Psychology, Department of

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Revisiting the Automaticity of Reading: Electrophysiological Recordings Show That Stroop Words Capture Spatial Attention

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Abstract: 

Interference in the Stroop task is reduced when the word and color patch are placed at different locations and is diluted further by the presence of another distractor that is response-neutral. Such dilution indicates that reading is not independent of an observer’s attentional focus and thus is not a fully automatic process. So where does reading fall on the automaticity continuum? To address this question, we sought to determine whether an irrelevant word that appears abruptly in the field of view invariably draws attention to its location or whether observers can successfully ignore it while identifying a centrally presented target. In two experiments, electrical brain activity was recorded while healthy young adults participated in nonintegrated Stroop tasks. Irrelevant color words appearing randomly to the left or right of a target shape elicited an event-related potential (ERP) component that reflects the spatial focusing of attention (posterior contralateral N2; N2pc). This N2pc was observed when participants discriminated the color of the target and when they discriminated the shape of the target. These findings demonstrate that color words reflexively capture spatial attention even when their meaning is unrelated to the task at hand. We conclude that although reading is not fully automatic, skilled readers cannot ignore words that appear abruptly in their field of view.

Document type: 
Article

Risk Assessments for Violence and Reoffending: Implementation and Impact on Risk Management

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-10-04
Abstract: 

Risk assessment instruments for violence and reoffending are widely used throughout the world. According to researchers, there are many different reasons to use these instruments; for instance, they are thought to reduce violence, save money, and improve treatment-planning. In this paper, we create a taxonomy to classify these risk management outcomes into agency, professional practice, and examinee domains. Through a review of research, we show that instruments do not always achieve their goals. First, agencies encounter problems in successfully implementing instruments. Second, a lack of follow through can occur between risk assessments and the subsequent phases of risk management, such as case planning and intervention delivery. By drawing from the field of implementation science, we create an agenda for research.

Document type: 
Article

An Examination of the Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for Violence Risk – Youth Version (SAPROF-YV) in Canadian Adolescents

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-11-27
Abstract: 

The Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for Violence Risk – Youth Version (SAPROF-YV; de Vries Robbé et al., 2015) is a new measure of protective factors that is used with a risk-focused tool, such as the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY; Borum et al., 2006), to provide a more balanced and comprehensive assessment of violence risk in adolescents. Currently, there are no published studies on the SAPROF-YV’s predictive validity. The present study investigated the relationship between the SAPROF-YV and aggression in a sample of 69 adolescents. Using a retrospective follow-up study design, files were reviewed at an inpatient treatment center and a probation office. Results indicated that the SAPROF-YV demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity with the SAVRY. The SAPROF-YV was predictive of the absence of minor verbal aggression. While the SAPROF-YV added incremental predictive validity to SAVRY Protective factors for minor verbal aggression, it did not add incrementally to SAVRY Risk factors in the prediction of any type of aggression. Implications for future research and clinical applications are discussed.

Document type: 
Article

Predictive Validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) among a Sample of Asian Canadian Youth on Probation

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-11-09
Abstract: 

Objective: Although past studies suggest that the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY; Borum et al., 2006) has moderate predictive validity, its predictive validity with Asian youth in Western countries is unknown. We therefore compared the SAVRY’s predictive validity in a sample of Asian Canadian versus White Canadian youth.

Hypotheses: Given that the SAVRY is normed on samples comprising mostly youth who are White, we expected its predictive validity for recidivism would be lower for Asian Canadians than White Canadians.

Method: We examined youth probation officers’ SAVRY assessments for 573 youth (445 White Canadians, 56 East/Southeast Asian Canadians, and 72 South Asian Canadians) on community supervision (i.e., probation) in a Canadian province. Youth were prospectively followed for an average of 1.97 years (SD = 0.56 years) to determine if they were subsequently charged with violent or non-violent offenses.

Results: Asian Canadians scored significantly lower on Risk Total scores compared to White Canadians. Predictive validity for violent and non-violent recidivism fell in the medium to large range for East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUCs = .69 to .89) and South Asian Canadians (AUCs = .64 to .83). In comparison, predictive validity for White Canadians was generally lower (AUCs = .63 to .77; small to large range). Risk Total scores and non-violent risk ratings significantly predicted non-violent recidivism better for East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUCs = .89 and .87, respectively) than White Canadians (AUCs = .77 and .71, respectively). Despite few significant differences between Asian subgroups, predictive validity for non-violent risk ratings was significantly higher in East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUC = .87) than South Asian Canadians (AUC = .64).

Conclusions: The SAVRY may be a useful tool for predicting recidivism with Asian Canadians. However, future research should examine the SAVRY’s predictive validity for youth of Asian descent in different countries and contexts.

Document type: 
Article

The Role of Psychopathic Features and Developmental Risk Factors in Trajectories of Physical Intimate Partner Violence

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-11
Abstract: 

Objective: Limited research has examined the association between different dimensions of psychopathy and membership in trajectories of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) while also considering developmental precursors. Thus, the current study examined the role of adolescent unidimensional, interpersonal-affective, and lifestyle-antisocial psychopathic features and developmental risk factors in trajectories of physical IPV in young adulthood.

Method: Data were derived from 885 male offenders who participated in the Pathways to Desistance Study and were assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV).

Results: Semi-parametric group-based modeling identified three trajectories of physical IPV from ages 18 through 25: (a) a no physical IPV trajectory (70.5%, n = 624), (b) a low-level physical IPV trajectory (21.9%, n = 194), and (c) a high-level decreasing physical IPV trajectory (7.6%, n = 67). In multinomial logistic regression models controlling for exposure to violence, substance abuse, and peer delinquency, PCL:YV Total scores were associated with an increased likelihood of membership in the low-level and high-level physical IPV trajectories compared to the no physical IPV trajectory. In addition, Factor 2 scores (lifestyle-antisocial features) were associated with an increased likelihood of membership in the high-level decreasing physical IPV trajectory compared to the no physical IPV trajectory. Factor 1 scores (interpersonal-affective features) were unrelated to trajectory group assignment.

Conclusions: Psychopathic features in adolescents should be considered in prevention and intervention strategies targeting physical IPV.

Document type: 
Article

Isolating the Neural Substrates of Visually Guided Attention Orienting in Humans

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2022-04-08
Abstract: 

The neural processes that enable healthy humans to orient attention to sudden visual events are poorly understood because they are tightly intertwined with purely sensory processes. Here we isolated visually guided orienting activity from sensory activity using event-related potentials (ERPs). By recording ERPs to a lateral stimulus and comparing waveforms obtained under conditions of attention and inattention, we identified an early positive deflection over the ipsilateral visual cortex that was associated with the covert orienting of visual attention to the stimulus. Across five experiments with male and female adults participants, this ipsilateral visual orienting activity (VOA) could be distinguished from purely sensory-evoked activity and from other top-down spatial attention effects. The VOA was linked with behavioral measures of orienting, being significantly larger when the stimulus was detected rapidly than when it was detected more slowly, and its presence was independent of saccadic eye movements towards the targets. The VOA appears to be a specific neural index of the visually guided orienting of attention to a stimulus that appears abruptly in an otherwise uncluttered visual field.

Document type: 
Article

Isolating the Neural Substrates of Visually Guided Attention Orienting in Humans

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-04-12
Abstract: 

The neural processes that enable healthy humans to orient attention to sudden visual events are poorly understood because they are tightly intertwined with purely sensory processes. Here we isolated visually guided orienting activity from sensory activity using event-related potentials (ERPs). By recording ERPs to a lateral stimulus and comparing waveforms obtained under conditions of attention and inattention, we identified an early positive deflection over the ipsilateral visual cortex that was associated with the covert orienting of visual attention to the stimulus. Across five experiments with male and female adults participants, this ipsilateral visual orienting activity (VOA) could be distinguished from purely sensory-evoked activity and from other top-down spatial attention effects. The VOA was linked with behavioral measures of orienting, being significantly larger when the stimulus was detected rapidly than when it was detected more slowly, and its presence was independent of saccadic eye movements towards the targets. The VOA appears to be a specific neural index of the visually guided orienting of attention to a stimulus that appears abruptly in an otherwise uncluttered visual field.

Document type: 
Article

Traumatic Brain Injury in Precariously Housed Persons: Incidence and Risks

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2022-02-01
Abstract: 

Background Homeless and precarious housed persons are particularly prone to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), but existent incidence rates are hampered by poor case acquisition. We rigorously documented TBIs in precariously housed persons transitioning in and out of homelessness.

Methods Between December 2016 and May 2018, 326 precariously housed participants enrolled in a longitudinal study in Vancouver, Canada were assessed monthly for TBI occurrences after education on sequelae. Over one participant-year, 2433 TBI screenings were acquired for 326 person-years and variables associated with odds of incident TBI were evaluated.

Findings One hundred participants acquired 175 TBIs, yielding an observed incidence proportion of 30¢7% and event proportion of 53¢7%. Of the injured, 61% reported one TBI and 39% reported multiple injuries. Acute intoxication was present for more than half of the TBI events assessed. Additionally, 9¢7% of TBI events occurred in the context of a drug overdose. Common injury mechanisms were falls (45¢1%), assaults (25¢1%), and hitting one’s head on an object (13¢1%). In this community-based but non-randomly recruited sample, exploratory analyses identified factors associated with odds of an incident TBI over one year of follow-up, including: schizophrenia disorders (odds ratio (OR) = 0¢43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0¢19, 0¢94), role functioning (OR = 0¢69, 95% CI 0¢52, 0¢91), opioid dependence (OR = 2¢17, 95% CI 1¢27, 3¢72) and those reporting past TBIs (OR = 1¢99, 95% CI 1¢13, 3¢52).

Interpretation Given the ubiquity of TBIs revealed in this precariously housed sample, we identify an underappreciated and urgent healthcare priority. Several factors modified the odds of incident TBI, which can facilitate investigations into targeted prevention efforts.

Document type: 
Article

Dynamic Inhibitory Control Prevents Salience-Driven Capture of Visual Attention

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Peer reviewed: 
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Date created: 
2022-01-05
Abstract: 

The salience-driven selection theory is comprised of three main tenets: (a) the most salient stimulus within a monitored region of the visual field captures attention, (b) the only way to prevent salience-driven distraction is by narrowly focusing attention elsewhere, and (c) all other goal-driven processes are possible only after the most salient item has been attended. Evidence for and against this theory has been provided from two experimental paradigms. Here, event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded in a novel Go/No-Go paradigm disconfirmed all three of tenets of the theory. Participants were instructed to search cyan-item displays for a salient orientation singleton (Go trials) and to ignore randomly intermixed yellow-item displays that could also contain an orientation singleton (No-Go trials). ERP components associated with attentional orienting (N2pc), distractor suppression (PD), and stimulus relevance (P2a) were isolated to test predictions stemming from the salience-driven selection theory. On No-Go trials, the salient oddball elicited a PD rather than an N2pc, indicating that it was suppressed, not attended. Moreover, a P2a emerged before the N2pc on Go trials, demonstrating that observers first evaluated the global color of each display and then decided to search for the oddball (Go trials) or to ignore it (No-Go trials). We conclude that goal-driven processes can lead to the prevention of salience-driven attention capture by salient visual objects within the attentional window.

Document type: 
Article

Conceptualizations of Knowledge in Structuring Approaches to Moral Development: A Process-Relational Approach

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Peer reviewed: 
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Date created: 
2021-12-16
Abstract: 

Like other aspects of child development, views of the nature and development of morality depend on philosophical assumptions or worldviews presupposed by researchers. We analyze assumptions regarding knowledge linked to two contrasting worldviews: Cartesian-split-mechanistic and process-relational. We examine the implications of these worldviews for approaches to moral development, including relations between morality and social outcomes, and the concepts of information, meaning, interaction and computation. It is crucial to understand how researchers view these interrelated concepts in order to understand approaches to moral development. Within the Cartesian-split-mechanistic worldview, knowledge is viewed as representation and meaning is mechanistic and fixed. Both nativism and empiricism are based in this worldview, differing in whether the source of representations is assumed to be primarily internal or external. Morality is assumed to pre-exist, either in the genome or the culture. We discuss problems with these conceptions and endorse the process-relational paradigm, according to which knowledge is constructed through interaction, and morality begins in activity as a process of coordinating perspectives, rather than the application of fixed rules. The contrast is between beginning with the mind or beginning with social activity in explaining the mind.

Document type: 
Article