Behav. Sci.2014, 4(2), 87-101; doi:10.3390/bs4020087 - published online 10 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Over the past decade, many researchers have used food donation tasks to test whether nonhuman primates show human-like patterns of prosocial behavior in experimental settings. Although these tasks are elegant in their simplicity, performance within and across species is difficult to explain under a unified theoretical framework. Here, we attempt to better understand variation in prosociality by examining the circumstances that promote and hinder the expression of prosocial preferences. To this end, we tested whether capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)—a species that has previously demonstrated prosocial preferences—would behave prosocially using a novel touchscreen task. In contrast to previous studies, we found that capuchins as a group did not prosocially deliver food to a partner. Importantly however, data from control conditions revealed that subjects demonstrated limited understanding of the reward contingencies of the task. We also compared individuals’ performance in the current study with their performance in a previously published prosociality study. We conclude by discussing how continuing to explore intraspecies variation in performance on prosocial tasks may help inform debates regarding the existence of other-regarding preferences in nonhuman species.
Behav. Sci.2014, 4(1), 72-86; doi:10.3390/bs4010072 - published online 10 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Personality Disorders (PDs) impair the ability to function socially and occupationally. PD prevalence rates among veterans who have also been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) range from 45%–79%. This study examined ethnic differences in PDs assessed with the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III in 260 non-Hispanic white (64%), Hispanic (27%), and African American (9%), mostly single, women veterans in treatment for PTSD. After adjusting for covariates including number and sexual-nature of trauma, findings revealed the adjusted odds ratio of having a cluster A PD was almost three times higher for African Americans (p = 0.046) then the other two ethnic groups, which may be driven by the paranoid PD scale and potentially reflects an adaptive response to racial discrimination. In cluster designation analysis, the odds were twice as high of having a cluster B PD with childhood trauma (p = 0.046), and a cluster C PD with sexual trauma (p = 0.004), demonstrating the significance of childhood and sexual trauma on long-term chronic personality patterns in women veterans. These results highlight the importance of using instruments with demonstrated diagnostic validity for minority populations.
Behav. Sci.2014, 4(1), 53-69; doi:10.3390/bs4010053 - published online 14 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Although studies examining the biological roots of human behavior have been conducted since the seminal work Kahneman and Tversky, crises and panics have not disappeared. The frequent occurrence of various types of crises has led some economists to the conviction that financial markets occasionally praise irrational judgments and that market crashes cannot be avoided a priori (Sornette 2009; Smith 2004). From a biological point of view, human behaviors are essentially the same during crises accompanied by stock market crashes and during bubble growth when share prices exceed historic highs. During those periods, most market participants see something new for themselves, and this inevitably induces a stress response in them with accompanying changes in their endocrine profiles and motivations. The result is quantitative and qualitative changes in behavior (Zhukov 2007). An underestimation of the role of novelty as a stressor is the primary shortcoming of current approaches for market research. When developing a mathematical market model, it is necessary to account for the biologically determined diphasisms of human behavior in everyday low-stress conditions and in response to stressors. This is the only type of approach that will enable forecasts of market dynamics and investor behaviors under normal conditions as well as during bubbles and panics.
Behav. Sci.2014, 4(1), 42-52; doi:10.3390/bs4010042 - published online 22 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tobacco usage typically precedes illicit drug use in adolescent and young adult populations. Several animal studies suggest nicotine increases the risk for subsequent cocaine abuse, and may be a negative prognostic factor for treatment of cocaine addiction; i.e., a “gateway drug”. Neurotensin (NT) is a 13-amino acid neuropeptide that modulates dopamine, acetylcholine, glutamate, and GABA neurotransmission in brain reward pathways. NT69L, a NT(8-13) analog, blocks behavioral sensitization (an animal model for psychostimulant addiction) to nicotine, and nicotine self-administration in rats. The present study tested the effect of NT69L on the potentiating effects of nicotine on cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. Male Wistar rats were injected daily for seven days with nicotine or saline (control) followed by four daily injections of cocaine. NT69L was administered 30 min prior to the last cocaine injection. Behavior was recorded with the use of activity chambers. Subchronic administration of nicotine enhanced cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization in Wistar rats, consistent with an hypothesized gateway effect. These behavioral effects of cocaine were attenuated by pretreatment with NT69L. The effect of the neurotensin agonist on cocaine sensitization in the nicotine treated group indicated a possible therapeutic effect for cocaine addiction, even in the presence of enhanced behavioral sensitization induced by nicotine.
Behav. Sci.2014, 4(1), 31-41; doi:10.3390/bs4010031 - published online 10 January 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The effectiveness and length of group-delivered cognitive treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was examined in a sample of women veterans. The sample included 271 primarily non-Hispanic white (61%) and Hispanic (25%) women veterans treated in 8-, 10-, or 12-group length sessions with manualized cognitive therapy for PTSD. Outcome was measured with the PTSD Symptom Checklist (PCL) in an intention-to-treat analysis (N = 271), in completer subjects (n = 172), and with group as the unit of analysis (n = 47 groups). Significant decreases in PTSD were found in the full sample (effect size [ES] range = 0.27 to 0.38), completers (ES range = 0.37 to 0.54), and group as the unit of analysis (ES range = 0.71 to 0.92), suggesting effectiveness of cognitive group treatment for PTSD. PCL scores significantly improved in the 8, 10, and 12 group lengths, with no differences between each. Clinical improvement showed a third decreasing 10 or more PCL points and 22% no longer meeting PTSD diagnostic criteria, with the best results in the 10-session group. The results suggest group-delivered cognitive therapy is an effective, efficient, time-limited treatment for PTSD.