ResearchPad - conceptual-analysis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Adolescent Brain Development and Progressive Legal Responsibility in the Latin American Context]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12966 In this article, we analyze the contributions of neuroscience to the development of the adolescent brain and shed additional light on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the context of Latin America. In neurobiology, maturity is perceived to be complex because the brain’s temporal development process is not uniform across all its regions. This has important consequences for adolescents’ behavior; in their search for the acceptance of their peers, they are more vulnerable to pressure and more sensitive to stress than adults. Their affectivity is more unstable, and they show signs of low tolerance to frustration and important emotional reactivity, with a decrease in the capacity to self-regulate. Consequently, risky behavior presents itself more frequently during adolescence, and behaviors that transgress norms and social conventions typically peak between the ages of 17 and 19 years. However, only a small percentage of young offenders escalate their behavior to committing crimes during adulthood. In comparative law, there are considerable differences in Latin American countries’ legal dispositions regarding the minimum age of criminal responsibility; Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador regard the age of criminal responsibility to be 12 years, while Argentina accepts this to be 16 years. From a legal viewpoint, however, the debate about the minimum age of criminal responsibility is connected to other circumstances that, because they are still at a developmental stage, are attributed to adolescents’ rights in their decision-making and understanding of autonomy (e.g., the minimum ages for voting, alcohol consumption, and medical consent). We argue that research on the development of the adolescent brain does not provide definitive answers about the exact age required for different juridical purposes. Nonetheless, the current state of knowledge does allow for reflection on the development and maturation of adolescents and the implications for considering them criminally responsible. It also validates demands for a system that provides adolescents with greater protection and that favors their healthy integral development. In any case, although a specific minimum age is not evident, this study is disposed not to recommend lowering the age of criminal responsibility, but rather increasing it.

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<![CDATA[Using Biosecurity Measures to Combat Respiratory Disease in Cattle: The Norwegian Control Program for Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Bovine Coronavirus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N360a8359-05cd-4fa4-bb79-b7b3b00bb71b

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) cause important health problems in all cattle husbandry systems. It contributes substantially to the use of antimicrobial substances and compromises animal welfare and the sustainability of the cattle industry. The existing preventive measures of BRD focus at the individual animal or herd level and include vaccination, mass treatment with antimicrobials and improvement of the animal's environment and general health status. Despite progress in our understanding of disease mechanism and technological development, the current preventive measures are not sufficiently effective. Thus, there is a need for alternative, sustainable strategies to combat the disease. Some of the primary infectious agents in the BRD complex are viruses that are easily transmitted between herds such as bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and bovine coronavirus (BCoV). This conceptual analysis presents arguments for combatting BRD through improved external biosecurity in the cattle herds. As an example of a population-based approach to the control of BRD, the Norwegian BRSV/BCoV control-program is presented. The program is voluntary and launched by the national cattle industry. The core principle is classification of herds based on antibody testing and subsequent prevention of virus-introduction through improved biosecurity measures. Measures include external herd biosecurity barriers and regulations in the organization of animal trade to reduce direct and indirect transmission of virus. Improved biosecurity in a large proportion of herds will lead to a considerable effect at the population level. Positive herds are believed to gain freedom by time if new introduction is avoided. Vaccination is not used as part of the program. Dissemination of information to producers and veterinarians is essential. We believe that reducing the incidence of BRD in cattle is essential and will lead to reduced antimicrobial usage while at the same time improving animal health, welfare and production. Alternative approaches to the traditional control measures are needed.

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<![CDATA[Entropy, Free Energy, and Symbolization: Free Association at the Intersection of Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf413fdfb-1b35-4766-9c07-b3e3a4ca31d9

Both a method of therapy and an exploration of psychic reality, free association is a fundamental element of psychoanalytical practices that refers to the way a patient is asked to describe what comes spontaneously to mind in the therapeutic setting. This paper examines the role of free association from the point of view of psychoanalysis and neuroscience in order to improve our understanding of therapeutic effects induced by psychoanalytic therapies and psychoanalysis. In this regard, we first propose a global overview of the historical origins of the concept of free association in psychoanalysis and examine how Freud established its principles. Then, from Freud’s distinction between primary and secondary processes, we proceed to compare the psychoanalytic model with research originating from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. The notions of entropy and free energy appear particularly relevant at the intersection of these different domains. Finally, we propose the notion of symbolizing transmodality to describe certain specificities of symbolization processes within free association and we summarize the main functions of free association in psychoanalytic practices.

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<![CDATA[Cardiomyocyte Calcium Ion Oscillations—Lessons From Physics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na79d57aa-0ddd-4899-b4ab-13330f9ab6d6

We review a theoretical, coarse-grained description for cardiomyocytes calcium dynamics that is motivated by experiments on RyR channel dynamics and provides an analogy to other spontaneously oscillating systems. We show how a minimal model, that focuses on calcium channel and pump dynamics and kinetics, results in a single, easily understood equation for spontaneous calcium oscillations (the Van-der-Pol equation). We analyze experiments on isolated RyR channels to quantify how the channel dynamics depends both on the local calcium concentration, as well as its temporal behavior (“adaptation”). Our oscillator model analytically predicts the conditions for spontaneous oscillations, their frequency and amplitude, and how each of those scale with the small number of relevant parameters related to calcium channel and pump activity. The minimal model is easily extended to include the effects of noise and external pacing (electrical or mechanical). We show how our simple oscillator predicts and explains the experimental observations of synchronization, “bursting” and reduction of apparent noise in the beating dynamics of paced cells. Thus, our analogy and theoretical approach provides robust predictions for the beating dynamics, and their biochemical and mechanical modulation.

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<![CDATA[Glycemia Regulation: From Feedback Loops to Organizational Closure]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4243d924-67f4-4674-bb05-0017999669fb

Endocrinologists apply the idea of feedback loops to explain how hormones regulate certain bodily functions such as glucose metabolism. In particular, feedback loops focus on the maintenance of the plasma concentrations of glucose within a narrow range. Here, we put forward a different, organicist perspective on the endocrine regulation of glycaemia, by relying on the pivotal concept of closure of constraints. From this perspective, biological systems are understood as organized ones, which means that they are constituted of a set of mutually dependent functional structures acting as constraints, whose maintenance depends on their reciprocal interactions. Closure refers specifically to the mutual dependence among functional constraints in an organism. We show that, when compared to feedback loops, organizational closure can generate much richer descriptions of the processes and constraints at play in the metabolism and regulation of glycaemia, by making explicit the different hierarchical orders involved. We expect that the proposed theoretical framework will open the way to the construction of original mathematical models, which would provide a better understanding of endocrine regulation from an organicist perspective.

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<![CDATA[Prehistoric Perspectives on “Others” and “Strangers”]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N48420f6b-d206-46e2-9e19-85b2339a4fa9

Social “connectivity” through time is currently considered as one of the major drivers of cultural transmission and cultural evolution. Within this framework, the interactions within and between groups are impacted by individuals’ distinction of social relationships. In this paper, we focus on changes in a major aspect of social perceptions, “other” and “stranger.” As inferred from the archaeological record, this perception among human groups gained importance during the course of the Pleistocene. These changes would have occurred due to the plasticity of cognitive mechanisms, in response to the demands on behavior along the trajectory of human social evolution. The concepts of “other” and “stranger” have received little attention in the archaeological discourse, yet they are fundamental in the perception of social standing. The property of being an “other” is defined by one’s perception and is inherent to one’s view of the world around oneself; when shared by a group it becomes a social cognitive construct. Allocating an individual the status of a “stranger” is a socially-defined state that is potentially transient. We hypothesize that, while possibly entrenched in deep evolutionary origins, the latter is a relatively late addition to socio-cognitive categorization, associated with increased sedentism, larger groups and reduced territorial extent as part of the process of Neolithization. We posit that “others” and “strangers” can be approached from contextual archaeological data, with inferences as regards the evolution of cognitive social categories. Our analysis focused on raw material studies, observations on style, and evidence for craft specialization. We find that contrary to the null hypothesis the archaeological record implies earlier emergence of complex socio-cognitive categorization. The cognitive, cultural and social processes involved in the maintenance and distinction between “others” and “strangers” can be defined as “self-domestication” that is still an on-going process.

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<![CDATA[Extending Research on Deception in Sport – Combining Perception and Kinematic Approaches]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8f33da46-0b4a-45b6-894f-2ab7c1d0e95d

The spatio-temporal demands of many high performance sport contexts require a strategic interplay between anticipation from early kinematic cues and the appropriate movement strategy. Despite the importance of the interaction between observer and deceiver in these contexts, this dyad is usually considered separately (i.e., from perceptual-cognitive or kinematic perspectives). The present approach proposes a consolidation of perceptual-cognitive and kinematic perspectives into a dyad of deception that focuses on the interplay between opposing actors within antagonistic contexts. A framework is proposed for analyzing movement deception within this dyad. Applying a functional approach, the deceptive act is positioned as a means of optimally solving an antagonistic performance task with high spatio-temporal demands. The framework involves three elements: first, the context of the movement deception is evaluated relative to the constraints imposed by the athlete, object, and deceptive content. Together, these constraints generate a range of potential kinematic options for movement deception. Second, movement deception is determined by the spatio-temporal constraints of the original context. More simply, misleading information is only useful if it mimics elements of the genuine movement. Third, the framework emphasizes targeting the spatio-temporal interplay as well as differentiating between active and co(ntra)-active movement deception. Our goal with this framework is to supplement movement deception research by providing a conceptional context that can be applied across sports.

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<![CDATA[On How Definitions of Habits Can Complicate Habit Research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nbb3bad20-d0ef-4445-ad74-bc1d3e9e961b

The core message of this paper is that many of the challenges of habit research can be traced back to the presence of causal elements within the definition of habits. For instance, the idea that habits are stimulus-driven implies that habitual behavior is not causally mediated by goal-representations. The presence of these causal elements in the definition of habits leads to difficulties in establishing empirically whether behavior is habitual. Some of these elements can also impoverish theoretical thinking about the mechanisms underlying habitual behavior. I argue that habit research would benefit from eliminating any reference to specific S-R association formation theories from the definition of habits. Which causal elements are retained in the definition of habits depends on the goals of researchers. However, regardless of the definition that is selected, it is good to be aware of the implications of the definition of habits for empirical and theoretical research on habits.

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<![CDATA[Gestalt Theory Rearranged: Back to Wertheimer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b448857463d7e3d32725401

Wertheimer's seminal paper of 1923 was of gerat influence in psychology and other sciences. Wertheimer also emphasized the weaknesses of the newborn Gestalt theory: too many basic laws, and the ambiguity of definitions. At the same time, the paper contained potential solutions to these problems, in the form of a number of very important ideas, some of which were presented implicitly: perception through imitation, communicative nature of linear drawings and writings, transfer from the visual domain to motor domain, linguistic interpretation of the Gestalt. In this paper it will be shown that based on these ideas the Gestalt theory can be rearranged so that the main notions can be well defined, and the general principle of Gestalt perception, which overarches all known laws and unifies different Gestalt phenomena (the imitation principle) can be introduced. The presented model of Gestalt perception is supported by fundamental neurophysiological data—the mirror neurons phenomenon and simulation theory.

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<![CDATA[Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Scientific Epiphenomenalism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d8502d5eed0c48451fed0

This article addresses two influential lines of argument for what might be termed “scientific epiphenomenalism” about conscious intentions – the thesis that neither conscious intentions nor their physical correlates are among the causes of bodily motions – and links this thesis to skepticism about free will and moral responsibility. One line of argument is based on Benjamin Libet’s neuroscientific work on free will. The other is based on a mixed bag of findings presented by social psychologist Daniel Wegner. It is argued that both lines of argument are unsuccessful.

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<![CDATA[On the Tacit Aspects of Science Pedagogy in Higher Education]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b3cc45e463d7e29a3a8b1a2

In this article, we examine the concept of tacit knowledge and its implications for science education. We suggest that the history of scientific ideas and the personal nature of learning imply that higher education in scientific fields, wherein the generation of new knowledge, insights and understanding is paramount, would greatly benefit by acknowledging the irreducible role of the non-formal and the incidental in scientific innovation and advances.

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<![CDATA[Psychological Mechanisms Involved in Radicalization and Extremism. A Rational Emotive Behavioral Conceptualization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c9e5807d5eed0c484240915

Extremist acts and the process of radicalizations got into researchers’ attention worldwide since 2001. The aim of this paper is to offer a broad image on radicalization and extremist acts and to bring a new perspective for the conceptualization of radicalization. Radicalization is a process of developing extremist beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. The extremist beliefs are profound convictions opposesd to the fundamental values of society, the laws of democracy and the universal human rights, advocating the supremacy of a certain group (racial, religious, political, economic, social etc.). The extremist emotions and behaviors may be expressed both in non-violent pressure and coercion and in actions that deviate from the norm and show contempt for life, freedom, and human rights. A complete inroad to psychological mechanism involved in the process of radicalization is offered in order to have a broad image regarding current research in the field. Starting from this point, a rational emotive and behavioral conceptualization on radicalization has been developed, bringing together all the concepts and knowledge in the field. A complete and clear conceptualization is crucial for developing prevention/intervention programs and good practices in dealing with this process which has been spreading in the past years. The final part deals with directions regarding prevention/intervention programs from a rational emotive and behavioral perspective, and also from the perspective of European policies.

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<![CDATA[A Non-mediational Approach to Emotions and Feelings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c880abbd5eed0c4846134cb

The present analysis proposes a non-mediational approach to the study of affective phenomena. It starts off with the common recognition that “emotion” is not a technical term. Even so, researchers often treat it as if it were, confusing ordinary language with technical language. This leads to two problems: first, a referentialist bias, according to which we assume emotions to be something unapparent that one must infer and describe; and second, the nominalist fallacy, according to which we assume that emotions have causal effects on actions by the fact of naming them. I review some proposals to solve the problem, among which are some behavioral alternatives. Although these alternatives overcome many of the problems mentioned, they do not completely avoid them. I conclude that a strict non-mediational approach is possible and necessary. It supports the analytical separation of ordinary and technical language. Technical language abstracts relevant properties of ordinary language that become relevant parameters to model certain emotions, as they are referred to in ordinary language. I present some possible parameters and examples for consideration and conclude that the non-mediational approach is a plausible alternative that can stimulate research programs to find natural regularities in affective phenomena.

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<![CDATA[Expected Free Energy Formalizes Conflict Underlying Defense in Freudian Psychoanalysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c094dd6d5eed0c484227c4d

Freud's core interest in the psyche was the dynamic unconscious: that part of the psyche which is unconscious due to conflict (Freud, 1923/1961). Over the course of his career, Freud variously described conflict as an opposition to the discharge of activation (Freud, 1950), opposition to psychic activity due to the release of unpleasure (Freud, 1990/1991), opposition between the primary principle and the reality principle (Freud, 1911/1963), structural conflict between id, ego, and superego (Freud, 1923/1961), and ambivalence (Freud, 1912/1963). Besides this difficulty of the shifting description of conflict, an underlying question remained the specific shared terrain in which emotions, thoughts, intentions or wishes could come into conflict with one another (the neuronal homolog of conflict), and most especially how they may exist as quantities in opposition within that terrain. Friston's free-energy principle (FEP henceforth) connected to the work of Friston (Friston et al., 2006; Friston, 2010) has provided the potential for a powerful unifying theory in psychology, neuroscience, and related fields that has been shown to have tremendous consilience with psychoanalytic concepts (Hopkins, 2012). Hopkins (2016), drawing on a formulation by Hobson et al. (2014), suggests that conflict may be potentially quantifiable as free energy from a FEP perspective. More recently, work by Friston et al. (2017a) has framed the selection of action as a gradient descent of expected free energy under different policies of action. From this perspective, the article describes how conflict could potentially be formalized as a situation where opposing action policies have similar expected free energy, for example between actions driven by competing basic prototype emotion systems as described by Panksepp (1998). This conflict state may be avoided in the future through updating the relative precision of a particular set of prior beliefs about outcomes: this has the result of tending to favor one of the policies of action over others in future instances, a situation analogous to defense. Through acting as a constraint on the further development of the person, the defensive operation can become entrenched, and resistant to alteration. The implications that this formalization has for psychoanalysis is explored.

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<![CDATA[The ‘Real-World Approach’ and Its Problems: A Critique of the Term Ecological Validity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N04d65711-3925-44d1-8309-1da92533bfc5 A popular goal in psychological science is to understand human cognition and behavior in the ‘real-world.’ In contrast, researchers have typically conducted their research in experimental research settings, a.k.a. the ‘psychologist’s laboratory.’ Critics have often questioned whether psychology’s laboratory experiments permit generalizable results. This is known as the ‘real-world or the lab’-dilemma. To bridge the gap between lab and life, many researchers have called for experiments with more ‘ecological validity’ to ensure that experiments more closely resemble and generalize to the ‘real-world.’ However, researchers seldom explain what they mean with this term, nor how more ecological validity should be achieved. In our opinion, the popular concept of ecological validity is ill-formed, lacks specificity, and falls short of addressing the problem of generalizability. To move beyond the ‘real-world or the lab’-dilemma, we believe that researchers in psychological science should always specify the particular context of cognitive and behavioral functioning in which they are interested, instead of advocating that experiments should be more ‘ecologically valid’ in order to generalize to the ‘real-world.’ We believe this will be a more constructive way to uncover the context-specific and context-generic principles of cognition and behavior. ]]> <![CDATA[Who Put the Super in Superhero? Transformation and Heroism as a Function of Evolution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605bd6d5eed0c4847cea7d

Transformation and heroism are reciprocally related. Transformation produces an individual that others may call hero; one who inspires, guides, and protects something precious—an ordinary extraordinary person, master of the self. Heroes exhibit the further reaches of human development by transforming into entirely new, resplendent individuals that demonstrate valuable capacities whiles still being mortal. Because transformation is the means through which heroes are made, a more thorough understanding of the forces affecting transformation may advance collective understanding of the demands upon the individual. Founded on the scholarship of seminal authors of depth psychology, East Indian spirituality, anthropology, physics, mythology, Hermetic science, and other disciplines, this paper argues that a hero develops through both natural and supernatural processes, which can eventually produce a transhuman or superhero—depending on one's perspective, one who is natural (bound by nature) and supernatural (beyond nature). If this psychospiritual proposition has merit, advancement from ordinary to hero and from hero to super hero—each resulting from trans-form-ation—constitutes a subtle yet fundamental change in form, a microevolution of a subsect of individuals. The progressive framework begins with a description of patterns of evolution salient to heroism and transformation; an exploration of four key “laws” that govern the realm of matter, which support and delimit the budding hero as an earth-bound human; and an examination of four “supernatural” abilities the initiate must cultivate and enact in order to transform. The heart of the paper is a detailed guide identifying when during the process of transformation, the initiate can expect to receive the support of natural processes, when to be vigilant for beyond nature or Divine intervention, and when to intervene with “supernatural” activities. The framework culminates with an elucidation of how the ordinary yet heroic individual becomes a superhero or transhuman as outlined by spiritual teacher Sri Aurobindo, through three transformations of biopsychosocial maturation and spiritual realization.

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<![CDATA[Ideal Point Modeling of Non-cognitive Constructs: Review and Recommendations for Research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d8365d5eed0c48450fcff

Most psychological measurement models assume a monotonically increasing relation between the latent trait and the probability of responding. These models have historically been based on the measurement of abilities (e.g., cognitive), which have dominance properties. However, they are less appropriate for the measurement of non-cognitive constructs, or self-reported typical behaviors (e.g., attitudes, emotions, interests, personality), which have historically been assumed to have ideal point properties, or a nonmonotonic relation between the latent trait and the probability of responding. In this paper, we review the literature on ideal point modeling of non-cognitive constructs to present a theoretical framework that can help guide researchers on pertinent factors that may influence ideal point responding when assessing non-cognitive constructs. We also review the practical implications of not using ideal point response models for non-cognitive constructs and propose areas for research in non-cognitive construct assessment.

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