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Typically concrete words are learned better than abstract words (Kaushanskaya & Rechtzigel, 2012), and nouns are learned better than verbs (Kauschke & Stenneken, 2008). However, most studies on concreteness have not manipulated grammatical class (and vice versa), leaving the relationship between the two unclear. Therefore, in two experiments we examined the effects of grammatical class and concreteness simultaneously in foreign language vocabulary learning. In Experiment 1, English speakers learned ‘foreign language’ words (English pseudowords) mapped to concrete and abstract nouns and verbs. In Experiment 2, English speakers learned German words with the same procedure. Overall, the typical advantages for concrete words and nouns were observed. Hierarchical regression analyses provided evidence that the grammatical class effect is separable from the concreteness effect. This result challenges a strict concreteness-based source of noun/verb differences. The results also suggest that the influences of concreteness and grammatical class may vary across language measures and tasks.
The genetic component of Cannabis Use Disorder may overlap with influences acting more generally on early stages of cannabis use. This paper aims to determine the extent to which genetic influences on the development of cannabis abuse/dependence are correlated with those acting on the opportunity to use cannabis and frequency of use.
A cross-sectional study of 3303 Australian twins, measuring age of onset of cannabis use opportunity, lifetime frequency of cannabis use, and lifetime DSM-IV cannabis abuse/dependence. A trivariate Cholesky decomposition estimated additive genetic (A), shared environment (C) and unique environment (E) contributions to the opportunity to use cannabis, the frequency of cannabis use, cannabis abuse/dependence, and the extent of overlap between genetic and environmental factors associated with each phenotype.
Variance components estimates were A = 0.64 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58–0.70] and E = 0.36 (95% CI 0.29–0.42) for age of opportunity to use cannabis, A = 0.74 (95% CI 0.66–0.80) and E = 0.26 (95% CI 0.20–0.34) for cannabis use frequency, and A = 0.78 (95% CI 0.65–0.88) and E = 0.22 (95% CI 0.12–0.35) for cannabis abuse/dependence. Opportunity shares 45% of genetic influences with the frequency of use, and only 17% of additive genetic influences are unique to abuse/dependence from those acting on opportunity and frequency.
There are significant genetic contributions to lifetime cannabis abuse/dependence, but a large proportion of this overlaps with influences acting on opportunity and frequency of use. Individuals without drug use opportunity are uninformative, and studies of drug use disorders must incorporate individual exposure to accurately identify aetiology.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
This paper investigates the limited attainment of adult compared to child language acquisition in terms of learned attention to morphological cues. It replicates Ellis and Sagarra in demonstrating short-term learned attention in the acquisition of temporal reference in Latin, and it extends the investigation using eye-tracking indicators to determine the extent to which these biases are overt or covert. English native speakers learned adverbial and morphological cues to temporal reference in a small set of Latin phrases under experimental conditions. Comprehension and production data demonstrated that early experience with adverbial cues enhanced subsequent use of this cue dimension and blocked the acquisition of verbal tense morphology. Effects of early experience of verbal morphology were less pronounced. Eye-tracking measures showed that early experience of particular cue dimensions affected what participants overtly focused upon during subsequent language processing and how this overt study resulted in turn in covert attentional biases in comprehension and in productive knowledge.
This study analyzed phonological short-term memory (PSTM) and working memory (WM) and their relationship with vocabulary and grammar learning in an artificial foreign language. Nonword repetition, nonword recognition, and listening span were used as memory measures. Participants learned the singular forms of vocabulary for an artificial foreign language before being exposed to plural forms in sentence contexts. Participants were tested on their ability to induce the grammatical forms and to generalize the forms to novel utterances. Individual differences in final abilities in vocabulary and grammar correlated between 0.44 and 0.76, depending on the measure. Despite these strong associations, the results demonstrated significant independent effects of PSTM and WM on L2 vocabulary learning and on L2 grammar learning, some of which were mediated by vocabulary and some of which were direct effects.
The aim of this study is to characterize the relationship between major depression and the metabolic syndrome in a large community based sample of Australian men and women aged 26–90 years. A lifetime history of major depression was assessed by telephone interview following the DSM–III-R. A current history of metabolic syndrome was assessed following the United States National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP AP-III) guidelines 1 to 3 years later. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between depression and the metabolic syndrome, and its component criteria, controlling for age, sex and alcohol dependence. There was no association between a lifetime history of major depression and the presence of the metabolic syndrome. There was a weak association between depression and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol but not with other component criteria of the metabolic syndrome. Despite calls for interventions directed at depression to reduce the onset of the metabolic syndrome there are important failures to replicate in large samples such as this, no consensus regarding the threshold at which depression may pose a significant risk even allowing for heterogeneity across populations, and no consensus regarding confounders that may explain inter-study differences. The absence of any dosage effect of depression on the associated risk for the metabolic syndrome in other unselected samples does not support a direct causal relationship. The call for intervention studies on the basis of the currently published evidence base is unwarranted.
Previous analyses of the history of Phanerozoic marine biodiversity suggested that the post-Paleozoic increase observed at the family level and below was caused, in part, by an increase in global provinciality associated with the breakup of Pangea. Efforts to characterize the Phanerozoic history of provinciality, however, have been compromised by interval-to-interval variations in the methods and standards used by researchers to calibrate the number of provinces. With the development of comprehensive, occurrence-based data repositories such as the Paleobiology Database (PaleoDB), it is now possible to analyze directly the degree of global compositional disparity as a function of geographic distance (geo-disparity) and changes thereof throughout the history of marine animal life. Here, we present a protocol for assessing the Phanerozoic history of geo-disparity, and we apply it to stratigraphic bins arrayed throughout the Phanerozoic for which data were accessed from the PaleoDB. Our analyses provide no indication of a secular Phanerozoic increase in geo-disparity. Furthermore, fundamental characteristics of geo-disparity may have changed from era to era in concert with changes to marine venues, although these patterns will require further scrutiny in future investigations.
Alcohol dependence symptoms and consumption measures were examined for stability and heritability. Data were collected from 12,045 individuals (5376 twin pairs, 1293 single twins) aged 19 to 90 years in telephone interviews conducted in three collection phases. Phases 1 and 2 were independent samples, but Phase 3 targeted families of smokers and drinkers from the Phase 1 and 2 samples. The stability of dependence symptoms and consumption was examined for 1158 individuals interviewed in both Phases 1 and 3 (mean interval = 11.0 years). For 1818 individuals interviewed in Phases 2 and 3 (mean interval = 5.5 years) the stability of consumption was examined. Heritability was examined for each collection phase and retest samples from the selected Phase 3 collection. The measures examined were a dependence score, based on DSM-IIIR and DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence, and a quantity × frequency measure. Measures were moderately stable, with test–retest correlations ranging from .58 to .61 for dependence and from .55 to .64 for consumption. However, the pattern of changes over time for dependence suggested that the measure may more strongly reflect recent than lifetime experience. Similar to previous findings, heritabilities ranged from .42 to .51 for dependence and from .31 to .51 for consumption. Consumption was significantly less heritable in the younger Phase 2 cohort (23–39 years) compared to the older Phase 1 cohort (28–90 years).
We investigated the genetic and environmental contributions to covariation between smoking age-at-onset, cigarette consumption and smoking persistence.
Multivariate biometrical modelling methods were applied to questionnaire data from Australian twins and their siblings (14 472 individuals from 6247 families). The contributions of genetic and environmental factors to covariation between the three traits were estimated, allowing for sex differences in both trait prevalence and the magnitude of genetic and environmental effects.
All traits were moderately heritable in males and females (estimates between 0·40 and 0·62), but there were sex differences in the extent to which additive genetic influences were shared across traits. Twin-specific environmental factors accounted for a substantial proportion of the variance in smoking age-at-onset in females (0·19) and males (0·12), but had little influence (<0·08) on other traits. Unique environmental factors were estimated to have a moderate influence on smoking age-at-onset (0·17 for females, 0·19 for males), but a stronger influence on other traits (between 0·39 and 0·49).
These results provide some insight into observed sex differences in smoking behaviour, and suggest that searching for pleiotropic genes may prove fruitful. However, further work on phenotypic definitions of smoking behaviour, particularly persistence, is warranted.
Genes involved in pathways regulating body weight may operate differently in men and women. To determine whether sex-limited genes influence the obesity-related phenotype body mass index (BMI), we have conducted a general non- scalar sex-limited genome-wide linkage scan using variance components analysis in Mx (Neale, 2002). BMI measurements and genotypic data were available for 2053 Australian female and male adult twins and their siblings from 933 families. Clinical measures of BMI were available for 64.4% of these individuals, while only self-reported measures were available for the remaining participants. The mean age of participants was 39.0 years of age (SD 12.1 years). The use of a sex-limited linkage model identified areas on the genome where quantitative trait loci (QTL) effects differ between the sexes, particularly on chromosome 8 and 20, providing us with evidence that some of the genes responsible for BMI may have different effects in men and women. Our highest linkage peak was observed at 12q24 (–log10p = 3.02), which was near the recommended threshold for suggestive linkage (–log10p = 3.13). Previous studies have found evidence for a quantitative trait locus on 12q24 affecting BMI in a wide range of populations, and candidate genes for non- insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, a consequence of obesity, have also been mapped to this region. We also identified many peaks near a –log10p of 2 (threshold for replicating an existing finding) in many areas across the genome that are within regions previously identified by other studies, as well as in locations that harbor genes known to influence weight regulation.
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