ResearchPad - 205 https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Smad4-dependent morphogenic signals control the maturation and axonal targeting of basal vomeronasal sensory neurons to the accessory olfactory bulb]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7547 Summary: Genetic disruption of TGFβ/BMP signaling in maturing basal vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) or in all mature VSNs indicates that Smad4 signaling drives maturation and connectivity of basal VSNs.

]]>
<![CDATA[A multivariate analysis of women's mating strategies and sexual selection on men's facial morphology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N25e0ddb3-4144-4e77-b0b0-40a850cdf521

The strength and direction of sexual selection via female choice on masculine facial traits in men is a paradox in human mate choice research. While masculinity may communicate benefits to women and offspring directly (i.e. resources) or indirectly (i.e. health), masculine men may be costly as long-term partners owing to lower paternal investment. Mating strategy theory suggests women's preferences for masculine traits are strongest when the costs associated with masculinity are reduced. This study takes a multivariate approach to testing whether women's mate preferences are context-dependent. Women (n = 919) rated attractiveness when considering long-term and short-term relationships for male faces varying in beardedness (clean-shaven and full beards) and facial masculinity (30% and 60% feminized, unmanipulated, 30% and 60% masculinized). Participants then completed scales measuring pathogen, sexual and moral disgust, disgust towards ectoparasites, reproductive ambition, self-perceived mate value and the facial hair in partners and fathers. In contrast to past research, we found no associations between pathogen disgust, self-perceived mate value or reproductive ambition and facial masculinity preferences. However, we found a significant positive association between moral disgust and preferences for masculine faces and bearded faces. Preferences for beards were lower among women with higher ectoparasite disgust, providing evidence for ectoparasite avoidance hypothesis. However, women reporting higher pathogen disgust gave higher attractiveness ratings for bearded faces than women reporting lower pathogen disgust, providing support for parasite-stress theories of sexual selection and mate choice. Preferences for beards were also highest among single and married women with the strongest reproductive ambition. Overall, our results reflect mixed associations between individual differences in mating strategies and women's mate preferences for masculine facial traits.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mindreading in the balance: adults' mediolateral leaning and anticipatory looking foretell others’ action preparation in a false-belief interactive task]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N95bb01ba-f9d7-4ea2-9945-d13b4f30a4c5

Anticipatory looking on mindreading tasks can indicate our expectation of an agent's action. The challenge is that social situations are often more complex, involving instances where we need to track an agent's false belief to successfully identify the outcome to which an action is directed. If motor processes can guide how action goals are understood, it is conceivable—where that kind of goal ascription occurs in false-belief tasks—for motor representations to account for someone's belief-like state. Testing adults (N = 42) in a real-time interactive helping scenario, we discovered that participants' early mediolateral motor activity (leftwards–rightwards leaning on balance board) foreshadowed the agent's belief-based action preparation. These results suggest fast belief-tracking can modulate motor representations generated in the course of one's interaction with an agent. While adults' leaning, and anticipatory looking, revealed the contribution of fast false-belief tracking, participants did not correct the agent's mistake in their final helping action. These discoveries suggest that adults may not necessarily use another's belief during overt social interaction or find reflecting on another's belief as being normatively relevant to one's own choice of action. Our interactive task design offers a promising way to investigate how motor and mindreading processes may be variously integrated.

]]>
<![CDATA[Communicating the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of government policies and their impact on public support: a systematic review with meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nb816fa8b-1a07-4f8b-ba11-40ecbf1d333f

Low public support for government interventions in health, environment and other policy domains can be a barrier to implementation. Communicating evidence of policy effectiveness has been used to influence attitudes towards policies, with mixed results. This review provides the first systematic synthesis of such studies. Eligible studies were randomized controlled experiments that included an intervention group that provided evidence of a policy's effectiveness or ineffectiveness at achieving a salient outcome, and measured policy support. From 6498 abstracts examined, there were 45 effect sizes from 36 eligible studies. In total, 35 (N = 30 858) communicated evidence of effectiveness, and 10 (N = 5078) communicated evidence of ineffectiveness. Random effects meta-analysis revealed that communicating evidence of a policy's effectiveness increased support for the policy (SMD = 0.11, 95% CI [0.07, 0.15], p < 0.0001), equivalent to support increasing from 50% to 54% (95% CI [53%, 56%]). Communicating evidence of ineffectiveness decreased policy support (SMD = −0.14, 95% CI [−0.22, −0.06], p < 0.001), equivalent to support decreasing from 50% to 44% (95% CI [41%, 47%]). These findings suggest that public support for policies in a range of domains is sensitive to evidence of their effectiveness, as well as their ineffectiveness.

]]>
<![CDATA[Multimodality and the origin of a novel communication system in face-to-face interaction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N33aabe53-c5ad-409f-a17a-550e3fa57da8

Face-to-face communication is multimodal at its core: it consists of a combination of vocal and visual signalling. However, current evidence suggests that, in the absence of an established communication system, visual signalling, especially in the form of visible gesture, is a more powerful form of communication than vocalization and therefore likely to have played a primary role in the emergence of human language. This argument is based on experimental evidence of how vocal and visual modalities (i.e. gesture) are employed to communicate about familiar concepts when participants cannot use their existing languages. To investigate this further, we introduce an experiment where pairs of participants performed a referential communication task in which they described unfamiliar stimuli in order to reduce reliance on conventional signals. Visual and auditory stimuli were described in three conditions: using visible gestures only, using non-linguistic vocalizations only and given the option to use both (multimodal communication). The results suggest that even in the absence of conventional signals, gesture is a more powerful mode of communication compared with vocalization, but that there are also advantages to multimodality compared to using gesture alone. Participants with an option to produce multimodal signals had comparable accuracy to those using only gesture, but gained an efficiency advantage. The analysis of the interactions between participants showed that interactants developed novel communication systems for unfamiliar stimuli by deploying different modalities flexibly to suit their needs and by taking advantage of multimodality when required.

]]>
<![CDATA[Is mere exposure enough? The effects of bilingual environments on infant cognitive development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc52279e9-73e2-43e3-a4a9-5e0eefa8386a

Bilinguals purportedly outperform monolinguals in non-verbal tasks of cognitive control (the ‘bilingual advantage'). The most common explanation is that managing two languages during language production constantly draws upon, and thus strengthens, domain-general inhibitory mechanisms (Green 1998 Biling. Lang. Cogn. 1, 67–81. (doi:10.1017/S1366728998000133)). However, this theory cannot explain why a bilingual advantage has been found in preverbal infants (Kovacs & Mehler 2009 Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 6556–6560. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0811323106)). An alternative explanation is needed. We propose that exposure to more varied, less predictable (language) environments drive infants to sample more by placing less weight on consolidating familiar information in order to orient sooner to (and explore) new stimuli. To confirm the bilingual advantage in infants and test our proposal, we administered four gaze-contingent eye-tracking tasks to seven- to nine-month-old infants who were being raised in either bilingual (n = 51) or monolingual (n = 51) homes. We could not replicate the finding by Kovacs and Mehler that bilingual but not monolingual infants inhibit learned behaviour (experiment 1). However, we found that infants exposed to bilingual environments do indeed explore more than those exposed to monolingual environments, by potentially disengaging attention faster from one stimulus in order to shift attention to another (experiment 3) and by switching attention more frequently between stimuli (experiment 4). These data suggest that experience-driven adaptations may indeed result in infants exposed to bilingual environments switching attention more frequently than infants exposed to a monolingual environment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Retrospective inferences in selective trust]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N67952646-cb6e-4f33-85f8-efb0d8a8ad50

Young children learn selectively from others based on the speakers' prior accuracy. This indicates that they recognize the models’ (in)competence and use it to predict who will provide the most accurate and useful information in the future. Here, we investigated whether 5-year-old children are also able to use speaker reliability retrospectively, once they have more information regarding their competence. They first experienced two previously unknown speakers who provided conflicting information about the referent of a novel label, with each speaker using the same novel label to refer exclusively to a different novel object. Following this, children learned about the speakers' differing labelling accuracy. Subsequently, children selectively endorsed the object–label link initially provided by the speaker who turned out to be reliable significantly above chance. Crucially, more than half of these children justified their object selection with reference to speaker reliability, indicating the ability to explicitly reason about their selective trust in others based on the informants’ individual competences. Findings further corroborate the notion that young children are able to use advanced, metacognitive strategies (trait reasoning) to learn selectively. By contrast, since learning preceded reliability exposure and gaze data showed no preferential looking toward the more reliable speaker, findings cannot be accounted for by attentional bias accounts of selective social learning.

]]>
<![CDATA[Flexibility in reaction time analysis: many roads to a false positive?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nacef8a27-6e46-4e36-a4ba-7989eab660c3

In the present article, we explore the influence of undisclosed flexibility in the analysis of reaction times (RTs). RTs entail some degrees of freedom of their own, due to their skewed distribution, the potential presence of outliers and the availability of different methods to deal with these issues. Moreover, these degrees of freedom are usually not considered part of the analysis itself, but preprocessing steps that are contingent on data. We analysed the impact of these degrees of freedom on the false-positive rate using simulations over real and simulated data. When several preprocessing methods are used in combination, the false-positive rate can easily rise to 17%. This figure becomes more concerning if we consider that more degrees of freedom are awaiting down the analysis pipeline, potentially making the final false-positive rate much higher.

]]>
<![CDATA[Cultural prerequisites of socioeconomic development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N78e41fa3-3f1f-492f-8339-91ac3123e72f

In the centuries since the enlightenment, the world has seen an increase in socioeconomic development, measured as increased life expectancy, education, economic development and democracy. While the co-occurrence of these features among nations is well documented, little is known about their origins or co-evolution. Here, we compare this growth of prosperity in nations to the historical record of cultural values in the twentieth century, derived from global survey data. We find that two cultural factors, secular-rationality and cosmopolitanism, predict future increases in GDP per capita, democratization and secondary education enrollment. The converse is not true, however, which indicates that secular-rationality and cosmopolitanism are among the preconditions for socioeconomic development to emerge.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hippocampal-dependent appetitive control is impaired by experimental exposure to a Western-style diet]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne6f9e78e-4c08-49ce-9d6e-6bd48316f702

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 memory (HDLM) and of appetitive control were obtained pre- and post-intervention. HDLM was retested at three-week follow-up. Relative to controls, HDLM performance declined in the WS-diet group (d = 0.43), but was not different at follow-up. Appetitive control also declined in the WS-diet group (d = 0.47) and this was strongly correlated with HDLM decline (d = 1.01). These findings demonstrate that a WS-diet can rapidly impair appetitive control in humans—an effect that could promote overeating in consumers of a WS-diet. The study also suggests a functional role for the hippocampus in appetitive control and provides new evidence for the adverse neurocognitive effects of a WS-diet.

]]>
<![CDATA[An empirical assessment of transparency and reproducibility-related research practices in the social sciences (2014–2017)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na9fea507-e973-490f-8824-5cace01d5471

Serious concerns about research quality have catalysed a number of reform initiatives intended to improve transparency and reproducibility and thus facilitate self-correction, increase efficiency and enhance research credibility. Meta-research has evaluated the merits of some individual initiatives; however, this may not capture broader trends reflecting the cumulative contribution of these efforts. In this study, we manually examined a random sample of 250 articles in order to estimate the prevalence of a range of transparency and reproducibility-related indicators in the social sciences literature published between 2014 and 2017. Few articles indicated availability of materials (16/151, 11% [95% confidence interval, 7% to 16%]), protocols (0/156, 0% [0% to 1%]), raw data (11/156, 7% [2% to 13%]) or analysis scripts (2/156, 1% [0% to 3%]), and no studies were pre-registered (0/156, 0% [0% to 1%]). Some articles explicitly disclosed funding sources (or lack of; 74/236, 31% [25% to 37%]) and some declared no conflicts of interest (36/236, 15% [11% to 20%]). Replication studies were rare (2/156, 1% [0% to 3%]). Few studies were included in evidence synthesis via systematic review (17/151, 11% [7% to 16%]) or meta-analysis (2/151, 1% [0% to 3%]). Less than half the articles were publicly available (101/250, 40% [34% to 47%]). Minimal adoption of transparency and reproducibility-related research practices could be undermining the credibility and efficiency of social science research. The present study establishes a baseline that can be revisited in the future to assess progress.

]]>
<![CDATA[Man's best friends: attitudes towards the use of different kinds of animal depend on belief in different species' mental capacities and purpose of use]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N72b34b13-6070-4fb8-865d-de6ec6be0a2c

The animal purpose questionnaire (APQ) is a new instrument to measure human attitudes to animal use systematically across both species and purpose of use. This offers a more fine-grained approach to our understanding of how the belief in a specific animal's mental capacities relates to (dis-)agreement with their use for different human purposes. In the present study, 317 participants completed an online survey containing the APQ and the belief in animal mind (BAM) scale in a species-specific format, to test the prediction that levels of (dis-)agreement with animal use should mirror participants' judgements of animal sentience. The results obtained with the APQ confirmed that attitudes to animal use differed significantly across both purpose and species. Key findings included a relatively greater concern for dolphins and dogs over chimpanzees (suggesting that phylogenetic position is not the only determinant of attitudes to animal use). Across the purposes examined, respondents were largely negative about animal usage, with the exception that there was less disagreement if this was for medical research. Participants were also asked to provide demographic details such as gender and dietary preference. Regression analyses revealed high predictive power for species-specific BAM across five different kinds of animal use. General BAM scores, non-meat-eating and being female accounted for 31.5% of the total variability in APQ scores. The results indicate that BAM is a strong predictor of self-reported attitudes for using particular animals. However, the results showed some exceptions in the case of culturally typical ‘produce’ animals.

]]>
<![CDATA[Telemedicine assessment of long-term cognitive and functional status in anti-leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 encephalitis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3fbbce8f-a3b6-489f-969f-64e343f95b34

Objective

To assess the feasibility of a structured telephone interview examining the long-term cognitive and functional status in anti–leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) encephalitis.

Methods

Telephone interviews were conducted with 37 patients after a median follow-up of 87 months from disease onset and 23 healthy controls matched for age and sex. Cognitive status was assessed with the telephone Mini-Mental State Examination (t-MMSE) and 3 tests exploring verbal memory, fluency, and executive function. Functional status was evaluated with the Functional Activities Questionnaire and the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Patients were classified as normal, with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or with dementia based on cognitive and functional status. Assessment of the cognitive reserve was performed with a structured questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was applied to identify predictors of cognitive impairment.

Results

Telephone interviews were successful in 36/37 (97%) patients. Cognitive impairment was detected in 27 (75%) including 17 with MCI and 10 with dementia. Eight (29%) patients would have been misclassified using only the t-MMSE. Twenty-six (72%) patients were functionally independent according to the mRS, but only 9 (35%) were cognitively normal. Independent predictors for long-term cognitive impairment were a low cognitive reserve (OR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.05–1.76; p = 0.02) and bilateral hippocampal hyperintensity at initial MRI (OR = 27.03, 95% CI: 1.87–390; p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Telemedicine is a feasible tool to assess the cognitive and functional outcome in patients with anti-LGI1 encephalitis. Cognitive impairment is often missed if only functional scales are used. Premorbid cognitive reserve and MRI with bilateral hippocampal hyperintensity were predictors for long-term cognitive impairment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Cognition at age 70]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd27d6813-5240-40fa-aebc-105afba68a90

Objective

To investigate predictors of performance on a range of cognitive measures including the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC) and test for associations between cognition and dementia biomarkers in Insight 46, a substudy of the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development.

Methods

A total of 502 individuals born in the same week in 1946 underwent cognitive assessment at age 69–71 years, including an adapted version of the PACC and a test of nonverbal reasoning. Performance was characterized with respect to sex, childhood cognitive ability, education, and socioeconomic position (SEP). In a subsample of 406 cognitively normal participants, associations were investigated between cognition and β-amyloid (Aβ) positivity (determined from Aβ-PET imaging), whole brain volumes, white matter hyperintensity volumes (WMHV), and APOE ε4.

Results

Childhood cognitive ability was strongly associated with cognitive scores including the PACC more than 60 years later, and there were independent effects of education and SEP. Sex differences were observed on every PACC subtest. In cognitively normal participants, Aβ positivity and WMHV were independently associated with lower PACC scores, and Aβ positivity was associated with poorer nonverbal reasoning. Aβ positivity and WMHV were not associated with sex, childhood cognitive ability, education, or SEP. Normative data for 339 cognitively normal Aβ-negative participants are provided.

Conclusions

This study adds to emerging evidence that subtle cognitive differences associated with Aβ deposition are detectable in older adults, at an age when dementia prevalence is very low. The independent associations of childhood cognitive ability, education, and SEP with cognitive performance at age 70 have implications for interpretation of cognitive data in later life.

]]>
<![CDATA[Information overload in group communication: from conversation to cacophony in the Twitch chat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne255d995-7f8a-41b8-968b-e00f187e0eb4

As social media replace traditional communication channels, we are often exposed to too much information to process. The presence of too many participants, for example, can turn online public spaces into noisy, overcrowded fora where no meaningful conversation can be held. Here, we analyse a large dataset of public chat logs from Twitch, a popular video-streaming platform, in order to examine how information overload affects online group communication. We measure structural and textual features of conversations such as user output, interaction and information content per message across a wide range of information loads. Our analysis reveals the existence of a transition from a conversational state to a cacophony—a state with lower per capita participation, more repetition and less information per message. This study provides a quantitative basis for further studies of the social effects of information overload, and may guide the design of more resilient online conversation systems.

]]>
<![CDATA[The matrix reasoning item bank (MaRs-IB): novel, open-access abstract reasoning items for adolescents and adults]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1def3e12-a612-48ba-b8d4-ea1714e19d35

Existing non-verbal ability tests are typically protected by copyright, preventing them from being freely adapted or computerized. Working towards an open science framework, we provide 80 novel, open-access abstract reasoning items, an online implementation and item-level data from 659 participants aged between 11 and 33 years: the matrix reasoning item bank (MaRs-IB). Each MaRs-IB item consists of an incomplete matrix containing abstract shapes. Participants complete the matrices by identifying relationships between the shapes. Our data demonstrate age differences in non-verbal reasoning accuracy, which increased during adolescence and stabilized in early adulthood. There was a slight linear increase in response times with age, resulting in a peak in efficiency (i.e. a measure combining speed and accuracy) in late adolescence. Overall, the data suggest that the MaRs-IB is sensitive to developmental differences in reasoning accuracy. Further psychometric validation is recommended.

]]>
<![CDATA[Cognitive and environmental interventions to encourage healthy eating: evidence-based recommendations for public health policy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6d629cd4-d7f5-4356-b070-c804d837124f

Policymakers are focused on reducing the public health burden of obesity. The UK average percentage of adults classified as obese is 26%, which is double that of the global average. Over a third of UK adults report using at least one weight management aid. Yet, many people still struggle to change their diet-related behaviour, despite having the awareness, intention and capability to do so. This ‘intention–behaviour gap’ may be because most existing dietary-choice interventions focus on individual decision-making, ignoring the effects of environmental cues on human behaviour. Behaviour change interventions that ‘nudge’ people into making healthier choices by modifying the food environment have been shown to be effective. However, this type of intervention is typically challenging for policymakers to implement for economic, ethical and public accessibility reasons. To overcome these concerns, policymakers should consider ‘boosting’ interventions. Boosting involves enhancing competences that help people make decisions consistent with their goals. Here, we outline cognitive training as a boosting intervention to tackle obesity. We synthesize the evidence for one type of cognitive training (go/no-go training) that may be effective at modifying food-related decisions and reducing body weight. We offer evidence-based recommendations for an obesity-focused Public Health Wales behaviour change programme.

]]>
<![CDATA[Search as a simple take-the-best heuristic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf167ac32-e746-43af-9f29-5f3471a82508

Humans commonly engage in a variety of search behaviours, for example when looking for an object, a partner, information or a solution to a complex problem. The success or failure of a search strategy crucially depends on the structure of the environment and the constraints it imposes on the individuals. Here, we focus on environments in which individuals have to explore the solution space gradually and where their reward is determined by one unique solution they choose to exploit. This type of environment has been relatively overlooked in the past despite being relevant to numerous real-life situations, such as spatial search and various problem-solving tasks. By means of a dedicated experimental design, we show that the search behaviour of experimental participants can be well described by a simple heuristic model. Both in rich and poor solution spaces, a take-the-best procedure that ignores all but one cue at a time is capable of reproducing a diversity of observed behavioural patterns. Our approach, therefore, sheds lights on the possible cognitive mechanisms involved in human search.

]]>
<![CDATA[Cue predictability does not modulate bottom-up attentional capture]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c152292d5eed0c4840bd4a5

Attention can be involuntarily captured by physically salient stimuli, a phenomenon known as bottom-up attention. Typically, these salient stimuli occur unpredictably in time and space. Therefore, in a series of three behavioural experiments, we investigated the extent to which such bottom-up attentional capture is a function of one's prior expectations. In the context of an exogenous cueing task, we systematically manipulated participants' spatial (Experiment 1) or temporal (Experiments 2 and 3) expectations about an uninformative cue and examined the amount of attentional capture by the cue. We anticipated larger attentional capture for unexpected compared to expected cues. However, while we observed attentional capture, we did not find any evidence for a modulation of attentional capture by prior expectation. This suggests that bottom-up attentional capture does not appear modulated by the degree to which the cue is expected or surprising.

]]>
<![CDATA[The boundary of holistic processing in the appraisal of facial attractiveness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5bf378463d7e275b8fb2eb

Facial attractiveness is often studied on the basis of the internal facial features alone. This study investigated how this exclusion of the external features affects the perception of attractiveness. We studied the effects of two most commonly used methods of exclusion, where the shape of an occluding mask was defined by either the facial outline or an oval. Participants rated attractiveness of the same faces under these conditions. Results showed that faces were consistently rated more attractive when they were masked by an oval shape rather than by their outline (Experiment 1). Attractive faces were more strongly affected by this effect than were less attractive faces when participants were able to control the viewing time. However, unattractive faces benefited more from this effect when the same face stimuli were presented briefly for only 20 ms (Experiment 2). Further manipulation confirmed that the effect was mainly due to the occlusion of a larger area of the external features rather than the regular and symmetrical features of the oval shape (Experiment 3) or lacks contextual cues about the face boundary (Experiment 4). The effect was only relative to masked faces, with no advantage over unmasked faces (Experiment 5), and is likely a result of the interaction between the shape of a mask and the internal features of the face. This holistic effect in the appraisal of facial attractiveness is striking, because the oval shape of the mask is not a part of the face but is the edge of an occluding object.

]]>