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Men sexually interested in children of a specific combination of maturity and sex tend to show some lesser interest in other categories of persons. Patterns of men's sexual interest across erotic targets' categories of maturity and sex have both clinical and basic scientific implications.
We examined the structure of men's sexual interest in adult, pubescent, and prepubescent males and females using multidimensional scaling (MDS) across four datasets, using three large samples and three indicators of sexual interest: phallometric response to erotic stimuli, sexual offense history, and self-reported sexual attraction. The samples were highly enriched for men sexually interested in children and men accused of sexual offenses.
Results supported a two-dimensional MDS solution, with one dimension representing erotic targets' biological sex and the other dimension representing their sexual maturity. The dimension of sexual maturity placed adults and prepubescent children on opposite ends, and pubescent children intermediate. Differences between men's sexual interest in adults and prepubescent children of the same sex were similar in magnitude to the differences between their sexual interest in adult men and women. Sexual interest in adult men was no more associated with sexual interest in boys than sexual interest in adult women was associated with sexual interest in girls.
Erotic targets' sexual maturity and biological sex play important roles in men's preferences, which are predictive of sexual offending. The magnitude of men's preferences for prepubescent children v. adults of their preferred sex is large.
Emotional experiences are often more likely than neutral experiences to be remembered, or to be retrieved richly. In this chapter, we provide an overview of how the effects of emotion arise, emphasizing the effects that operate during the initial experience of the event (encoding), the storage and stabilization of the memory trace for that experience (consolidation), and the accessing of that trace (retrieval). We discuss how these effects of emotion can explain both why emotion enhances many aspects of memory throughout the adult life span and also why there are often age-by-valence interactions in memory, with older adults remembering information more positively than younger adults.
Without brain systems that modulate arousal, we would not be able to have daily sleep-wake cycles, focus attention when needed, experience emotional responses, or even maintain consciousness. Thus, it is not surprising that there are multiple overlapping neurotransmitter systems that control arousal. In aging, most of these systems show decline in basic features such as number of receptors and transporters, and sometimes even in neuron count. These declines have the potential to disrupt basic arousal functions. Compensatory increases in activity in some of these systems allow for maintained levels of circulating neurotransmitters in those systems – but at the cost of reduced dynamic range in arousal responses.
The use of benzodiazepines seems to be associated with a deficit in the levels of arousal and attention during vigil. A number of studies have found residual effects a few hours after the intake of these drugs. This paper assesses the effects of a single dose of 10 mg diazepam on self-informed arousal (as evaluated with the Stanford Sleepiness Scale) and sustained attention (as evaluated with the Toulouse Piéron test) the morning after oral intake (11 hours later). Potential differences in the residual effects of benzodiazepines on men and women were also examined. A sample of 42 healthy young university students (21 female, 21 male) was exposed to three counterbalanced experimental conditions (control, placebo, diazepam). Diazepam only caused a reduction in arousal in women, and this deficit was similar to that caused by the intake of a placebo.
Affective dysregulation is a core feature of bipolar disorder (BD) and a significant predictor of clinical and functional outcome. Affective dysregulation can arise from abnormalities in multiple processes. This study addresses the knowledge gap regarding the precise nature of the processes that may be dysregulated in BD and their relationship to the clinical expression of the disorder.
Patients with BD (n = 45) who were either in remission or in a depressive or manic state and healthy individuals (n = 101) were compared in terms of the intensity, duration and physiological response (measured using inter-beat intervals and skin conductance) to affective and neutral pictures during passive viewing and during experiential suppression.
Compared to healthy individuals, patients with BD evidenced increased affective reactivity to neutral pictures and reduced maintenance of subjective affective responses to all pictures. This pattern was present irrespective of clinical state but was more pronounced in symptomatic patients, regardless of polarity. Patients, regardless of symptomatic status, were comparable to healthy individuals in terms of physiological arousal and voluntary control of affective responses.
Our study demonstrates that increased affective reactivity to neutral stimuli and decreased maintenance of affective responses are key dimensions of affective dysregulation in BD.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with disrupted emotional processes including impaired regulation of approach behavior and positive affect, irritability, and anger. Enhanced reactivity to emotional cues may be an underlying process. Pupil dilation is an indirect index of arousal, modulated by the autonomic nervous system and activity in the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system. In the current study, pupil dilation was recorded while 8- to 12- year old children (n = 71, 26 with a diagnosis of ADHD and 45 typically developing), viewed images of emotional faces. Parent-rated hyperactive/impulsive symptoms were uniquely linked to higher pupil dilation to happy, but not fearful, angry, or neutral faces. This was not explained by comorbid externalizing symptoms. Together, these results suggest that hyperactive/impulsive symptoms are associated with hyperresponsiveness to approach-related emotional cues across a wide range of symptom severity.
The nature and consequences of readers’ affective engagement with literature has, in recent years, captured the attention of experimental psychologists and philosophers alike. Psychological studies have focused principally on the causal mechanisms explaining our affective interactions with fictions, prescinding from questions concerning their rational justifiability. Transportation Theory, for instance, has sought to map out the mechanisms the reader tracks the narrative experientially, mirroring its descriptions through first-personal perceptual imaginings, affective and motor responses and even evaluative beliefs. Analytical philosophers, by contrast, have largely focussed on the problems fiction poses for traditional theories of rationality (as in the ‘Paradox of Fiction), challenging fiction’s wider epistemic value. The result has been a theoretical impasse in which the power of fiction to affectively ‘transport’ a reader is at once often lauded (by psychologists) as a privileged route to interpersonal understanding, and condemned (by philosophers) as an abdication of the authority of reason. This chapter surveys some of the central claims on both sides, tracing the source of the debate to competing conceptions of rationality.
This study explored the effect of the perceived social content of affective pictures on the subjective evaluation of affective valence and arousal. For this purpose, we established three categories of social content (pictures without people, with one person and with two or more people). A sample of 161 subjects rated 200 pictures varying in affective valence (unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant), arousal and social content. Results of two-factor analysis of variance, F(4, 157) = 71.7, p < .001, ηp2 = .31, showed that perceived social content influenced the ratings of affective valence, specially for unpleasant pictures, with the greatest social content (two or more people) leading subjects to rate unpleasant pictures with the lowest ratings (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .001). Regarding arousal, F(4, 157) = 64.0, p < .001, ηp2 = .29), the higher the social content, the higher the arousal ratings, but only for pleasant (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .007) and unpleasant (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .001) pictures. Overall, this study demonstrated an effect of the perceived social content on the subjective evaluation of affective valence and arousal of emotional stimuli.
As early as infancy, caregivers’ facial expressions shape children's behaviors, help them regulate their emotions, and encourage or dissuade their interpersonal agency. In childhood and adolescence, proficiencies in producing and decoding facial expressions promote social competence, whereas deficiencies characterize several forms of psychopathology. To date, however, studying facial expressions has been hampered by the labor-intensive, time-consuming nature of human coding. We describe a partial solution: automated facial expression coding (AFEC), which combines computer vision and machine learning to code facial expressions in real time. Although AFEC cannot capture the full complexity of human emotion, it codes positive affect, negative affect, and arousal—core Research Domain Criteria constructs—as accurately as humans, and it characterizes emotion dysregulation with greater specificity than other objective measures such as autonomic responding. We provide an example in which we use AFEC to evaluate emotion dynamics in mother–daughter dyads engaged in conflict. Among other findings, AFEC (a) shows convergent validity with a validated human coding scheme, (b) distinguishes among risk groups, and (c) detects developmental increases in positive dyadic affect correspondence as teen daughters age. Although more research is needed to realize the full potential of AFEC, findings demonstrate its current utility in research on emotion dysregulation.
Whilst preterm-born individuals have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and are reported to have ADHD-like attention and arousal impairments, direct group comparisons are scarce.
We directly compared preterm-born adolescents (n = 186) to term-born adolescents with ADHD (n = 69), and term-born controls (n = 135), aged 11–23, on cognitive-performance, event-related potential and skin conductance level (SCL) measures associated with attention and arousal. The measures are from baseline and fast-incentive conditions of a four-choice reaction time task, previously shown to discriminate between the individuals with ADHD and controls. We aimed to establish whether preterm-born adolescents show: (a) identical cognitive-neurophysiological impairments to term-born adolescents with ADHD (b) possible additional impairments, and whether (c) the observed impairments correlate with ADHD symptom scores.
The preterm group, like the term-born ADHD group, showed increased mean reaction time (MRT) and reaction time variability (RTV) in the baseline condition, and attenuated contingent negative variation (CNV) amplitude (response preparation) in the fast-incentive condition. The preterm group, only, did not show significant within-group adjustments in P3 amplitude (attention allocation) and SCL (peripheral arousal). Dimensional analyses showed that ADHD symptoms scores correlated significantly with MRT, RTV and CNV amplitude only.
We find impairments in cognition and brain function in preterm-born adolescents that are linked to increased ADHD symptoms, as well as further impairments, in lack of malleability in neurophysiological processes. Our findings indicate that such impairments extend at least to adolescence. Future studies should extend these investigations into adulthood.
Two major semantic features of emotion concepts have been shown to impact performance in emotion perception tasks: valence and arousal. To design psycholinguistic experiments with emotion terms as stimuli, norms are required that indicate valence and arousal values for individual words. Although such norms are usually obtained from ratings of adults, they are often also used in developmental studies. This procedure raises the question of whether children and adults perceive emotional valence and arousal of words in the same way, and consequently, whether adults’ ratings are adequate when constructing stimulus sets for children. The present study obtained valence and arousal ratings for 48 German emotion terms from three different groups: 9-year-old children and adults tested in a controlled laboratory setting, and adults tested via online survey. Results demonstrate high correlations for valence and arousal across settings. The comparison between children and adults also revealed high correlations, suggesting that children at the age of 9 already display adultlike behavior in their evaluation of emotion terms. A small difference was found for absolute rating values of arousal, with children rating words less arousing than adults. Overall, 9-year-olds and adults are sufficiently similar in their perception of emotion to warrant the use of adult valence and arousal ratings in the analysis of children data.
Thirty years ago, the neuropsychology of emotion started to emerge as a mainstream topic. Careful examination of individual patients showed that emotion, like memory, language, and so on, could be differentially affected by brain disorders, especially in the right hemisphere. Since then, there has been accelerating interest in uncovering the neural architecture of emotion, and the major steps in this process of discovery over the past 3 decades are detailed in this review. In the 1990s, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans provided precise delineation of lesions in the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, insula and somatosensory cortex as underpinning emotion disorders. At the same time, functional MRI revealed activation that was bilateral and also lateralized according to task demands. In the 2000s, converging evidence suggested at least two routes to emotional responses: subcortical, automatic and autonomic responses and slower, cortical responses mediating cognitive processing. The discovery of mirror neurons in the 1990s reinvigorated older views that simulation was the means to recognize emotions and empathize with others. More recently, psychophysiological research, revisiting older Russian paradigms, has contributed new insights into how autonomic and other physiological indices contribute to decision making (the somatic marker theory), emotional simulation, and social cognition. Finally, this review considers the extent to which these seismic changes in understanding emotional processes in clinical disorders have been reflected in neuropsychological practice. (JINS, 2017, 23, 719–731)
Objectives: We investigated how broad motivational tendencies are related to the expression and suppression of action impulses in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Methods: Sixty-nine participants with PD completed a Simon response conflict task and Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and Behavioral Activation System (BAS) scales based on Gray’s (1987) reinforcement sensitivity theory. Analyses determined relationships between BIS, BAS, and the susceptibility to making impulsive action errors and the proficiency of inhibiting interference from action impulses. Results:BIS scores correlated positively with rates of impulsive action errors, indicating that participants endorsing low BIS tendencies were much more susceptible to acting on strong motor impulses. Analyses of subgroups with high versus low BIS scores confirmed this pattern and ruled out alternative explanations in terms of group differences in speed-accuracy tradeoffs. None of the scores on the BIS or BAS scales correlated with reactive inhibitory control. Conclusions: PD participants who endorse diminished predilection toward monitoring and avoiding aversive experiences (low BIS) show much greater difficulty restraining fast, impulsive motor errors. Establishing relationships between motivational sensitivities and cognitive control processes may have important implications for treatment strategies and positive health outcomes in participants with PD, particularly those at risk for falling and driving difficulties related to impulsive reactions. (JINS, 2018, 24, 128–138)
Exposure to trauma was found to increase later violent behaviours in youth but the underlying psychopathological mechanisms are unclear. This study aimed to test whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is related to violent behaviours and whether PTSD symptoms mediate the relationship between the number of trauma experiences and violent behaviours in adolescents.
The present study is based on a nationally representative sample of 9th grade students with 3434 boys (mean age = 15.5 years) and 3194 girls (mean age = 15.5 years) in Switzerland. Lifetime exposure to traumatic events and current PTSD were assessed by the use of the University of California at Los Angeles Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (UCLA-RI). Logistic regression was used to assess associations between PTSD and violent behaviours, and structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to examine the meditation effects of PTSD.
PTSD (boys: OR = 7.9; girls: OR = 5.5) was strongly related to violent behaviours. PTSD symptoms partially mediated the association between trauma exposure and violent behaviours in boys but not in girls. PTSD symptoms of dysphoric arousal were positively related to violent behaviours in both genders. Anxious arousal symptoms were negatively related to violent behaviours in boys but not in girls.
In addition to trauma, posttraumatic stress is related to violent outcomes. However, specific symptom clusters of PTSD seem differently related to violent behaviours and they do not fully explain a trauma-violence link. Specific interventions to improve emotion regulation skills may be useful particularly in boys with elevated PTSD dysphoric arousal in order to break up the cycle of violence.
Gynandromorphophilia (GAMP) is sexual interest in gynandromorphs (GAMs; colloquially, shemales). GAMs possess a combination of male and female physical characteristics. Thus, GAMP presents a challenge to conventional understandings of sexual orientation as sexual attraction to the male v. female form. Speculation about GAMP men has included the ideas that they are homosexual, heterosexual, or especially, bisexual.
We compared genital and subjective sexual arousal patterns of GAMP men with those of heterosexual and homosexual men. We also compared these groups on their self-ratings of sexual orientation and sexual interests.
GAMP men had arousal patterns similar to those of heterosexual men and different from those of homosexual men. However, compared to heterosexual men, GAMP men were relatively more aroused by GAM erotic stimuli than by female erotic stimuli. GAMP men also scored higher than both heterosexual and homosexual men on a measure of autogynephilia.
Results provide clear evidence that GAMP men are not homosexual. They also indicate that GAMP men are especially likely to eroticize the idea of being a woman.
Emotional arousal enhances perception and memory of high-priority information but impairs processing of other information. Here, we propose that, under arousal, local glutamate levels signal the current strength of a representation and interact with norepinephrine (NE) to enhance high priority representations and out-compete or suppress lower priority representations. In our "glutamate amplifies noradrenergic effects" (GANE) model, high glutamate at the site of prioritized representations increases local NE release from the locus coeruleus (LC) to generate “NE hotspots.” At these NE hotspots, local glutamate and NE release are mutually enhancing and amplify activation of prioritized representations. In contrast, arousal-induced LC activity inhibits less active representations via two mechanisms: 1) Where there are hotspots, lateral inhibition is amplified; 2) Where no hotspots emerge, NE levels are only high enough to activate low-threshold inhibitory adrenoreceptors. Thus, LC activation promotes a few hotspots of excitation in the context of widespread suppression, enhancing high priority representations while suppressing the rest. Hotspots also help synchronize oscillations across neural ensembles transmitting high-priority information. Furthermore, brain structures that detect stimulus priority interact with phasic NE release to preferentially route such information through large-scale functional brain networks. A surge of NE before, during, or after encoding enhances synaptic plasticity at NE hotspots, triggering local protein synthesis processes that enhance selective memory consolidation. Together, these noradrenergic mechanisms promote selective attention and memory under arousal. GANE not only reconciles apparently contradictory findings in the emotion-cognition literature but also extends previous influential theories of LC neuromodulation by proposing specific mechanisms for how LC-NE activity increases neural gain.
Based on previous studies demonstrating detrimental effects of reduced alertness on attentional orienting our study seeks to examine covert and overt attentional orienting in different arousal states. We hypothesized an attentional asymmetry with increasing reaction times to stimuli presented to the left visual field in a state of maximally reduced arousal. Eleven healthy participants underwent sleep deprivation and were examined repeatedly every 4 hr over 28 hr in total with two tasks measuring covert and overt orienting of attention. Contrary to our hypothesis, a reduction of arousal did not induce any asymmetry of overt orienting. Even in participants with profound and significant attentional asymmetries in covert orienting no substantial reaction time differences between left- and right-sided targets in the overt orienting task could be observed. This result is not in agreement with assumptions of a tight coupling of covert and overt attentional processes. In conclusion, we found differential effects of lowered arousal induced by sleep deprivation on covert and overt orienting of attention. This pattern of results points to a neuronal non-overlap of brain structures subserving these functions and a differential influence of the norepinephrine system on these modes of spatial attention. (JINS, 2015, 21, 545–557)
Usually it is accepted that human manifestations such as music or painting share a common artistic trait. However, very little is known about the genetic, behavioral, developmental and neurobiological basis of such a musical-pictorial “universal”. In an attempt to approach commonalities and differences between the psychology of music and pictorial art in Experiment 1 we investigated the emotional dimensions valence and arousal in a large sample (N =156, Mage = 21,44 years, SD = 3,89 years, range = 16–35 years) using a representative selection of musical and pictorial artistic stimuli. We found a stronger variability of valence and arousal with paintings and stronger effects of music on valence. In Experiment 2 (N =202, Mage = 21,35 years, SD = 3,57 years, range = 16–35 years) we present first quantitative data on the interaction between the two artistic categories of stimuli on a behavioral level, again observing effects of pictorial art and music on valence and arousal. Furthermore in Experiment 2 we replicated a more pronounced effect of music on the valence of pictures, particularly on positive valence the results of the ANOVA showed an increase in group A2: F(1, 120) = 6.23, p < .05, in group C2: F(1, 120) = 89.03, p < .001, and a surprisingly emotionally negative influence of pleasant paintings on the positive valence of music, group A1: F(1, 127) = 19.69, p < .001. Despite the unresolved problem of non-representativeness of the stimuli and the sample selected these results may suggest superior emotional “power” of music over painting.
An increasing body of research has investigated the effect of emotions on judgments concerning moral transgressions. Yet, few studies have controlled for arousal levels associated with the emotions. High arousal may affect moral processing by triggering attention to salient features of transgressions, independently of valence. Therefore previously documented differences in effects of negative and positive emotions may have been confounded by differences in arousal. We conducted two studies to shed light on this issue. In Study 1 we developed a questionnaire including vignettes selected on the basis of psychometrical properties (i.e., mean ratings of the actions and variability). This questionnaire was administered to participants in Study 2, after presenting them with selected pictures inducing different valence but equivalent levels of arousal. Negative pictures led to more severe moral judgments than neutral (p = .054, d = 0.60) and positive pictures (p = .002, d = 1.02), for vignettes that were not associated with extreme judgments. In contrast, positive pictures did not reliably affect judgments concerning such vignettes. These findings suggest that the observed effects of emotions cannot be accounted for by an increase in attention linked to the arousal which accompanies these emotions.