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Project log

Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
h i g h l i g h t s Music helps overcoming cognitive dissonance and hold contradictory knowledge. This might be fundamental for human evolution and ability to think. The 'Mozart effect' might be caused by overcoming cognitive dissonance. Students reduce thinking time during stressful tests, but music reverses this. A 'mystery of music' might be due to overcoming cognitive dissonance. a b s t r a c t We explore a possibility that the 'Mozart effect' points to a fundamental cognitive function of music. Would such an effect of music be due to the hedonicity, a fundamental dimension of mental experience? The present paper explores a recent hypothesis that music helps to tolerate cognitive dissonances and thus enabled accumulation of knowledge and human cultural evolution. We studied whether the influence of music is related to its hedonicity and whether pleasant or unpleasant music would influence scholarly test performance and cognitive dissonance. Specific hypotheses evaluated in this study are that during a test students experience contradictory cognitions that cause cognitive dissonances. If some music helps to tolerate cognitive dissonances, then first, this music should increase the duration during which participants can tolerate stressful conditions while evaluating test choices. Second, this should result in improved performance. These hypotheses are tentatively confirmed in the reported experiments as the agreeable music was correlated with longer duration of tests under stressful conditions and better performance above that under indifferent or unpleasant music. It follows that music likely performs a fundamental cognitive function explaining the origin and evolution of musical ability that have been considered a mystery. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
It is generally assumed that the mechanical perception of shivering is necessary for the perception of cold discomfort. Shivering of rats in a cool environment was eliminated by curarization. The rats were kept alive by artificial respiration. Heart rate was proportional to rectal temperature in a group of controls. One group of rats was conditioned to increase heart rate to trigger an infrared lamp; another group was conditioned to decrease heart rate to obtain heat. When compared with the results of the control group without infrared heat reward, the results obtained from the two heart-rate-modifying groups show that shivering is not a necessary signal to determine thermoregulatory behavior in rats and, presumably, cold discomfort in man.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 12 research items
Six goldfish, Carassius auratus, weighing 2.5 to 4 g were placed individually in an aquarium with two communicating chambers. One chamber was thermostatted at 34 degrees C, the other at 37 degrees C. In control Session a, without external intervention, fish selected the cooler chamber most of the time and stayed only 4.8 +/- 1.1 min/2 h at 37 degrees C. In Session b, infectious fever was assayed: pyrogen (Salmonella typhosa LPS, or human interleukin-2) was injected intracranially and fish stayed 44.7 +/- 15.3 min/2 h at 37 degrees C. In Session c, behavioral stress was achieved by chasing the fish with a net, catching it, handling it out of water, and injecting 10 microL of saline intracranially. Fish stayed 2.7 +/- 1.0 min/2 h at 37 degrees C. Analysis of variance showed that stay at 37 degrees C was significantly longer in Session b than a and c, and that Sessions a and c were not significantly different from one another. This result confirms the existence of behavioral fever, but does not support the hypothesis of fever in fish after handling.
BALASKO, M. AND M. CABANAC. Motivational conflict among water need, palatability, and cold discomfort in rats. PHYSIOL BEHAV 65(1) 35–41, 1998.—Rats were placed in situations pitting three motivations against each other. Two motivations, ambient temperature and need of water, were physiological drives. The third, water sweetness provided by sodium saccharin, was not considered as immediately physiological because saccharin does not provide physiological benefits for the animals; nevertheless they continued to seek the sweet taste after repeated exposure to it. Therefore, our aim was to explore whether these motivations are of the same nature for rats and, if they are, whether they are also quantitatively comparable. From the behavioral evidence we wanted to obtain information on the common currency that permits the rats to solve conflicts. Our results confirm the existence of a common currency in rats’ motivations. The similarity of rats’ behavior to that of humans observed in conflict situations, where maximizing the bidimensional sum of pleasure was the key to optimal behavior, allows us to suggest a role for affectivity in decision making of mammals.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 14 research items
We investigated the pleasurability of aggressive behavioral decisions. Four questionnaires (on hedonicity, decisión making, justification of aggression, and impulsiveness) were given to 50 participants of both sexes, ranging from 16 to 80 years old. Most participants avoided unpleasant behaviors as part of a trend to maximize pleasure and to minimize displeasure. Mean hedonicity ratings followed a bell curve with increasing levels of aggressiveness (p < .0001). Thus, the participants chose neither passive nor highly aggressive responses to social conflicts, with both extremes receiving the most unpleasant ratings. The results offer empirical support for an interesting point: People may derive pleasure from aggression as long as it is exhibited on a low to medium level. More precisely, people associate pleasure with aggression up to a certain point: Aggressive responses of medium intensity were rated significantly less unpleasant than the most passive and most aggressive ones, which were associated with less pleasure. Conclusion: In social conflicts, behavior tends to maximize experienced pleasure; and impulsive aggression produces pleasure in the aggressor, except at extreme intensities. The point that mild to moderate aggression brings pleasure, whereas extreme or severe aggression does not, provides a perspective that may reconcile conflicting observations in the literature.
The physiological and behavioral responses to hypocaloric diet are to increase energy intake to defend a steady body weight. We utilized the method of "negative alliesthesia" for measuring the hedonic reponse to sweet stimulus before (Initial session) and 3 months after entering a weight loss program. The negative alliesthesia test is known by physiologists but few clinical data exist. It is based on the observation that repeated pleasant gustatory stimuli turn into unpleasantness in the process of alliesthesia. At first visit participants repeatedly ingested sweet stimuli until they found them unpleasant and rated quantitatively on a linear analogue scale their hedonic experience. This procedure was repeated every 3 min until participants felt displeasure to end the session. The same protocol was followed after three months of following a weight loss diet. Dieting energy intake was from 1400 - 2000 kcal/d for 8 wk. Energy composition was 50% carb:25% prot: 25% lipid. After 8 wk caloric intake increased by 50 kcal/wk, to reach daily intake of 1800 - 2400 kcal/d. Energy composition was 50% carb:22% prot: 27% lipid. We report results on the effect of slow weight loss on negative alliesthesia in ten obese female participants enrolled in a commercial diet program based on Canada's Food Guide (Mincavi). Results showed that diet lowered the mean BMI (Initial session 36.8 +/- 1.8 vs. 3 mo 34.9 +/- 1.8 kg/m2). At 3 mo the onset of negative alliesthesia, time to abandon experimental session, was shortened (Initial session 33 vs. 3 mo 24 min). The same trend was observed in the time to reach indifference (Initial session 21.9 +/- 3.8 vs. 3 mo 16.2 +/-2.4 min). There was no observed difference in maximum (Initial session +79.5 +/- 11.7; 3 mo +94.5 +/- 9.9 mm) and minimum (Initial session -90.0 +/- 14.4; 3 mo -106 +/- 11.1 mm) hedonic rating. Earlier onset of negative alliesthesia, as seen in our participants, is not consistent with previous hedonic studies that showed delayed or absent negative alliesthesia in participants when below their initial body weight. Therefore, it is hypothesized that the accelerated onset of negative alliesthesia observed in our obese participants after weight loss is suggestive of a lowered body weight set-point. Factors inherent to the weight loss diet studied here, such as mild energetic restriction, lowered palatability, and diet composition, may have played a role in this experimental outcome.
Alliesthesia' describes the fact that sensory stimuli can arouse pleasant or unpleasant sensations according to the internal state of a person. In the present work, the hedonicity aroused by stimuli from the environment in visual and auditory sensations was evaluated in 5 situations: 1) daytime without sensory stimulations (no videotape); 2) daytime with poor sensory stimulations (uninteresting videotape film); 3) daytime with rich sensory stimulations (interesting chosen movie on videotape); 4) night-time without sensory stimulations (no videotape); 5) night-time with poor sensory stimulations (uninteresting videotape). During the day, hedonic ratings decreased with time in the no-and uninteresting videotape film conditions (p b 0.01), but increased with the chosen movie (p b 0.05). During the night, hedonic ratings decreased similarly to daytime ratings with the uninteresting videotape film (p b 0.01) but rose in the no-videotape environment (p b 0.01). The time course of motivation to leave the environment mirrored that of hedonic ratings. Changes in hedonic ratings as well as motivation to leave the environment correlated with the state of tiredness in the day-no-video and night-no-video situations (r = 0.541 and r = −0.593; p b 0.01). Thus, alliesthesia occurred in visual and auditory sensations that originated from the environment, and motivated behavior that was not consummatory. Such results suggest that alliesthesia is a general property of all sensations, and emphasizes the fundamental role of pleasure in motivation for all behaviors.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 6 research items
Unpredictable stressors have been used to assess the effect of stress on energy metabolism in obesity-prone (C57BL6J) and obesity-resistant (AJ) mice. Mice were exposed for 25 days to a stress protocol. Both strains of mice were divided into groups of control and stressed mice, which had access to either a high-fat or a high-carbohydrate diet. Twenty-four hours after the last session of stress, mice were sacrificed for blood and brain collections. Insulin, corticosterone, and glucose concentrations in plasma were measured, and expressions of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH) and the central amygdala (CeA) were determined by in situ hybridization. Stressed mice in all groups had lower body fat contents than control mice, and all mice fed with the high-fat diet had heavier retroperitoneal and inguinal fat pads than mice fed with carbohydrate. CRF mRNA level in the CeA was lower in B6 mice than in AJ mice. Stressed mice had a lower expression of CRF in the CeA than control mice. In conclusion, chronic stress reduces body fat content in obesity-prone as well as in obesity-resistant mice.
Heart rate was counted telemetrically in lizards (Iguana iguana) and frogs (Rana catesbeiana and Rana pipiens) to estimate their response to gentle 1-min handling. The animals were kept at steady body temperatures of ca. 28 degrees C (lizards), and 24 degrees C (frogs). Handling increased the heart rate of lizards from ca. 70 to 110 beats per min immediately during and after handling and this tachycardia decreased in ca. 10 min. Similar handling did not modify significantly the frogs' heart rates. Although the absence of a response to mild stress is not synonymous with the absence of emotion, the absence of handling-tachycardia in frogs and its presence in lizards (as well as in mammals and birds), together with the emotional fever in mammals, birds, and reptiles, but not frogs or fish as reported in the literature, might suggest that 'emotional' response to stress emerged in phylogeny between amphibians and reptiles.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
This little book describes a research on pleasure, taking place over the last thirty years. The pleasure under study was not a specific pleasure, such as sexual pleasure or the pleasure of playing a game, but was rather pleasure in general as a motivation of our behavior. When the time to find a title came, I first thought of Ergo in order to underline the process taking place in mind when, examining the premises of a problem, the researcher is driven to an irresistible conclusion. Then I thought of The Obsession of Pleasure, to indicate the omnipresent fixation on the problem under study, until the liberating 'Eureka'! But the researcher's "unsatiable curiosity", like that of the Elephant child, is neither contemplative nor sad. In the experimental sciences the passage à l'acte is the poursuit of successive answers to never ending series of questions. This dynamic and joyous process is evoqued by the present and final title, The Quest for Pleasure.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
Violence and aggressiveness are social concerns. Also, at a time of rising prevalence of obesity, many people tend to control their body weight through dieting. We analyzed the impact of weight loss on aggressiveness: 150 participants completed anonymously two questionnaires assessing their aggressiveness, age, sex, diet, recent body weight change, reasons of recent body weight changes, and perceived difficulties related to those changes. Results showed that participants who had deliberately lost weight reported higher aggressiveness than controls, but passive weight-losers did not. The raised aggressiveness was stronger for hostile aggression than for instrumental aggression. Such a rise is likely to be due to the discomfort associated with opposing body weight set-point.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 7 research items
Basic emotions correspond to bodily signals. Many psychologists think that there are only a few basic emotions, and that most emotions are combinations of these few. Here we advance a hypothesis that the number of principally different emotions is near infinite. We consider emotions as mental states with hedonic content, indicating satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Our hypothesis is that a large number of emotions are related to the knowledge instinct (KI, or a need for knowledge). Contradictions between knowledge and bodily motivations, between various elements of knowledge are known as cognitive dissonances. We suggest that specific emotions are involved with cognitive dissonances. The number of cognitive dissonances is combinatorial in terms of elements of knowledge. Correspondingly, the number of these knowledge-related emotions is very large. We report experimental results indicating that emotions of cognitive dissonance exist. We propose that these emotions are different from basic emotions in principle, and outline future research directions toward showing that their number is large.
Heuristic decision making received wide attention due to the work of Tversky and Kahneman (1981) and inspired multiple studies of irrationality of the human mind and a fundamental disregard for knowledge. But what is the source of all human knowledge, including heuristics? We discuss the hypothesis that acquisition of knowledge is a deeply rooted psychological need, a motivational mechanism for perception as well as higher cognition. We report experimental results showing that acquisition of knowledge is emotionally pleasing. The satisfaction of curiosity through acquiring knowledge brings pleasure. This confirms the hypothesis that curiosity or need for knowledge is a fundamental and ancient motivation on a par with other basic needs, such as sex or food. This paper connects curiosity, knowledge, cognition, emotions, including aesthetic emotions of the beautiful, mechanisms of drives, high cognitive functions, minimization of cognitive effort through heuristics, and knowledge maximization. We anticipate our finding to be an important aspect for several classical fields including cognitive dissonance, personality, self, learning, and new directions in cognitive science studying emotions related to acquiring knowledge, personality types in relation to types of knowledge, relating higher cognitive abilities to knowledge-related emotions, and new directions in aesthetics revealing the cognitive nature of the beautiful and music. Comment: 12 pages, conference IJCNN 2010
Cognitive dissonance is the stress that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously in the mind, usually arising when people are asked to choose between two detrimental or two beneficial options. In view of the well-established role of emotions in decision making, here we investigate whether the conventional structural models used to represent the relationships among basic emotions, such as the Circumplex model of affect, can describe the emotions of cognitive dissonance as well. We presented a questionnaire to 34 anonymous participants, where each question described a decision to be made among two conflicting motivations and asked the participants to rate analogically the pleasantness and the intensity of the experienced emotion. We found that the results were compatible with the predictions of the Circumplex model for basic emotions.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
Baron has provided some examples of nonconsequentialism in decision making and describes them as biases; these may be the remnants of the biological origin of decision making. One may argue that decisions are made on the basis not of rationality but affective processes. Behavior follows the trend toward maximizing pleasure. This mechanism might explain apparent nonconsequentialism.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
Après une définition de bonheur on examine si les commandements des grandes religions permettent un accès au bonheur.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 2 research items
Des arguments experimentaux montrent que plaisir sensoriel et conscience ont émergé avec les reptiles. On propose un postulat selon lequel la conscience a conservé la structure 4D de son origine, la sensation. Ces 4 dimensions sont: qualité, intensité, hédonicité et durée. Le postulat explique par la phylogénèse le fait que le plaisir soit devenu la monnaie commune permettant le troc entre les motivations pour accéder à la voie finale commune comportementale. Abstract From sensory pleasure to behavioral decision making. There is experimental evidence showing that sensory pleasure and consciousness emerged with reptiles. A postulate is presented according to which consciousness keeps the quadri-dimensional structure of its sensory origins. The four dimensions are quality, intensity, duration, and hedonicity. The above postulate would explain the phylogenetic origin of pleasure as the common currency in the trade-offs for access to the behavioral final common path.
When gently handled, mammals, birds, and reptiles, but not amphibians and fish, show signs of emotion: fever and tachycardia. Rats respond to tastes with gestual and facial reflexes that superimpose with what humans describe as sensory pleasure, displeasure, and alliesthesia. The absence of emotional tachycardia in frogs and its presence in reptiles (as well as in mammals and birds), together with the emotional fever exhibited by mammals, birds, and reptiles, but not by frogs or fish, would suggest that emotion emerged in the evolutionary lineage between amphibians and reptiles. Such a conclusion would imply that reptiles, and more recent vertebrates, possess consciousness with its characteristic hedonic dimension, pleasure. Pleasure was explored in a bird, a parrot, which learned the proper vocabulary and responded verbally with the word “bon” (good) when stimulated with tickling or tastes that it obviously sought.. The role of sensory pleasure in decision making was also verified in rats and various lizards placed in a motivational conflict: pleasurable tastes vs. cold ambient temperature. To be able to reach the bait, the animals had to leave a warm refuge, containing water and standard food, and had to venture into a cold environment. The results showed that the pleasurable tastes were not necessary to the rats nor the iguanas and that they traded off the palatability of the bait against the disadvantage of the cold. Thus, the behavior of the animals was possibly produced, as it is in humans, through the maximization of sensory pleasure. It is concluded that consciousness likely emerged in the reptilian common ancestors of nowadays reptiles, birds, and mammals and that the pleasure experienced by these animals serves to optimize behavior as it does in humans.