[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study the authors used a cross-cultural approach to examine parental attitudes, attachment styles, social networks, and some of the psychological processes involved in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Fifty-two children (aged 4-11 years) took part in the study: 30 Italians (15 with ASD and 15 controls) and 22 Cubans (11 with ASD and 11 controls). Findings indicated significant differences between the two cultural groups in terms of the structure of the children's social network and parental attitudes toward their children. However, the mother-child attachment relationship and cognitive and emotional functioning of the study participants were independent of culture.
No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · The Journal of Genetic Psychology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emotions are complex events recruiting distributed cortical and subcortical cerebral structures, where the functional integration dynamics within the involved neural circuits in relation to the nature of the different emotions are still unknown. Using fMRI, we measured the neural responses elicited by films representing basic emotions (fear, disgust, sadness, happiness). The amygdala and the associative cortex were conjointly activated by all basic emotions. Furthermore, distinct arrays of cortical and subcortical brain regions were additionally activated by each emotion, with the exception of sadness. Such findings informed the definition of three effective connectivity models, testing for the functional integration of visual cortex and amygdala, as regions processing all emotions, with domain-specific regions, namely: i) for fear, the frontoparietal system involved in preparing adaptive motor responses; ii) for disgust, the somatosensory system, reflecting protective responses against contaminating stimuli; iii) for happiness: medial prefrontal and temporoparietal cortices involved in understanding joyful interactions. Consistently with these domain-specific models, the results of the effective connectivity analysis indicate that the amygdala is involved in distinct functional integration effects with cortical networks processing sensorimotor, somatosensory, or cognitive aspects of basic emotions. The resulting effective connectivity networks may serve to regulate motor and cognitive behavior based on the quality of the induced emotional experience.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigates the subjective representation of the components of happiness and their attainment in older adults
from two countries with different economic well-being and cultural orientations: Italy and Cuba. Two hundred and nine Italians
and 186 Cubans completed a questionnaire. Respondents were asked to write down at least five components that made them feel
happy. A measure of overall happiness was also obtained by asking the subjects to rate to what extent they had attained each
component in their life and calculating their mean. The results showed that there was agreement amongst the participants over
their choice of components used to represent happiness; however, there were cross-cultural differences regarding the frequency
of citation and importance of these components. The fact of living in Italy or Cuba was not a predictor of overall happiness,
despite the difference in national income. This is in line with previous research highlighting how subjective well-being does
not depend wholly on economic well-being.
KeywordsHappiness–Subjective well-being–Naïve concepts–Older adults–Cross-cultural differences
No preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Journal of Happiness Studies
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the Hurst exponent of heart rate time series and its relation with the subjective measures of valence and arousal in two groups of subjects. The electrocardiogram (ECG) and the subjective valence and arousal were measured during the administration of emotional film stimuli (happiness, sadness, anger and fear). The results showed that there is a difference in the Hurst exponent for the happiness and sadness conditions but not between the negative emotion conditions (sadness, anger and fear). This seems to indicate that the Hurst exponent is an indicator of subjective valence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article represents the conclusion of a wide-ranging European project concerning the lexical structure of emotion in the neo-Latin languages: Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Romanian. Intended to bring to light common features in these languages, as well as any peculiarities, the research project selected representative samples of emotional terms from the dictionaries of the six languages studied and analysed the similarity between these words using Scaling procedures. The graphic outputs of the Scaling procedures appear to organize the neo-Latin emotion lexicons in respect of three major dimensions that are similar to those already found in other languages: `hedonic value', `potency' and `physiological activation'. Interesting peculiarities emerged in relation to the salience of the dimensions, mainly for Romanian and Portuguese.
Preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Social Science Information
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether adult attachment styles influence subjective and neurophysiological aspects of emotion. Self-reported emotional arousal and pleasantness and EEG frontal asymmetry were analysed while subjects watched emotional video-clips inducing happiness, fear and sadness with attachment-related content. Results showed a clear difference between attachment patterns on emotional arousal, resting frontal asymmetry and fluctuating asymmetry changes. Avoidant individuals responded to positive stimuli with less arousing subjective experience and right frontal asymmetry. In turn, preoccupied individuals showed higher arousal feelings and wider frontal left activation. Opposite patterns were observed in response to fear. These findings support the involvement of attachment in modelling individual emotional response and underlying brain functional processes, accounting partly for individual variability in human emotion.
No preview · Article · Mar 2008 · Personality and Individual Differences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aims to investigate how affective states are described in the Old Testament. Three psychology researchers were asked to read the first five books of the first Italian version (from the 18th century) of the Old Testament (Pentateuch, or Torah) and to select all the terms that referred to an emotion or a feeling. For each selected term, they also had to pinpoint its position in the text (i.e. book, chapter) and the various characteristics of the affective episode in which it appeared (i.e. experiencing subject, situational antecedent, intentional object, instrumental behaviors). The textual analysis showed that the affective terms most frequently cited referred to four categories: `fear, awe", "anger, hate", "affliction, pain, sadness" and "love, joy, happiness". These categories were significantly associated with specific instrumental behaviors and characters of the narration. Multivariate analysis also indicated that the frequency of citation of the affective categories varied significantly as a function of the book in which they appeared. In the conclusions, the authors discuss the conception of emotions and feelings issuing from the Pentateuch analysis.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · Social Science Information
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors investigated how people remember real-life traumatic events. Adult residents (N = 145) of an Italian community that was flooded in fall of 2000 completed a questionnaire 3 years after the flood. Respondents briefly recounted their personal experiences with the flood and answered questions about emotional reactions to the flood, appraisal processes, and disaster exposure. Results showed that participants tended to recall experiences that occurred during the most critical phases of the disaster. The emotions most strongly experienced by respondents-sadness, fear, and surprise-were associated with specific appraisals. Content and amount of memories about flood experiences did not significantly vary as a function of flood exposure. Moreover, there was no significant relationship between memory quantity and emotional intensity. The authors discuss findings in the context of literature on traumatic memory and emotion.
No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nell’arco dell’esistenza individuale, il pensionamento rappresenta un momento cruciale spesso associato ad aspetti negativi quali crisi del ruolo sociale, diminuzione del potere economico, incertezza sul futuro e decadimento psico-fisico. Questa ricerca ha lo scopo di mettere in evidenza gli aspetti che caratterizzano una persona che si trova in fase di pensionamento e di rilevare quali siano i fattori che possono influenzarne il benessere psico-fisico. Per realizzare questi obiettivi, si è somministrato un questionario a tre gruppi di partecipanti (N=450) durante la fase del pensionamento (150 partecipanti erano in procinto di andare in pensione, 150 erano in pensione da 6 mesi, e 150 da 18 mesi). I risultati indicano la prevalenza di una crisi nei neopensionati, mentre 18 mesi dopo il pensionamento si rileva spesso un netto miglioramento in alcune sfere vitali quali il benessere fisico, la vitalità sociale e la fiducia in sè. Inoltre, professione, titolo di studio e genere sono dei fattori che sembrano influenzare, positivamente o negativamente, l’adattamento a questa nuova fase della vita.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The short-term psychological reactions to the death of Pope John Paul II were investigated. Between 1 to 6 days after this event, 526 Catholic and atheist Italian adults took part in a questionnaire study. Participants were asked to report the personal circumstances in which they first learned about the Pope's death, their emotional reactions, and their appraisal of the event's importance and consequentiality. Other questions assessed immediate memory for the original event, surprise-expectedness, exposure to mass media, and religious involvement. Results showed that the news of the Pope's death, although widely expected, had a strong cognitive and emotional impact. Almost all the participants were able to recall the personal circumstances in which they heard the news. A positive relation was observed between the degree of religious involvement and appraisal of importance and consequentiality, intensity of emotion, memory for event-related details, and frequency of exposure to mass media. Effects related to the age of the participants were also found.
No preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Social Behavior and Personality An International Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aims to identify the subjective components of happiness and to analyze their degree of attainment in two countries, Italy and Cuba, characterized by very different cultural and socio-economic structures. Two hundred and sixty-five subjects participated in a questionnaire study: 133 from Italy and 132 from Cuba. Respondents were asked to think of happiness and to write down at least 5 components that made them feel happy. A measure of overall happiness was also obtained by asking subjects to rate to what extent they had attained each component in their life. The analysis of responses provided by the two samples yielded the identification of 21 cross-culturally shared happiness components, which referred to individual interests, relational interests and values. The most relevant components in each group were health, family, love and money. Italian and Cuban subjects differed in the frequency of citation of some happiness components (e.g. money, work, partner) and in the degree of attainment of them. Overall, Cubans perceived themselves as happier than Italians. Findings are discussed in relation to the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the Italian and Cuban contexts.
No preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Social Science Information
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study the patterns of interdependency between different brain regions were investigated as volunteers looked at emotional and non-emotional film stimuli. The main goal was to evaluate the emotion-related differences and to check their consistency during the elaboration of the same type of stimuli in repeated presentations. A measure called synchronization index (SI) was used to detect interdependencies in EEG signals. The hypotheses were that emotional-information processing could involve variation in synchronized activity and that two valence-specific emotions - happiness and sadness - differ from each other. The SI obtained was compared among the various experimental conditions and significant changes were found. The results demonstrated an overall increase of SI during emotional stimulation and, in particular, during sadness, which yielded a pattern involving a large exchange of information among frontal channels. On the other hand, happiness was associated with a wider synchronization among frontal and occipital sites, although happiness itself was less synchronized. We conclude that the SI can be successfully applied for studying the dynamic cooperation between cortical areas during emotion responses.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · Neuroscience Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to students belonging to three different cultural contexts -Italy, Spain and Cuba - to determine what emotional experiences characterize their emotional life and which antecedents generate them. Overall results suggest that cultural context has no decisive influence on how the different emotions are experienced and on their principal components. On the contrary, culture influences the frequency at which the different typologies of emotions occur and are experienced. In fact, positive emotions are reported more frequently by Cuban compared to Italian and Spanish participants. Some minor differences emerged between the three countries regarding antecedents, intensity and duration of emotional experience and some emotional reactions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Investigates the quality of everyday emotional experience in Cuba, a cultural context profoundly different from those previously analysed. A questionnaire was completed by 153 students of Havana University (age 17–28 years). They were asked to report an emotion-eliciting episode that had happened to them and to answer some questions concerning the content of the episode, i.e., antecedent, contextual aspects, cognitive evaluations, reactions, and social sharing of the emotion. The results indicated that positive emotions accounted for about 50% of everyday emotional experience and were significantly associated with high intensity. The antecedents most frequently cited were of a relational type and involved family, partner, and friends. The results are discussed in the light of previous studies on emotion antecedents conducted in Europe and in the US. It is argued that the Cuban cultural context presents some interesting peculiarities, which may influence the presence of specific typologies of emotion and the quality of subjective everyday experience.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study found that the emotional facial expressions of 10 congenitally blind and 10 sighted children, aged 8-11, were similar. However, the frequency of certain facial movements was higher in the blind children than in the sighted children, and social influences were evident only in the expressions of the sighted children, who often masked their negative emotions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emotional facial expressions of 10 congenitally blind and 10 sighted children, aged between 8 and 11, were compared. Facial movements were filmed in seven daily life emotional situations and then coded by an objective coding system (Facial Action Coding System--FACS). Facial expressions of blind and sighted children were rather similar. Interestingly, complete expression patterns of basic emotions were relatively rare in both groups, with the exception of joy. Despite the similarities between the two groups, some differences also emerged. The frequency of certain facial movements is higher in the blind than in the sighted children. Social influences are evident only in the expressions of sighted children who often hide negative emotions (anger and fear). Overall, results suggest that there are no substantial differences of facial expression of emotions between the two groups, even if the facial movements of blind children are less influenced by cultural rules. Theoretical and practical implications of these results will be discussed.
No preview · Article · Jan 2003 · Journal of visual impairment & blindness
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigate the facial expression of emotions in very young congenitally blind children to ” nd out whether these are objectively and subjectively recognisable. We also try to see whether the adequacy of the facial expression of emotions changes as the children get older. We video recorded the facial expressions of 10 congenitally blind children and 10 sighted children (as a control group) in seven everyday situations considered as emotion elicitors. The recorded sequences were analysed according to the Maximally Discriminative Facial Movement Coding System (Max; Izard, 1979) and then judged by 280 decoders who used four scales (two dimensional and two categorical) for their answers. The results showed that all the subjects (both the blind and the sighted) were able to express their emotions facially, though not always according to the theoretically expected pattern. Recognition of the various expressions was fairly accurate, but some emotions were systematically confused with others. The decoders’ answers to the dimensional and categorical scales were similar for both blind and sighted subjects. Our ” ndings on objective and subjective judgements show that there was no decrease in the facial expressiveness of the blind children in the period of development considered.
No preview · Article · May 2001 · International Journal of Behavioral Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of congenitally blind persons to produce voluntarily facial expressions of a number of emotions was compared with that of normally sighted individuals using both objective facial measurement and observer recognition. Results revealed that there were almost no significant differences between blind and sighted participants with respect to the number and type of facial action units produced. The portrayals of the blind participants were significantly more poorly recognized by observers than were those of the sighted participants (except for happiness). Correspondence analyses of the data showed differences between sighted and blind participants in the dimensional structure of the expressions (as based on the similarity among emotions with respect to both objective measurement and judgments). Overall, the data relavitize earlier conclusions on the facial expression of blind as compared with sighted persons and suggest specific hypotheses and procedures for further work in this area.
Preview · Article · Jan 1998 · Journal of Personality and Social Psychology