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Human infants are remarkable learners. Although they are born with very limited knowledge about the world around them, by the end of the second year of life they demonstrate highly sophisticated reasoning abilities and a robust understanding of the physical and social world. Despite recent discoveries in what infants know, important questions still exist surrounding how they come to know it. In this chapter, I explore one mechanism that spurs early learning – a drive to seek out information through preverbal gestures. To do so, I first review the evidence for information seeking during infancy (e.g. attentional biases). I then turn to infants’ understanding of adults as rich sources of information, and describe how infants transition from attending to information to explicitly seeking it out. Here, I propose that long before infants acquire the verbal abilities to ask questions, they point to request information. I then argue that interrogative pointing plays a direct role in learning, with a specific focus on the link between pointing and word learning. I conclude with an exploration of infants’ transition from preverbal to verbal information requesting through question asking.
Ichthyosporean parasites (order Dermocystida) can cause morbidity and mortality in amphibians, but their ecology and epidemiology remain understudied. We investigated the prevalence, gross and histologic appearance, and molecular phylogeny of a novel dermocystid in the state-endangered silvery salamander (Ambystoma platineum) and the co-occurring, non-threatened small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum) from Illinois. Silvery salamanders (N = 610) were sampled at six ephemeral wetlands from 2016 to 2018. Beginning in 2017, 1–3 mm raised, white skin nodules were identified in 24 silvery salamanders and two small-mouthed salamanders from five wetlands (prevalence = 0–11.1%). Skin biopsy histology (N = 4) was consistent with dermocystid sporangia, and necropsies (N = 3) identified infrequent hepatic sporangia. Parasitic 18S rRNA sequences (N = 5) from both salamander species were identical, and phylogenetic analysis revealed a close relationship to Dermotheca viridescens. Dermocystids were not identified in museum specimens from the same wetlands (N = 125) dating back to 1973. This is the first report of Dermotheca sp. affecting caudates in the Midwestern United States. Future research is needed to determine the effects of this pathogen on individual and population health, and to assess whether this organism poses a threat to the conservation of ambystomatid salamanders.
To develop and validate the Discrepancy-based Evidence for Loss of Thinking Abilities (DELTA) score. The DELTA score characterizes the strength of evidence for cognitive decline on a continuous spectrum using well-established psychometric principles for improving detection of cognitive changes.
DELTA score development used neuropsychological test scores from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort (two tests each from Memory, Executive Function, and Language domains). We derived regression-based normative reference scores using age, gender, years of education, and word-reading ability from robust cognitively normal ADNI participants. Discrepancies between predicted and observed scores were used for calculating the DELTA score (range 0–15). We validated DELTA scores primarily against longitudinal Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) and Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) scores (baseline assessment through Year 3) using linear mixed models and secondarily against cross-sectional Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
There were 1359 ADNI participants with calculable baseline DELTA scores (age 73.7 ± 7.1 years, 55.4% female, 100% white/Caucasian). Higher baseline DELTA scores (stronger evidence of cognitive decline) predicted higher baseline CDR-SOB (ΔR2 = .318) and faster rates of CDR-SOB increase over time (ΔR2 = .209). Longitudinal changes in DELTA scores tracked closely and in the same direction as CDR-SOB scores (fixed and random effects of mean + mean-centered DELTA, ΔR2 > .7). Results were similar for FAQ scores. High DELTA scores predicted higher PET-Aβ SUVr (ρ = 324), higher CSF-pTau/CSF-Aβ ratio (ρ = .460), and demonstrated PPV > .9 for positive Alzheimer’s disease biomarker classification.
Data support initial development and validation of the DELTA score through its associations with longitudinal functional changes and Alzheimer’s biomarkers. We provide several considerations for future research and include an automated scoring program for clinical use.
Disasters pose a documented risk to mental health, with a range of peri- and post-disaster factors (both pre-existing and disaster-precipitated) linked to adverse outcomes. Among these, increasing empirical attention is being paid to the relation between disasters and violence.
This study examined self-reported experiences of assault or violence victimisation among communities affected by high, medium, and low disaster severity following the 2009 bushfires in Victoria, Australia. The association between violence, mental health outcomes and alcohol misuse was also investigated.
Participants were 1016 adults from high-, medium- and low-affected communities, 3–4 years after an Australian bushfire disaster. Rates of reported violence were compared by areas of bushfire-affectedness. Logistic regression models were applied separately to men and women to assess the experience of violence in predicting general and fire-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol misuse.
Reports of experiencing violence were significantly higher among high bushfire-affected compared with low bushfire-affected regions. Analyses indicated the significant relationship between disaster-affectedness and violence was observed for women only, with rates of 1.0, 0 and 7.4% in low, medium and high bushfire-affected areas, respectively. Among women living in high bushfire-affected areas, negative change to income was associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing violence (odds ratio, 4.68). For women, post-disaster violence was associated with more severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms.
Women residing within high bushfire-affected communities experienced the highest levels of violence. These post-disaster experiences of violence are associated with post-disaster changes to income and with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms among women. These findings have critical implications for the assessment of, and interventions for, women experiencing or at risk of violence post-disaster.
To understand price incentives to upsize combination meals at fast-food restaurants by comparing the calories (i.e. kilocalories; 1 kcal = 4·184 kJ) per dollar of default combination meals (as advertised on the menu) with a higher-calorie version (created using realistic consumer additions and portion-size changes).
Combination meals (lunch/dinner: n 258, breakfast: n 68, children’s: n 34) and their prices were identified from online menus; corresponding nutrition information for each menu item was obtained from a restaurant nutrition database (MenuStat). Linear models were used to examine the difference in total calories per dollar between default and higher-calorie combination meals, overall and by restaurant.
Ten large fast-food chain restaurants located in the fifteen most populous US cities in 2017–2018.
There were significantly more calories per dollar in higher-calorie v. default combination meals for lunch/dinner (default: 577 kJ (138 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 707 kJ (169 kcal)/dollar, difference: 130 kJ (31 kcal)/dollar, P < 0·001) and breakfast (default: 536 kJ (128 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 607 kJ (145 kcal)/dollar, difference: 71 kJ (17 kcal)/dollar, P = 0·009). Results for children’s meals were in the same direction but were not statistically significant (default: 536 kJ (128 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 741 kJ (177 kcal)/dollar, difference: 205 kJ (49 kcal)/dollar, P = 0·053). Across restaurants, the percentage change in calories per dollar for higher-calorie v. default combination meals ranged from 0·1 % (Dunkin’ Donuts) to 55·0 % (Subway).
Higher-calorie combination meals in fast-food restaurants offer significantly more calories per dollar compared with default combination meals, suggesting there is a strong financial incentive for consumers to ‘upsize’ their orders. Future research should test price incentives for lower-calorie options to promote healthier restaurant choices.
Journal articles and chapters on the cognitive science of religious belief often begin by highlighting the seeming ubiquity of supernatural beliefs (e.g. Pennycook et al. 2012). It is indeed rather striking that most of the world’s population share a similar sort of belief in a deity or greater power. According to Zuckerman (2007), approximately 90 per cent of the world’s population believe in a deity. In 2011, more than 92 per cent of Americans polled by Gallup answered yes when asked ‘Do you believe in God?’ – a number effectively unchanged since 1944 (96 per cent; Gallup 2011). These sorts of observations lead naturally to the conclusion that religious belief must be grounded in common and, perhaps, foundational cognitive mechanisms. We agree, though in this chapter we will instead emphasise religious doubt, a common experience among religious and non-religious alike (Hunsberger et al. 1993). In the same Gallup poll cited above, the number of respondents who answered ‘no’ when asked ‘Do you believe in God?’ increased from 1 per cent in 1944 to 7 per cent in 2011. Moreover, only 80 per cent identified as theists, and 12 per cent identified as deists when asked to distinguish between having belief in a personal God (theism) versus believing in a universal spirit/higher power (deism) in a 2010 poll (Gallup 2011). Finally, in a 2006 version of the same poll, 73 per cent indicated that they were convinced that God exists, with the remainder of the sample indicating some doubt or disbelief (Gallup 2011).
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) history have high rates of performance validity test (PVT) failure. The study aimed to determine whether those with scores in the invalid versus valid range on PVTs show similar benefit from psychotherapy and if psychotherapy improves PVT performance.
Veterans (N = 100) with PTSD, mild-to-moderate TBI history, and cognitive complaints underwent neuropsychological testing at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month post-treatment. Veterans were randomly assigned to cognitive processing therapy (CPT) or a novel hybrid intervention integrating CPT with TBI psychoeducation and cognitive rehabilitation strategies from Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART). Performance below standard cutoffs on any PVT trial across three different PVT measures was considered invalid (PVT-Fail), whereas performance above cutoffs on all measures was considered valid (PVT-Pass).
Although both PVT groups exhibited clinically significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, the PVT-Pass group demonstrated greater symptom reduction than the PVT-Fail group. Measures of post-concussive and depressive symptoms improved to a similar degree across groups. Treatment condition did not moderate these results. Rate of valid test performance increased from baseline to follow-up across conditions, with a stronger effect in the SMART-CPT compared to CPT condition.
Both PVT groups experienced improved psychological symptoms following treatment. Veterans who failed PVTs at baseline demonstrated better test engagement following treatment, resulting in higher rates of valid PVTs at follow-up. Veterans with invalid PVTs should be enrolled in trauma-focused treatment and may benefit from neuropsychological assessment after, rather than before, treatment.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
This article systematically and quantitatively characterizes interaction dynamics and community formation based on changes in spatial patterns of contemporaneous households. We develop and apply a geospatial routine to measure changing extents of household interaction and community formation from AD 600 to 1280 on the Mesa Verde cuesta in southwestern Colorado. Results suggest that household spatial organization was shaped simultaneously by the maintenance of regular social interaction that sustained communities and the need for physical space among households. Between AD 600 and 1200, households balanced these factors by forming an increased number of dispersed communities in response to population growth and variable environmental stressors. However, as population rebounded after the megadrought of the mid-1100s, communities became increasingly compact, disrupting a long-standing equilibrium between household interaction and subsistence space within each community. The vulnerabilities created by this change in community spatial organization were compounded by a cooler climate, drought, violence, and changes in political and ritual organization in the mid-1200s, which ultimately culminated in the complete depopulation of the Mesa Verde cuesta by the end of the thirteenth century.
Group-exercise instructors are a vital social determinant of exercise enjoyment, attendance, and adherence. Instructors also affect the degree to which physical cultures are socially inclusive. In order to elucidate the roles that instructors play in affecting these outcomes, we conducted a scoping review. Scoping reviews are a preliminary method for assessing the breadth and depth of existing literature in order to identify key themes and gaps therein. Based on Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) framework, we identified 52 articles and book chapters, 33 of which were older-adult specific, using a university search engine that simultaneously searches multiple databases. We conceptually mapped the literature, which revealed instructors’ vital roles as: (1) constructors of group social cohesion, (2) cultural intermediaries, (3) competent practitioners, (4) leaders and communicators, and (5) educators. Of these, the instructor’s educative role lacks empirical attention. We conclude with implications for future research, practice, and policy.
We estimate the values of bull phenotypic traits, performance measurements, and expected progeny differences (EPDs) over time using bull sale data from an auction in Tennessee from 2006 to 2016. Moreover, we determine how a state partial-cost reimbursement program for bulls with certain EPDs affects bull sale price. Purebred seed stock producers in this region should focus on selling large, fast-growing, mature bulls that produce lighter calves for reduced calving stress. The state cost-share payment did not significantly increase bull prices in most years, meaning this payment was retained by cow-calf producers in most years.
The present study evaluates the use of multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), a type of exploratory factor analysis designed to reduce the dimensionality of large categorical data sets, in identifying behaviours associated with measures of overweight/obesity in Vanuatu, a rapidly modernizing Pacific Island country.
Starting with seventy-three true/false questions regarding a variety of behaviours, MCA identified twelve most significantly associated with modernization status and transformed the aggregate binary responses of participants to these twelve questions into a linear scale. Using this scale, individuals were separated into three modernization groups (tertiles) among which measures of body fat were compared and OR for overweight/obesity were computed.
Ni-Vanuatu adults (n 810) aged 20–85 years.
Among individuals in the tertile characterized by positive responses to most of or all the twelve modernization questions, weight and measures of body fat and the likelihood that measures of body fat were above the US 75th percentile were significantly greater compared with individuals in the tertiles characterized by mostly or partly negative responses.
The study indicates that MCA can be used to identify individuals or groups at risk for overweight/obesity, based on answers to simply-put questions. MCA therefore may be useful in areas where obtaining detailed information about modernization status is constrained by time, money or manpower.
Recent events in the workplace, government, and college campuses in the US have brought the issues of sexual harassment and assault to the forefront of media and public discussion. Industrial and organizational (I-O) psychologists are uniquely suited to help address these issues by aiding in intervention development. Specifically, I-O psychologists can provide key insight regarding the context, design, development, and evaluation of sexual harassment and assault training efforts. Although some empirical evidence suggests that trainings are effective in the short term, there is little evidence to suggest long-term attitudinal or behavioral change outside of the training environment. Much of the research in this area, however, has focused solely on the training intervention, excluding the pre- and post-training environment. Thus, the present effort focuses on designing trainings that promote transfer, as well as improving measurement of desired outcomes, to provide a framework for improving sexual harassment and assault training. This framework addresses how individual differences, needs analysis, training design, evaluation, and post-training support contribute to lasting change while addressing the unique challenges associated with sexual harassment and assault. Last, this framework provides guidance for improving research in this area as well as practical suggestions for improving training programs.
The prevalence of burnout and distress among palliative care professionals has received much attention since research suggests it negatively impacts the quality of care. Although limited, research suggests low levels of burnout or distress among healthcare chaplains; however, there has been no research among chaplains working in specific clinical contexts, including palliative care.
This study explored the distress, self-care, and debriefing practices of chaplains working in palliative care.
Exploratory, cross-sectional survey of professional chaplains. Electronic surveys were sent to members of four professional chaplaincy organizations between February and April 2015. Primary measures of interest included Professional Distress, Distress from Theodicy, Informal Self-care, Formal Self-care, and debriefing practices.
More than 60% of chaplains working in palliative care reported feeling worn out in the past 3 months because of their work as a helper; at least 33% practice Informal Self-care weekly. Bivariate analysis suggested significant associations between Informal Self-care and both Professional Distress and Distress from Theodicy. Multivariate analysis also identified that distress decreased as Informal and Formal Self-care increased.
Significance of results
Chaplains working in palliative care appear moderately distressed, possibly more so than chaplains working in other clinical areas. These chaplains also use debriefing, with non-chaplain palliative colleagues, to process clinical experiences. Further research is needed about the role of religious or spiritual beliefs and practices in protecting against stress associated with care for people at the end of life.
Current work in multicultural competency has emphasized factors such as race and ethnicity, age, disability status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender. For those clinicians who work with military and veteran populations, grounding in military cultural competence is also critical as a prerequisite for providing quality care. We believe that engaging these populations from a specifically cognitive behavioural orientation allows bridging of cultural gaps and that there is a natural alignment between cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and many aspects of warrior culture. This paper outlines several factors related to the values of military culture and strategies of the CBT therapist to better understand and use these values effectively in clinical practice, including lessons learned from an intensive outpatient program providing speciality care to veterans and military service members.
We argue for the importance of looking at the microbiota-gut-brain axis from a human developmental perspective. For this purpose, we first briefly highlight emerging research with infants attesting that the microbiome plays a role in early brain and cognitive development. We then discuss the use of developmentally informed humanized mouse models and implications of microbiome research that go beyond probiotic administration.