFA perform equally well as controls. This finding supports the increasing use of virtual reality interfaces for helping people with ASD to better compensate for their social disabilities. Further dynamical analyses are necessary for a better understanding of the mechanisms that are leading to the somewhat surprising results here obtained. Full article
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