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, Jason W. Krompinger, Robert F. Simons
Published: 1 December 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 130, pp 1-10; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.10.001

Abstract:
Ample evidence from behavioral and brain imaging studies suggests that inhibitory control is impaired in depression, though the precise nature of this impairment is unclear. The purpose of the present study was to examine potential deficits in three aspects of inhibitory control - conflict monitoring, conflict resolution, and overt behavioral inhibition - in the context of depressive symptoms. Depressed (n=15) and non-depressed (n=15) participants completed a stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) task while electroencephalography (EEG) data were recorded. EEG results indicate that depression impacts only the conflict resolution phase of inhibitory control, with higher levels of depressive and reflective pondering symptoms associated with poorer conflict resolution. Findings have clear implications for treatments of depression, many of which do not currently target the inhibitory control deficits present in this disorder.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 324-348; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.013

Abstract:
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by information processing biases, however, their underlying neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. The goal of this review was to give a comprehensive overview of the most frequently studied EEG spectral and event-related potential (ERP) measures in social anxiety during rest, anticipation, stimulus processing, and recovery. A Web of Science search yielded 35 studies reporting on electrocortical measures in individuals with social anxiety or related constructs. Social anxiety was related to increased delta-beta cross-frequency correlation during anticipation and recovery, and information processing biases during early processing of faces (P1) and errors (error-related negativity). These electrocortical measures are discussed in relation to the persistent cycle of information processing biases maintaining SAD. Future research should further investigate the mechanisms of this persistent cycle and study the utility of electrocortical measures in early detection, prevention, treatment and endophenotype research.
, Yune -Sang Lee, Anjan Chatterjee
Published: 28 September 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 314-323; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.015

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, , Thomas Elbert, Corina Nandi, Manassé Bambonyé, Christian Wienbruch, Ursula Lommen, Roland Weierstall
Published: 25 September 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 305-313; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.014

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 293-304; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.010

Abstract:
In young adults and children, the eyes-closed (EC) resting state is one of low EEG arousal, with the change to eyes-open (EO) primarily involving an increase in arousal. We used this arousal perspective to interpret EC/EO differences in healthy young and older adults. EEG was recorded from 20 young (Mage=20.4years) and 20 gender-matched older (Mage=68.2years) right-handed adults during two 3min resting conditions; EC then EO. Older participants displayed less delta and theta, some reduction in alpha, and increased beta. Global activity in all bands reduced with opening the eyes, but did not differ with age, indicating that the energetics of EEG reactivity is maintained in healthy ageing. However, older adults had more focal changes than young adults, particularly in beta, suggesting the mobilisation of additional localised resources. This maintained reactivity, and heightened focal activity, may underlie preserved performance levels in healthy ageing.
Published: 1 December 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 130, pp 11-21; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.012

Abstract:
In social interactions, emotionally salient and sudden changes in vocal expressions attract attention. However, only a few studies examined how emotion and attention interact in voice processing. We investigated neutral, happy (laughs) and angry (growls) vocalizations in a modified oddball task. Participants silently counted the targets in each block and rated the valence and arousal of the vocalizations. A combined event-related potential and time-frequency analysis focused on the P3 and pre-stimulus alpha power to capture attention effects in response to unexpected events. Whereas an early differentiation between emotionally salient and neutral vocalizations was reflected in the P3a response, the P3b was selectively enhanced for happy voices. The P3b modulation was predicted by pre-stimulus frontal alpha desynchronization, and by the perceived pleasantness of the targets. These findings indicate that vocal emotions may be differently processed based on task relevance and valence. Increased anticipation and attention to positive vocal cues (laughter) may reflect their high social relevance.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 273-281; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.011

Abstract:
Several studies reported that the encoding and recognition of emotional target faces are modulated by negative contextual expressions. However, it is unknown whether other contextual expressions, such as emotionally ambiguous expressions, affect the encoding and recognition of target faces. To this end, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded during the presentation of angry or happy target faces after a random sequence of surprised or neutral contextual faces that did not differ in normative valence ratings. Subsequently, participants were asked to perform an unexpected old/new recognition task in which target faces were shown in either the encoded or a non-encoded expression. During the encoding phase, event-related potential (ERP) results showed that surprised as compared to neutral contextual faces led to smaller late positive potentials (LPP) for happy but not for angry target faces. Similar effects were also observed in the N170, even though the interaction of context and target expression failed to reach statistical significance. In the later recognition phase, recognition rates were lower for encoded happy faces when they had been encountered in surprised as compared to neutral context, regardless of whether the target face showed the encoded or a non-encoded expression. However, this context effect was not observed for angry-encoded faces. Taken together, the present study indicates that ambiguous contextual expressions, e.g., surprised faces, affect structural and cognitive encoding and later recognition of happy target faces to a larger extent than neutral contextual faces; whereas angry faces are more resistant to context effects.
, Sylvia Boden, Gabriele Freude, Guy G. Potter,
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 349-358; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.009

Abstract:
Burnout is a pattern of complaints in individuals with emotionally demanding jobs that is often seen as a precursor of depression. One often reported symptom of burnout is cognitive decline. To analyze cognitive control and to differentiate between subclinical burnout and mild to moderate depression a double-blinded study was conducted that investigates changes in the processing of performance errors and feedback in a task switching paradigm. Fifty-one of 76 employees from emotionally demanding jobs showed a sufficient number of errors to be included in the analysis. The sample was subdivided into groups with low (EE-) and high (EE+) emotional exhaustion and no (DE-) and mild to moderate depression (DE+). The behavioral data did not significantly differ between the groups. In contrast, in the EE+ group, the error negativity (Ne/ERN) was enhanced while the error positivity (Pe) did not differ between the EE+ and EE- groups. After negative feedback the feedback-related negativity (FRN) was enhanced, while the subsequent positivity (FRP) was reduced in EE+ relative to EE-. None of these effects were observed in the DE+ vs. DE-. These results suggest an upregulation of error and negative feedback processing, while the later processing of negative feedback was attenuated in employees with subclinical burnout but not in mild to moderate depression.
, Shirley X. Chen, Christopher J. Mitchell,
Published: 31 January 2013
Biological Psychology, Volume 92, pp 9-16; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.09.007

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 31 January 2013
Biological Psychology, Volume 92, pp 17-25; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.02.001

Abstract:
Deficient fear conditioning leads to maladaptive contextual anxiety as predicting danger is a key factor in regulating anxiety. A virtual reality conditioning task was used to evaluate cue learning and contextual anxiety with fear-potentiated startle and subjective fear in two experiments. In Experiment 1, failure to condition to a cue resulted in a constant state of context anxiety (subjective fearfulness and startle). Trait anxiety was unrelated to learning cue contingencies but the participants who failed to learn scored lower on a self-report measure of attentional control. Part of the group that learned the cue contingency failed to deduce safety of the context and hence did not reduce their contextual anxiety. Experiment 2 specifically focused on isolating this process and demonstrated an inverse association between trait anxiety and adaptive modulation of contextual anxiety. In conclusion, predicting threat aids in but not automatically implies successful regulation of contextual anxiety. High trait anxiety may increase risk of deficient modulation of contextual anxiety.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 253-264; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.008

Abstract:
Low frequency oscillations in the theta range (4-8Hz) are increasingly recognized as having a crucial role in flexible cognition. Such evidence is typically derived from studies in the context of reactive (stimulus-driven) control processes. However, little research has explored the role of theta oscillations in preparatory control processes. In the current study, we explored the extent of theta oscillations during proactive cognitive control and determined if these oscillations were associated with behavior. Results supported a general role of theta oscillations during proactive cognitive control, with increased power and phase coherence during the preparatory cue interval. Further, theta oscillations across frontoparietal electrodes were also modulated by proactive control demands, with increased theta phase synchrony and power for cues signaling the need for goal updating. Finally, we present novel evidence of negative associations between behavioral variability and both power and phase synchrony across many of these frontoparietal electrodes that were associated with the need for goal updating. In particular, greater consistency in frontoparietal theta oscillations, indicated by increased theta phase and power during mixed-task blocks, resulted in more consistent task-switching performance. Together, these findings provide new insight into the temporal dynamics and functional relevance of theta oscillations during proactive cognitive control.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 265-272; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.007

Abstract:
Comparisons between expectations and outcomes are critical for learning. Termed prediction errors, the violations of expectancy that occur when outcomes differ from expectations are used to modify value and shape behaviour. In the present study, we examined how a wide range of expectancy violations impacted neural signals associated with feedback processing. Participants performed a time estimation task in which they had to guess the duration of one second while their electroencephalogram was recorded. In a key manipulation, we varied task difficulty across the experiment to create a range of different feedback expectancies − reward feedback was either very expected, expected, 50/50, unexpected, or very unexpected. As predicted, the amplitude of the reward positivity, a component of the human event-related brain potential associated with feedback processing, scaled inversely with expectancy (e.g., unexpected feedback yielded a larger reward positivity than expected feedback). Interestingly, the scaling of the reward positivity to outcome expectancy was not linear as would be predicted by some theoretical models. Specifically, we found that the amplitude of the reward positivity was about equivalent for very expected and expected feedback, and for very unexpected and unexpected feedback. As such, our results demonstrate a sigmoidal relationship between reward expectancy and the amplitude of the reward positivity, with interesting implications for theories of reinforcement learning.
Jackie S. Huberman, Samantha J. Dawson,
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 359-369; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.006

Abstract:
Sexual response is a dynamic process, though there is limited knowledge of the time course and relationships among its psychological and physiological components. To address this gap, we concurrently assessed self-reported sexual arousal, genital temperature (with thermography), and genital vasocongestion (with vaginal photoplethysmography [VPP] or penile plethysmography [PPG]) during sexual and nonsexual films in 28 androphilic women (attracted to men) and 27 gynephilic men (attracted to women). Men and women had similarly strong agreement between subjective and genital responses (sexual concordance) with thermography, but this agreement was stronger in men than women with PPG/VPP. The time course of changes in self-reported arousal was most similar to changes in genital temperature (i.e., time to onset and peak response). Time-lagged correlations and multilevel modeling revealed changes in the strength of relationships between aspects of sexual response over time. Results highlight the dynamic nature of sexual response and drawbacks of relying on zero-order correlations to characterize sexual concordance.
Published: 31 January 2013
Biological Psychology, Volume 92, pp 36-42; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.05.004

Abstract:
The present study investigated interoceptive fear conditioning (IFC) to an interoceptive and exteroceptive conditional stimulus (CS) with a severe respiratory load applied for 30 s as the unconditional stimulus (US). CSs were another, weak respiratory load in the intero-IFC study (N = 74), and a neutral picture in the extero-IFC study (N = 42). CSs preceded the US in the paired groups, whereas the unpaired groups received the same number of unpaired CSs and USs. We measured startle blink EMG, self-reported fear and respiration. In the intero-IFC study, the CS-load was associated with larger startle blinks and a smaller decrease in respiratory rate and tidal volume in the paired compared to the unpaired group. In the extero-IFC study, the CS-picture evoked an increase in tidal volume and self-reported fear only in the paired group. In addition, startle potentiation during the CS-picture was greater for the paired than for the unpaired group.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 178-185; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.002

Abstract:
In between-hand choice-RT-tasks, small incorrect EMG activations occurring before the correct response ("partial errors") are assumed to reflect the detection, inhibition and correction of erroneous hand selection, revealing the existence of an action monitoring system, acting "on-line". Now, EMG activations of the correctly selected hand muscles, too small to reach the response threshold, may also occur before these hand muscles produce an overt correct response ("partial corrects"). We hypothesized that partial corrects reflect incorrect execution of correctly selected responses. We found 1) that response force was smaller on trials preceding a partial correct trial and 2) that the Error Negativity, a performance sensitive ERP, assumed to reveal "on-line" action monitoring, was larger for partial corrects than for correct trials. This also suggests that the competence of the action monitoring system is not restricted to selection errors but also extends to execution errors.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 282-292; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.001

Abstract:
Visual recognition of objects may rely on different features depending on the category to which they belong. Recognizing natural objects, such as fruits and plants, weighs more on their perceptual attributes, whereas recognizing man-made objects, such as tools or vehicles, weighs more upon the functions and actions they enable. Edible objects are perceptually rich but also prepared for specific functions, therefore it is unclear how perceptual and functional attributes affect their recognition. Two event-related potentials experiments investigated: (i) whether food categorization in the brain is differentially modulated by sensory and functional attributes, depending on whether the food is natural or transformed; (ii) whether these processes are modulated by participants' body mass index. In experiment 1, healthy normal-weight participants were presented with a sentence (prime) and a photograph of a food. Primes described either a sensory feature ('It tastes sweet') or a functional feature ('It is suitable for a wedding party') of the food, while photographs depicted either a natural (e.g., cherry) or a transformed food (e.g., pizza). Prime-feature pairs were either congruent or incongruent. This design aimed at modulating N400-like components elicited by semantic processing. In experiment 1, N400-like amplitude was significantly larger for transformed food than for natural food with sensory primes, and vice versa with functional primes. In experiment 2, underweight and obese women performed the same semantic task. We found that, while the N400-like component in obese participants was modulated by sensory-functional primes only for transformed food, the same modulation was found in underweight participants only for natural food. These findings suggest that the level of food transformation interacts with participants' body mass index in modulating food perception and the underlying brain processing.
, Logan T. Trujillo, David M. Schnyer,
Published: 8 September 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 231-241; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.005

Abstract:
This study investigated the link between self-reference and attentional engagement in adults with (n = 22) and without (HC; n = 24) Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants completed the Self-Referent Encoding Task (SRET). MDD participants endorsed significantly fewer positive words and more negative words as self-descriptive than HC participants. A whole-scalp data analysis technique revealed that the MDD participants had larger difference wave (negative words minus positive words) ERP amplitudes from 380 to 1000 ms across posterior sites, which positively correlated with number of negative words endorsed. No group differences were observed for earlier attentional components (P1, P2). The results suggest that among adults with MDD, negative stimuli capture attention during later information processing; this engagement is associated with greater self-referent endorsement of negative adjectives. Sustained cognitive engagement for self-referent negative stimuli may be an important target for neurocognitive depression interventions.
Bingqing Jiao, Delong Zhang, Aiying Liang, Bishan Liang, Zengjian Wang, Junchao Li, , Mengxia Gao, Zhenni Gao, Song Chang, et al.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 165-177; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.09.003

Abstract:
Previous studies have indicated a tight linkage between resting-state functional connectivity of the human brain and creative ability. This study aimed to further investigate the association between the topological organization of resting-state brain networks and creativity. Therefore, we acquired resting-state fMRI data from 22 high-creativity participants and 22 low-creativity participants (as determined by their Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking scores). We then constructed functional brain networks for each participant and assessed group differences in network topological properties before exploring the relationships between respective network topological properties and creative ability. We identified an optimized organization of intrinsic brain networks in both groups. However, compared with low-creativity participants, high-creativity participants exhibited increased global efficiency and substantially decreased path length, suggesting increased efficiency of information transmission across brain networks in creative individuals. Using a multiple linear regression model, we further demonstrated that regional functional integration properties (i.e., the betweenness centrality and global efficiency) of brain networks, particularly the default mode network (DMN) and sensorimotor network (SMN), significantly predicted the individual differences in creative ability. Furthermore, the associations between network regional properties and creative performance were creativity-level dependent, where the difference in the resource control component may be important in explaining individual difference in creative performance. These findings provide novel insights into the neural substrate of creativity and may facilitate objective identification of creative ability.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 195-206; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.060

Abstract:
The present study explores the notion of an out-group fear learning bias that is characterized by a facilitated fear acquisition toward harm-doing out-group members. Participants were conditioned with two in-group and two out-group faces as conditioned stimuli. During acquisition, one in-group and one out-group face was paired with an aversive shock whereas the other in-group and out-group faces were presented without shock. Psychophysiological measures of fear conditioning (skin conductance and pupil size) and explicit and implicit liking exhibited an increased differential responding towards out-group faces compared to in-group faces on. However, the results did not clearly indicate that harm-doing out-group members were more readily associated with fear than harm-doing in-group members. In contrast, the out-group face not paired with shock decreased conditioned fear and disliking at least to the same extent that the shock-associated out-group face increased these measures. Based on these results, we suggest an account of the out-group fear learning bias that relates to an attentional bias to process in-group information.
, Felicia Jackson, Nader Amir, Greg Hajcak
Published: 1 September 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 103-110; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.059

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 31 January 2013
Biological Psychology, Volume 92, pp 51-58; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.01.006

Abstract:
The main behavioral signature of fear extinction is its fragility. This is exemplified by the renewal effect, where a change in the background context produces recovery of fear to a conditioned-and-extinguished stimulus. Renewal is the backbone of a widely accepted theory of extinction in animal research, as well as an important experimental model to screen novel treatment techniques. This has led to an explosion of fear renewal research in humans. However, the mere observation of return of fear in a renewal procedure is not sufficient to validate this particular theory of extinction in the tested sample/procedure. Here, we systematically outline a set of experimental tests that aid in evaluating alternative extinction/renewal mechanisms. We examine published renewal studies in human fear conditioning and conclude that the prevailing theory of extinction is often taken for granted, but critical tests are lacking. Including these tests in future research will not only reveal the fear extinction mechanism in humans, but also inspire further developments in extinction treatment research.
Ralph Pawling, Paula D. Trotter, ,
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 186-194; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.057

Abstract:
The rewarding sensation of touch in affiliative interactions is hypothesised to be underpinned by an unmyelinated system of nerve fibres called C-tactile afferents (CTs). CTs are velocity tuned, responding optimally to slow, gentle touch, typical of a caress. Here we used evaluative conditioning to examine whether CT activation carries a positive affective value. A set of neutral faces were paired with robotically delivered touch to the forearm. With half the faces touch was delivered at a CT optimal velocity of 3cm/s (CT touch) and with the other half at a faster, Non-CT optimal velocity of 30cm/s (Control touch). Heart-rate and skin conductance responses (SCRs) were recorded throughout. Whilst rated equally approachable pre-conditioning, post-conditioning faces paired with CT touch were judged significantly more approachable than those paired with Control touch. CT touch also elicited significantly greater heart-rate deceleration and lower amplitude SCRs than Control touch. The results indicate CT touch carries a positive affective value, which can be acquired by socially relevant stimuli it is associated with.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 111-120; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.056

Abstract:
Fear generalisation refers to the spread of conditioned fear to stimuli similar but distinct from the original conditioned stimulus. In this study, participants were presented with repeated pairings of a conditioned stimulus with a shock, in either a single-cue or differential conditioning paradigm. Generalisation of fear was then tested by presenting stimuli that were novel, but similar to the conditioned stimulus along a spatial stimulus dimension. Dependent measures were online shock expectancy ratings and skin conductance level. A diverse range of generalisation gradients was observed, and the shape of the gradients for both expectancy ratings and skin conductance responses corresponded with participants' verbally reported rules. The findings point to an important role for cognitively controlled processes in human fear generalisation, and provide support for a single-system learning model. They also highlight the potential importance of cognitive reappraisal in clinical treatments for over-generalised fear.
, , Salvatore Maria Aglioti
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 121-130; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.055

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that prompting individuals to think on their own mortality affects their perception of painful somatic stimuli and related brain activity. Grounded on the assumption that reminders of mortality may recruit threat-defence mechanisms similar to the ones activated by painful nociceptive stimuli, we hypothesize that the effects exerted by linguistic reminders of death on pain perception and brain activity would be elicited by passive observation of death-related pictures vs. more generic threat-related pictures. Results showed an increase of the laser evoked P2 amplitude and oscillatory theta activity when participants observed death-related images. However, no change in pain ratings was found. Moreover, observation of death-related content was linked to increased oscillatory alpha desynchronisation but not to variations of visual evoked potentials amplitude. Our findings indicate that pairing potentially noxious stimuli with death-related images exerts a preferential modulation of nociceptive and visual cortical representations.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 90-102; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.052

Abstract:
Successful performance monitoring (PM) requires continuous assessment of context and action outcomes. Electrophysiological studies have reliably identified event-related potential (ERP) markers for evaluative feedback processing during PM: the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN) and P3 components. The functional significance of FRN remains debated in the literature, with recent research suggesting that feedback's goal relevance can account for FRN (amplitude) modulation, apart from its valence or expectedness alone. Extending this account, the present study assessed whether graded differentiations in feedback's relevance or importance to one's goal (referred to as goal impact) would influence PM at the FRN (and P3) level. To this end, we ran a within-subject crossover design experiment in which 40 participants completed two standard cognitive control tasks (Go/No Go and Simon), while 64-channel electroencephalography was recorded. Critically, both tasks entailed similar reward processing but systematically varied in goal impact assignment (high vs. low), manipulated through their supposed diagnosticity for daily life functioning and activation of social comparison. ERP results showed that goal impact reliably modulated FRN in a general manner. Irrespective of feedback valence, it was overall less negative in the high compared to the low impact condition, suggesting a general decrease in feedback monitoring in the former compared to the latter condition. These findings lend support to the idea that PM is best conceived operating not solely based on motor cues, but is shaped by motivational demands.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 131-153; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.051

Abstract:
Negative affective information may be presented outside of awareness and change physiological activity. By increasing peripheral physiological activity, subliminally presented negative affective information may contribute to the development of disease. The current systematic review evaluated 65 studies in which negative affective stimuli were presented subliminally to a healthy sample while cardiovascular, electrodermal, electromyographical, hormonal, or immunological activity was measured. Overall, 41% of the tested contrasts indicated significant increases due to negative affective stimuli compared to control stimuli. These effects were most pronounced in fear-conditioning studies measuring skin conductance response amplitude and priming studies measuring systolic blood pressure. However, across the included studies the methodology varied substantially and the number of contrasts per physiological parameter was limited. Thus, although some evidence exists that subliminally presented negative affective stimuli can induce adverse peripheral physiological changes, this has not yet been addressed sufficiently.
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 82-89; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.003

Abstract:
Testosterone plays an important role in social threat processing. Recent evidence suggests that testosterone administration has socially anxiolytic effects, but it remains unknown whether this involves early vigilance or later, more sustained, processing-stages. We investigated the acute effects of testosterone administration on social threat processing in 19 female patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and 19 healthy controls. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during an emotional Stroop task with subliminally presented faces. Testosterone induced qualitative changes in early ERPs (<200ms after stimulus onset) in both groups. An initial testosterone-induced spatial shift reflected a change in the basic processing (N170/VPP) of neutral faces, which was followed by a shift for angry faces suggesting a decrease in early threat bias. These findings suggest that testosterone specifically affects early automatic social information processing. The decreased attentional bias for angry faces explains how testosterone can decrease threat avoidance, which is particularly relevant for SAD.
Published: 31 January 2013
Biological Psychology, Volume 92, pp 90-96; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.12.015

Abstract:
Fear conditioning is one of the prime paradigms of behavioural neuroscience and a source of tremendous insight in the fundamentals of learning and memory and the psychology and neurobiology of emotion. It is also widely regarded as a model for the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders in a diathesis-stress model of psychopathology. Starting from the apparent paradox between the adaptive nature of fear conditioning and the dysfunctional nature of pathological anxiety, we present a critique of the human fear conditioning paradigm as an experimental model for psychopathology. We discuss the potential benefits of expanding the human fear conditioning paradigm by (1) including action tendencies as an important index of fear and (2) paying more attention to “weak” (i.e., ambiguous) rather than “strong” fear learning situations (Lissek et al., 2006), such as contained in selective learning procedures. We present preliminary data that illustrate these ideas and discuss the importance of response systems divergence in understanding individual differences in vulnerability for the development of pathological anxiety.
, Tarik Bel-Bahar, , Michael Crowley, ,
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 52-61; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.001

Abstract:
The use of emotion regulation strategies can reduce the intensity of negative emotional experiences. Event related potentials (ERPs), specifically the late positive potential (LPP), are known to be sensitive to this modulation in adults. This is the first study to explore the neural correlates of expressive suppression in adolescents. We sought to replicate previous findings from emotion regulation studies with adult populations, show that the LPP can be modulated by expressive suppression in healthy adolescents, and examine the influence of age on LPP changes. ERPs of 53 healthy adolescents (12–17 years old) performing an emotion regulation task (expressive suppression) were recorded. Expressive suppression altered the LPP in adolescents with both increases and decreases noted depending on time window and recording site. The LPP during expressive suppression was decreased with increasing age. The findings suggest that 1) the LPP is an effective tool to study processes associated with emotion regulation in adolescents, and 2) expressive suppression, in terms of its neural indicators, seems to become more effective with age. The nature and utility of expressive suppression as a specific form of emotion regulation in adolescents are discussed.
, , Kelsey M. Graber, Nathan J. Hayes, ,
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 45-48; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.002

Abstract:
Event-related potentials (ERPs) have been widely employed to identify different stages of face processing, with recent research probing the neural dynamics of adult's processing of infant faces. Infant faces represent a salient category of visual stimuli, especially in parents, likely prioritized for processing through activity of the oxytocinergic system. Here we employed a randomized, double-blind, and within-subject crossover study of 24 non-parent women to examine the impact of intranasal oxytocin administration, relative to placebo, on processing infant and adult faces. Our main finding was that, relative to placebo, the P300 ERP elicited by infant faces was greater than the P300 elicited by adult faces in the oxytocin condition. Therefore, oxytocin administration may enhance the allocation of attention towards infant cues, even in non-parent women.
Published: 31 August 1998
Biological Psychology, Volume 48, pp 235-267; https://doi.org/10.1016/s0301-0511(98)00040-4

Abstract:
A total of 73 healthy subjects aged 20-86 years performed an auditory 'oddball' task. The age-dependence of N1 and P2 elicited by non-target stimuli, of N2 and P3 elicited by target stimuli and of N2a and N2b components (target minus non-target difference waves) was investigated across 20 electrodes to detect any aging-related changes in the psychophysiological processing of such stimuli during the task. Aging-related differences in within-task changes in non-target ERPs were also investigated. In non-target ERPs, it was found that P2 amplitude at Fz increased linearly with advancing age and the analysis of within-task changes indicated that P2 amplitude decreased during the task in young subjects at Pz, but remained unchanged in middle-aged and elderly subjects. These results suggest the existence of aging-related inhibitory deficits that may hinder the disengagement of attentional resources from irrelevant stimuli during the task. In the target ERPs, the latencies of N2 and P3 increased linearly at Fz, Cz and Pz. The increases in N2 were mainly due to linear increases in N2b latency at Fz, Cz and Pz, indicating that the aging-related slowing begins at controlled memory comparison of non-target/target stimuli. P3 amplitude presented a more uniform scalp distribution in middle-aged and in elderly subjects and pnly decreased significantly with advancing age in men, which may explain the divergent results in the literature on aging-related changes of P3 amplitude.
, Raja Parasuraman
Published: 5 February 1996
Biological Psychology, Volume 42, pp 249-268; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(95)05161-9

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Peter Breuer
Published: 5 January 1996
Biological Psychology, Volume 42, pp 165-182; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(95)05153-8

Abstract:
Palpitations are among the most common symptoms of panic attacks. The present review addresses the question of whether systematic differences in heartbeat perception exist between patients with panic disorder and control subjects. Paradigms involving the comparison of heartbeat sensations with external signals such as discrimination task have failed to find group differences. Recent improvements in methodology may give clearer results in future studies. The majority of studies using the mental tracking paradigm have shown that panic disorder patients show a better heartbeat perception than controls. Discrepant results are probably related to different instructions and differences in sample characteristics such as the inclusion of patients on medication affecting the cardiovascular system. More accurate heartbeat perception, may, however, be restricted to those patients who show agoraphobic avoidance behavior. It is also conceivable that group differences in the mental tracking paradigm are due to attentional biases or a tendency to interpret weak sensations as heartbeats rather than differences in perceptual sensitivity. More ambulatory studies are needed to test whether the results can be generalized to the patients' natural environment. So far ambulatory studies have established superior heartbeat perception only in the subgroup of panic disorder patients with cardiac neurosis. A 1-year prospective study showed that heartbeat perception as assessed with the mental tracking paradigm predicted maintenance of panic attacks. This supports the clinical significance of the findings. Increased cardiac awareness may increase the probability of anxiety-inducing bodily sensations triggering the vicious cycle of panic. Laboratory and ambulatory monitoring studies showed that panic disorder patients respond with anxiety when they think that their heart rate has accelerated. Increased cardiac awareness may also contribute to the maintenance of the disorder by motivating the patients to avoid situations in which these sensations occur
Melissa L. Ferguson,
Published: 5 January 1996
Biological Psychology, Volume 42, pp 131-145; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(95)05151-1

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, , Jeff Huang, , Douglas P. Munoz
Published: 1 October 2017
Biological Psychology, Volume 129, pp 36-44; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.07.024

Abstract:
Signals from different sensory modalities are integrated in the brain to optimize behavior. Although multisensory integration has been demonstrated in saccadic eye movements, its influence on other orienting responses, including pupil size and microsaccades, is still poorly understood. We examined human gaze orienting responses following presentation of visual, auditory, or combined audiovisual stimuli. Transient pupil dilation and microsaccade inhibition were evoked shortly after the appearance of a salient stimulus. Audiovisual stimuli evoked larger pupil dilation, greater microsaccade inhibition, and faster saccade reaction times compared to unimodal conditions. Trials with faster saccadic reaction times were accompanied with greater pupil dilation responses. Similar modulation of pre-stimulus pupil-size-change rate was observed between stimulus-evoked saccadic and pupillary responses. Thus, multisensory integration impacts multiple components of orienting, with coordination between saccade and pupil responses, implicating the superior colliculus in coordinating these responses because of its central role in both orienting behavior and multisensory integration.
Published: 30 April 2008
Biological Psychology, Volume 78, pp 75-86; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2007.12.011

Abstract:
The relationship between self-reported traumatic childhood experiences, cortisol levels, aggression, and psychopathy was investigated in prison inmates (n = 47) and healthy controls (n = 27). Besides questionnaires, a brief salivary diurnal profile was measured. Results show that criminals (both psychopaths and non-psychopaths) demonstrate more traumatic childhood experiences than the control group. Within the group of criminals, psychopaths showed the lowest diurnal cortisol concentrations, whereas the non-psychopaths demonstrated highest daily average cortisol (DAC) scores. High levels of aggression were related to traumatic childhood experiences in non-psychopaths and control participants, but not in psychopaths. Although psychopathic offenders demonstrated low levels of cortisol, high levels of childhood traumatic experiences and high levels of aggression, cortisol was not a mediating factor between childhood traumatic experiences and aggression. Implications of the finding that psychopathic offenders displayed lower and non-psychopaths showed higher daily cortisol levels are discussed.
Roger R. Rosa, Michael H. Bonnet, Milton Kramer
Published: 31 March 1983
Biological Psychology, Volume 16, pp 119-126; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(83)90058-3

Abstract:
The present study provided polysomnographic corroboration of the frequently reported rela- tionship between anxiety and subjective sleep disturbance. When compared to normals, anxious individuals were found to have significantly less sleep period time, total sleep time, percent stage REM and percent stage 4; shorter latency to stage REM; and greater percent stage 1. Partial correlations (holding depression constant) showed significant positive relationships between anxiety rating and number of awakenings, latency to stage 1, and percent stage 2. A significant negative relationship was found between anxiety and percent stage 4, and a nonsignificant negative trend was found between anxiety and latency to stage REM. Overall there was a tendency toward less sleep and lighter sleep in subjects with anxiety, thus validating subjective reports. The decreased latency to stage REM and its negative relation to anxiety, raised the possibility that this variable may not be specifically indicative of depression.
Doreen Asso, Janine R. Braier
Published: 30 September 1982
Biological Psychology, Volume 15, pp 95-107; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(82)90034-5

Abstract:
This study investigated changes in levels of central and autonomie nervous system activity, using objective and self-report measures at two hormonally contrasting phases of the mentrual cycle. The subjects were 36 women who were divided into two groups, one tested in the premenstrual phase and one in the intermenstrual phase. The findings, which would need further confirmation, suggest that the levels of activation in both the central nervous system and in the autonomic nervous system are different in the two phases. Also, the two systems appear to vary independently of each other within the cycle. Cortical levels of activation are higher intermenstrually than premenstrually; autonomic levels are higher premenstrually than intermenstrually. The objective and self-report measures were in agreement both as regards the premenstrual/intermenstrual differences in activation levels, and as regards the central/autonomic differentiation. Further clarification of nervous system activity at the different hormonal phases of the cycle may contribute to an understanding of the relationships between endocrine, physical, psychological and behavioural variables through the menstrual cycle.
R. Näätänen, M. Simpson, N.E. Loveless
Published: 31 March 1982
Biological Psychology, Volume 14, pp 53-98; https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-0511(82)90017-5

Abstract:
In many studies on the effect of selective attention and stimulus significance on evoked potentials, the target, or otherwise significant, stimuli were also infrequent stimuli. The present study aims at separating these two confounded effects. Repetitive homogeneous auditory stimuli were presented at short constant intervals. One of two deviant stimuli, one slightly lower and the other slightly higher in pitch than the repetitive stimulus (‘standard’), randomly replaced it at the same low probability. One at a time of these two physically equally deviant and equally infrequent stimuli was designated as a target and the subject's task was to count its number in a run and to ignore the other deviant stimulus.
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