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Behav. Sci., Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Episodic future thinking (EFT), or the ability to prospectively imagine yourself at a future event, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview The Brain Resting-State Functional Connectivity Underlying Violence Proneness: Is It a Reliable Marker for Neurocriminology? A Systematic Review
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010011
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
Introduction: There is growing scientific interest in understanding the biological mechanisms affecting and/or underlying violent behaviors in order to develop effective treatment and prevention programs. In recent years, neuroscientific research has tried to demonstrate whether the intrinsic activity within the brain at [...] Read more.
Introduction: There is growing scientific interest in understanding the biological mechanisms affecting and/or underlying violent behaviors in order to develop effective treatment and prevention programs. In recent years, neuroscientific research has tried to demonstrate whether the intrinsic activity within the brain at rest in the absence of any external stimulation (resting-state functional connectivity; RSFC) could be employed as a reliable marker for several cognitive abilities and personality traits that are important in behavior regulation, particularly, proneness to violence. Aims: This review aims to highlight the association between the RSFC among specific brain structures and the predisposition to experiencing anger and/or responding to stressful and distressing situations with anger in several populations. Methods: The scientific literature was reviewed following the PRISMA quality criteria for reviews, using the following digital databases: PubMed, PsycINFO, Psicodoc, and Dialnet. Results: The identification of 181 abstracts and retrieval of 34 full texts led to the inclusion of 17 papers. The results described in our study offer a better understanding of the brain networks that might explain the tendency to experience anger. The majority of the studies highlighted that diminished RSFC between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala might make people prone to reactive violence, but that it is also necessary to contemplate additional cortical (i.e., insula, gyrus [angular, supramarginal, temporal, fusiform, superior, and middle frontal], anterior and posterior cingulated cortex) and subcortical brain structures (i.e., hippocampus, cerebellum, ventral striatum, and nucleus centralis superior) in order to explain a phenomenon as complex as violence. Moreover, we also described the neural pathways that might underlie proactive violence and feelings of revenge, highlighting the RSFC between the OFC, ventral striatal, angular gyrus, mid-occipital cortex, and cerebellum. Conclusions. The results from this synthesis and critical analysis of RSFC findings in several populations offer guidelines for future research and for developing a more accurate model of proneness to violence, in order to create effective treatment and prevention programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Change after a Trauma and Perceived Posttraumatic Growth: A Prospective Examination
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010010
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
Recent research has distinguished between actual posttraumatic growth (PTG) and perceived PTG. We used a prospective research design to measure both actual and perceived PTG in an attempt to replicate and extend previous findings. We examined college students (N = 64) who [...] Read more.
Recent research has distinguished between actual posttraumatic growth (PTG) and perceived PTG. We used a prospective research design to measure both actual and perceived PTG in an attempt to replicate and extend previous findings. We examined college students (N = 64) who experienced a traumatic event between the start (Time 1) and end (Time 2) of a semester. We included three measures of change from pre- to post-trauma: (1) Actual PTG (change scores in measures of PTG domains), (2) perceived general growth (Time 2 ratings of functioning at Time 1 subtracted from actual ratings given at Time 1), and (3) perceived PTG (self-reports of PTG on the posttraumatic growth inventory). The results revealed perceived general growth and actual PTG were significantly correlated, suggesting that participants’ perceptions of change were accurate. However, perceived PTG was not significantly related to either actual PTG or perceived general growth. Further, increases in actual PTG and perceived general growth were significantly related to decreases in distress and unrelated to coping. By contrast, higher levels of perceived PTG were significantly related to increases in distress and higher levels of avoidance coping. Our results suggest perceived PTG may be more of a coping process than an accurate recall of posttraumatic change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Posttraumatic Growth and Illusory Growth: Theory and Practice)
Open AccessArticle Education Attainment and Alcohol Binge Drinking: Diminished Returns of Hispanics in Los Angeles
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010009
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
According to the minorities’ diminished returns (MDR) theory, socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as education attainment have smaller protective effects on health risk behaviors for racial and ethnic minority groups in comparison to the ‘dominant’ social group. However, most studies of MDR theory [...] Read more.
According to the minorities’ diminished returns (MDR) theory, socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as education attainment have smaller protective effects on health risk behaviors for racial and ethnic minority groups in comparison to the ‘dominant’ social group. However, most studies of MDR theory have been on comparison of Blacks versus Whites. Much less is known about diminished returns of SES in ethnic subpopulations (i.e., Hispanics versus non-Hispanic Whites). To test whether MDR also holds for the social patterning of problematic alcohol use among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites, this study investigated ethnic variations in the association between education attainment and alcohol binge drinking frequency in a population-based sample of adults. Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, 2001, included 907 non-Hispanic White and 2117 Hispanic White adults (≥18 years old). Hispanic ethnicity (moderator), education attainment (independent variable), alcohol binge drinking frequency (dependent variable), and gender, age, immigration status, employment status, self-rated health, and history of depression (confounders) were included in four linear regressions. In the overall sample that included both non-Hispanic and Hispanic Whites, higher education attainment was correlated with lower alcohol binge drinking frequency (b = −0.05, 95% CI = −0.09–−0.02), net of covariates. A significant interaction was found between ethnicity and education attainment (b = 0.09; 95% CI = 0.00–0.17), indicating a stronger protective effect of high education attainment against alcohol binge drinking frequency for non-Hispanic than Hispanic Whites. In ethnic-stratified models, higher level of education attainment was associated with lower binge drinking frequency among non-Hispanic Whites (b = −0.11, 95% CI = −0.19–−0.03), but not among Hispanic Whites (b = −0.01, 95% CI = −0.04–0.03). While, overall, higher education attainment is associated with lower frequency of alcohol binge drinking, this protective effect of education attainment seems to be weaker among Hispanic Whites compared to non-Hispanic Whites, a phenomenon consistent with the MDR theory. Full article
Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Behavioral Sciences in 2018
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010008
Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Which Factors Influence Attentional Functions? Attention Assessed by KiTAP in 105 6-to-10-Year-Old Children
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010007
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
This research revealed the children with difficulties in attentional functions among healthy children attending primary school and aimed to identify the possible sociodemographic factors, such as the child’s age, gender, and school grade, that could influence attentive performance. The participants were 105 children [...] Read more.
This research revealed the children with difficulties in attentional functions among healthy children attending primary school and aimed to identify the possible sociodemographic factors, such as the child’s age, gender, and school grade, that could influence attentive performance. The participants were 105 children aged 6–10 years (M age = 8.6; SD = 1.04), attending primary schools. Family economic condition was mostly at a medium level (63.5%), and parents most frequently had 13 years of schooling. The computerized test KiTAP was administered to children to assess their attentional functions. Results showed a higher frequency of omissions and false alarms and a reduced speed in alertness, go/no-go, and sustained attention tasks compared to Italian norms. Hierarchical regression analyses were run with school grade, gender, and current age as independent variables and mean reaction times (and standard deviation), number of omissions, and false alarms as dependent ones. The results showed that male gender and attending a lower grade impacted on lower attentional performance in several subtests. Girls showed the best performances in tests of distractibility and impulsive reaction tendencies, while higher school grade positively influenced divided and sustained attention. These results could be useful to identify children with major attentional difficulties, and some recommendations for future studies and the implementation of attention empowerment programmes are proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Sleep Macrostructure in Patients Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010006
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease present sleep disorders with a higher frequency than the general population. The sleep architecture in these patients shows variations with respect to the normal population, so in this work it was decided to investigate the characteristics of the [...] Read more.
Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease present sleep disorders with a higher frequency than the general population. The sleep architecture in these patients shows variations with respect to the normal population, so in this work it was decided to investigate the characteristics of the macroarchitecture of sleep in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A polysomnographic study was carried out on 77 patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. All the studies were processed according to the AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events v.2.2, and to the criteria of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders 3rd ed. (2014). Processing was carried out using descriptive statistics, as well as non-parametric analysis for comparison between cases and controls. The group of patients showed significant reductions of the N2, N3, and REM sleep stages when compared with a control group, as well as a significant increase in intra-sleep wakefulness. The number of REM–NoREM sleep cycles and sleep efficiency showed marked reduction compared to the control group. There was a statistically significant difference in the macroarchitecture of sleep between patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Basic to Clinical in Behavioral Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Interaction Diagrams: Development of a Method for Observing Group Interactions
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010005
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 25 December 2018 / Published: 30 December 2018
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Abstract
Recording of team meeting’s processes with electronic devices can be problematic because of the invasiveness of the process: issues with privacy; interpretation difficulty with noise or quiet speech; and distortion of participants’ behaviour. There is a need for less intrusive methods. We developed [...] Read more.
Recording of team meeting’s processes with electronic devices can be problematic because of the invasiveness of the process: issues with privacy; interpretation difficulty with noise or quiet speech; and distortion of participants’ behaviour. There is a need for less intrusive methods. We developed the interaction diagram method by extending the directed graph nature of sociograms to capture the time sequence of events, including the identification of the person, communication behaviour, and duration of interactions. The method was tested on engineering team meetings. Data processing by quantitative and qualitative analysis is shown to be feasible. Several team roles were observed in the engineering context: Initiator; Passive collector; Explorer; Information provider; Facilitator; Arbitrator; Representative; Gatekeeper; Connector; and Outsider. The work provides a graphical representation of the record of the interaction flow during meetings. It does this without needing video recording. It is also an efficient method, as it does not require subsequent transcription or coding. It provides a procedure to quickly analyse communication situations, identify group roles, and compare group activity at different meetings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Erythropoietin Protects Against Cognitive Impairment and Hippocampal Neurodegeneration in Diabetic Mice
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010004
Received: 18 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
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Abstract
Administration of erythropoietin (EPO) is neuroprotective against a variety of experimentally-induced neurological disorders. The aim was to determine if EPO protects against hippocampal neurodegeneration as well as impairment of cognition and motor performance, associated with long-term diabetes. BALB/c mice were randomly allocated between [...] Read more.
Administration of erythropoietin (EPO) is neuroprotective against a variety of experimentally-induced neurological disorders. The aim was to determine if EPO protects against hippocampal neurodegeneration as well as impairment of cognition and motor performance, associated with long-term diabetes. BALB/c mice were randomly allocated between control, diabetic and EPO-treated diabetic groups. EPO-treated diabetic mice were administered EPO 0.05 U/kg/day i.p. three times/week for 10 weeks. Cognition was assessed by Morris water maze. Brain samples were processed for light microscopic evaluation of hippocampus. Controls showed gradual improvement of cognitive performance in water maze when comparing latency (p < 0.01) and distance swum to reach the platform (p = 0.001). There was a similar trend for improvement in EPO-treated diabetics (p < 0.001). Latency did not improve in diabetic animals indicating lack of learning (p = 0.79). In probe trials, controls and EPO-treated diabetics spent more time in the training quadrant than expected by chance (p < 0.001). Diabetics did not show memory recall behavior; performance was significantly worse than expected by chance (p = 0.023). In diabetics, there was neurodegeneration in hippocampus and reduction in number of granule cells (p < 0.01) in the dentate gyrus. EPO treatment improved these neurodegenerative changes and preserved numbers of granule cells (p < 0.1, compared to controls). Erythropoietin treatment is protective against cognitive deficits and hippocampal neurodegeneration in diabetic mice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Stress and Heart Rate Variability during University Final Examination among Lebanese Students
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010003
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 27 December 2018
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Abstract
Real-life stressors, such as university examination, cause an increase in sympathetic activity of the nervous system innervating the heart, and thus an increase in heart rate (HR). Our study aimed to detect changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during different stages of an [...] Read more.
Real-life stressors, such as university examination, cause an increase in sympathetic activity of the nervous system innervating the heart, and thus an increase in heart rate (HR). Our study aimed to detect changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during different stages of an exam in a group of 90 healthy university students (30 males and 60 females), over 4 h of monitoring divided into 1 h before, 2 h during, and 1 h after the examination. HRV was significantly highest after the exam, indicating release from stress, as compared to before and during the examination when stress was observable. Undergraduate students in different academic years did not differ in terms of stress, indicating the absence of adaptation to exam procedures. However, HR and R-R interval after the exam showed significant difference between first year undergraduate studies and first year of a graduate program, indicating a higher degree of confidence in graduate students. Results also suggest that HRV in females is significantly lower than that in males before and after examination, despite men having greater sympathetic input. In conclusion, the results of our novel study assessing stress in real-time examination show important gender differences, and lack of adaptation with academic study year. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Visual Cues, Blindfolding, Synesthetic Experience, and Musical Training on Pure-Tone Frequency Discrimination
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010002
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
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Abstract
How perceptual limits can be reduced has long been examined by psychologists. This study investigated whether visual cues, blindfolding, visual-auditory synesthetic experience, and musical training could facilitate a smaller frequency difference limen (FDL) in a gliding frequency discrimination test. Ninety university students, with [...] Read more.
How perceptual limits can be reduced has long been examined by psychologists. This study investigated whether visual cues, blindfolding, visual-auditory synesthetic experience, and musical training could facilitate a smaller frequency difference limen (FDL) in a gliding frequency discrimination test. Ninety university students, with no visual or auditory impairment, were recruited for this one-between (blindfolded/visual cues) and one-within (control/experimental session) designed study. Their FDLs were tested by an alternative forced-choice task (gliding upwards/gliding downwards/no change) and two questionnaires (Vividness of Mental Imagery Questionnaire and Projector–Associator Test) were used to assess their tendency to synesthesia. The participants provided with visual cues and with musical training showed a significantly smaller FDL; on the other hand, being blindfolded or having a synesthetic experience before could not significantly reduce the FDL. However, no pattern was found between the perception of the gliding upwards and gliding downwards frequencies. Overall, the current study suggests that the inter-sensory perception can be enhanced through the training and facilitation of visual–auditory interaction under the multiple resource model. Future studies are recommended in order to verify the effects of music practice on auditory percepts, and the different mechanisms between perceiving gliding upwards and downwards frequencies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mix and Match: An Investigation into Whether Episodic Future Thinking Cues Need to Match Discounting Delays in Order to Be Effective
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9010001
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
Episodic future thinking (EFT), or prospectively imagining yourself in the future, has been developed into an intervention tool to reduce delay discounting (DD), or the preference for smaller immediate over larger future rewards, and to make healthier choices that promote long-term health rather [...] Read more.
Episodic future thinking (EFT), or prospectively imagining yourself in the future, has been developed into an intervention tool to reduce delay discounting (DD), or the preference for smaller immediate over larger future rewards, and to make healthier choices that promote long-term health rather than short-term enjoyment. Most EFT interventions use EFT cues whose future events match the time delays of the DD task, which may limit the utility of EFT. The current study (N = 160, Mage = 35.25, 47.5% female) used a 2 × 2 factorial design with type of episodic thinking (matched, unmatched) and temporal perspective (EFT, episodic recent thinking (ERT)) as between-subject factors to investigate whether there were differences in DD for groups that had EFT cues matched to the time delays of the DD task in comparison to cues with unmatched temporal delays. The results showed EFT reduced DD compared to ERT controls, and no differences emerged between matched and unmatched EFT groups. Our findings suggest that either the process of generating EFT cues or the use of any positive and vivid future event, regardless of whether it is matched to the DD task, can reduce DD. Full article
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Behav. Sci. EISSN 2076-328X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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