ISPA Instituto Universitário
Recent publications
Previous research has mostly approached face recognition and target identification by focusing on face perception mechanisms, but memory mechanisms also appear to play a role. Here, we examined how the presence of a mask interferes with the memory mechanisms involved in face recognition, focusing on the dynamic interplay between encoding and recognition processes. We approach two known memory effects: (a) matching study and test conditions effects (i.e., by presenting masked and/or unmasked faces) and (b) testing expectation effects (i.e., knowing in advance that a mask could be put on or taken off). Across three experiments using a yes/no recognition paradigm, the presence of a mask was orthogonally manipulated at the study and the test phases. All data showed no evidence of matching effects. In Experiment 1, the presence of masks either at study or test impaired the correct identification of a target. But in Experiments 2 and 3, in which the presence of masks at study or test was manipulated within participants, only masks presented at test-only impaired face identification. In these conditions, test expectations led participants to use similar encoding strategies to process masked and unmasked faces. Across all studies, participants were more liberal (i.e., used a more lenient criterion) when identifying masked faces presented at the test. We discuss these results and propose that to better understand how people may identify a face wearing a mask, researchers should take into account that memory is an active process of discrimination, in which expectations regarding test conditions may induce an encoding strategy that enables overcoming perceptual deficits.
This study explores the configurations of people management practices in micro-firms and their relation with entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance in a four-year window. Based on the ability-, motivation- and opportunity-focused practices framework, we identify configurations of HRM practices used in micro-firms and, in conjugation with entrepreneurial orientation, how they affect employee growth and net income. We analyzed data collected from 114 micro-firm owners combined with firm objective performance measures using Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. Results show a taxonomy of three configurations of HRM practices associated with different entrepreneurial orientation strategic postures in micro-firms: “Financial centric HRM practices”, “Operations centric HRM practices”, and “People centric HRM practices”. We assume that configurational methods can help uncover the complexity of the interplay between HRM practices and strategic postures on micro-firm performance. This study contributes to the literature in micro-firms by revealing effective people-related managerial practices on performance.
Many teleost fishes use acoustic and visual signalling during courtship. Such displays may convey information about body condition. Here we experimentally altered body condition of sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus) males to examine effects on acoustic and visual courtship and subsequent spawning decisions. Over two weeks, males fed in excess were fed daily, whereas food-deprived males were fed once a week. Females only spawned with males that produced courtship sound. However, there were no treatment effects on the occurrence of spawning and males fed in excess did not invest more in visual or acoustic courtship than food-deprived males. That said, males fed in excess built more well-covered nests, with more sand piled on top, compared to food-deprived males. Male condition measured as lipid content differed significantly between treatments. However, only males fed in excess differed in lipid content from wild caught males, indicating that in nature, males are of similar condition to males in the low condition treatment group. Apart from the importance of courtship sound, the only male or female behaviour predicting reproductive success was if male displayed in the nest opening. Males often produce courtship sounds together with a visual display in this position. A female dark-eye display did not associate with reproductive success which, together with previous results, suggest a non-ornamental function of this trait. We conclude that male courtship sounds appear to be crucial in female mate choice, but the information content of the courtship sounds and how it relates to male condition remains elusive.
The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for DSM-5 (RI-5) is a developmentally appropriate and well recognized screening tool for the assessment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. The children/adolescent self-report version of the RI-5 has been thoroughly studied in very recent years, showing adequate psychometric properties. Despite such results, the utility of the parent/caregiver-report version, which also integrates the RI-5 system, remains to be explored. As such, the present study aimed to test the general psychometric properties of the parent/caregiver-report version of RI-5, based on a sample of 457 children and adolescents, aged between 7 and 17 years, exposed to at least one potentially traumatic experience, and their respective primary caregivers. The RI-5 total score and categories revealed good internal consistency reliability. The total number of traumas reported emerged as a significant predictor of the RI-5 total score. The RI-5 total score proved to be significantly correlated with more internalizing and externalizing problems, but correlation coefficients were below .70, serving as an indicator of discriminant validity. The four-factor structure of the RI-5 was supported through confirmatory factor analysis. In conclusion, the present study provided preliminary evidence supporting the utility of the parent/caregiver-report version of the RI-5 for research purposes and for clinical assessment and treatment, anchored on a multiple informant perspective of child psychopathology.
The United Nations Ocean conference convened in June 2022. Heads of state, businesses, and civil society organizations met in Lisbon to discuss how to scale up ocean action to achieve SDG 14 goals. In the face of the existential challenges of the climate emergency and species extinction crisis, bold and decisive action on ocean conservation through a shift in the protection paradigm is needed now. Recognizing existing barriers (e.g., political, organizational, social, economic) that operate at various scales (e.g., international, regional and national) and that are precluding achieving a healthy ocean is key and has to be addressed with strong leadership and sound commitments. A roadmap with clear steps and achievements including metrics assessing protection levels, stages of establishment, management effectiveness and equity is now needed to guarantee the success of marine conservation goals. Portugal can and should help lead the way by adopting such a roadmap and approach, but post-2020 decisions need to incorporate, beyond area goals, both the quality and effectiveness of ocean protection through metrics and standards such as those provided by the MPA Guide, Green List and Blue Parks.
Internal mechanisms of lasting therapeutic change have eluded empirical identification despite decades of outcome research. A breakthrough may be at hand in neurobiological research on memory reconsolidation (MR), which has identified (a) a fundamental mechanism of the brain capable of targeted, profound unlearning and nullification of subcortical emotional learnings and the behaviors and states of mind they generate, and (b) the specific experiences required by the brain for such unlearning. We review the empirically identified process of annulment of emotional learnings, show that it fulfills clinical theorists' criteria for a mechanism of change, and define an empirical study to validate or falsify this MR mechanism's hypothesized clinical occurrence and causal role in therapeutic change. Extensive preliminary clinical observations of transformational change, also described, strongly support the causal role of the mechanism. The MR framework could significantly advance psychotherapy effectiveness and unification, and resolve longstanding clinical conundrums and controversies.
There is a lack of knowledge regarding the connection between parental emotional responsiveness and children’s executive functioning (EF). This study aimed to explore the relations between caregivers’ reactions to their children’s distress and children’s EF. Mothers of 136 preschoolers reported their reactions to their children’s negative emotions using the Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale. Children’s EF was assessed through the mothers and teachers’ reports using the Behavioral Inventory of Executive Functioning for Preschool Children. Results showed that the mothers’ perceived use of negative emotional regulation responses (i.e., punitive and minimizing reactions) was associated with lower levels of EF in children, as reported by both mothers and teachers. The association between the mothers’ use of positive emotional regulation responses (i.e., problem-focused, emotion-focused, and expressive encouragement reactions) and children’s EF was not significant. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the mothers’ use of negative emotional regulation responses accounted for significant proportions of variance in EF indexes. These findings suggest that parental socialization of emotion could be important for children’s EF. Specifically, caregivers’ negative emotional regulation responses to children’s distress may serve as a risk factor for poorer EF in children. Efforts to improve children’s EF may be more effective when parental emotional responsiveness to their distress is considered.
Purpose: The use of psychometric instruments to measure latent concepts is common. The development of these instruments usually involves mechanisms to reduce response bias, such as the inclusion of reversed items. The aim of this study was to investigate method effects related to the wording direction of the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) items, a one-dimensional instrument that assesses individual's level of anxiety when others observe their body. Methods: In total, 152 Brazilian adults (65.8% female) answered 2 formats of the SPAS: the original with 12 items (7 regular and 5 reversed); and a new format with all items written in the same direction (i.e., regular). Both formats were filled out at different times and alternately. Differential item functioning analysis (DIF) and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted. Results: The original SPAS did not fit the data, but after allowing covariances between all reversed items, the fit improved. The wording effect was supported by the DIF, indicating a better fit to the data for the new format with all items worded in the same direction. Conclusion: The wording of the SPAS items had effect on the psychometric properties of instrument. When the wording of the reversed items was modified, the factor model fitted the data. Future studies should take these findings into account and evaluate the SPAS with all items worded in the same direction in different contexts. Level of evidence: Descriptive (cross-sectional) study, Level V.
The first aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ)—using the original model—in a sample of 1480 Brazilian adults (69.5% female). The second aim was to rank the reasons underlying the participants' food choices using average FCQ scores and 95% confidence interval. The third aim was to evaluate the relationship between food choice motives and sample characteristics using multiple logistic regression and odds ratios. The validity, the invariance across different groups, and the reliability of the FCQ were confirmed for the sample. Sensory appeal and price emerged as the most important reasons, while ethical concern was the least valued. The factors associated with greater odds of choosing food for specific reasons were being older, female, and a student; practicing physical activity; dieting frequently; self‐rating eating quality as good; having a higher body mass index; and having low income. Assessing food choice is a complex task, as it encompasses several factors, such as sensory characteristics, health status, income, culture, lifestyle, and cognitive‐affective issues; therefore, the use of appropriate tools should be encouraged. The set analyses followed confirmed that the FCQ was an adequate instrument to evaluate the reasons for food choice of the participants who valued strongly the sensory aspects of the foods and presented specific characteristics (e.g., diet practice) that may influence their decisions. These findings may guide future research and clinical interventions aimed at producing food choices that are more oriented to health and well‐being.
Student engagement research in university students has been scarce, despite its major positive role on performance, degree completion and mental health. Social and emotional competencies, which are currently called twenty-first-century skills, exert some impact on student engagement in youth. Since engagement is cultural-sensitive, individual (social and emotional competencies) and cross-cultural (human developmental index and unemployment rate) characteristics were examined in association with student engagement in youth. This study included 2,092 participants from nine countries/regions, aged between 17 and 27 years (M = 21.52, SD = 2.27), mostly cisgender woman (n = 1,035, 68.7%) and undergraduate (n = 1,401, 96.2%). Data were collected using a cross-sectional online survey that included the Student Engagement Scale, the Emotional Skills and Competence Questionnaire, and the prosocial behaviour/resources subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Multilevel-models showed that social and emotional competencies were relevant predictors of student engagement independently of the country-level variables. Moreover, student engagement varied with country/region human development and unemployment rate, with students from higher developed countries/regions and lowered unemployment reporting lower engagement. This study reinforces the need to implement evidence-based social and emotional learning programmes in universities worldwide, as well as public policies that can influence engagement and protect youth.
The effects of stocking density on fish welfare are complex and involve many interacting parameters. This complex relationship between fish welfare, stocking density and influencing factors make it challenging to define a specific optimal (“golden”) stocking density. Indeed, previously published recommendations on stocking density for different species of aquaculture interest are incredibly variable even at the same life stage, and can also vary widely within a rearing unit. Production density can be estimated quite accurately if the farmer has good biomass control and a known water volume, but it is difficult to set minimum and maximum stocking density levels that will protect welfare. However, there is little doubt that stocking densities that are too low or too high can have negative impacts on welfare and/or production. Here, we propose how to select density on captive fish and monitor its potential effects integrating 1) solid welfare assessment based on operational welfare indicators and 2) good management practices. Regulation directly limiting stocking density is likely to be unworkable and ineffective, and a more rational option might be to prescribe acceptable levels of different welfare indicators (e.g., water quality, health, nutritional condition and behavioural indicators), which together with a positive economic balance of the company, allow to estimate the most suitable range of fish density for each particular species, life-stage and production systems.
Teacher attunement to peer preferences in preschool was assessed as the level of teacher-child agreement on each child's preferred playmates. The associations between attunement and children's age, sex, disability status (with or without disabilities), time spent with teacher, and classroom level variables - group size, emotional support, classroom organization, instructional support, and teacher experience - were investigated. Participants were 1415 children from 86 classrooms (743 boys and 672 girls; Mage = 62.15 months, SD = 8.80), including 108 children with disabilities. Overall, results showed that higher teacher attunement was associated with children's age (being older) and not having a disability. Implications for educational policies and classroom-level professional development are discussed.
The White-faced Storm Petrel (WFSP) Pelagodroma marina has a widespread distribution, although virtually nothing is known about their feeding ecology and distributions at-sea. To describe their foraging areas, a total of 77 birds were equipped with 1 g-GPS loggers on Selvagem Grande, Madeira, Portugal (30° 09′ N, 15° 52′ W), during the 2018 and 2019 breeding seasons. We also assessed the diet of WFSP by analysing 17 faecal samples from chicks and 1 regurgitation from an adult using DNA metabarcoding techniques. Additionally, we collected body feathers from ten WFSP chicks to determine mercury concentration. WFSP fed mainly in deep oceanic waters, travelling up to 400 km from the colony, and did not concentrate in any well-defined, population-level foraging hotspots. Some individuals foraged along the edge of the shelf, near the African coast and the Canary Islands, especially during chick rearing. The duration of foraging trips and the total distance travelled, were, on average, 5.1 days and 723 km during the incubation period and 3.0 days and 578 km during chick rearing. The diet of WFSP was dominated by fish and cephalopods (crustacean prey were not detected), with Myctophidae (FO = 71%) representing the main fish family. WFSP often consume mesopelagic fish, in line with their preference for deep oceanic waters and with a small difference in at sea behavior (i.e., travel speed) between the diurnal and nocturnal period. The relatively high concentrations of mercury accumulated in body feathers of WFSP chicks (3.45 ± 1.44 mg kg⁻¹ dry weight; range 1.68–6.01 mg kg⁻¹) support the idea that WFSP raise their chicks mostly on mesopelagic prey from deep pelagic areas.
Recent decades have witnessed a growing number of states around the world relying on border control measures, such as immigration detention, to govern human mobility and control the movements of those classified as “unauthorised non-citizens.” In response to this, an increasing number of scholars from several disciplines, including psychologists, have begun to examine this phenomenon. In spite of the widespread concerns raised, few studies have been conducted inside immigration detention sites, primarily due to difficulties in gaining access. This body of research becomes even scanter when it comes to the experiences of detained women. This study is the first of its kind to have surveyed 93 women confined in an Italian immigration detention facility. A partial mediation model with latent variables was tested through partial least structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). The findings revealed the negative impact that unfair immigration procedures have on detained women’s human dignity, which in turn negatively affects their self-rated physical and mental health. Overall, our study sheds light on the dehumanisation and damage to human dignity that immigration detention entails, as well as its negative impact on the health of those affected. This evidence reinforces the image of these institutions as sites of persistent injustice, while stressing the need to envision alternative justice-oriented forms to address human mobility.
While the visual environment contains massive amounts of information, we should not and cannot pay attention to all events. Instead, we need to direct attention to those events that have proven to be important in the past and suppress those that were distracting and irrelevant. Experiences molded through a learning process enable us to extract and adapt to the statistical regularities in the world. While previous studies have shown that visual statistical learning (VSL) is critical for representing higher order units of perception, here we review the role of VSL in attentional selection. Evidence suggests that through VSL, attentional priority settings are optimally adjusted to regularities in the environment, without intention and without conscious awareness.
Introduction The effects of dietary protein on body composition and physical performance seemingly depend on the essential amino acid profile of the given protein source, although controversy exists about whether animal protein sources may possess additional anabolic properties to plant-based protein sources. Purpose To compare the effects of a novel plant-based protein matrix and whey protein supplementation on body composition, strength, power, and endurance performance of trained futsal players. Methods Fifty male futsal players were followed during 8 weeks of supplementation, with 40 completing the study either with plant-based protein ( N = 20) or whey protein ( N = 20). The following measures were assessed: bone mineral content, lean body mass, and fat mass; muscle thickness of the rectus femoris; total body water; blood glucose, hematocrit, C-reactive protein, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, creatinine, and estimated glomerular filtration rate; salivary cortisol; maximal strength and 1-RM testing of the back squat and bench press exercises; muscle power and countermovement jump; VO 2max and maximal aerobic speed. Subjects were asked to maintain regular dietary habits and record dietary intake every 4 weeks through 3-day food records. Results No differences in any variable were observed between groups at baseline or pre- to post-intervention. Moreover, no time * group interaction was observed in any of the studied variables, and a time effect was only observed regarding fat mass reduction. Conclusions Supplementing with either a novel plant-based protein matrix or whey protein did not affect any of the variables assessed in high-level futsal players over 8 wks. These results suggest that whey protein does not possess any unique anabolic properties over and above those of plant-based proteins when equated to an essential amino acid profile in the population studied. Furthermore, when consuming a daily protein intake >1.6 g/kg BW.day ⁻¹ , additional protein supplementation does not affect body composition or performance in trained futsal players, regardless of protein type/source.
Spontaneity and its connections to mental health and wellbeing are a central issue in both theory and practice of psychodrama, and the specialized literature sometimes even associates the presence of pathology to a lack of spontaneity. This paper describes spontaneity in Moreno's theory, its assessment, its association with other measures and concepts, and scientific advances in the field. Specifically, we present results obtained with the English and Portuguese-language versions concerning its assessment. The main purpose of this work was to study the spontaneity measure (SAI-R) in a 3 first-order factors version for a Portuguese sample of 439 subjects, divided into two independent samples. The mean age of participants was 25.6 years (SD = 10.2), and ages ranged between 18 and 64 years. Data was collected through an online platform of a Portuguese market research company. The results revealed that the 3-factor model has acceptable validity for items 1 ("Creative") and 7 ("Euphoric"), confirming the composite reliability, the convergent validity, but not the discriminant validity. Through multi-group analysis, the model proved to be stable. Notwithstanding the need for complementary studies, including clinical samples, the SAI-R is a short and valid instrument in clinical and non-clinical contexts when evaluating spontaneity.
El presente estudio busca obtener evidencias de validez y confiabilidad de la Escala de Involucramiento Parental: Actividades de cuidado y socialización en una muestra de padres peruanos de niños y niñas preescolares. Para ello, se realizó una traducción y armonización del lenguaje del instrumento a partir de su versión en inglés al español, para luego aplicar la nueva versión a un grupo de 420 padres y 420 madres de niños y niñas de cinco ciudades. La evidencia de la estructura interna se evaluó a través de un análisis factorial confirmatorio multigrupo, utilizando el método de máxima verosimilitud para examinar la estructura de los 26 ítems originales. Durante el análisis, se procedió a la eliminación progresiva de los ítems con bajas cargas factoriales hasta encontrar un modelo con adecuados indicadores de ajuste [χ2 (531) = 822.82; p < .001; χ2 /gl = 1.550; gfi = .90; cfi = .95; tli = .94; rmsea = .036, ic 90 % = (.031-.041), p close = 1.000, srmr = .05]. El resultado fue una escala de 18 ítems distribuidos en las cinco dimensiones originales, cada una con confiabilidad por consistencia interna alfa de Cronbach entre .66 y .78 y coeficientes omega entre .70 y .75. La confiabilidad entre evaluadores estuvo entre .67 y .88. Los alcances y limitaciones del estudio son discutidos teniendo en cuenta la importancia de contar con instrumentos de medición del involucramiento paterno, relativo al materno, que consideren las perspectivas de padres y madres en el contexto peruano.
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Pedro Alexandre Costa
  • William James Center for Research
Sara M Francisco
  • MARE Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre
Natalie Nóbrega Santos
  • Centro de Investigação em Educação
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