Psychology, Department of

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Challenges in the assessment of aggression in high-risk youth: Testing the fit of the Form-Function Aggression Measure

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Recent efforts have focused on disentangling the forms (e.g., overt and relational) and functions (e.g., instrumental and reactive) of aggression. The Form-Function Aggression Measure (FFAM; Little, Jones, Henrich, & Hawley, 2003) shows promise in this regard; however, it is a new measure and its psychometric properties across different populations are unknown. The current study tested the underlying structure of the FFAM using confirmatory factor analysis in male and female high-risk adolescents (n= 381). Results indicated that none of the models tested demonstrated an acceptable fit in either males or females. However, a 6-factor model comprised of pure-overt, reactive-overt, instrumental-overt, pure-relational, reactive-relational, and instrumental-relational subtypes provided an improved fit relative to other models in both males and females. A multi-form, multi-function model equivalent to the model proposed by Little and colleagues (2003) also evidenced a relatively improved fit, highlighting the utility of disentangling form from function when examining aggression. Implications and challenges for assessing the forms and functions of aggression among high-risk adolescents are discussed.

Document type: 
Article

Shifting internal parent-child representations among caregivers of teens with serious behaviour problems: An attachment-based approach

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

Attachment theory provides a rich framework for the development of interventions for trauma. This study examined processes underlying treatment outcomes of an attachment-based program (Connect; Moretti, Braber, & Obsuth, 2009) for parents of teens with severe behavior problems. Caregivers completed the Parenting Representations Interview and the Child Behavior Checklist prior to and following treatment. Results confirmed significant reductions in teens' problem behavior and changes in parental representations of the parent, teen, and parent–teen relationship. Shifts in parenting representation were significantly related to reductions in teen problem behavior, consistent with the view that changing attachment representations underlies therapeutic effects.

Document type: 
Article

Maternal versus paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect regulation and risk for depression from adolescence to early adulthood

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Objective: Current research has established that depression is a common outcome of child abuse. The current study extends previous research by examining the relationship between parental emotional and physical abuse and adolescents’ depressive symptoms using a prospective longitudinal design. We anticipated that this relationship would be mediated through problems in affect regulation, consistent with the view that the presence of abuse in the parent–child relationship would derail the development of adaptive affect regulation. Finally, we further examined gender-linked transmission of risk by considering both the gender of the parent perpetrating abuse and the gender of the adolescent. Methods: A sample of high-risk youth (N = 179; 46% female) from juvenile justice and clinical settings completed assessments regarding maternal and paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect dysregulation and depressive symptoms during three time points over the course of five years. Results: The relationship between maternal abuse and depressive symptoms was partially mediated through affect dysregulation at Time 1 and fully mediated at Time 2. In addition, adolescents’ reports of maternal abuse at Time 1 predicted their depressive symptoms in early adulthood even after accounting for the partial mediating role of affect dysregulation at each of the three timepoints of the study. It was also found that paternal abuse was related to depressive symptoms through an indirect relationship with affect dysregulation for males, but not females. Conclusion: These findings suggest that adolescence may be a sensitive developmental period wherein abuse experiences have profound direct and mediated influences on the risk for later depression. Adolescents or young adults who have experienced abuse may benefit from interventions designed to build affect regulation skills.

Document type: 
Article

Comparing the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI) and the Psychopathy Checklist–Youth Version (PCL-YV) Among Offending Girls

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Using a multimeasure longitudinal research design, we measured psychopathy with the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI) and the Psychopathy Checklist–Youth Version (PCL-YV) among 122 offending girls. We examined the psychometric properties of the YPI, investigated the association between the YPI and the PCL-YV, and assessed their concurrent and longitudinal association with externalizing problems on the Youth/Adult Self-Report and violent and delinquent behaviors on the Self-Report of Offending. Alphas for the YPI were adequate and there were small to moderate correlations between the YPI and PCL-YV, suggesting that each assesses distinctive personality features. The YPI and the PCL-YV were approximately equivalent in their association with concurrent and longitudinal outcomes with two exceptions, where the YPI demonstrated a stronger association with antisocial behavior. Concurrently, there was a divergent relationship between the psychopathy factor scores and antisocial outcomes. Within 2 years, the psychopathy affective factor, which constrained the YPI and PCL-YV to be equivalent, was associated with externalizing behaviors and the YPI affective factor was associated with violent offending. Approximately 4½ years later, neither measure was significantly related to antisocial behavior after accounting for past behavior. Reasons for continuity and discontinuity in risk identification are discussed.

Document type: 
Article

Circadian Mechanisms of Food Anticipatory Rhythms in Rats Fed Once or Twice Daily: Clock Gene and Endocrine Correlates

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-12-11
Abstract: 

Circadian clocks in many brain regions and peripheral tissues are entrained by the daily rhythm of food intake. Clocks in one or more of these locations generate a daily rhythm of locomotor activity that anticipates a regular mealtime. Rats and mice can also anticipate two daily meals. Whether this involves 1 or 2 circadian clocks is unknown. To gain insight into how the circadian system adjusts to 2 daily mealtimes, male rats in a 12:12 light-dark cycle were fed a 2 h meal either 4 h after lights-on or 4 h after lights-off, or a 1 h meal at both times. After 30 days, brain, blood, adrenal and stomach tissue were collected at 6 time points. Multiple clock genes from adrenals and stomachs were assayed by RT-PCR. Blood was assayed for corticosterone and ghrelin. Bmal1 expression was quantified in 14 brain regions by in situ hybridization. Clock gene rhythms in adrenal and stomach from day-fed rats oscillated in antiphase with the rhythms in night-fed rats, and at an intermediate phase in rats fed twice daily. Corticosterone and ghrelin in 1-meal rats peaked at or prior to the expected mealtime. In 2-meal rats, corticosterone peaked only prior the nighttime meal, while ghrelin peaked prior to the daytime meal and then remained elevated. The olfactory bulb, nucleus accumbens, dorsal striatum, cerebellum and arcuate nucleus exhibited significant daily rhythms of Bmal1 in the night-fed groups that were approximately in antiphase in the day-fed groups, and at intermediate levels (arrhythmic) in rats anticipating 2 daily meals. The dissociations between anticipatory activity and the peripheral clocks and hormones in rats anticipating 2 daily meals argue against a role for these signals in the timing of behavioral rhythms. The absence of rhythmicity at the tissue level in brain regions from rats anticipating 2 daily meals support behavioral evidence that circadian clock cells in these tissues may reorganize into two populations coupled to different meals.

Document type: 
Article
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Perceptions of Interpersonal Versus Intergroup Violence: The Case of Sexual Assault

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-11-24
Abstract: 

The social identity approach makes a distinction between behavior motivated by intergroup versus interpersonal identities, which may be relevant to victim blaming in the case of rape. Using a mock jury paradigm, we examined the impact of defining rape as an act of interpersonal violence (personal assault) versus intergroup violence (a “hate crime”), crossed with a manipulation describing the attacker as either an acquaintance or stranger. Defining rape in intergroup terms led to less victim blame than when it was defined in interpersonal terms, and participants blamed the victim more when she was assaulted by an acquaintance than a stranger.

Document type: 
Article
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Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Acute and Scheduled Hunger in C57BL/6 Mice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-05-07
Abstract: 

In rodents, daily feeding schedules induce food anticipatory activity (FAA) rhythms with formal properties suggesting mediation by food-entrained circadian oscillators (FEOs). The search for the neuronal substrate of FEOs responsible for FAA is an active area of research, but studies spanning several decades have yet to identify unequivocally a brain region required for FAA. Variability of results across studies leads to questions about underlying biology versus methodology. Here we describe in C57BL/6 male mice the effects of varying the ‘dose’ of caloric restriction (0%, 60%, 80%, 110%) on the expression of FAA as measured by a video-based analysis system, and on the induction of c-Fos in brain regions that have been implicated in FAA. We determined that more severe caloric restriction (60%) leads to a faster onset of FAA with increased magnitude. Using the 60% caloric restriction, we found little evidence for unique signatures of neuronal activation in the brains of mice anticipating a daily mealtime compared to mice that were fasted acutely or fed ad-libitum–even in regions such as the dorsomedial and ventrolateral hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, and cerebellum that have previously been implicated in FAA. These results underscore the importance of feeding schedule parameters in determining quantitative features of FAA in mice, and demonstrate dissociations between behavioral FAA and neural activity in brain areas thought to harbor FEOs or participate in their entrainment or output.

Document type: 
Article
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Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-09
Abstract: 

Typically studies of the effects of aging on cognitive-motor performance emphasize changes in elderly populations. Although some research is directly concerned with when age-related decline actually begins, studies are often based on relatively simple reaction time tasks, making it impossible to gauge the impact of experience in compensating for this decline in a real world task. The present study investigates age-related changes in cognitive motor performance through adolescence and adulthood in a complex real world task, the real-time strategy video game StarCraft 2. In this paper we analyze the influence of age on performance using a dataset of 3,305 players, aged 16-44, collected by Thompson, Blair, Chen & Henrey [1]. Using a piecewise regression analysis, we find that age-related slowing of within-game, self-initiated response times begins at 24 years of age. We find no evidence for the common belief expertise should attenuate domain-specific cognitive decline. Domain-specific response time declines appear to persist regardless of skill level. A second analysis of dual-task performance finds no evidence of a corresponding age-related decline. Finally, an exploratory analyses of other age-related differences suggests that older participants may have been compensating for a loss in response speed through the use of game mechanics that reduce cognitive load.

Document type: 
Article
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Select Neurocognitive Impairment in HIV-Infected Women: Associations with HIV Viral Load, Hepatitis C Virus, and Depression, but Not Leukocyte Telomere Length

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-04
Abstract: 

Background

Through implementation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) remarkable gains have been achieved in the management of HIV infection; nonetheless, the neurocognitive consequences of infection remain a pivotal concern in the cART era. Research has often employed norm-referenced neuropsychological scores, derived from healthy populations (excluding many seronegative individuals at high risk for HIV infection), to characterize impairments in predominately male HIV-infected populations.

Methods

Using matched-group methodology, we assessed 81 HIV-seropositive (HIV+) women with established neuropsychological measures validated for detection of HIV-related impairments, as well as additional detailed tests of executive function and decision-making from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).

Results

On validated tests, the HIV+ women exhibited impairments that were limited to significantly slower information processing speed when compared with 45 HIV-seronegative (HIV−) women with very similar demographic backgrounds and illness comorbidities. Additionally, select executive impairments in shifting attention (i.e., reversal learning) and in decision-making quality were revealed in HIV+ participants. Modifiers of neurocognition in HIV-infected women included detectable HIV plasma viral load, active hepatitis C virus co-infection, and self-reported depression symptoms. In contrast, leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a marker of cellular aging, did not significantly differ between HIV+ and HIV− women, nor was LTL associated with overall neurocognition in the HIV+ group.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that well-managed HIV infection may entail a more circumscribed neurocognitive deficit pattern than that reported in many norm-referenced studies, and that common comorbidities make a secondary contribution to HIV-related neurocognitive impairments.

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Article
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Fast Dynamics of Cortical Functional and Effective Connectivity during Word Reading

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-14
Abstract: 

We describe for the first time the fast dynamics of functional and effective (causal) connectivity during word reading. Independent component analysis of high-density EEG recorded during a word reading task recovered multiple sources of electrical brain activity previously identified by fMRI and PET. Results confirmed the ventral occipito-temporal cortex (vOT) as a central hub for word reading, showing a progression of theta-band (3–7 Hz) and gamma-band (30–50 Hz) phase synchronization and directed theta-band and gamma-band information flow with both early visual areas and high-level language-processing areas. These results highlight the interplay between local and long-distance neural dynamics involved at each stage of the reading process. Moreover, these measures of functional and causal connectivity dynamics may be used as a benchmark for comparison with clinical populations (e.g. individuals with developmental dyslexia), such that disturbances in connectivity dynamics may provide insight as to underlying neurological problems with language processing, and their potential remediation.

Document type: 
Article
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