We question memory reconsolidation and emotional arousal as sufficient determinants of therapeutic change. Generating new feelings and meanings must be contrasted with activating and stabilizing the evolving memories that reflect those novel experiences. Some therapeutic changes are not attributable to a memory model alone. “Emotional processing” is also needed and is often an undeclared form of complex executive problem solving.
When we judge an action as morally right or wrong, we rely on our capacity to infer the actor's mental states. Here, we test the hypothesis that the right temporoparietal junction, an area involved in mental state reasoning, is necessary for making moral judgments. In two experiments, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt neural activity in the RTPJ transiently before moral judgment and during moral judgment. In both experiments, TMS to the RTPJ led participants to rely less on the (...) actor's mental states. A particularly striking effect occurred for attempted harms : Relative to TMS to a control site, TMS to the RTPJ caused participants to judge attempted harms as less morally forbidden and more morally permissible. Thus, interfering with activity in the RTPJ disrupts the capacity to use mental states in moral judgment, especially in the case of attempted harms. (shrink)
Using neoPiagetian theory of mental attention (or working memory), I task-analyze two complex performances of great apes and one symbolic performance (funeral burials) of early Homo sapiens. Relating results to brain size growth data, I derive estimates of mental attention for great apes, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and modern Homo sapiens, and use children's cognitive development as reference. This heuristic model seems consistent with research.
The authors' results support a functionalist conception of working memory: a manifold repertoire of schemes/schemas (long-term memory) and a small set of general-purpose “hidden operators.” Using some of these operators I define mental (i.e., endogenous) attention. Then, analyzing two of the authors' unexplained important findings, I illustrate the mental-attention model's explanatory power. Multivariate methodology that varies developmental, task differences, and individual differences is recommended.
Two assertions of Halford et al. are critiqued: their claim of priority in relational complexity analysis and the sufficiency for cognitive development of their relational-complexity analysis of tasks. Critical discussion of concrete task analyses (i.e., the relational complexity of proportionality problems, of balance scale problems, and the Tower of Hanoi) serves, by way of counterexamples, to highlight problems in their method.
Cowan fails to obtain a magical number of 7 because his analysis is faulty. This is revealed by an alternative analysis of Cowan's own tasks. The analysis assumes a number 7 for adults, and neoPiagetian mental- capacity values for children. Data patterns and proportions of success (reported in Cowan's Figs. 2 and 3) are thus quantitatively explained in detail for the first time.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive neurostimulatory and neuromodulatory technique increasingly used in clinical and research practices around the world. Historically, the ethical considerations guiding the therapeutic practice of TMS were largely concerned with aspects of subject safety in clinical trials. While safety remains of paramount importance, the recent US Food and Drug Administration approval of the Neuronetics NeuroStar TMS device for the treatment of specific medication-resistant depression has raised a number of additional ethical concerns, including marketing, off-label use (...) and technician certification. This article provides an overview of the history of TMS and highlights the ethical questions that are likely arise as the therapeutic use of TMS continues to expand. (shrink)
Objective: Loneliness is the subjective distress of feeling alone and has a strong impact on wellbeing and health. In addition to well-known predictors like isolation and poor health, a better understanding of the psychological determinants of loneliness would offer effective targets for future complementary interventions.Methods: In this cross-sectional observational study, we compared the explanatory power of several important risk factors of loneliness with the affective, motivational, and cognitive aspects of the Meaning in Life construct. Different nested linear models were compared (...) including socio-demographic, lifestyles, social-connectedness, and self-rated health variables, to assess the overlapping and non-overlapping explanatory power of each of them.Results: Health status and MiL were found to be the most important predictors of loneliness, followed by social connectedness and, with a much lower weight, lifestyles, and socio-demographic factors. Within the MiL factor, the most cognitive component, sense of coherence, had a greater explanatory power than the more affective and motivational ones.Conclusion: Reduced MiL, the capacity of an individual to attach “value and significance” to life, is a crucial predictor to the feeling of loneliness. These results suggest that programs aiming to combat loneliness should go well beyond situational interventions and include more cognitive, value-centered interventions that enable individuals to define and pursue a meaningful vital plan. (shrink)
IntroductionThe prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role in cognition, particularly in executive functions. Cortical reactivity measured with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation combined with Electroencephalography is altered in pathological conditions, and it may also be a marker of cognitive status in middle-aged adults. In this study, we investigated the associations between cognitive measures and TMS evoked EEG reactivity and explored whether the effects of this relationship were related to neurofilament light chain levels, a marker of neuroaxonal damage.MethodsFifty two healthy middle-aged adults from (...) the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative cohort underwent TMS-EEG, a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, and a blood test for NfL levels. Global and Local Mean-Field Power, two measures of cortical reactivity, were quantified after left prefrontal cortex stimulation, and cognition was set as the outcome of the regression analysis. The left inferior parietal lobe was used as a control stimulation condition.ResultsLocal reactivity was significantly associated with working memory and reasoning only after L-PFC stimulation. No associations were found between NfL and cognition. These specific associations were independent of the status of neuroaxonal damage indexed by the NfL biomarker and remained after adjusting for age, biological sex, and education.ConclusionOur results demonstrate that TMS evoked EEG reactivity at the L-PFC, but not the L-IPL, is related to the cognitive status of middle-aged individuals and independent of NfL levels, and may become a valuable biomarker of frontal lobe-associated cognitive function. (shrink)
In recent years, supported by new scientific evidence, the conceptualization of cognitive reserve has been progressively enriched and now encompasses not only cognitive stimulating activities or educational level, but also lifestyle activities, such as leisure physical activity and socialization. In this context, there is increasing interest in understanding the role of psychological factors in brain health and cognitive functioning. In a previous study, we have found that these factors mediated the relationship between CR and self-reported cognitive functioning. In this study, (...) we have confirmed an association between two important constructs included in the psychological wellbeing and salutogenic models, “purpose in life” and “sense of coherence,” CR, as assessed using a questionnaire, and cognitive functioning, as evaluated using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Results from 888 middle-aged healthy participants from the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative indicate that both sense of coherence and CR were positively associated with verbal memory, reasoning and attention, working memory, and global cognition. Moreover, the relation between CR and cognitive functioning in the different domains is partially mediated by SoC. When we controlled for brain integrity, introducing into the model neurofilament light chain measures, the mediator role of SoC was confirmed for reasoning and attention and global cognition. However, purpose in life was not associated with cognitive functioning. These results reveal the central role of the SoC construct, which mediates the association between classic CR estimates and cognitive functions, potentially representing a modifiable target for interventions that aim to promote brain health. (shrink)
This paper examines the association between board characteristics and the ethical reputation of financial institutions. Given the pivotal governance role of the board of directors and the value-relevance of ethical corporate behavior, we postulate a positive relationship between ethical reputation and board features that foster more effective monitoring and oversight. Using a sample of large financial institutions from 13 different countries, we run several alternative panel regressions of ethical reputation on board characteristics and firm-specific controls. Our results demonstrate that the (...) ethical reputation of financial institutions is positively associated with board size, gender diversity, and CEO duality, while being negatively related to the busyness of the board members and a composite index reflecting poor monitoring. Nevertheless, inconsistent with our hypothesis, we also document that financial institutions with less frequent board meetings have better ethical reputation. Overall, our empirical findings suggest that stronger board oversight may promote ethical behavior in the financial industry. (shrink)
The objective of this work was to construct and validate an instrument for assessing resilience to suicide attempts in a Spanish clinical population that has made a previous attempt, and to verify its efficacy for predicting future suicide reattempts at 6 months. For the construction of a Scale of Resilience to Suicide Attempts the theoretical-rational strategy was used. The constructed SRSA-18 consisted of 18 items and 3 subdimensions, had high internal consistency and a high positive correlation with the Suicide Resilience (...) Inventory-25, SRI-25, and to a lesser extent with general resilience scales such as the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, CD-RISC and the Resilience Scale of 14 items, RS-14. Additionally, a specific SRSA-18 score predicted future suicide reattempts 6 months after the first attempt. This new scale assesses in a brief and rapid way, through protective factors rather than risk factors, the level of resilience to the suicide attempt in specific clinical subpopulations in hospital emergency services, being able to prevent suicide reattempts with higher lethality. (shrink)
The confinement that COVID-19 has brought about has had a negative influence on people’s psychological health. However, this impact is not widespread throughout the population, and men and women may be affected differently and it is not known what protective factors may exist. In this sense, physical activity has classically been shown to be a habit associated with psychological health. The study aimed to analyze the impact of confinement on psychological health, taking into account gender, and perceived changes in physical (...) activity. After the project was approved by the University’s Ethics Commission, the participants, after signing the informed consent, completed the online questionnaires during the days from 6 to 20 April, the time when, in Spain, confinement was in place and the highest peak of deaths and infections from COVID-19 occurred. A total of 457 Spanish participants were evaluated in psychological well-being, in its adaptation to Spanish, in coping, with the Spanish adaptation of the COPE Inventory, in daily habits and difficulties and the level of physical activity they had was recorded. Besides, the perceived change in physical activity due to confinement was recorded. The results showed that perceived emotions, difficulties for certain routines, psychological well-being, and coping differed according to sex. On the other hand, depending on the change in physical activity habits, it was observed that participants who increased their physical activity responded differently in the perception of emotions, and difficulties for routines and in psychological well-being. Finally, differences were also observed in most variables between sedentary, active, and federated participants. Results are discussed highlighting the importance of physical activity as a moderating factor of the impact of confinement. (shrink)