Scholarly Works - Psychology


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  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Understanding Mathematics Anxiety: Investigating the experiences of UK primary and secondary school students
    (Centre for Neuroscience in Education, 2019-03-14) Carey, Emma; Devine, Amy; Hill, Francesca; Dowker, Ann; McLellan, Ros; Szucs, Denes; McLellan, Ros [0000-0002-7583-5550]; Szucs, Denes [0000-0002-9477-0801]
    The project investigated individuals’ attitudes towards mathematics because of what could be referred to as a “mathematics crisis” in the UK. Evidence suggests that functional literacy skills amongst working-age adults are steadily increasing but the proportion of adults with functional maths skills equivalent to a GCSE grade C has dropped from 26% in 2003 to only 22% in 2011 (National Numeracy, 2014). This number is strikingly low compared with the 57% who achieved the equivalent in functional literacy skills (National Numeracy, 2014).
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Public perceptions of mental health professionals: stigma by association?
    (Taylor & Francis, 2017-10) Ebsworth, Sarah J; Foster, Juliet LH
    BACKGROUND: Existing research has identified the phenomenon of associative stigma, but has not robustly illustrated that any stigmatisation of mental health professionals (MHPs) stems from association with clients. AIM: To examine whether public perceptions of MHPs mirror ideas about service users. METHOD: A mixed-methods approach incorporated statistical analysis of questionnaire results and thematic analysis of focus group transcripts. A convenience sample (N = 260) completed the questionnaire, rating "typical" target professionals (some treating specified mental health conditions) on semantic differential scales. Three focus groups (N = 15) triangulated questionnaire findings. RESULTS: Mirroring mental illness stereotypes, questionnaire participants rated counsellors and psychiatrists as more eccentric and unpredictable than GPs. Professionals specialising in treating substance abuse and schizophrenia were rated as less empathetic, agreeable, predictable and conventional than those treating depression, reflecting differing representations of these conditions. Specialists in depression and schizophrenia were rated as more withdrawn than those treating substance abuse. Focus group participants postulated that mental health problems may cause or result from mental health employment. CONCLUSION: MHPs seem stigmatised by association with clients. Future research should elucidate the origins of stigma to safeguard professionals' and clients' well-being.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Modelling the amplitude modulation structure of child phonology and morphology speech tasks
    (Acoustical Society of America) Goswami, U; Flanagan, S; Goswami, Usha [0000-0001-7858-2336]; Flanagan, Sheila [0000-0003-0119-4196]
    Recent models of the neural encoding of speech suggest a core role for amplitude modulation (AM) structure, particularly regarding AM phase alignment. Accordingly, speech tasks that measure linguistic development in children may exhibit systematic properties regarding AM structure. Here the acoustic structure of spoken items in child phonological and morphological tasks, phoneme deletion and plural elicitation, was investigated. The phase synchronisation index (PSI), reflecting the degree of phase alignment between pairs of AMs, was computed for 3 AM bands (delta, theta, beta/low gamma; 0.9-2.5 Hz, 2.5-12 Hz, 12-40 Hz respectively), for five spectral bands covering 100 – 7250 Hz. For phoneme deletion, data from 94 child participants with and without dyslexia was used to relate AM structure to behavioural performance. Results revealed that a significant change in magnitude of the phase synchronisation index (∆PSI) of slower AMs (delta-theta) systematically accompanied both phoneme deletion and plural elicitation. Further, children with dyslexia made more linguistic errors as the delta-theta ∆PSI increased. Accordingly, ∆PSI between slower temporal modulations in the speech signal systematically distinguished test items from accurate responses and predicted task performance. This may suggest that sensitivity to slower AM information in speech is a core aspect of phonological and morphological development.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Uncomfortable loudness levels among children and adolescents seeking help for tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.
    (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08) Aazh, Hashir; McFerran, Don; Moore, Brian CJ; Moore, Brian [0000-0001-7071-0671]
    OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of hyperacusis and severe hyperacusis among children and adolescents seen at an audiology outpatient tinnitus and hyperacusis service. DESIGN: This was a retrospective study. Hyperacusis was considered as present if the average uncomfortable loudness level (ULL) at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8 kHz for the ear with the lower average ULL, which is denoted as ULLmin, was ≤77 dB HL. Severe hyperacusis was considered as present if the ULL was 30 dB HL or less for at least one of the measured frequencies for at least one ear. STUDY SAMPLE: There were 62 young patients with an average age of 12 years (SD = 4.1 years, range 4-18 years). RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of patients had hyperacusis and 17% had severe hyperacusis. On average, ULLs at 8 kHz were 9.3 dB lower than ULLs at 0.25 kHz. For 33% of patients, ULLs were at least 20 dB lower at 8 than at 0.25 kHz. CONCLUSIONS: Among children and adolescents seen at an audiology outpatient clinic for tinnitus and hyperacusis, hyperacusis diagnosed on the basis of ULLs is very prevalent and it is often characterised by lower ULLs at 8 than at 0.25 kHz.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Drug Cues, Conditioned Reinforcement, and Drug Seeking: The Sequelae of a Collaborative Venture With Athina Markou.
    (Elsevier, 2018-06-01) Everitt, Barry J; Everitt, Barry [0000-0003-4431-6536]
    Athina Markou spent a research period in my laboratory, then in the Department of Anatomy in Cambridge University, in 1991 to help us establish a cocaine-seeking procedure. Thus we embarked on developing a second-order schedule of intravenous cocaine reinforcement to investigate the neural basis of the pronounced effects of cocaine-associated conditioned stimuli on cocaine seeking. This brief review summarizes the fundamental aspects of cocaine seeking measured using this approach and the importance of the methodology in enabling us to define the neural mechanisms and circuitry underlying conditioned reinforcement and cocaine, heroin, and alcohol seeking. The shift over time and experience of control over drug seeking from a limbic cortical-ventral striatal circuit underlying goal-directed drug seeking to a dorsal striatal system mediating habitual drug seeking are also summarized. The theoretical implications of these data are discussed, thereby revealing the ways in which the outcomes of a collaboration can endure.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Autistic adults show preserved normalisation of sensory responses in gaze processing
    (Elsevier, 2018-06-01) Lawson, RP; Palmer, CJ; Shankar, S; Clifford, CWG; Rees, G; Lawson, Rebecca [0000-0003-1228-1244]
    Progress in our understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has recently been sought by characterising how systematic differences in canonical neural computations employed across the sensory cortex might contribute to clinical symptoms in diverse sensory, cognitive, and social domains. A key proposal is that ASD is characterised by reduced divisive normalisation of sensory responses. This provides a bridge between genetic and molecular evidence for an increased ratio of cortical excitation to inhibition in ASD and the functional characteristics of sensory coding that are relevant for understanding perception and behaviour. Here we tested this hypothesis in the context of gaze processing (i.e., the perception of other people's direction of gaze), a domain with direct relevance to the core diagnostic features of ASD. We show that reduced divisive normalisation in gaze processing is associated with specific predictions regarding the psychophysical effects of sensory adaptation to gaze direction, and test these predictions in adults with ASD. We report compelling evidence that both divisive normalisation and sensory adaptation occur robustly in adults with ASD in the context of gaze processing. These results have important theoretical implications for defining the types of divisive computations that are likely to be intact or compromised in this condition (e.g., relating to local vs distal control of cortical gain). These results are also a strong testament to the typical sensory coding of gaze direction in ASD, despite the atypical responses to others' gaze that are a hallmark feature of this diagnosis.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Longitudinal development of attention and inhibitory control during the first year of life.
    (Wiley, 2018-11) Holmboe, Karla; Bonneville-Roussy, Arielle; Csibra, Gergely; Johnson, Mark H; Holmboe, Karla [0000-0003-3157-6101]; Bonneville-Roussy, Arielle [0000-0001-7909-8845]; Csibra, Gergely [0000-0002-7044-3056]; Johnson, Mark H [0000-0003-4229-2585]
    Executive functions (EFs) are key abilities that allow us to control our thoughts and actions. Research suggests that two EFs, inhibitory control (IC) and working memory (WM), emerge around 9 months. Little is known about IC earlier in infancy and whether basic attentional processes form the "building blocks" of emerging IC. These questions were investigated longitudinally in 104 infants tested behaviorally on two screen-based attention tasks at 4 months, and on IC tasks at 6 and 9 months. Results provided no evidence that basic attention formed precursors for IC. However, there was full support for coherence in IC at 9 months and partial support for stability in IC from 6 months. This suggests that IC emerges earlier than previously assumed. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at:
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Inoculating against misinformation.
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2017-12-01) van der Linden, Sander; Maibach, Edward; Cook, John; Leiserowitz, Anthony; Lewandowsky, Stephan; van der Linden, Sander [0000-0002-0269-1744]
    The unprecedented spread of misinformation threatens citizens’ ability to form evidence-based opinions on issues of great societal importance, including public health, climate change, and national security
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    The nature of viral altruism and how to make it stick
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017) Van Der Linden, S; van der Linden, Sander [0000-0002-0269-1744]
    Societal altruism is changing. Increased awareness and use of online social media is providing new ways of inspiring collective action and support for critical societal challenges. What makes some social causes go viral while others never seem to take off?
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Scientific agreement can neutralize politicization of facts
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-01) Linden, Sander van der; Leiserowitz, Anthony; Maibach, Edward
    In light of the continued politicization of facts on critical societal issues, developing ways to effectively communicate with the public about scientific topics is becoming increasingly important.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    On the relationship between personal experience, affect and risk perception: The case of climate change.
    (Wiley, 2014-08) van der Linden, Sander; van der Linden, Sander [0000-0002-0269-1744]
    Examining the conceptual relationship between personal experience, affect, and risk perception is crucial in improving our understanding of how emotional and cognitive process mechanisms shape public perceptions of climate change. This study is the first to investigate the interrelated nature of these variables by contrasting three prominent social-psychological theories. In the first model, affect is viewed as a fast and associative information processing heuristic that guides perceptions of risk. In the second model, affect is seen as flowing from cognitive appraisals (i.e., affect is thought of as a post-cognitive process). Lastly, a third, dual-process model is advanced that integrates aspects from both theoretical perspectives. Four structural equation models were tested on a national sample (N = 808) of British respondents. Results initially provide support for the "cognitive" model, where personal experience with extreme weather is best conceptualized as a predictor of climate change risk perception and, in turn, risk perception a predictor of affect. Yet, closer examination strongly indicates that at the same time, risk perception and affect reciprocally influence each other in a stable feedback system. It is therefore concluded that both theoretical claims are valid and that a dual-process perspective provides a superior fit to the data. Implications for theory and risk communication are discussed. © 2014 The Authors. European Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    The fake news game: actively inoculating against the risk of misinformation
    (Informa UK Limited, 2019) Roozenbeek, J; van der Linden, S; Roozenbeek, Jon [0000-0002-8150-9305]; van der Linden, Sander [0000-0002-0269-1744]
    The rapid spread of online misinformation poses an increasing risk to societies worldwide. To help counter this, we developed a ‘fake news game’ in which participants are actively tasked with creating a news article about a strongly politicized issue (the European refugee crisis) using misleading tactics, from the perspective of different types of fake news producers. To pilot test the efficacy of the game, we conducted a randomized field study (N = 95) in a public high school setting. Results provide some preliminary evidence that playing the fake news game reduced the perceived reliability and persuasiveness of fake news articles. Overall, these findings suggest that educational games may be a promising vehicle to inoculate the public against fake news.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Experimental effects of climate messages vary geographically
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018) Zhang, B; Van Der Linden, S; Mildenberger, M; Marlon, JR; Howe, PD; Leiserowitz, A; Zhang, B [0000-0001-7217-5035]
    Social science scholars routinely evaluate the efficacy of diverse climate frames using local convenience or nationally representative samples. For example, previous research has focused on communicating the scientific consensus on climate change, which has been identified as a ‘gateway’ cognition to other key beliefs about the issue6,7,8,9. Importantly, although these efforts reveal average public responsiveness to particular climate frames, they do not describe variation in message effectiveness at the spatial and political scales relevant for climate policymaking. Here we use a small-area estimation method to map geographical variation in public responsiveness to information about the scientific consensus as part of a large-scale randomized national experiment (n = 6,301). Our survey experiment finds that, on average, public perception of the consensus increases by 16 percentage points after message exposure. However, substantial spatial variation exists across the United States at state and local scales. Crucially, responsiveness is highest in more conservative parts of the country, leading to national convergence in perceptions of the climate science consensus across diverse political geographies. These findings not only advance a geographical understanding of how the public engages with information about scientific agreement, but will also prove useful for policymakers, practitioners and scientists engaged in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    White-Matter Pathways for Statistical Learning of Temporal Structures.
    (Society for Neuroscience, 2018) Karlaftis, Vasilis M; Wang, Rui; Shen, Yuan; Tino, Peter; Williams, Guy; Welchman, Andrew E; Kourtzi, Zoe; Karlaftis, Vasilis M [0000-0003-1285-1593]; Wang, Rui [0000-0002-9299-0034]; Welchman, Andrew E [0000-0002-7559-3299]; Kourtzi, Zoe [0000-0001-9441-7832]
    Extracting the statistics of event streams in natural environments is critical for interpreting current events and predicting future ones. The brain is known to rapidly find structure and meaning in unfamiliar streams of sensory experience, often by mere exposure to the environment (i.e., without explicit feedback). Yet, we know little about the brain pathways that support this type of statistical learning. Here, we test whether changes in white-matter (WM) connectivity due to training relate to our ability to extract temporal regularities. By combining behavioral training and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), we demonstrate that humans adapt to the environment's statistics as they change over time from simple repetition to probabilistic combinations. In particular, we show that learning relates to the decision strategy that individuals adopt when extracting temporal statistics. We next test for learning-dependent changes in WM connectivity and ask whether they relate to individual variability in decision strategy. Our DTI results provide evidence for dissociable WM pathways that relate to individual strategy: extracting the exact sequence statistics (i.e., matching) relates to connectivity changes between caudate and hippocampus, while selecting the most probable outcomes in a given context (i.e., maximizing) relates to connectivity changes between prefrontal, cingulate and basal ganglia (caudate, putamen) regions. Thus, our findings provide evidence for distinct cortico-striatal circuits that show learning-dependent changes of WM connectivity and support individual ability to learn behaviorally-relevant statistics.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Evaluation of a multi-channel algorithm for reducing transient sounds.
    (Informa UK Limited, 2018-08) Keshavarzi, Mahmoud; Baer, Thomas; Moore, Brian CJ; Keshavarzi, Mahmoud [0000-0003-3507-3712]; Moore, Brian CJ [0000-0001-7071-0671]
    OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate and select appropriate parameters for a multi-channel transient reduction (MCTR) algorithm for detecting and attenuating transient sounds in speech. DESIGN: In each trial, the same sentence was played twice. A transient sound was presented in both sentences, but its level varied across the two depending on whether or not it had been processed by the MCTR and on the "strength" of the processing. The participant indicated their preference for which one was better and by how much in terms of the balance between the annoyance produced by the transient and the audibility of the transient (they were told that the transient should still be audible). STUDY SAMPLE: Twenty English-speaking participants were tested, 10 with normal hearing and 10 with mild-to-moderate hearing-impairment. Frequency-dependent linear amplification was provided for the latter. RESULTS: The results for both participant groups indicated that sounds processed using the MCTR were preferred over the unprocessed sounds. For the hearing-impaired participants, the medium and strong settings of the MCTR were preferred over the weak setting. CONCLUSIONS: The medium and strong settings of the MCTR reduced the annoyance produced by the transients while maintaining their audibility.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Evaluation of near-end speech enhancement under equal-loudness constraint for listeners with normal-hearing and mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
    (Acoustical Society of America (ASA), 2017-01) Zorilă, Tudor-Cătălin; Stylianou, Yannis; Flanagan, Sheila; Moore, Brian CJ; Flanagan, Sheila [0000-0003-0119-4196]; Moore, Brian [0000-0001-7071-0671]
    Four algorithms designed to enhance the intelligibility of speech when noise is added after processing were evaluated under the constraint that the speech should have the same loudness before and after processing, as determined using a loudness model. The algorithms applied spectral modifications and two of them included dynamic-range compression. On average, the methods with dynamic-range compression required the least level adjustment to equate loudness for the unprocessed and processed speech. Subjects with normal-hearing (experiment 1) and mild-to-moderate hearing loss (experiment 2) were tested using unmodified and enhanced speech presented in speech-shaped noise (SSN) and a competing speaker (CS). The results showed (a) the algorithms with dynamic-range compression yielded the largest intelligibility gains in both experiments and for both types of background; (b) the algorithms without dynamic-range compression either yielded benefit only with the SSN or yielded no consistent benefit; (c) speech reception thresholds for unprocessed speech were higher for hearing-impaired than for normal-hearing subjects, by about 2 dB for the SSN and 6 dB for the CS. It is concluded that the enhancement methods incorporating dynamic-range compression can improve intelligibility under the equal-loudness constraint for both normal-hearing and hearing-impaired subjects and for both steady and fluctuating backgrounds.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Methylphenidate-mediated motor control network enhancement in patients with traumatic brain injury.
    (Informa UK Limited, 2018) Dorer, Charlie L; Manktelow, Anne E; Allanson, Judith; Sahakian, Barbara J; Pickard, John D; Bateman, Andrew; Menon, David K; Stamatakis, Emmanuel A; Sahakian, Barbara [0000-0001-7352-1745]; Pickard, John [0000-0002-5762-6667]; Bateman, Andrew [0000-0002-2547-5921]; Menon, David [0000-0002-3228-9692]; Stamatakis, Emmanuel [0000-0001-6955-9601]
    PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To investigate functional improvement late (>6 months) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). To this end, we conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental medicine study to test the hypothesis that a widely used cognitive enhancer would benefit patients with TBI. RESEARCH DESIGN: We focused on motor control function using a sequential finger opposition fMRI paradigm in both patients and age-matched controls. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Patients' fMRI and DTI scans were obtained after randomised administration of methylphenidate or placebo. Controls were scanned without intervention. To assess differences in motor speed, we compared reaction times from the baseline condition of a sustained attention task. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Patients' reaction times correlated with wide-spread motor-related white matter abnormalities. Administration of methylphenidate resulted in faster reaction times in patients, which were not significantly different from those achieved by controls. This was also reflected in the fMRI findings in that patients on methylphenidate activated the left inferior frontal gyrus significantly more than when on placebo. Furthermore, stronger functional connections between pre-/post-central cortices and cerebellum were noted for patients on methylphenidate. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that residual functionality in patients with TBI may be enhanced by a single dose of methylphenidate.
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Personalised treatments for traumatic brain injury: cognitive, emotional and motivational targets.
    (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2018-07) Savulich, George; Menon, David K; Stamatakis, Emmanuel A; Pickard, John D; Sahakian, Barbara J; Menon, David [0000-0002-3228-9692]; Stamatakis, Emmanuel [0000-0001-6955-9601]; Pickard, John [0000-0002-5762-6667]; Sahakian, Barbara [0000-0001-7352-1745]
    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external force to the head alters brain function. TBI is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, with motor vehicle accidents and falls accounting for most hospital admissions. Each year, there are 50-60 million new cases of TBI, which disproportionately affect young men in low- to middle-income countries (Maas et al., 2017). TBI is a complex condition characterised by a wide range of physical, behavioural, cognitive, emotional and motivational disabilities. Post-injury effects are not limited to severe TBI and can also present in mild to moderate cases. TBI is one of the most established environmental risk factors for increased incidence of epilepsy, stroke and neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. However, rehabilitation centred on physical therapy of movement and gait after injury often overlooks longer-term changes in mood and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Despite the rising burden of TBI to the individual, their families, healthcare services and society, recruiting patients to research studies remains challenging, with numerous practical and methodological difficulties leading to inadequate sample sizes and high dropout rates (e.g. more than 40%; Dikmen & Levin, 1993). The aim of this article is to identify common barriers between research participation and clinical translation, with a call for more personalised treatment approaches addressing cognitive, emotional and motivational targets to improve management and outcome in patients with TBI.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Beyond brain size: Uncovering the neural correlates of behavioral and cognitive specialization
    (Comparative Cognition Society, 2018) Logan, CJ; Avin, S; Boogert, N; Buskell, A; Cross, FR; Currie, A; Jelbert, S; Lukas, D; Mares, R; Navarrete, AF; Shigeno, S; Montgomery, SH; Logan, Corina [0000-0002-5944-906X]; Edgerton Avin, Shahar [0000-0001-7859-1507]; Buskell, Andrew [0000-0001-6939-2848]; Jelbert, Sarah [0000-0002-7503-0648]; Montgomery, Stephen [0000-0002-5474-5695]
    © Comparative Cognition Society. Despite prolonged interest in comparing brain size and behavioral proxies of "intelligence" across taxa, the adaptive and cognitive significance of brain size variation remains elusive. Central to this problem is the continued focus on hominid cognition as a benchmark and the assumption that behavioral complexity has a simple relationship with brain size. Although comparative studies of brain size have been criticized for not reflecting how evolution actually operates, and for producing spurious, inconsistent results, the causes of these limitations have received little discussion. We show how these issues arise from implicit assumptions about what brain size measures and how it correlates with behavioral and cognitive traits. We explore how inconsistencies can arise through heterogeneity in evolutionary trajectories and selection pressures on neuroanatomy or neurophysiology across taxa. We examine how interference from ecological and life history variables complicates interpretations of brain-behavior correlations and point out how this problem is exacerbated by the limitations of brain and cognitive measures. These considerations, and the diversity of brain morphologies and behavioral capacities, suggest that comparative brain-behavior research can make greater progress by focusing on specific neuroanatomical and behavioral traits within relevant ecological and evolutionary contexts. We suggest that a synergistic combination of the "bottom-up" approach of classical neuroethology and the "top-down" approach of comparative biology/psychology within closely related but behaviorally diverse clades can limit the effects of heterogeneity, interference, and noise. We argue that this shift away from broad-scale analyses of superficial phenotypes will provide deeper, more robust insights into brain evolution.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Ingredients for understanding brain and behavioral evolution: Ecology, phylogeny, and mechanism
    (Comparative Cognition Society, 2018) Montgomer, SH; Currie, A; Lukas, D; Boogert, N; Buskell, A; Cross, FR; Jelbert, S; Avin, S; Mares, R; Navarrete, AF; Shigeno, S; Logan, CJ; Buskell, Andrew [0000-0001-6939-2848]; Jelbert, Sarah [0000-0002-7503-0648]; Edgerton Avin, Shahar [0000-0001-7859-1507]; Logan, Corina [0000-0002-5944-906X]