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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to examine the prevalence of child maltreatment and lifetime exposure to other traumatic events in a sample of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH; n=147) and matched hearing (H; n=317) college students. Participants completed measures of child maltreatment (CM), adult victimization and trauma exposure, and current symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Overall, DHH participants reported significantly more instances of CM compared to H participants, with 76% of DHH reporting some type of childhood abuse or neglect. Additionally, DHH participants reported experiencing a higher number of different types of CM, and also reported increased incidents of lifetime trauma exposure and elevated PTSD symptoms. Severity of deafness increased the risk of maltreatment, with deaf participants reporting more instances of CM than hard of hearing participants, and hard of hearing participants reporting more instances of CM than H participants. Among DHH participants, having a deaf sibling was associated with reduced risk for victimization, and identification with the Deaf community was associated with fewer current symptoms of PTSD. A regression model including measures of childhood physical and sexual abuse significantly predicted adult re-victimization and accounted for 27% of the variance among DHH participants. DHH participants report significantly higher rates of CM, lifetime trauma, and PTSD symptoms compared to H participants. Severity of deafness appears to increase the risk of being victimized. Being part of the Deaf community and having access to others who are deaf appear to be important protective factors for psychological well-being among DHH individuals.
    Child abuse & neglect. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Deficits in Theory of Mind (ToM) have been documented among pediatric patients with Bipolar Disorder (BD). However, fewer studies have directly examined differences between type I and type II patients and whether or not ToM deficits are related to psychosocial difficulties. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare type I versus type II pediatric bipolar patients and matched Healthy Controls (HC) on ToM and interpersonal functioning tasks. All participants completed the Revised Mind in the Eyes Task (MET), the Cognitive and Emotional Perspective Taking Task (CEPTT), and the Index of Peer Relations (IPR). Type I BD patients reported greater peer difficulties on the IPR compared to HC, and also performed more poorly on the MET and the cognitive condition of the CEPTT, but did not differ significantly on the emotional condition. There were no significant group differences between type II BD patients and HC. More impaired ToM performance was associated with poorer interpersonal functioning. Type I BD patients show deficits in the ability to understand another's mental state, irrespective of emotional valence. Deficits in understanding others' mental states could be an important treatment target for type I pediatric patients with BD.
    Psychiatry research. 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Object constancy, the ability to recognize objects despite changes in orientation, has not been well studied in the auditory modality. Dolphins use echolocation for object recognition, and objects ensonified by dolphins produce echoes that can vary significantly as a function of orientation. In this experiment, human listeners had to classify echoes from objects varying in material, shape, and size that were ensonified with dolphin signals. Participants were trained to discriminate among the objects using an 18-echo stimulus from a 10° range of aspect angles, then tested with novel aspect angles across a 60° range. Participants were typically successful recognizing the objects at all angles (M = 78 %). Artificial neural networks were trained and tested with the same stimuli with the purpose of identifying acoustic cues that enable object recognition. A multilayer perceptron performed similarly to the humans and revealed that recognition was enabled by both the amplitude and frequency of echoes, as well as the temporal dynamics of these features over the course of echo trains. These results provide insight into representational processes underlying echoic recognition in dolphins and suggest that object constancy perceived through the auditory modality is likely to parallel what has been found in the visual domain in studies with both humans and animals.
    Animal Cognition 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Attentional bias to drug cues is thought to contribute to maintenance of drug-use behavior among chronic drug users. Studies assessing this bias traditionally have assessed drug cues that are explicitly presented in a laboratory setting. This study tested the use of a mobile eye-tracking procedure to assess visual attention to smoking cues by smokers and non-smokers in a more naturalized environment. A mobile eye-tracker was used to assess the number and duration of fixations made to smoking cues located in an office space environment by smokers and non-smokers while completing a sham experimental task. Smokers completed two sessions, once after 12h of abstinence and once after smoking. Results indicated that smokers made significantly more fixations to the smoking cues than non-smokers, regardless of smoking condition though the mean amount of time spent fixating on the cues did not differ significantly. Smokers did not differ in the number of fixations or mean fixation duration across the two smoking conditions, suggesting in this sample that a 12-h period of abstinence did not make the smoking cues more salient in this context. This study demonstrates the successful use of mobile eye-tracking to assess attentional biases to environmental drug cues. Results suggest that smoking cues in the environment are potentially more attention grabbing for smokers compared to non-smokers but these cues do not necessarily hold visual attention of smokers longer than that of non-smokers.
    Addictive behaviors 08/2013; 38(12):2837-2840.
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    Nature 01/2013; 493(7431):135.
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    ABSTRACT: Using a sense-making and threat management framework in rumor psychology, the authors used an exploratory web survey (n = 169) to query members of online cancer discussion groups about informal cancer statements heard from nonmedical sources (i.e., cancer rumors). Respondents perceived that rumors helped them cope. Dread rumors exceeded wish rumors; secondary control (control through emotional coping) rumors outnumbered primary control (direct action) rumors. Rumor content focused on cancer lethality, causes, and suffering. Rumors came primarily from family or friends in face-to-face conversations. Respondents discussed rumors with medical personnel primarily for fact-finding purposes, but with nonmedical people for altruistic, emotional coping, or relationship enhancement motives. Transmitters (vs. nontransmitters) considered rumors to be more important, were more anxious, and felt rumors helped them cope better, but did not believe them more strongly or feel that they were less knowledgeable about cancer. Most respondents believed the rumors; confidence was based on trust in family or friends (disregarding source nonexpertise) and concordance with beliefs, attitudes, and experience. Results point toward the fruitfulness of using rumor theory to guide research on cancer rumors and suggest that rumors help people achieve a sense of emotional control for dreaded cancer outcomes, inform the social construction of cancer, and highlight the continuing importance of nonelectronic word of mouth.
    Journal of Health Communication 06/2012; 17(9):1099-115.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We investigated affect recognition and the impact of emotional valence on working memory (using happy, angry, and neutral faces) in pediatric patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and healthy control (HC) subjects.Method Subjects (N=70) consisted of unmedicated patients with BD type I (BD I, n=23) and type II (BD II, n=16) and matched HC subjects (n=31). All subjects completed tasks of emotion recognition (Chicago Pediatric Emotional Acuity Task; Chicago PEAT) and working memory for happy, angry, and neutral faces (Affective N-Back Memory Task; ANMT). RESULTS: Compared to HC subjects, BD patients performed significantly more poorly when identifying the intensity of happy and angry expressions on the Chicago PEAT, and demonstrated working-memory impairments regardless of the type of facial emotional stimuli. Pediatric BD patients displayed the most impaired accuracy and reaction time performance with negative facial stimuli relative to neutral stimuli, but did not display this pattern with positive stimuli. Only BD I patients displayed working-memory deficits, while both BD I and BD II patients displayed emotion-identification impairments. Results remained significant after controlling for co-morbid ADHD and mood state. CONCLUSIONS: Both BD I and BD II youth demonstrate emotion-identification deficits. BD youth also demonstrate working-memory impairments for facial stimuli irrespective of emotional valence; however, working-memory deficits were the most pronounced with negative emotional stimuli. These deficits appear to be specific to BD I patients, and suggest therefore that a more severe form of illness is characterized by more severe social-cognitive impairment.
    Psychological Medicine 05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT:   Impaired profiles of neurocognitive function have been consistently demonstrated among pediatric patients with bipolar disorder (BD), and may aid in the identification of endophenotypes across subtypes of the disorder. This study aims to determine phenotypic cognitive profiles of patients with BD Type I and II.   Subjects (N = 79) consisted of BD I (n = 27) and BD II (n = 19) patients and demographic and intellectually matched healthy controls (HC; n = 33) that completed a battery of neurocognitive tasks.   Bipolar disorder Type I patients performed significantly more poorly compared to HC on all domains of cognitive function including attention, executive function, working memory, visual memory, and verbal learning and memory. BD I patients also performed more poorly compared to BD II patients on all domains of cognitive functioning with the exception of working memory, whereas BD II patients did poorly relative to HC only on verbal learning and memory.   Findings from the current study indicate that BD I patients are characterized by more severe cognitive impairment relative to BD II patients who show an intermediate pattern of performance between BD I patients and HC. Verbal learning and memory may effectively differentiate pediatric BD patients and controls, regardless of the subtype of BD, and may serve as a cognitive endophenotype for the disorder. Additionally, these findings move us closer to developing effective cognitive interventions tailored to specific subtypes of pediatric BD patients.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2012; 53(7):775-81.
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often present with co-occurring emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The Child Behavior Checklist 6-18 (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001) is an EBD measure that contains several norm-referenced scales derived through factor analysis of data from the general pediatric population. The psychometric properties of this widely used and well-researched measure have not been evaluated in samples of youth with ASD. This study evaluated the CBCL's internal structure, scale reliability, criterion-related validity, and diagnostic accuracy using archival data from a well-characterized sample of youth with ASD (N = 122). Confirmatory factor analyses supported the unidimensionality of the CBCL's syndrome scales and its Internalizing-Externalizing factor structure. Significance tests indicated that many scales discriminated between two subgroups: a group of individuals with ASD+EBD and a group with ASD alone. Diagnostic accuracy analyses indicated that the CBCL had good sensitivity but low specificity for detecting co-occurring disorders. Results supported the use of the CBCL in conjunction with other clinical data when assessing for EBD in youth with ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 01/2012; 6(1):96-108.
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    ABSTRACT: In a recent commentary, DeSteno (2010) critiqued the work of Levy and Kelley (2010) which investigated the relationship of attachment style to the sex difference in jealousy. This commentary addresses the concerns raised by DeSteno; I briefly review some of the literature that was not addressed by DeSteno's commentary and discuss directions that future research may take.
    Evolutionary Psychology 01/2011; 9(1):116-7.
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