Saturday, May 19, 2018

Specific musical anhedonia (impossibility to enjoy music) is not driven by difficulties in experiencing emotion from visual aesthetic stimuli nor from emotional acoustic stimuli

Chapter 18 - The impact of visual art and emotional sounds in specific musical anhedonia. Ernest Mas-Herrero et al. Progress in Brain Research, Volume 237, 2018, Pages 399-413.

•    Two specific tasks were designed to assess sensitivity to visual art and emotional sounds.
•    Specific musical anhedonics together with two groups with average and high sensitivity to music were tested with these two tasks.
•    Results indicate that specific musical anhedonia is not driven by difficulties in experiencing emotion from visual aesthetic stimuli nor from emotional acoustic stimuli.

Abstract: A small percentage of healthy individuals do not find music pleasurable, a condition known as specific musical anhedonia. These individuals have no impairment in music perception which might account for their anhedonia; their sensitivity to primary and secondary rewards is also preserved, and they do not show generalized depression. However, it is still unclear whether this condition is entirely specific to music, or rather reflects a more general deficit in experiencing pleasure, either from aesthetic rewards in general, or in response to other types of emotional sounds. The aim of this study is to determine whether individuals with specific musical anhedonia also show blunted emotional responses from other aesthetic rewards or emotional acoustic stimuli different than music. In two tasks designed to assess sensitivity to visual art and emotional sounds, we tested 13 individuals previously identified as specific musical anhedonics, together with two more groups with average (musical hedonic, HDN) and high (musical hyperhedonics, HHDN) sensitivity to experience reward from music. Differences among groups in skin conductance response and behavioral measures in response to pleasantness were analyzed in both tasks. Notably, specific musical anhedonics showed similar hedonic reactions, both behaviorally and physiologically, as the HDN control group in both tasks. These findings suggest that music hedonic sensitivity might be distinct from other human abstract reward processing and from an individual's ability to experience emotion from emotional sounds. The present results highlight the possible existence of specific neural pathways involved in the capacity to experience reward in music-related activities.

How Low Can You(r Power) Go? It Depends on Whether You are Male or Female

How Low Can You(r Power) Go? It Depends on Whether You are Male or Female. Aleah S. M. Fontaine, Jacquie D. Vorauer. Sex Roles,

Abstract: Three online experiments were conducted to determine whether gender differences in feelings of power are most evident in objectively lower or higher power situations (total n = 1360; Studies 1 and 2: 238 and 771 U.S. MTurk respondents respectively; Study 3: 351 Canadian university students). We focused on evaluating whether men’s and women’s responses were in line with a cushioning account, whereby the higher power generally accorded to men as a group essentially serves as a back-up power source for men in lower power positions. We also evaluated support for a ceiling account, whereby women’s feelings of power are limited in higher power positions. Results were consistent with the cushioning account: Men reported feeling more powerful than women did when imagining or recalling occupying a lower power position and in a control baseline, but no gender difference was evident under higher power conditions. Results further revealed that women’s feelings of power were more variable across lower versus higher power positions than were men’s and indicated that women’s feelings of power are quite responsive to situationally afforded high power when it is available. Overall our findings suggest that occupying a higher power role eradicates gender differences in feelings of power that are otherwise evident and thus has an equalizing effect.

Children generally adhere to presentation elements of their assigned gender and there were limited differences by parental sexual orientation in any of the gender presentation variables

Bruun, Samuel T., "Looking the Part: An Examination of Longitudinal Gender Presentation Among Children with Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents" (2018). Theses and Dissertations--Psychology. 136.

Abstract: Gender presentation, appearing in a way that fits social expectations of one’s gender role, represents one of the most obvious ways in which one’s gender identity becomes salient to others. This quality is especially relevant to note given the continued controversy surrounding children’s gender role development when raised by non-heterosexual parents. The current study is an examination of how gender presentation develops in adopted children with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents across two time points (Wave 1: N = 106, Mage = 36.07 months; Wave 2: N = 90, Mage = 8.34). Children’s gender presentation was analyzed using a novel coding scheme, consisting of several variables meant to target the presence of gender typed clothing. These elements of appearance were compared with several measures of child outcomes. It was found that children generally adhere to presentation elements of their assigned gender and there were limited differences by parental sexual orientation in any of the gender presentation variables. Additionally, there was no association found between conformity in gender presentation and children’s self-perception or parent or child gender-typical attitudes. The results of this initial study may prove to be useful in ongoing research surrounding children’s gender typicality.

Smelling Anxiety Chemosignals Impairs Clinical Performance of Dental Students

Smelling Anxiety Chemosignals Impairs Clinical Performance of Dental Students. Preet Bano Singh Alix Young Synnøve Lind Marie Cathinka Leegaard Alessandra Capuozzo Valentina Parma. Chemical Senses, bjy028,

Abstract: Despite the fact that human body odors can transfer anxiety-related signals, the impact of such signals in real-life situations is scant. In this study, the effects of anxiety chemosignals on the performance of dental students operating on simulation units, wearing t-shirts imbued with human sweat and masked with eugenol were tested. Twenty-four 4th year dental students (17F) donated their body odors in two sessions (Anxiety and Rest). Twenty-four normosmic, sex- and age-matched test subjects who were3rd year dental students performed three dental procedures while smelling masked anxiety body odors, masked rest body odors or masker alone. The intensity and pleasantness ratings showed that the test subjects could not report perceptual differences between the odor conditions. When exposed to masked anxiety body odors the test subject’s dental performance was significantly worse than when they were exposed to masked rest body odors and masker alone, indicating that their performance was modulated by exposure to the emotional tone of the odor. These findings call for a careful evaluation of the anxiety-inducing effects of body odors in performance-related tasks and provide the first ecological evaluation of human anxiety chemosignal communication.

Keywords: anxiety body odor, chemosignals, dental performance, emotional contagion, expertise

Frogs and their sometimes irrational mate choices: Comparisons can be based on proportional rather than absolute differences; and mate preferences can be influenced by competitive decoys

‘Crazy love’: nonlinearity and irrationality in mate choice. Michael J. Ryan et al. Animal Behaviour,

•    Mate choice decisions are sometimes irrational.
•    Auditory grouping is not always an easy task for choosers.
•    Comparisons can be based on proportional rather than absolute differences.
•    Mate preferences can be influenced by competitive decoys.
•    Novel combinations of audio and visual cues can result in perceptual rescue.

Choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions an animal can make. The fitness consequences of mate choice have been analysed extensively, and its mechanistic bases have provided insights into how animals make such decisions. Less attention has been given to higher-level cognitive processes. The assumption that animals choose mates predictably and rationally is an important assumption in both ultimate and proximate analyses of mate choice. It is becoming clear, however, that irrational decisions and unpredictable nonlinearities often characterize mate choice. Here we review studies in which cognitive analyses seem to play an important role in the following contexts: auditory grouping; Weber's law; competitive decoys; multimodal communication; and, perceptual rescue. The sum of these studies suggest that mate choice decisions are more complex than they might seem and suggest some caution in making assumptions about evolutionary processes and simplistic mechanisms of mate choice.

Keywords: anuran; cognitive ecology; irrational choice; mate choice; nonlinearities; túngara frog