Effects of hearing acuity on psychophysiological responses to effortful speech perception – ScienceDirect

How personality moderates stress in needs thwarting environments

Individual stress responses have been addressed by multiple theorists; yet there remains uncertainty concerning how contextual and individual factors interact during the process. In this thesis, I formulate and test a transtheoretical model integrating basic psychological needs (Deci & Ryan, 2002) theory and challenge and threat states (Blascovich, 2008) to better understand when and why environments might differentially affect appraisals. In contrast to previous work theorising a deterministic relationship between thwarting environments and threat appraisals, I hypothesized that in presence of needs thwarting, specified personality factors exacerbate or attenuate sensitivity to stress, and subsequent formation of challenge and threat-based appraisals.

The effects of acute social ostracism on subsequent snacking behavior and future body mass index in children

Ostracism may lead to increased food intake, yet it is unclear whether greater reactivity to ostracism contributes to higher body mass index (BMI). We investigated whether children who exhibited greater stress to social exclusion subsequently consume more energy and whether this predicts BMI 6- and 18-months later.

Menopausal vasomotor symptoms and plasma Alzheimer disease biomarkers

Identifying risk factors for Alzheimer disease in women is important as women compose two-thirds of individuals with Alzheimer disease. Previous work links vasomotor symptoms, the cardinal menopausal symptom, with poor memory performance and alterations in brain structure, function, and connectivity. These associations are evident when vasomotor symptoms are monitored objectively with ambulatory skin conductance monitors.
This study aimed to determine whether vasomotor symptoms are associated with Alzheimer disease biomarkers.
Study Design
Between 2017 and 2020, the MsBrain study enrolled 274 community-dwelling women aged 45 to 67 years who had a uterus and at least 1 ovary and were late perimenopausal or postmenopausal status. The key exclusion criteria included neurologic disorder, surgical menopause, and recent use of hormonal or nonhormonal vasomotor symptom treatment. Women underwent 24 hours of ambulatory skin conductance monitoring to assess vasomotor symptoms. Plasma concentrations of Alzheimer disease biomarkers, including amyloid β 42–to–amyloid β 40 ratio, phosphorylated tau (181 and 231), glial fibrillary acidic protein, and neurofilament light, were measured using a single-molecule array (Simoa) technology. Associations between vasomotor symptoms and Alzheimer disease biomarkers were assessed via linear regression models adjusted for age, race and ethnicity, education, body mass index, and apolipoprotein E4 status. Additional models adjusted for estradiol and sleep.
A total of 248 (mean age, 59.06 years; 81% White; 99% postmenopausal status) of enrolled MsBrain participants contributed data. Objectively assessed vasomotor symptoms occurring during sleep were associated with significantly lower amyloid β 42/amyloid β 40, (beta, −.0010 [standard error, .0004]; P=.018; multivariable), suggestive of greater brain amyloid β pathology. The findings remained significant after additional adjustments for estradiol and sleep.
Nighttime vasomotor symptoms may be a marker of women at risk of Alzheimer disease. It is yet unknown if these associations are causal.

Autonomic nervous system function before and after trauma-focused psychotherapy in youth with (partial) posttraumatic stress disorder

While trauma-focused psychotherapies have been shown effective in youth with PTSD, the relationship between treatment response and alterations in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) associated with PTSD, remains incompletely understood. During neutral and personalized trauma script imagery heart rate (HR), pre-ejection period (PEP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were recorded in youth aged 8–18 with PTSD or partial PTSD (n = 76) and trauma-exposed controls (TEC) (n = 27) to determine ANS activity and stress reactivity. Within the patient group, 77.6% met the full DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD, the remaining 22.4% met the criteria for partial PTSD. Youth with (partial) PTSD were subsequently treated with eight sessions of either trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. PTSD severity was assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD scale for Children and Adolescents to divide patients into responders and non-responders. Youth with (partial) PTSD relative to TEC had higher overall HR during both neutral and trauma imagery (p = .05). Youth with (partial) PTSD showed RSA decrease during trauma imagery relative to neutral imagery, the reverse of TEC (p = .01). Relative to non-responders, responders demonstrated a significant baseline to posttreatment increase of RSA response to stress only when employing a ≥ 50% response criterion (p = .05) and not with the primary ≥ 30% criterion (p = .12). Our results suggest overall higher HR and sympathetic nervous system activity as well as vagal withdrawal in response to stress in youth with (partial) PTSD and only provide partial support for normalization of the latter with successful trauma-focused psychotherapy.

The contribution of brain volume to explain autonomous imbalance during recovery from acute stress in batterers

Many authors have suggested that intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators present an imbalance between both branches of the autonomous nervous system when coping with acute stress. Concretely, there is a predominance of the sympathetic branches over the parasympathetic ones when recovering from stress. This imbalance can be explained by their tendency toward anger rumination, and more concretely, by their focus on thoughts of revenge during this period. Unfortunately, there is a gap in the scientific literature in terms of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to assess which brain structures would explain this tendency of IPV perpetrators when coping with acute stress.

Understanding mechanisms of depression prevention: study protocol of a randomized cross-over trial to investigate mechanisms of mindfulness and positive fantasizing as intervention techniques for reducing perseverative cognition in remitted depressed individuals

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, and involves high relapse rates in which persistent negative thinking and rumination (i.e., perseverative cognition [PC]) play an important role. Positive fantasizing and mindfulness are common evidence-based psychological interventions that have been shown to effectively reduce PC and subsequent depressive relapse. How the interventions cause changes in PC over time, is unknown, but likely differ between the two. Whereas fantasizing may change the valence of thought content, mindfulness may operate through disengaging from automatic thought patterns. Comparing mechanisms of both interventions in a clinical sample and a non-clinical sample can give insight into the effectivity of interventions for different individuals. The current study aims to 1) test whether momentary psychological and psychophysiological indices of PC are differentially affected by positive fantasizing versus mindfulness-based interventions, 2) test whether the mechanisms of change by which fantasizing and mindfulness affect PC differ between remitted MDD versus never-depressed (ND) individuals, and 3) explore potential moderators of the main effects of the two interventions (i.e., what works for whom).

Weakened sympathetic response and lower parasympathetic activity in intimate partner violence perpetrators when empathizing: Influence of autonomous activation in affective approach and prosocial behavior

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning has been proposed as a relevant method to characterize the therapeutic needs of intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators. Nevertheless, research has neglected the influence of the ANS on socio-affective functions in this population. The aim of the present study was to analyze the psychophysiological activity of IPV perpetrators (n = 52) compared to controls (n = 46) following an empathic induction task, performed through negative emotion-eliciting videos. We employed two general ANS markers (heart rate [HR] and respiratory rate [RR]), two sympathetic-related indexes (pre-ejection period [PEP] and skin conductance level [SCL]) and a parasympathetic biomarker (respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]). Additionally, we explored the impact of psychophysiological activity on prosocial behavior using Hare’s donation procedure. Compared to controls, IPV perpetrators reported lower HR and SCL following the task, as well as longer PEP, suggesting an attenuated sympathetic response to others’ distress. No differences in the RSA response pattern were found, however, IPV perpetrators displayed lower overall RSA levels throughout the protocol, indicative of reduced parasympathetic activity. Besides, while no differences in prosocial performance were observed, greater sympathetic responses and overall parasympathetic activity predicted increased donations across the sample. Thus, a high sympathetic and parasympathetic activity might influence the occurrence of prosocial behavior. The present study provides further evidence supporting that IPV perpetrators cope differently with others’ negative emotions. In line with this biopsychosocial perspective, insights are gained on the emotional processing of IPV perpetrators which, in turn, could contribute to improve IPV psychotherapeutic programs.

Indicators of affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and social attention during emotional clips in relation to aggression in 3-year-olds

Research indicates that impaired empathy is a risk factor of aggression, and that social attention is important for empathy. The role of social attention in associations between empathy and aggression has not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, indicators of affective empathy, cognitive empathy, social attention, and aggression were simultaneously assessed in children aged 45 months. Sixty-one mother-child dyads participated in a lab visit, during which maternal reports of aggression were obtained. Children watched three clips showing a sad, scared, and happy child, respectively, and a neutral social clip, while heart rate was recorded. Heart rate change from nonsocial baseline clips to emotional clips was calculated as an index of affective empathy. Questions about the emotions of the children in the clips were asked to assess cognitive empathy. Social attention was defined as time spent looking at faces during the clips. Correlation analyses revealed negative associations between affective empathy and aggression, and social attention and aggression. Furthermore, multivariate linear regression analyses indicated that the association between affective empathy and aggression was moderated by social attention: the negative association between affective empathy and aggression was stronger in children with relatively reduced social attention. No association was found between cognitive empathy and aggression. Therefore, both affective empathy and social attention are important targets for early interventions that aim to prevent or reduce aggression.

Psychopathic Traits Partly Explained the Reduced Vagal Tone of Batterers Coping with Acute Stress

The importance of psychopathy for perpetration and maintenance of intimate partner violence (IPV) has been speculated. However, less is known about whether psychopathy would explain a psychophysiological response (cardiorespiratory and electrodermal) of IPV perpetrators dealing with acute stressors. Therefore, we first aimed to assess whether IPV perpetrators (n = 58) showed differences in psychopathic traits and their psychophysiological response to acute stress compared to nonviolent men (n = 53). Second, we examined in both groups whether psychopathic traits would explain a psychophysiological response when dealing with acute laboratory stress. Our results revealed that IPV perpetrators differed from controls in all the psychopathic traits, scoring higher on all psychopathy scales. Moreover, IPV perpetrators showed lower total respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) levels than controls. Finally, regarding high total psychopathy scores, factor 1 and affective facet entailed low RSA levels in both groups and scoring high in lifestyle facet of factor 2 explained reduced heart rate (HR) changes in response to acute stress in both groups. All these results highlighted that a reduced vagal tone could be characteristic of psychopathic traits, especially for the affective facet of psychopathy. Therefore, it would be important to incorporate biological markers in combination with psychological measurements to clearly diagnose IPV perpetrators before starting intervention programs. This would increase our ability to improve IPV intervention therapeutic targets and reduce risk of recidivism.