Richard J. Stevenson's research while affiliated with Macquarie University and other places

Publications (219)

Article
We aimed to determine (1) the attributes of multiple stigmatized populations, (2) whether Kurzban and Leary’s (2001) functional typology of stigma emerges and identifies the dimensions upon which each stigma type differs, and (3) the emotional responses toward emergent stigma types. Participants ( N = 2,674) were assigned to 1/52 stigma target cond...
Article
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Obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders continue to pose serious challenges to human health and well-being. An important source of these challenges is the overconsumption of saturated fats and sugar, main staples of what has been called the Western-style diet (WD). The current paper describes a theoretical model and supporting eviden...
Article
Several studies have examined if disgust can be evoked by contacting an object – yet none have examined if reported disgust changes when the hand leaves the object. This is surprising given that post-contact tactile disgust is probably a driver of hand hygiene. We examined contact and post-contact tactile disgust and its sensory origins. Participan...
Article
Paralleling animal research, there is emerging evidence that a Western-style (WS) diet – high in saturated fat and added sugar – impairs human hippocampal functioning. However, the conditions under which this occurs are not fully understood and there have been published failures to detect such effects. To date, there has been no systematic review o...
Article
Recalling what was eaten at a meal today, relative to yesterday, reduces subsequent food intake. We explored one cause of this effect by examining how this memory manipulation affects food specific (desire/how much you would eat) and general (hunger) motivation to eat. Participants rated hunger before random assignment to either recall their last m...
Article
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There have been few tests of whether exposure to naturalistic or experimental disease-threat inductions alter disgust sensitivity, although it has been hypothesized that this should occur as part of disgust’s disease avoidance function. In the current study, we asked Macquarie university students to complete measures of disgust sensitivity, perceiv...
Article
Animal data indicates the hippocampus assists appetite-regulation. We tested this in humans, contrasting two patients (DW, JC) with hippocampal damage to controls on an appetite-regulation test conducted hungry and sated. When hungry, controlsviewed palatable snacks and reported a desire to eat them, a memory-based judgment. After sampling them, th...
Article
Objective Typical parenting programs require considerable time inputs, which can be a significant barrier to program access. Here we assessed whether a brief behavioral parenting program, 1-2-3 Magic, would be effective in reducing disruptive behavior and ADHD symptoms in school-aged children with ADHD and dysfunctional parenting in their parents....
Article
Interoceptive deficits are associated with medial temporal lobe (MTL) lesions, and especially the hippocampus, which may relate to interoception's reliance upon predictive coding and hence on mnemonic processes. Here, we develop a new task to assess interoceptive predictions and assess their dependence upon MTL memory systems. Healthy participants...
Article
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Animals fed a Western-style diet (WS-diet) demonstrate rapid impairments in hippocampal function and poorer appetitive control. We examined if this also occurs in humans. One-hundred and ten healthy lean adults were randomized to either a one-week WS-diet intervention or a habitual-diet control group. Measures of hippocampal-dependent learning and...
Article
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Background: Understanding the knowledge and beliefs of key stakeholders is crucial in developing effective public health interventions. Knowledge and beliefs about obesity and eating disorders (EDs) have rarely been considered, despite increasing awareness of the need for integrated health promotion programs. We investigated key aspects of knowled...
Article
Body image disturbance – a cause of distress amongst the general population and those diagnosed with various disorders – is often attributed to the media’s unrealistic depiction of ideal bodies. These ideals are strongly gendered, leading to pronounced fat concern amongst females, and a male preoccupation with muscularity. Recent research suggests...
Article
The behavioral avoidance of people with obesity is well documented, but its psychological basis is poorly understood. Based upon a disease avoidance account of stigmatization, we tested whether a person with obesity triggers equivalent self‐reported emotional and avoidant‐based responses as a contagious disease (i.e., influenza). Two hundred and si...
Article
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Visual adaptation has been proposed as a mechanism linking viewing images of thin women’s bodies with body size and shape misperception (BSSM). Non-Caucasian populations appear less susceptible to BSSM, possibly because adaptation to thin Caucasian bodies in Western media may not fully transfer to own-race bodies. Experiment 1 used a cross-adaptati...
Article
Many individuals experience body-size and -shape misperception (BSSM). Body-size overestimation is associated with body dissatisfaction, anxiety, depression, and the development of eating disorders in individuals who desire to be thinner. Similar symptoms have been noted for those who underestimate their muscularity. Conversely, individuals with hi...
Article
Full-text available
There is strong epidemiological evidence that poor diet is associated with depression. The reverse has also been shown, namely that eating a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and lean meat, is associated with reduced risk of depression. To date, only one randomised controlled trial (RCT) has been conducted with elevated depression sympto...
Article
Full-text available
Prolonged exposure to wide (thin) bodies causes a perceptual aftereffect such that subsequently viewed bodies appear thinner (wider) than they actually are. This phenomenon is known as visual adaptation. We used the adaptation paradigm to examine the gender selectivity of the neural mechanisms encoding body size and shape. Observers adjusted female...
Article
Tactile cues are said to be potent elicitors of disgust and reliable markers of disease. Despite this, no previous study had explored what the full range of tactile properties are that cue disgust, nor how interpretation of these sensations influences disgust. To answer these questions, participants were asked to touch nine objects, selected to cov...
Article
The functional basis of disgust in disease avoidance is widely accepted; however, there is disagreement over what disgust is. This is a significant problem, as basic questions about disgust require knowing if single/multiple forms/processes exist. We address this issue with a new model with one form of disgust generated by multiple processes: (a) p...
Data
Video Clip (32 seconds) http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ebs0000175.supp Female Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte schweinfurthii) in the wild: Monika (16 yrs) and her infant (1 week) of Waibira community in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. Credit to Hella Peter for the clip.
Preprint
Full-text available
Intrinsic to an evolved disease avoidance account of disgust is Darwin's assumption of continuity between the emotional lives of humans and animals. However, beyond the case of avoiding stimuli that taste bad, there has been little exploration of the existence of basic disgust elicitors in animals. Moreover, one influential perspective holds that d...
Article
Despite evidence indicating body odor (BO) preference is an important driver in mate selection, previous studies have only investigated females' preferences for the BO of strangers. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to determine if partnered females prefer their partner's BO compared to that of others males' BO. Forty partnered and 42 sin...
Article
Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) seems to uniquely contribute to excess weight gain, and several mechanisms have been proposed to account for this. Here we examine a further proposal, namely that explicit wanting and liking for SSBs may be less sensitive to changes in physiological state, when contrasted to equi-palatable solid sweet snack...
Data
Supporting information. (DOCX)
Article
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The phenomenon of ‘microdosing’, that is, regular ingestion of very small quantities of psychedelic substances, has seen a rapid explosion of popularity in recent years. Individuals who microdose report minimal acute effects from these substances yet claim a range of long-term general health and wellbeing benefits. There have been no published empi...
Article
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Previous research indicates human body odor (BO) can signal kinship, sickness and genetic compatibility. Based on research indicating single males have higher testosterone levels than partnered males and that higher testosterone levels are associated with stronger smelling BO, the current study aimed to determine if, by extension of previous findin...
Article
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Over the past decade, a great deal of research has established the importance of cognitive processes in the control of energy intake and body weight. The present paper begins by identifying several of these cognitive processes. We then summarize evidence from human and nonhuman animal models, which shows how excess intake of obesity-promoting Weste...
Data
Data Summary: The role of disgust in male sexual decision-making; Oaten et al. (2009).
Article
Full-text available
Sexual arousal is known to increase risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex. This may in part relate to the emotion of disgust, which normally serves a disease avoidant function, and is suppressed by sexual arousal. In this report we examine disgust's role in sexual decision-making. Male participants received two study packets that were to...
Article
Objective Prolonged exposure to large/small bodies causes aftereffects in perceived body size. Outside the laboratory, individuals repeatedly exposed to small (large) bodies tend to over‐ (under‐) estimate their size and exhibit increased (decreased) body dissatisfaction. Why, among individuals exposed to approximately equivalent distributions of b...
Article
Full-text available
We examined here whether people believe consumers of natural foods are more virtuous than consumers of unnatural foods. In Study 1, we asked student participants (n = 84; 77 female, M age = 19.5) to form an impression of another person based solely upon whether they ate natural or unnatural foods, these being determined in a pilot survey. On an ope...
Article
Full-text available
Disgust is a natural defensive emotion that has evolved to protect against potential sources of contamination and has been recently linked to moral judgements in many studies. However, that people often report feelings of disgust when thinking about feces or moral transgressions alike does not necessarily mean that the same mechanisms mediate these...
Chapter
Extensive data indicate that the insular cortex is involved in gustatory processing. The insula supports qualitative taste perception, namely, the ability to distinguish one taste from another. Although it has some loose form of taste quality-specific topography, it remains unresolved whether taste quality perception is mediated by labelled-line or...
Article
Full-text available
A current model of contamination aversion suggests that it has distinct affective and cognitive components that interact to respond to threats. The affective component involves disgust and responds preferentially to direct contaminants (e.g., feces). The cognitive component involves obsessive beliefs and responds preferentially to indirect contamin...
Article
Full-text available
Prolonged visual exposure, or ‘adaptation’, to thin (wide) bodies causes a perceptual aftereffect such that subsequently seen bodies appear wider (thinner) than they actually are. Here, we conducted two experiments investigating the effect of rotating the orientation of the test stimuli by 90° from that of the adaptor. Aftereffects were maximal whe...
Article
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Marriages between White men and Asian women are over twice as frequent as those between White women and Asian men. Recent research has proposed that this imbalance may be explained by the finding that, on average, White men are perceived as more attractive than Asian men, and Asian women are perceived as more attractive than White women, possibly b...
Article
People make reliable and consistent matches between taste and color. However, in contrast to other cross-modal correspondences, all of the research to date has used only taste words (and often color words too), potentially limiting our understanding of how taste-color matches arise. Here, participants sampled the five basic tastes, at three concent...
Article
The hippocampus is involved in interoceptive processing (i.e., perceiving internal bodily states), with much of this evidence relating to hunger and fullness. Here we examine whether cardiac and self-report measures of interoception are related to two measures of hippocampal dependent learning and memory (HDLM) - the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Te...
Article
Full-text available
Explicit measures of disgust and threat overestimation have consistently been found to be involved in contamination aversion. However, evidence of the involvement of these factors at the implicit level is mixed, and the role of both responses has not been looked at concurrently. This study aimed to compare the ability of implicit and explicit measu...
Article
There is evidence that different types of contaminants produce different responses and have different motivations for avoidance. Contaminants directly associated with disease (direct contaminants) are motivated by disgust avoidance, whereas contaminants indirectly associated with disease (indirect contaminants) and contaminants associated with harm...
Data
Design of the supplementary mediation model. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Body size misperception–the belief that one is larger or smaller than reality–affects a large and growing segment of the population. Recently, studies have shown that exposure to extreme body stimuli results in a shift in the point of subjective normality, suggesting that visual adaptation may be a mechanism by which body size misperception occurs....
Data
Coefficients of the supplementary mediation model. Ϯ p < .10 * p < .05 ** p < .01, *** p < .001, # Bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals do not cross 0. See S1 Fig for model design. (DOCX)
Data
Design of the reversed mediation model. (DOCX)
Data
Coefficients of the reversed mediation model. Ϯ p < .10 * p < .05 ** p < .01, *** p < .001, # Bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals do not cross 0. See S2 Fig for model design. (DOCX)
Article
The pathophysiology of many neurological disorders involves oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. There is now substantial evidence that diet can decrease these forms of pathophysiology, and an emerging body of literature relatedly suggests that diet can also prevent or even remediate the cognitive deficits observed in...
Article
Full-text available
Although body size and shape misperception (BSSM) is a common feature of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia, little is known about its underlying neural mechanisms. Recently, a new approach has emerged, based on the long-established non-invasive technique of perceptual adaptation, which allows for inferences about the structure...
Article
Incentive salience theory (IST) suggests that 'wanting' and liking are dissociable processes. We argue that explicit measures of wanting in humans can reflect the impact of implicit 'wanting' as envisaged by IST, suggesting that dissociations should also be evident for explicit judgments of wanting and liking. To test this, participants were asked...
Article
Full-text available
Eating while watching TV has generally been found to increase both immediate and delayed energy intake. Here we examine two factors – gender and habitual processed-food intake – that may moderate these effects. Participants [n = 153; 95 women, 58 men; Mage = 19.7 (SD = 2.9); MBMI = 22.4 (SD = 3.1)] ate an ad libitum snack either with or without TV,...
Article
Human and animal data suggest that the hippocampus plays certain roles in regulating food intake. However, its actual role may be far broader than currently envisaged, a claim suggested by the centrality of the hippocampus to so many aspects of human/animal cognition. Understanding these ingestion-related functions is especially significant. This i...
Article
Full-text available
In animals, a Western style diet–high in saturated fat and added sugar–causes impairments in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory (HDLM) and perception of internal bodily state (interoception). In humans, while there is correlational support for a link between Western-style diet, HDLM, and interoception, there is as yet no causal data. Here, h...
Data
A CSV file containing all of the reported study data. (CSV)
Article
Full-text available
Although research addressing body size misperception has focused on socio-cognitive processes, such as internalization of the “ideal” images of bodies in the media, the perceptual basis of this phenomenon remains largely unknown. Further, most studies focus on body size per se even though this depends on both fat and muscle mass – variables that ha...
Article
Full-text available
This study is the first attempt to investigate men's and women's anticipated reactions to a consultation with a doctor holding either a dehumanizing or humanistic approach to patient treatment. Participants (N = 375) read a vignette depicting a doctor's treatment philosophy—emphasizing either the metaphor of the body as a machine (dehumanizing cond...
Chapter
Flavor perception supports food choice, and it has several characteristics: (1) smell is a key part, but there is little awareness of its role; (2) variations in odorant delivery are not noticed; (3) flavor is localized to the mouth; (4) central interactions occur between all flavor senses; and (5) there is limited access to some sensory components...
Chapter
Taste, smell, and oral somatosensation combine to generate a largely unitary experience—flavor. Five features suggest this: (1) our lack of awareness of the role of smell in flavor; (2) the localization of taste and smell to the mouth; (3) limited awareness of variations in odorant delivery; (4) perceptual interactions between the flavor senses; an...
Article
Disgust and disease-related cues can activate the immune system. Here, we test whether immuno-suppression is associated with an up-regulation of cognitions and behaviors that assist in disease avoidance. People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), who have a heightened risk of infection-related morbidity and mortality, were compared to age, gender and d...
Article
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Concussion occurs with some frequency in a variety of sports. Any trauma to the brain can also result in temporary or chronic olfactory dysfunction. The relationship between sports concussion and olfactory dysfunction is not well studied, nor do we know whether only more severe injuries result in smell impairments. Three sports players who had prev...
Article
This study examined the helping behavior of participants with high (High-P; 15 males, 13 females) and low (Low-P; 14 males, 16 females) psychopathic traits without their awareness. In the first of three tests, we found Low-P participants offered more help to an apparently lost female confederate than High-P participants. In the second test, High-P...
Article
Many neuropsychological and animal lesion studies point to the hippocampus as being critical for mediating interoceptive awareness, while neuroimaging studies have been used to argue for the importance of the insula and anterior cingulate cortex. Here, using healthy young adults - as with the neuroimaging data - we tested for an association between...
Article
There are 3 motivations for studying the psychological correlates of habitual diet. First, diet is a major but modifiable cause of morbidity and mortality, and dietary interventions could be improved by knowing the psychological characteristics of consumers of healthy/unhealthy diets. Second, animal studies indicate that diet can impair cognition,...
Article
Interoception is the ability to consciously perceive internal bodily states. Neuroimaging suggests that the insula (IC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) mediate interoception, while studies involving patients/animals with brain lesions suggest the medial temporal lobe (MTL) is particularly important. One reason for these contrasting conclusions...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Evidence for olfactory lateralization is mixed, although a left-sided benefit for odor identification seems likely. Whether lateralization of function is moderated by variables such as gender and handedness has been previously explored. However, there has been no test of whether psychopathy and empathy—personality characteristics which...
Article
Full-text available
Prolonged exposure to images of narrow bodies has been shown to induce a perceptual aftereffect, such that observers' point of subjective normality (PSN) for bodies shifts toward narrower bodies. The converse effect is shown for adaptation to wide bodies. In low-level stimuli, object attention (attention directed to the object) and spatial attentio...
Article
Human axillary sweat may provide information pertaining to genetic relatedness and health status. A significant contributor to good health, both in the short and longer term, is a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. In this study we tested whether dietary fruit and vegetable intake, assessed indirectly by skin spectrophotometry (assessing dietary ca...
Article
Full-text available
Body size misperception is common amongst the general public and is a core component of eating disorders and related conditions. While perennial media exposure to the " thin ideal " has been blamed for this misperception, relatively little research has examined visual adaptation as a potential mechanism. We examined the extent to which the bodies o...
Article
In two studies we tested for a relationship between consumption of a Western-style diet, characterised by high intakes of saturated fat and added sugar, and individual differences in impulsivity. In Study 1, participants completed both a food frequency measure to assess diet and a measure of trait impulsivity. Greater trait impulsivity was associat...