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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
The Language Teachers’ Target Language project (LTTL) aims to describe language teachers’ target language use domain (Bachman & Palmer 2010) and to develop a language test for future teachers of English. The team comprises four researchers from Moscow State University (MSU) and Southampton Solent University.
Many individuals who sustain moderate–severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are poor at recognizing emotional expressions, with a greater impairment in recognizing negative (e.g., fear, disgust, sadness, and anger) than positive emotions (e.g., happiness and surprise). It has been questioned whether this “valence effect” might be an artifact of the wide use of static facial emotion stimuli (usually full-blown expressions) which differ in difficulty rather than a real consequence of brain impairment. This study aimed to investigate the valence effect in TBI, while examining emotion recognition across different intensities (low, medium, and high).
Method: Twenty-seven individuals with TBI and 28 matched control participants were tested on the Emotion Recognition Task (ERT). The TBI group was more impaired in overall emotion recognition, and less accurate recognizing negative emotions. However, examining the performance across the different intensities indicated that this difference was driven by some emotions (e.g., happiness) being much easier to recognize than others (e.g., fear and surprise). Our findings indicate that individuals with TBI have an overall deficit in facial emotion recognition, and that both people with TBI and control participants found some emotions more difficult than others. These results suggest that conventional measures of facial affect recognition that do not examine variance in the difficulty of emotions may produce erroneous conclusions about differential impairment. They also cast doubt on the notion that dissociable neural pathways underlie the recognition of positive and negative emotions, which are differentially affected by TBI and potentially other neurological or psychiatric disorders. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)
If cognitive effort indexes opportunity costs, it should be investigated like other cost factors including risk and delay. We discuss recent methodological advances in behavioral economics and neuroeconomics, highlighting our own work in measuring the subjective (economic) value of cognitive effort. We discuss the implications of Kurzban et al.'s proposal and how some of its predictions may be untestable without behavioral economic formalisms.
Both HIV infection and high levels of early life stress (ELS) have been related to abnormalities in frontal-subcortical structures, yet the combined effects of HIV and ELS on brain structure and function have not been previously investigated. In this study we assessed 49 non-demented HIV-seropositive (HIV+) and 47 age-matched HIV-seronegative healthy control (HC) adults. Levels of ELS exposure were quantified and used to define four HIV-ELS groups: HC Low-ELS (N = 20); HC High-ELS (N = 27); HIV+ Low-ELS (N = 24); HIV+ High-ELS (N = 25). An automated segmentation tool measured volumes of brain structures known to show HIV-related or ELS-related effects; a brief neurocognitive battery was administered. A significant HIV-ELS interaction was observed for amygdala volumes, which was driven by enlargements in HIV+ High-ELS participants. The HIV+ High-ELS group also demonstrated significant reductions in psychomotor/processing speed compared with HC Low-ELS. Regression analyses in the HIV+ group revealed that amygdala enlargements were associated with higher ELS, lower nadir CD4 counts, and reduced psychomotor/processing speed. Our results suggest that HIV infection and high ELS interact to increase amygdala volume, which is associated with neurocognitive dysfunction in HIV+ patients. These findings highlight the lasting neuropathological influence of ELS and suggest that high ELS may be a significant risk factor for neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected individuals. (JINS, 2012, 19, 1–12)
HIV-associated neurocognitive dysfunction persists in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era and may be exacerbated by comorbidities, including substance use and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, the neurocognitive impact of HIV, HCV, and substance use in the HAART era is still not well understood. In the current study, 115 HIV-infected and 72 HIV-seronegative individuals with significant rates of lifetime substance dependence and HCV infection received comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. We examined the effects of HIV serostatus, HCV infection, and substance use history on neurocognitive functioning. We also examined relationships between HIV disease measures (current and nadir CD4, HIV RNA, duration of infection) and cognitive functioning. Approximately half of HIV-infected participants exhibited neurocognitive impairment. Detectable HIV RNA but not HIV serostatus was significantly associated with cognitive functioning. HCV was among the factors most consistently associated with poorer neurocognitive performance across domains, while substance use was less strongly associated with cognitive performance. The results suggest that neurocognitive impairment continues to occur in HIV-infected individuals in association with poor virologic control and comorbid conditions, particularly HCV coinfection. (JINS, 2012, 18, 68–78)
Background: Online CBT training is in its infancy. The initial studies have varied program characteristics and trainee groups, but results appear promising. At this stage, there is a need to evaluate programs with different characteristics to determine which are useful, and which are not. Method: This paper reports a preliminary evaluation of an online CBT training package, OCTC Online, which is distinguished from other online programs by its particularly strong focus on video presentations by trainers, accompanying PowerPoint slides, and video demonstrations of key clinical techniques. Participants (N = 94) completed online rating scales and questionnaires assessing (a) their satisfaction with the training; (b) their self-rated knowledge and confidence about the topics discussed (pre- and post-training); and (c) a multiple choice questionnaire (MCQ) objective test of knowledge (also pre- and post-training). Results: Results showed that on average students were highly satisfied with the online training modules, their self-rated confidence increased significantly, and so did their scores on the MCQ. Conclusions: The study has significant limitations but nevertheless contributes to the growing body of evidence that online training may have a useful part to play in enhancing therapists’ knowledge of CBT theory and techniques, and their confidence in using the techniques.
To those of us concerned with transnational law, and especially the role of German law on the global stage, it does not need saying that Professor Detlev Vagts is highly deserving of that Germanic and traditional scholarly honour, a Festchrift. (In this context, ‘does not need saying’ of course means ‘should be said repeatedly’.) We all owe Detlev Vagts, and as a Germanic traditionalist, I would be delighted to contribute to this volume on general principle, even if I did not know the man. But I also have personal reasons for wanting to honour Professor Vagts: he taught the basic course in corporations to generations of students at Harvard Law School. In addition, Vagts was one of the advisors to the Ford Fellows Program, which was designed to foster international law teachers. After being one such student and one such fellow, in due course I became a teacher of international and corporation law, so I owe Vagts a double debt of professional gratitude. And, as with so many other young (or once young) scholars, Vagts has been cordially supportive of my efforts to find my way in the academy, for which I am most grateful.
Such things said, however, there is another reason I am happy to have the chance to contribute to this Festschrift. A certain delicacy is called for here, especially since writing for Vagts carries me halfway back to Harvard, where such things are taken so seriously.
Characterized by frontostriatal dysfunction, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with cognitive and psychiatric abnormalities. Several studies have noted impaired facial emotion recognition abilities in patient populations that demonstrate frontostriatal dysfunction; however, facial emotion recognition abilities have not been systematically examined in HIV patients. The current study investigated facial emotion recognition in 50 nondemented HIV-seropositive adults and 50 control participants relative to their performance on a nonemotional landscape categorization control task. We examined the relation of HIV-disease factors (nadir and current CD4 levels) to emotion recognition abilities and assessed the psychosocial impact of emotion recognition abnormalities. Compared to control participants, HIV patients performed normally on the control task but demonstrated significant impairments in facial emotion recognition, specifically for fear. HIV patients reported greater psychosocial impairments, which correlated with increased emotion recognition difficulties. Lower current CD4 counts were associated with poorer anger recognition. In summary, our results indicate that chronic HIV infection may contribute to emotion processing problems among HIV patients. We suggest that disruptions of frontostriatal structures and their connections with cortico-limbic networks may contribute to emotion recognition abnormalities in HIV. Our findings also highlight the significant psychosocial impact that emotion recognition abnormalities have on individuals with HIV. (JINS, 2010, 16, 1127–1137.)
Previous efficacy studies found that many insecticides used by growers could be having an adverse effect on egg parasitoids (Telenomus podisi) developing in the eggs of the brown stink bug (Euschistus servus), while unhatched stink bugs experienced lower levels of mortality. One plausible explanation for this was that insecticides might enter parasitized eggs more readily via oviposition wounds. Parasitized E. servus eggs, as well as nonparasitized stink bug (Acrosternum hilare, E. servus, Murgantia histrionica, and Podisus maculiventris) eggs, were examined using electron microscopy. Egg response to perforation by a tungsten probe served as a control. Microscopy images depicted the chorion surface as characterized by a matrix of ridges and micropylar processes in a ring around the margin of the operculum. Observations of oviposition sites showed a “scab” formed where the ovipositor penetrated the chorion, and at sites penetrated by the probe. These formations appeared to be the result of fluids from inside the egg leaking out, drying, and hardening after oviposition or probe perforation, suggesting that the response was not due to substances secreted by the parasitoid. Further, no open wounds or holes were seen to increase the possibility of insecticides entering parasitized eggs.
John Dewey's way of thinking about thinking invites the intellectual historian. We are scholars eager to put thought in its contexts: not only contexts internal to the history of philosophy but social, political, cultural, and biographical contexts. Dewey not only shared this impulse and wrote some provocative intellectual history himself, but provided the enterprise with philosophical underpinnings. Dewey argued that human beings were thinkers only in the second instance. In the first instance, he said, the self was “an agent-patient, doer, sufferer, and enjoyer.” Thinking emerged out of non-cognitive, “primary experience” and was in the service of controlling and enriching such experience. “To be a man,” Dewey argued, “is to be thinking desire.” In one of his most often-quoted remarks, he warned his fellow philosophers that they were losing sight of their cultural embodiment and that they were on the path to terminal marginality unless philosophy “ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men.” Positions such as these not only underwrite intellectual history. They also inevitably provoke the interest of intellectual historians in Dewey's own desires, his own primary experience, and his own engagement with the problems of those outside the narrow circle of professional philosophers. They alert the antennae of intellectual biographers.
The simplest way to study learning is to expose subjects to a stimulus and then assess whether they show some effect which is absent in subjects lacking that experience (see Rescorla, 1998). One stimulus exposure effect is latent inhibition. Subjects in one group but not another are exposed to a stimulus in the absence of any other scheduled event. Then subjects in both groups are exposed to a signaling relation between that stimulus (the conditioned stimulus (CS)) and a motivationally significant event (an unconditioned stimulus (US)). The responding elicited by the CS in subjects just exposed to the signaling relation is depressed in those pre-exposed to the stimulus. Conditioned responding is said to have been latently inhibited by the prior stimulus-alone exposures. This effect has also been observed in a within-subject design where subjects are first exposed to one stimulus but not to another and then to a signaling relation between each of these stimuli and a US. Responding develops more rapidly to the novel CS than to one that had been pre-exposed (e.g., Killcross & Robbins, 1993; Rescorla, 2002a, 2002b).
Another effect of stimulus exposures is extinction. Two groups of subjects are exposed to a signaling relation between a CS and US. Then subjects in one group but not the other are exposed to the CS in the absence of any other scheduled event. The responding elicited by the CS in subjects just exposed to the signaling relation is depressed in those that additionally received the CS-alone exposures.
This study used a prospective design and the technique of structural modelling to examine the complex interrelations between psychological factors, immune status and complications after major surgery.
Twenty-nine women scheduled for elective cholecystectomy were studied prospectively. Information regarding medical history, health practices, life stressors, and coping strategies was obtained two weeks prior to admission. At this initial meeting, as well as three days after surgery, and at one month follow-up immunological tests were performed and the level of psychological distress was assessed. The study additionally included measures of post-operative complications, and infections and negative effect during follow-up.
Pre-operative immune status emerged as a key variable exerting strong effects on subsequent immune function and, thereby producing significant, indirect effects on every recovery variable. Pre-operative distress was directly linked to increased mood disturbance at follow-up. Moreover, distress significantly influenced immune function both before and after surgery, which mediated a significant impact on most recovery variables. Active coping behaviour directly increased the risk of a complicated recovery.
The study demonstrated that distress-induced changes in immune functioning have clinical relevance. Overall, the present findings suggest that recovery from surgery is facilitated in patients with a well-functioning immune system, a low-level of pre-operative distress and a passive coping disposition.
This study reports an evaluation of a 10-day training course in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). The course comprised both formal CBT workshops and clinical case supervision, and was evaluated on measures of trainee satisfaction, trainee- and assessor-rated measures of CBT skill, and clinical outcomes for a subgroup of trainees' patients. The course was well received by trainees and their post-training therapy tapes were rated significantly higher on both trainee- and assessor-rated measures of CBT skills. In addition, trainees achieved significantly better outcomes with their patients after the training course than before, suggesting that the training impacted not only on their skills but also on their effectiveness in routine clinical practice. The limitations of the study and implications for future research in training are discussed.
I have argued elsewhere that baseball – the game and its texts – constitutes a genuine American mythology and that as a mythology baseball becomes a mirror of sorts for Americans and their culture, one in which, to use Richard Wilbur's description of nature, ‘we have seen ourselves and spoken’, and wherein we have seen or may yet see ‘all we mean or wish to mean’ (‘Advice to a Prophet’). As myth, baseball narratives seek to interpret and assign meaning to experience, to provide narrative order to a chaotic flux of events, and to reconcile the opposites of existence – in Lévi-Strauss's terms, ‘to provide a logical model capable of overcoming a contradiction (an impossible achievement if, as it happens, the contradiction is real)’ (‘Myth’ 65). The attempt to achieve the impossible and overcome life's contradictions (both generally and specifically) lies at the very heart of baseball's mythic endeavour in the closing decades of the twentieth century. I am persuaded by Lévi-Strauss's claims that mythological thought is a kind of ‘intellectual bricolage’ (Mind 17) and that the mythmaker is a bricoleur, an artisan who fashions a new work from whatever he or she finds lying at hand, building, in Franz Boaz's phrase, ‘new mythological worlds’ from the shattered remains of the old. Baseball's mythmakers as bricoleurs gather debris too: not only elemental myths (including one central to this study, the apocalyptic myth of end-times), but also scraps from popular culture, modern science, and not least from baseball itself. With these building blocks, baseball's millennial mythology is an astonishing artifact, a pastiche of New Age and old age, Revelation, angels, time travel, out-of-body travel, resurrection, cybernetics and cryogenics, Lou Gehrig and the Black Sox – all assembled in a diamond-shaped world of play. The recycled mythological debris and cultural scraps which go into baseball's texts necessarily bring with them not only yesterday's and today's refuse but, along with this rubble, intertextual equivocation and uncanny implications of old mythological worlds.
Thus a simple door in an outfield wall may be a threshold between life and death; the mandala of the field may be revealed as a centre of spiritual power; a circling of the bases may constitute a hero's difficult journey and return.