Special Issue "Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Behavioral Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Roee Admon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Interests: stress; trauma; vulnerability; resilience; reward; functional MRI (fMRI); Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
Dr. Oded Klavir
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Interests: nerual-circuits; action-selection; fear; motivation; physiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Psychiatric conditions represent a highly heterogeneous group of disorders that are associated with chronic distress and a sharp decline in quality of life for the patients and their surrounding environment. All psychiatric conditions involve various combinations of maladaptive cognitive and behavioral patterns. These patterns may appear at different shapes and intensities within a given condition, but even more noteworthy, most of these cognitive and behavioral patterns are present across different psychiatric conditions. This, in turn, poses substantial challenge for current diagnostic and therapeutic efforts and may partly account for their limited effectivity. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that, rather than studying a psychiatric condition per se, studying a specific cognitive or behavioral pattern across psychiatric conditions, or along a continuum in a healthy cohort, could tremendously increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of mental disorders. Considering that many cognitive and behavioral patterns are well conserved across species, this approach may further allow the identification of underlying biological substrates, ultimately leading to better utilization of scientific findings into clinical practice in psychiatry.

The aim of the current Special Issue is to present recent findings within this broad filed of research, in order to provide new mechanistic insights on some of the most prominent cognitive and behavioral patterns that cut across psychiatric conditions. The presented evidence may emerge from studies that emphasis preclinical work across different animal models, as well as from clinical work in healthy and psychiatric populations. Furthermore, studies may focus on modelling a specific cognitive or behavioral pattern that is relevant across psychiatric conditions, or may involve modelling of several such patterns. Finally, studies that include corroborating biological substrates at the neurobiological, physiological, cellular, and genetic levels are welcome.

Authors are invited to submit relevant original research articles, as well as opinion and review papers.

Dr. Roee Admon
Guest Editor

Dr. Oded Klavir
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • psychopathology
  • normal to abnormal continuum
  • anhedonia
  • reinforcement learning
  • motivation
  • decision making
  • learning and memory
  • impulsivity
  • attention
  • social processes
  • affect
  • mood
  • stress
  • behavioral models
  • animal models
  • cross species

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1560; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121560 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 180
Abstract
Psychiatric conditions represent a highly heterogeneous group of disorders associated with chronic distress and a sharp decline in quality of life [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)

Research

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Article
Patient and Therapist In-Session Cortisol as Predictor of Post-Session Patient Reported Affect
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111483 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The importance of the role of affect in psychotherapy for major depressive disorder (MDD) is well established, but the common use of self-reported measures may limit our understanding of its underlying mechanisms. A promising predictor of patient affect is the stress hormone cortisol. [...] Read more.
The importance of the role of affect in psychotherapy for major depressive disorder (MDD) is well established, but the common use of self-reported measures may limit our understanding of its underlying mechanisms. A promising predictor of patient affect is the stress hormone cortisol. To date, no studies have studied in-session changes in cortisol in psychotherapy for MDD. We investigated whether an increase in patient cortisol over the course of a session correlated with higher negative and lower positive affect. Given previous findings on healthy individuals on the contagious nature of stress, an additional aim was to examine whether these relationships are moderated by therapist cortisol. To this end, 40 dyads (including 6 therapists) provided saliva samples before and after four pre-specified sessions (616 samples). After each session, the patients provided retrospective reports of in-session affect. We found no association between patient cortisol and affect. However, increases in patient cortisol predicted negative affect when the therapists exhibited decreases in cortisol, and increases in patient cortisol predicted positive affect when the therapists showed increases. Our study provides initial evidence for the importance of the social context in the cortisol–affect relationship in MDD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Recall and Self-Relevance of Emotional Words Predict Subjective Self-Evaluation of Cognition in Patients with MTLE with or without Depressive Symptoms
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1402; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111402 - 24 Oct 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
We examined whether word processing is associated with subjective self-evaluation of cognition in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) as a function of their depressive symptoms. MTLE patients with (MTLE +d, N = 28) or without (MTLE -d, N = 11) depression [...] Read more.
We examined whether word processing is associated with subjective self-evaluation of cognition in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) as a function of their depressive symptoms. MTLE patients with (MTLE +d, N = 28) or without (MTLE -d, N = 11) depression were compared to pair-matched healthy control participants on free recall and self-relevance ratings of emotionally valenced words. Correlation and hierarchical analyses were conducted to investigate whether the subjective self-evaluation of cognition in MTLE patients is predicted by the negative emotional bias reflected in task performance. MTLE +d patients endorsed as self-relevant fewer positive words and more negative words than the MTLE -d patients and healthy participants. They also self-evaluated their cognition poorer than the MTLE -d patients. Analyses indicated that recall and self-endorsement of emotional words predicted both self-evaluation of cognition as well as epilepsy duration. Our findings indicate that negative self-relevance emotional bias is observed in MTLE patients and is predictive of subjective self-evaluation of cognition. Application of brief behavioral tasks probing emotional functions could be valuable for clinical research and practice in the patients with MTLE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Reduced Axon Calibre in the Associative Striatum of the Sapap3 Knockout Mouse
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1353; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101353 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Pathological repetitive behaviours are a common feature of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder or tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Clinical research suggests that compulsive-like symptoms are related to associative cortico-striatal dysfunctions, and tic-like symptoms to sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. [...] Read more.
Pathological repetitive behaviours are a common feature of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder or tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Clinical research suggests that compulsive-like symptoms are related to associative cortico-striatal dysfunctions, and tic-like symptoms to sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. The Sapap3 knockout mouse (Sapap3-KO), the current reference model to study such repetitive behaviours, presents both associative as well as sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. Previous findings point to deficits in both macro-, as well as micro-circuitry, both of which can be affected by neuronal structural changes. However, to date, structural connectivity has not been analysed. Hence, in the present study, we conducted a comprehensive structural characterisation of both associative and sensorimotor striatum as well as major cortical areas connecting onto these regions. Besides a thorough immunofluorescence study on oligodendrocytes, we applied AxonDeepSeg, an open source software, to automatically segment and characterise myelin thickness and axon area. We found that axon calibre, the main contributor to changes in conduction speed, is specifically reduced in the associative striatum of the Sapap3-KO mouse; myelination per se seems unaffected in associative and sensorimotor cortico-striatal circuits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Now or Later? Stress-Induced Increase and Decrease in Choice Impulsivity Are Both Associated with Elevated Affective and Endocrine Responses
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11091148 - 29 Aug 2021
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Exposure to acute stress elicit physiological and psychological responses that can impact decision-making, often expressed as an increased tendency to act in an impulsive manner following stress. Delay discounting (DD) task has emerged as a reliable measure of impulsive behavior in the form [...] Read more.
Exposure to acute stress elicit physiological and psychological responses that can impact decision-making, often expressed as an increased tendency to act in an impulsive manner following stress. Delay discounting (DD) task has emerged as a reliable measure of impulsive behavior in the form of choice impulsivity (CI). Interestingly, studies that examined the effect of acute stress on DD performance reported mixed results. To address this, we conducted a within-subject examination of the impact of acute stress on CI, focusing on individual differences in response patterns. One hundred and fifty healthy female participants completed the DD task twice, before and after undergoing an acute laboratory stress induction procedure. Saliva samples and self-report mood and affect measures were collected at four time points throughout the session. Fifty-nine matched healthy control participants completed only the DD task twice, with no stress in between. Results indicate that the acute stress procedure elicited the expected effects of increased cortisol release and increased negative mood and affect, at the group level. With respect to DD, stress indeed increased CI at the group level, yet participants differed in the magnitude and direction of this effect. Interestingly, regression analysis revealed quadratic relations between stress-induced changes in CI and cortisol release. Indeed, dividing the sample into three sub-groups based on the impact of stress on CI revealed that, compared to participants that exhibited no substantial change in their CI following stress, participants that exhibited either stress-induced increase or decrease in their CI also exhibited more stress-induced cortisol release, as well as more negative affect. Taken together, these findings suggest that elevated physiological and psychological responses to stress are associated with either increased or decreased choice impulsivity, thus depicting quadratic relations between stress and impulsivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Opposing Association of Situational and Chronic Loneliness with Interpersonal Distance
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11091135 - 27 Aug 2021
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Loneliness is a prevalent condition with adverse effects on physical and mental health. Evolutionary theories suggest it evolved to drive people to reconnect. However, chronic loneliness may result in a negative social bias and self-preservation behaviors, paradoxically driving individuals away from social interactions. [...] Read more.
Loneliness is a prevalent condition with adverse effects on physical and mental health. Evolutionary theories suggest it evolved to drive people to reconnect. However, chronic loneliness may result in a negative social bias and self-preservation behaviors, paradoxically driving individuals away from social interactions. Lonely people often feel they are not close to anyone; however, little is known about their interpersonal distance preferences. During COVID-19, many experienced situational loneliness related to actual social isolation. Therefore, there was a unique opportunity to examine both chronic and situational (COVID-19-related) loneliness. In the present study, 479 participants completed an online task that experimentally assessed interpersonal distance preferences in four conditions—passively being approached by a friend or a stranger, and actively approaching a friend or a stranger. Results show that high chronic loneliness was related to a greater preferred distance across conditions. Intriguingly, by contrast, high COVID-19-related loneliness was related to a smaller preferred distance across conditions. These findings provide further support for the evolutionary theory of loneliness: situational loneliness indeed seems to drive people towards reconnection, while chronic loneliness seems to drive people away from it. Implications for the amelioration of chronic loneliness are discussed based on these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
The Differential Effects of the Amount of Training on Sensitivity of Distinct Actions to Reward Devaluation
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(6), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060732 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 836
Abstract
Shifting between goal-directed and habitual behaviors is essential for daily functioning. An inability to do so is associated with various clinical conditions, such as obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Here we developed a new behavioral model in mice allowing us to produce and examine the [...] Read more.
Shifting between goal-directed and habitual behaviors is essential for daily functioning. An inability to do so is associated with various clinical conditions, such as obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Here we developed a new behavioral model in mice allowing us to produce and examine the development of different behaviors under goal-directed or habitual control. By using overtraining of instrumental associations between two levers and two rewards, and later devaluating one of the rewards, we differentiate and explore the motivational control of behaviors within the task which consequentially promotes what seems like excessive irrational behavior. Using our model, we found that the ability of instrumental behavior, to adapt to a change in the value of a known reward, is a function of practice. Once an instrumental action was practiced extensively it becomes habitual and, thus, under S–R control and could not be amended, not even when resulting in a noxious outcome. However, direct consummatory or Pavlovian actions, such as licking or checking, responds immediately to the change in value. This imbalance could render an instrumental behavior excessive and unresponsive to changes in outcome while the direct change in consumption implies that the change was in fact registered. This could suggest a system that, when out of balance, can create excessive behaviors, not adapting to an acknowledged change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Perseverative Cognition in the Positive Valence Systems: An Experimental and Ecological Investigation
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050585 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 758
Abstract
Perseverative cognition (PC) is a transdiagnostic risk factor that characterizes both hypo-motivational (e.g., depression) and hyper-motivational (e.g., addiction) disorders; however, it has been almost exclusively studied within the context of the negative valence systems. The present study aimed to fill this gap by [...] Read more.
Perseverative cognition (PC) is a transdiagnostic risk factor that characterizes both hypo-motivational (e.g., depression) and hyper-motivational (e.g., addiction) disorders; however, it has been almost exclusively studied within the context of the negative valence systems. The present study aimed to fill this gap by combining laboratory-based, computational and ecological assessments. Healthy individuals performed the Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT) before and after the induction of PC or a waiting period. Computational modeling was applied to dissociate the effects of PC on reward sensitivity and learning rate. Afterwards, participants underwent a one-week ecological momentary assessment of daily PC occurrence, as well as anticipatory and consummatory reward-related behavior. Induction of PC led to increased response bias on the PRT compared to waiting, likely due to an increase in learning rate but not in reward sensitivity, as suggested by computational modeling. In daily-life, PC increased the discrepancy between expected and obtained rewards (i.e., prediction error). Current converging experimental and ecological evidence suggests that PC is associated with abnormalities in the functionality of positive valence systems. Given the role of PC in the prediction, maintenance, and recurrence of psychopathology, it would be clinically valuable to extend research on this topic beyond the negative valence systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Article
Suicidal Behavior and Club Drugs in Young Adults
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11040490 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1029
Abstract
Psychoactive drugs play a significant role in suicidality when used for intentional overdose or, more frequently, when the intoxication leads to disinhibition and alterations in judgment, thereby making suicide more likely. In this study, we investigated suicidality prevalence among drug users and evaluated [...] Read more.
Psychoactive drugs play a significant role in suicidality when used for intentional overdose or, more frequently, when the intoxication leads to disinhibition and alterations in judgment, thereby making suicide more likely. In this study, we investigated suicidality prevalence among drug users and evaluated the differences in suicide ideation, taking into account the substance categories and the association of suicide ideation intensity with other psychiatric symptoms. Subjects admitted to the Can Misses Hospital’s psychiatry ward in Ibiza were recruited during summer openings of local nightclubs for four consecutive years starting in 2015. The main inclusion criterium was an intake of psychoactive substances during the previous 24 h. The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) was used to assess the suicide risk. Suicidality was present in 39% of the study cohort. Suicide Ideation Intensity overall and in the previous month was higher in users of opioids and in general of psychodepressors compared to psychostimulants or psychodysleptics. Suicidality was not correlated with alterations in any of the major psychopathological scales employed to assess the psychiatric background of the study subjects. The presence of high levels of suicidality did not specifically correlate with any major symptom indicative of previous or ongoing psychopathological alterations. These findings suggest that impulsivity and loss of self-control may be determinants of the increased suicidality irrespectively of any major ongoing psychiatric background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Review

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Review
Watch and Learn: Vicarious Threat Learning across Human Development
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101345 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Vicarious threat learning is an important pathway in learning about safety and danger in the environment and is therefore critical for survival. It involves learning by observing another person’s (the demonstrator) fearful responses to threat and begins as early as infancy. The review [...] Read more.
Vicarious threat learning is an important pathway in learning about safety and danger in the environment and is therefore critical for survival. It involves learning by observing another person’s (the demonstrator) fearful responses to threat and begins as early as infancy. The review discusses the literature on vicarious threat learning and infers how this learning pathway may evolve over human development. We begin by discussing the methods currently being used to study observational threat learning in the laboratory. Next, we focus on the social factors influencing vicarious threat learning; this is followed by a review of vicarious threat learning among children and adolescents. Finally, we examine the neural mechanisms underpinning vicarious threat learning across human development. To conclude, we encourage future research directions that will help elucidate how vicarious threat learning emerges and how it relates to the development of normative fear and pathological anxiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)

Other

Perspective
What Is Social about Autism? The Role of Allostasis-Driven Learning
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1269; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101269 - 25 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1298
Abstract
Scientific research on neuro-cognitive mechanisms of autism often focuses on circuits that support social functioning. However, autism is a heterogeneous developmental variation in multiple domains, including social communication, but also language, cognition, and sensory-motor control. This suggests that the underlying mechanisms of autism [...] Read more.
Scientific research on neuro-cognitive mechanisms of autism often focuses on circuits that support social functioning. However, autism is a heterogeneous developmental variation in multiple domains, including social communication, but also language, cognition, and sensory-motor control. This suggests that the underlying mechanisms of autism share a domain-general foundation that impacts all of these processes. In this Perspective Review, we propose that autism is not a social deficit that results from an atypical “social brain”. Instead, typical social development relies on learning. In social animals, infants depend on their caregivers for survival, which makes social information vitally salient. The infant must learn to socially interact in order to survive and develop, and the most prominent learning in early life is crafted by social interactions. Therefore, the most prominent outcome of a learning variation is atypical social development. To support the hypothesis that autism results from a variation in learning, we first review evidence from neuroscience and developmental science, demonstrating that typical social development depends on two domain-general processes that determine learning: (a) motivation, guided by allostatic regulation of the internal milieu; and (b) multi-modal associations, determined by the statistical regularities of the external milieu. These two processes are basic ingredients of typical development because they determine allostasis-driven learning of the social environment. We then review evidence showing that allostasis and learning are affected among individuals with autism, both neurally and behaviorally. We conclude by proposing a novel domain-general framework that emphasizes allostasis-driven learning as a key process underlying autism. Guided by allostasis, humans learn to become social, therefore, the atypical social profile seen in autism can reflect a domain-general variation in allostasis-driven learning. This domain-general view raises novel research questions in both basic and clinical research and points to targets for clinical intervention that can lower the age of diagnosis and improve the well-being of individuals with autism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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