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    ABSTRACT: Objective This study aimed to test the prediction from the Perception and Attention Deficit model of complex visual hallucinations (CVH) that impairments in visual attention and perception are key risk factors for complex hallucinations in eye disease and dementia. Methods Two studies ran concurrently to investigate the relationship between CVH and impairments in perception (picture naming using the Graded Naming Test) and attention (Stroop task plus a novel Imagery task). The studies were in two populationsolder patients with dementia (n=28) and older people with eye disease (n=50) with a shared control group (n=37). The same methodology was used in both studies, and the North East Visual Hallucinations Inventory was used to identify CVH. ResultsA reliable relationship was found for older patients with dementia between impaired perceptual and attentional performance and CVH. A reliable relationship was not found in the population of people with eye disease. Conclusions The results add to previous research that object perception and attentional deficits are associated with CVH in dementia, but that risk factors for CVH in eye disease are inconsistent, suggesting that dynamic rather than static impairments in attentional processes may be key in this population. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 12/2013; 28(12). DOI:10.1002/gps.3947
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety is a problem for many children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). There is a paucity of models of the cognitive processes underlying this. Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) has utility in explaining anxiety in neurotypical populations but has only recently received attention in ASD. We modelled the relationship between anxiety and IU in ASD and a typically developing comparison group, using parent and child self-report measures. Results confirmed significant relationships between IU and anxiety in children with ASD which appears to function similarly in children with and without ASD. Results were consistent with a causal model suggesting that IU mediates the relationship between ASD and anxiety. The findings confirm IU as a relevant construct in ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2013; DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-2001-x
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of breakfast consumption on cognitive performance and mood in adolescents, and any interaction that breakfast consumption might have with cognitive load. The rationale for this approach was that the beneficial effects of any intervention with regard to cognitive function may be more readily apparent when more demands are placed on the system. Furthermore, as skipping breakfast is particularly prevalent within this age group, thus, we focused on adolescents who habitually skip breakfast. Cognitive load was modulated by varying the level of difficulty of a series of cognitive tasks tapping memory, attention, and executive functions. Mood measured with Bond-Lader scales (1974) as well as measures of thirst, hunger, and satiety were recorded at each test session both at baseline and after the completion of each test battery. Forty adolescents (mean age = 14:2) participated in this within-subjects design study. According to treatment, all participants were tested before and after the intake of a low Glycaemic index breakfast (i.e., a 35 g portion of AllBran and 125 ml semi-skimmed milk) and before and after no breakfast consumption. Assessment time had two levels: 8.00 am (baseline) and 10.45 am. The orders of cognitive load tasks were counterbalanced. Overall it appeared that following breakfast participants felt more alert, satiated, and content. Following breakfast consumption, there was evidence for improved cognitive performance across the school morning compared to breakfast omission in some tasks (e.g., Hard Word Recall, Serial 3's and Serial 7's). However, whilst participants performance on the hard version of each cognitive task was significantly poorer compared to the corresponding easy version, there was limited evidence to support the hypothesis that the effect of breakfast was greater in the more demanding versions of the tasks.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11/2013; 7:789. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00789
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The developmental disorder Williams syndrome (WS) is characterised by a distinctive cognitive profile and an intriguing social phenotype. Individuals with the disorder are often highly social engaging with familiar and unfamiliar people and once in an interaction they often show subtle abnormalities of social behaviour. Atypically increased approach to unfamiliar people is widely reported in the existing literature for both children and adults. Parents frequently report interactions with unfamiliar people as a major concern. METHODS: In this study we aimed to evaluate 'stranger danger' awareness using a video vignette task with individuals who had WS. When linked to other components of the WS phenotype (e.g. reduced intellectual ability, increased social approach) an awareness of stranger danger is particularly important. RESULTS: Qualitative and quantitative data showed that young people with WS have difficulties making judgements about whether or not to trust and engage in conversation with unfamiliar people. Qualitative data showed that individuals with WS often suggested that they would engage in an interaction with an unfamiliar person. CONCLUSIONS: The findings have substantial implications for the safety of young people with the disorder and emphasise the need for intervention regarding this behaviour.
    Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 05/2013; DOI:10.1111/jir.12055
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    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2013; 4:258. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00258
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    ABSTRACT: This paper addresses whether eco-driving may be encouraged by providing drivers with feedback, and how eco-driving attitudes fit with other environmental attitudes. Eight focus groups, including fleet drivers, discussed how feedback and other motives might affect driving behaviour. A survey of 350 respondents investigated attitudes towards saving fuel, the role of incentives and use of eco-friendly products. The focus groups' findings show that the environment is a lower priority than comfort and convenience, that feedback might provide a stimulus to eco-driving and that saving money was less important than saving time. The attitude survey showed that price, convenience, attitudes and eco-driving are not conceptually linked together, that convenience is rated as more important than saving money from fuel efficiency and that although the environment is of concern, it is not a high enough priority to increase fuel efficiency. The findings are discussed in relation to the low level of priority given to environmental concerns and the inability of financial incentives presenting significant challenges in terms of changing the subjective norms of the majority of drivers. Practitioner summary: This paper, using focus groups and a questionnaire, aims to understand how feedback devices, attitudes and motivation can improve eco-driving behaviours. The incentive to save money by better fuel economy was found to be insufficient, and roles for feedback devices and how information is presented are identified.
    Ergonomics 02/2013; 56(3). DOI:10.1080/00140139.2012.751460
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    ABSTRACT: The developmental disorder of Williams syndrome (WS) is associated with an overfriendly personality type, including an increased tendency to approach strangers. This atypical social approach behaviour (SAB) has been linked to two potential theories: the amygdala hypothesis and the frontal lobe hypothesis. The current study aimed to investigate heterogeneity of SAB in WS by exploring whether subgroups of SAB profiles could be identified using cluster analytic techniques. Twenty-five children with WS aged 6-15 years completed three behavioural tasks tapping (i) social approach behaviour, (ii) emotion recognition ability and (iii) response inhibition. Cluster analyses revealed preliminary evidence of WS subgroups based on SAB profiles and indicated that response inhibition ability was the key differentiating variable between SAB cluster profiles. The findings provide tentative support for the frontal lobe hypothesis of SAB in WS and highlight the importance of investigating SAB at a heterogeneous level.
    Research in developmental disabilities 01/2013; 34(3):959-967. DOI:10.1016/j.ridd.2012.11.020
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the sociocultural model of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitude development in young girls for the first time. According to the model, internalizing an unrealistically thin ideal body increases the risk of disordered eating via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and depression. Girls aged 7-11 years (N=127) completed measures of thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dieting, depression, and disordered eating attitudes. Participants' height and weight were measured and their body mass index calculated. Thin-ideal internalization predicted disordered eating attitudes indirectly via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and depression; it also predicted disordered eating attitudes directly. Path analyses showed that a revised sociocultural model fit well with the data. These data show that a sociocultural framework for understanding disordered eating and body dissatisfaction in adults is useful, with minor modifications, in understanding the development of related attitudes in young girls.
    Body image 11/2012; 10(1). DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.10.001
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored the relationship between sensory processing abnormalities and repetitive behaviours in children with Williams Syndrome (WS; n = 21). This is a novel investigation bringing together two clinical phenomena for the first time in this neuro-developmental disorder. Parents completed the Sensory Profile (Short Form; Dunn in The sensory profile manual. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation, 1999) and the Repetitive Behaviour Questionnaire (Turner 1995). A significant correlation was evident between the total scores on each of these measures; suggesting that children with WS who exhibit increased sensory processing abnormalities also display a higher number of repetitive behaviours. Further exploratory analyses of subscales of the measures indicated potentially important relationships that suggest a role for arousal regulation in the relationship between sensory processing abnormalities and repetitive behaviours in WS.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2012; 43(2). DOI:10.1007/s10803-012-1557-1
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE To investigate the inter-relationship between conscious decision-making processes and bladder sensation in determining the need, time and place to void SUBJECTS AND METHODS The approach used interview focus groups and qualitative thematic analysis. In this preliminary study, 25 women were included (aged 2190 years) meeting in groups of one to five on four occasions. RESULTS The thematic analysis yielded six themes: temporal and cognitive maps, risk issues, habituation and opportunistic behaviour and awareness of the bladder. For most voids, the decision to void was not based on sensation but determined by multiple factors: personal knowledge of time of last void, anticipated time to next void, proximity of toilets, a risk assessment or habituated behaviour. As the bladder filled the subjects described an increasing awareness of their bladder. Such sensations were not immediately associated with desire to void. Rather, these sensations were described as influencing the cognitive processes of considering when and where to void. A sub-group of subjects reported little awareness as their bladder filled, experiencing only sudden strong sensations that needed immediate action for fear of leakage. CONCLUSIONS The decision to void is primarily a cognitive process influenced by multiple elements of which bladder awareness is only one. Mechanisms generating awareness may be intensified or lost reflecting possible different pathological states. The importance of these observations in relation to current views of normal and abnormal voiding is discussed.
    BJU International 05/2012; 110(11). DOI:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11078.x
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