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Chen K.,CAS Institute of Psychology
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Attention is intrinsic to our perceptual representations of sensory inputs. Best characterized in the visual domain, it is typically depicted as a spotlight moving over a saliency map that topographically encodes strengths of visual features and feedback modulations over the visual scene. By introducing smells to two well-established attentional paradigms, the dot-probe and the visual-search paradigms, we find that a smell reflexively directs attention to the congruent visual image and facilitates visual search of that image without the mediation of visual imagery. Furthermore, such effect is independent of, and can override, top-down bias. We thus propose that smell quality acts as an object feature whose presence enhances the perceptual saliency of that object, thereby guiding the spotlight of visual attention. Our discoveries provide robust empirical evidence for a multimodal saliency map that weighs not only visual but also olfactory inputs. Source


Kuang S.,CAS Institute of Psychology
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2016

Mirror-touch synaesthesia (MTS) is a conscious tactile sensation in the observer when watching somebody else being touched. Two disparate theories have been suggested to explain MTS. The threshold theory links MTS to hyper-activity in the parietal-frontal mirror neuron system, while the self-other theory attributes MTS to impaired self-other representations in temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Here, I propose that these two theories can be synthesized under a unified social motor cognition theory which states that action observation engages two complementary levels of cognitive processing: a lower-level, physical process regarding basic sensory-motor aspects of the action, which supports motor imitation and goal understanding, and an abstract mental level concerning attribution of mental states, which supports inferring others’ minds and self-other distinctions. While the physical process preferentially recruits the mirror neuron system, the mental process depends critically on the mentalizing network comprised of TPJ and mPFC. Importantly, despite of these anatomical and functional dissimilarities, the mirroring and mentalizing processes involve shared predictive coding, which is a general computational principle for a wide range of prominent concepts in motor cognition. © 2016 Kuang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). Source


Prospective memory (PM) refers to the ability to remember to carry out an intended action in the future. PM is consistently found to be impaired in individuals with schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may represent conditions along a continuum, and share similar neurocognitive and genetic architecture. This study aimed to compare the nature and extent of PM impairment in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Participants were 38 out-patients with schizophrenia and 40 out-patients with bipolar disorder in an early psychosis intervention programme, and 37 healthy controls. Time-, event- and activity-based PMs were assessed using a dual-task laboratory paradigm. Self-reported PM performance was gauged using the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with intelligence quotient (IQ) and education included as covariates, was used to examine group difference on various types of PM. Repeated measures of ANCOVA were used to examine the group × PM type interaction effect. Correspondence between laboratory and self-reported PM measures was examined using correlational analysis. The group × PM type interaction effect was not significant, but the main effect of group was significant. Patients with schizophrenia and patients with bipolar disorder both performed more poorly than healthy participants in PM. The two clinical groups did not significantly differ in PM. Laboratory and self-reported PM measures did not correlate significantly with each other. Patients with bipolar disorder shared a similar PM impairment with those with schizophrenia. Findings of this study extended the similarity in neurocognitive impairments between the two psychiatric disorders to PM. Source


Zhang Y.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Ho S.M.Y.,City University of Hong Kong
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

This study investigated the psychological reactions of survivors of the 512 Wenchuan earthquake in China and the risk factors associated with those reactions. The Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), Type D Scale-14 (DS14), a self-developed trauma experience questionniare, and a demographic questionnaire were administered to 956 earthquake survivors (389 males and 567 females) in Mianzhu, one of the cities most affected by the earthquake. The results showed that postraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms affected 84.8% of survivors one to two months after the earthquake. Significant risk factors associated with PTSD symptoms included: (1) being female; (2) older age; (3) higher exposure to traumatic events during the earthquake; and (4) negative affect in Type-D personality. © 2011 Zhang, Ho. Source


Chen J.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Li X.,CAS Institute of Psychology | McGue M.,University of Minnesota
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines | Year: 2013

Background Confounding introduced by gene-environment correlation (rGE) may prevent one from observing a true gene-environment interaction (G × E) effect on psychopathology. The present study investigated the interacting effect of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and stressful life events (SLEs) on adolescent depression while controlling for the rGE by two means: separating pure environmental factors (independent SLEs) from the environmental factors under partial genetic control (dependent SLEs) and adopting a prospective longitudinal design. Methods A total of 780 pairs of Chinese twins, aged 11-17 years (mean = 13.6, SD = 1.8) at intake, were followed up twice. Self-reported depression symptoms at Time 1 and Time 2 were assessed by the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). SLEs occurring between Time 1 and Time 2 were assessed by a self-reported checklist. SLEs were differentiated into independent and dependent ones and were validated by heritability analyses using twin design. The interacting effects between the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and numbers of SLEs (total SLEs and independent SLEs) on intraindividual change of depression symptoms were examined. Results After controlling for sex, age, age square, and Time 1 depression, both total SLEs × BDNF Val66Met genotype and independent SLEs × BDNF Val66Met genotype significantly predicted Time 2 depression. Val allele carriers (Val/Val and Val/Met) were more susceptible to the detrimental effects of stress. Conclusions There is a true G × E effect underlying the observed interaction between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and environmental stress on depression. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2013 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Source

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