“Dance” has been associated with many psychophysiological and medical health effects. However, varying definitions of what constitute “dance” have led to a rather heterogenous body of evidence about such potential effects, leaving the picture piecemeal at best. It remains unclear what exact parameters may be driving positive effects. We believe that this heterogeneity of evidence is partly due to a lack of a clear definition of dance for such empirical purposes. A differentiation is needed between the effects on the individual (...) when the activity of “dancing” is enjoyed as a dancer within different dance domains, and what is commonly known as hobby, recreational or social dance), and the effects on the individual within these different domains, as a dancer of the different dance styles. Another separate category of dance engagement is, not as a dancer, but as a spectator of all of the above. “Watching dance” as part of an audience has its own set of psychophysiological and neurocognitive effects on the individual, and depends on the context where dance is witnessed. With the help of dance professionals, we first outline some different dance domains and dance styles, and outline aspects that differentiate them, and that may, therefore, cause differential empirical findings when compared regardless. Then, we outline commonalities between all dance styles. We identify six basic components that are part of any dance practice, as part of a continuum, and review and discuss available research for each of them concerning the possible health and wellbeing effects of each of these components, and how they may relate to the psychophysiological and health effects that are reported for “dancing”: rhythm and music, sociality, technique and fitness, connection and connectedness, flow and mindfulness, aesthetic emotions and imagination. Future research efforts might take into account the important differences between types of dance activities, as well as the six components, for a more targeted assessment of how “dancing” affects the human body. (shrink)
Human reasoning is often biased by stereotypical intuitions. The nature of such bias is not clear. Some authors claim that people are mere heuristic thinkers and are not aware that cued stereotypes might be inappropriate. Other authors claim that people always detect the conflict between their stereotypical thinking and normative reasoning, but simply fail to inhibit stereotypical thinking. Hence, it is unclear whether heuristic bias should be attributed to a lack of conflict detection or a failure of inhibition. We introduce (...) a neuroscientific approach that bears on this issue. Participants answered a classic decision-making problem while the activation of brain regions believed to be involved in conflict detection and response inhibition was monitored. Results showed that although the inhibition area was specifically activated when stereotypical responses were avoided, the conflict-detection area was activated even when people reasoned stereotypically. The findings suggest that people detect their bias when they give intuitive responses. (shrink)
Several recent anti-obesity campaigns appear to embrace stigmatization of obese individuals as a public health strategy. These approaches seem to be based on the fundamental assumptions that (1) obesity is largely under an individual’s control and (2) stigmatizing obese individuals will motivate them to change their behavior and will also result in successful behavior change. The empirical evidence does not support these assumptions: Although body weight is, to some degree, under individuals’ personal control, there are a range of biopsychosocial barriers (...) that make weight regulation difficult. Furthermore, there is accumulating evidence that stigmatizing obese individuals decreases their motivation to diet, exercise, and lose weight. Public health campaigns should focus on facilitating behavioral change, rather than stigmatizing obese people, and should be grounded in the available empirical evidence. Fundamentally, these campaigns should, first, do no harm. (shrink)
Although patient data have traditionally implicated the left prefrontal cortex in hypothesis generation, recent lesion data implicate right PFC in hypothesis generation tasks that involve set shifts. To test the involvement of the right prefrontal cortex in a hypothesis generation task involving set shifts, we scanned 13 normal subjects with fMRI as they completed Match Problems and a baseline task. In Match Problems subjects determined the number of possible solutions for each trial. Successful solutions are indicative of set shifts. In (...) the baseline condition subjects evaluated the accuracy of hypothetical solutions to match problems. A comparison of Match Problems versus baseline trials revealed activation in right ventral lateral PFC and left dorsal lateral PFC. A further comparison of successfully versus unsuccessfully completed Match Problems revealed activation in right ventral lateral PFC, left middle frontal gyrus and left frontal pole, thus identifying the former as a critical component of the neural mechanisms of set-shift transformation. By contrast, activation in right dorsal lateral PFC covaried as a function of the number of solutions generated in Match Problems, possibly due to increased working memory demands to maintain multiple solutions ‘on-line’, conflict resolution, or progress monitoring. These results go beyond the patient data by identifying the ventral lateral aspect of right PFC as being a critical component of the neural systems underlying lateral transformations, and demonstrate a dissociation between right VLPFC and DLPFC in hypotheses generation and maintenance. (shrink)
Historically, cognitivists considered moral choices to be determined by analytic processes. Recent theories, however, have emphasized the role of intuitive processes in determining moral choices. We propose that the engagement of analytic and intuitive processes is contingent on the type of tradeoff being considered. Specifically, when a tradeoff necessarily violates a moral principle no matter what choice is made, as in tragic tradeoffs, its resolution should result in greater moral conflict and less confidence in choice than when the tradeoff offers (...) a moral escape route, as in taboo tradeoffs. We manipulated tradeoff type in between subjects design and confirmed the prediction that tragic tradeoffs prompt more conflict and less confidence than taboo tradeoffs. The findings further revealed that moral conflict mediated the effect of tradeoff type on confidence. The study sheds light on the manner in which human minds resolve moral problems involving social agents. (shrink)
The research programs of empirical aesthetics and neuroaesthetics have reflected deep concerns about viewers' sensitivities to artworks' historical contexts by investigating the impact of two factors on art perception: viewers' developmental (and educational) histories and the contextual histories of artworks. These considerations are consistent with data demonstrating that art perception is underwritten by dynamically reconfigured and evolutionarily adapted neural and psychological mechanisms.
There is accumulating evidence that disgust plays an important role in prejudice toward individuals with obesity, but that research is primarily based on self-reported emotions. In four studies, we examined whether participants displayed a physiological marker of disgust in response to images of obese individuals, and whether these responses corresponded with their self-reported disgust to those images. All four studies showed the predicted self-reported disgust response toward images of obese individuals. Study 1 further showed that participants exhibited more levator activity (...) to images of obese individuals than to neutral images. However, Studies 2–4 failed to provide any evidence that the targets’ body size affected levator responses. These findings suggest that disgust may operate at multiple levels, and that the disgust response to images of obese individuals may be more of a cognitive-conceptual one than a physiological one. (shrink)