Browsing by Subject "COGNITION"

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  • Kaaronen, Roope O. (2017)
    Human behavior is an underlying cause for many of the ecological crises faced in the 21st century, and there is no escaping from the fact that widespread behavior change is necessary for socio-ecological systems to take a sustainable turn. Whilst making people and communities behave sustainably is a fundamental objective for environmental policy, behavior change interventions and policies are often implemented from a very limited non-systemic perspective. Environmental policy-makers and psychologists alike often reduce cognition ‘to the brain,’ focusing only to a minor extent on how everyday environments systemically afford pro-environmental behavior. Symptomatic of this are the widely prevalent attitude–action, value–action or knowledge–action gaps, understood in this paper as the gulfs lying between sustainable thinking and behavior due to lack of affordances. I suggest that by adopting a theory of affordances as a guiding heuristic, environmental policy-makers are better equipped to promote policies that translate sustainable thinking into sustainable behavior, often self-reinforcingly, and have better conceptual tools to nudge our socio–ecological system toward a sustainable turn. Affordance theory, which studies the relations between abilities to perceive and act and environmental features, is shown to provide a systemic framework for analyzing environmental policies and the ecology of human behavior. This facilitates the location and activation of leverage points for systemic policy interventions, which can help socio–ecological systems to learn to adapt to more sustainable habits. Affordance theory is presented to be applicable and pertinent to technically all nested levels of socio–ecological systems from the studies of sustainable objects and households to sustainable urban environments, making it an immensely versatile conceptual policy tool. Finally, affordance theory is also discussed from a participatory perspective. Increasing the fit between local thinking and external behavior possibilities entails a deep understanding of tacit and explicit attitudes, values, knowledge as well as physical and social environments, best gained via inclusive and polycentric policy approaches.
  • Jaatinen, Kim; Moller, Anders P.; Ost, Markus (2019)
    The direction of predator-mediated selection on brain size is debated. However, the speed and the accuracy of performing a task cannot be simultaneously maximized. Large-brained individuals may be predisposed to accurate but slow decision-making, beneficial under high predation risk, but costly under low risk. This creates the possibility of temporally fluctuating selection on brain size depending on overall predation risk. We test this idea in nesting wild eider females (Somateria mollissima), in which head volume is tightly linked to brain mass (r(2) = 0.73). We determined how female relative head volume relates to survival, and characterized the seasonal timing of predation. Previous work suggests that relatively large-brained and small-brained females make slow versus fast nest-site decisions, respectively, and that predation events occur seasonally earlier when predation is severe. Large-brained, late-breeding females may therefore have higher survival during high-predation years, but lower survival during safe years, assuming that predation disproportionately affects late breeders in such years. Relatively large-headed females outsurvived smaller-headed females during dangerous years, whereas the opposite was true in safer years. Predation events occurred relatively later during safe years. Fluctuations in the direction of survival selection on relative brain size may therefore arise due to brain-size dependent breeding phenology.
  • Szibor, Annett; Lehtimäki, Jarmo; Ylikoski, Jukka; Aarnisalo, Antti A.; Mäkitie, Antti; Hyvärinen, Petteri (2018)
    Affective processing appears to be altered in tinnitus, and the condition is to a large extent characterized by the emotional reaction to the phantom sound. Psychophysiological models of tinnitus and supporting brain imaging studies have suggested a role for the limbic system in the emergence and maintenance of tinnitus. It is not clear whether the tinnitus-related changes in these systems are specific for tinnitus only, or whether they affect emotional processing more generally. In this study, we aimed to quantify possible deviations in affective processing in tinnitus patients by behavioral and physiological measures. Tinnitus patients rated the valence and arousal of sounds from the International Affective Digitized Sounds database. Sounds were chosen based on the normative valence ratings, that is, negative, neutral, or positive. The individual autonomic response was measured simultaneously with pupillometry. We found that the subjective ratings of the sounds by tinnitus patients differed significantly from the normative ratings. The difference was most pronounced for positive sounds, where sounds were rated lower on both valence and arousal scales. Negative and neutral sounds were rated differently only for arousal. Pupil measurements paralleled the behavioral results, showing a dampened response to positive sounds. Taken together, our findings suggest that affective processing is altered in tinnitus patients. The results are in line with earlier studies in depressed patients, which have provided evidence in favor of the so-called positive attenuation hypothesis of depression. Thus, the current results highlight the close link between tinnitus and depression.
  • Lukasik, Karolina M.; Lehtonen, Minna; Soveri, Anna; Waris, Otto; Jylkkä, Jussi; Laine, Matti (2018)
    The bilingual executive advantage (BEA) hypothesis has attracted considerable research interest, but the findings are inconclusive. We addressed this issue in the domain of working memory (WM), as more complex WM tasks have been underrepresented in the previous literature. First, we compared early and late bilingual vs. monolingual WM performance. Second, we examined whether certain aspects of bilingual experience, such as language switching frequency, are related to bilinguals' WM scores. Our online sample included 485 participants. They filled in an extensive questionnaire including background factors such as bilingualism and second language (L2) use, and performed 10 isomorphic verbal and visuospatial WM tasks that yielded three WM composite scores (visuospatial WM, verbal WM, n-back). For verbal and visuospatial WM composites, the group comparisons did not support the BEA hypothesis. N-back analysis showed an advantage of late bilinguals over monolinguals and early bilinguals, while the latter two groups did not differ. This between-groups analysis was followed by a regression analysis relating features of bilingual experience to n-back performance, but the results were non-significant in both bilingual groups. In sum, group differences supporting the BEA hypothesis were limited only to the n-back composite, and this composite was not predicted by bilingualism-related features. Moreover, Bayesian analyses did not give consistent support for the BEA hypothesis. Possible reasons for the failure to find support for the BEA hypothesis are discussed.
  • Liu, Xuanyao; Kanduri, Chakravarthi; Oikkonen, Jaana; Karma, Kai; Raijas, Pirre; Ukkola-Vuoti, Liisa; Teo, Yik-Ying; Jarvela, Irma (2016)
    Abilities related to musical aptitude appear to have a long history in human evolution. To elucidate the molecular and evolutionary background of musical aptitude, we compared genome-wide genotyping data (641 K SNPs) of 148 Finnish individuals characterized for musical aptitude. We assigned signatures of positive selection in a case-control setting using three selection methods: haploPS, XP-EHH and F-ST. Gene ontology classification revealed that the positive selection regions contained genes affecting inner-ear development. Additionally, literature survey has shown that several of the identified genes were known to be involved in auditory perception (e.g. GPR98, USH2A), cognition and memory (e.g. GRIN2B, IL1A, IL1B, RAPGEF5), reward mechanisms (RGS9), and song perception and production of songbirds (e.g. FOXP1, RGS9, GPR98, GRIN2B). Interestingly, genes related to inner-ear development and cognition were also detected in a previous genome-wide association study of musical aptitude. However, the candidate genes detected in this study were not reported earlier in studies of musical abilities. Identification of genes related to language development (FOXP1 and VLDLR) support the popular hypothesis that music and language share a common genetic and evolutionary background. The findings are consistent with the evolutionary conservation of genes related to auditory processes in other species and provide first empirical evidence for signatures of positive selection for abilities that contribute to musical aptitude.
  • Kazemi, Ali (2020)
    This study examines the sequential and situated organization associated with framing locational formulations by dislocated parties to mobile phone calls for the joint accomplishment of location-related social action. The data come from 22 mundane Farsi mobile phone calls involving location inquiring and/or reporting. The analysis of the data, informed by conversational analysis and Levinson's conceptual framework of perspective-taking, adds frame of reference (hereafter, FoR) to Schegloff's location, membership, and topic or activity analyses operative in the selection of locational formulations. The trajectory plotted for location-related action indicates the contingent roles which material, linguistic and semiotic resources play in the selection of locational formulations deployed for co-presence purposes. The findings suggest consequentiality of the-relevant-next action for the framing of locational descriptions and provide insight into how conversationalists interact with their physical environment in a wider social context.
  • Jarvela, Simo; Kätsyri, Jari; Ravaja, Niklas; Chanel, Guillaume; Henttonen, Pentti (2016)
    We investigated how technologically mediating two different components of emotion communicative expression and physiological state to group members affects physiological linkage and self-reported feelings in a small group during video viewing. In different conditions the availability of second screen text chat (communicative expression) and visualization of group level physiological heart rates and their dyadic linkage (physiology) was varied. Within this four person group two participants formed a physically co-located dyad and the other two were individually situated in two separate rooms. We found that text chat always increased heart rate synchrony but HR visualization only with non-co-located dyads. We also found that physiological linkage was strongly connected to self-reported social presence. The results encourage further exploration of the possibilities of sharing group member's physiological components of emotion by technological means to enhance mediated communication and strengthen social presence.
  • Aaltonen, Sari; Latvala, Antti; Rose, Richard J.; Kujala, Urho M.; Kaprio, Jaakko; Silventoinen, Karri (2016)
    Physical activity and academic performance are positively associated, but the direction of the association is poorly understood. This longitudinal study examined the direction and magnitude of the associations between leisure-time physical activity and academic performance throughout adolescence and young adulthood. The participants were Finnish twins (from 2,859 to 4,190 individuals/study wave) and their families. In a cross-lagged path model, higher academic performance at ages 12, 14 and 17 predicted higher leisure-time physical activity at subsequent time-points (standardized path coefficient at age 14: 0.07 (p <0.001), age 17: 0.12 (p <0.001) and age 24: 0.06 (p <0.05)), whereas physical activity did not predict future academic performance. A cross-lagged model of co-twin differences suggested that academic performance and subsequent physical activity were not associated due to the environmental factors shared by co-twins. Our findings suggest that better academic performance in adolescence modestly predicts more frequent leisure-time physical activity in late adolescence and young adulthood.
  • Kuokkanen, Jesse; Rusanen, Anna-Mari (2018)
  • Tikka, Pia; Kauttonen, Janne; Hlushchuk, Yevhen (2018)
    Narratives surround us in our everyday life in different forms. In the sensory brain areas, the processing of narratives is dependent on the media of presentation, be that in audiovisual or written form. However, little is known of the brain areas that process complex narrative content mediated by various forms. To isolate these regions, we looked for the functional networks reacting in a similar manner to the same narrative content despite different media of presentation. We collected 3-T fMRI whole brain data from 31 healthy human adults during two separate runs when they were either viewing a movie or reading its screenplay text. The independent component analysis (ICA) was used to separate 40 components. By correlating the components' time-courses between the two different media conditions, we could isolate 5 functional networks that particularly related to the same narrative content. These TOP-5 components with the highest correlation covered fronto-temporal, parietal, and occipital areas with no major involvement of primary visual or auditory cortices. Interestingly, the top-ranked network with highest modality-invariance also correlated negatively with the dialogue predictor, thus pinpointing that narrative comprehension entails processes that are not language-reliant. In summary, our novel experiment design provided new insight into narrative comprehension networks across modalities.
  • Rosenqvist, Johanna; Lahti-Nuuttila, Pekka; Urgesi, Cosimo; Holdnack, James; Kemp, Sally L.; Laasonen, Marja (2017)
    Objectives: Performance on neurocognitive tasks develops with age, but it is still unknown whether this performance differs between children from different cultures. We compared cross-sectionally the development of neurocognitive functions in 3- to 15-year-old children from three countries: Finland, Italy, and the United States (N=2745). Methods: Language, face memory, emotion recognition, theory of mind, and visuospatial processing subtests from the NEPSY-II standardizations in Finland, Italy, and the United States were used to evaluate if children and adolescents from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds differ in performance on these measures. Results: We found significant differences in performance on the tasks between the countries. Generally, the differences were more pronounced in the younger age groups. Some subtests showed greater country effects than others, performance on these subtests being higher, in general, in one country over the others, or showed different patterns of age associated changes in test performance. Conclusions: Significant differences in neurocognitive performance between children from Finland, Italy, and the United States were found. These findings may be due to cultural or educational differences that impact test performance, or due to factors associated with the adaptation of measures from one culture to another. The finding of performance differences across countries on similar tasks indicate that cross-cultural and background variables impact performance on neuropsychological measures. Therefore, clinicians need to consider a child’s cultural background when evaluating performance on neuropsychological assessments. The results also indicate that future cross-cultural studies are needed to further examine the underlying cultural factors that influence neurocognitive performance. (JINS, 2017, 23, 1–14)
  • Lindeman, Marjaana; Marin, Pinja; Schjoedt, Uffe; van Elk, Michiel (2020)
    The growing secularism generates considerable interest in the manifestations of religious unbelief. In this study, conducted in Finland, Denmark, and the Netherland (N = 4404), we asked participants which of the following terms best describes their religious/spiritual identity: religious believer, spiritual but not religious, spiritual seeker, atheist, anti-religious, agnostic, nonbeliever, secular, or other. We also examined the participants' God beliefs and their attitudes toward religion. While connotations of identity terms varied considerably across individuals and countries, the nonreligious identification groups consistently differed in the strength and certainty of God belief, and by the valence, ambivalence, importance, and reflection of the attitudes toward religion. The anti-religious had the most negative and unequivocal attitudes, and the agnostics, seculars, and spiritual seekers had the most uncertain God beliefs. By associating distinct attitude profiles with non-religious self-identification labels, the findings improve our understanding of why people choose a specific label in surveys on non-religiosity.
  • Liljander, Sara; Holm, Anu; Keski-Säntti, Petra; Partanen, Juhani V. (2016)
    Background: Filtering is an effective pre-processing technique for improving the signal-to-noise ratio of ERP waveforms. Filters can, however, introduce substantial distortions into the time-domain representations of ERP waveforms. Inappropriate filter parameters may lead to the presence of statistically significant but artificial effects, whereas true effects may appear as insignificant. New method: The present study aimed to determine the optimal digital filters for analyzing the auditory P50 component in patients with Alzheimer's disease. To provide evidence of the optimal filter settings, different high-pass and low-pass filters were applied to ERP waveforms obtained from a conditioning testing paradigm. The results facilitate practical recommendations for selection of filters that maximize the signal-to-noise ratio of the P50 components without introducing significant distortions. Results: The present study confirms that filter parameters have a significant effect on the amplitude and gating measures of the P50 component. Setting the high-pass cut-off at 0.1 Hz and the low-pass cut-off at 90Hz (or above) is recommended for P50 component analyses. Comparison with existing methods: The majority of ERP studies on sensory gating report using high-pass filters with 10-Hz cut-offs to measure P50 suppression. Such a high cut-off appeared to induce significant distortions into the ERP waveforms; thus, the authors advise against using these excessive high-pass cut-offs. Conclusions: Filtering broadband signals, such as ERP signals, necessary results in time-domain distortions. However, by adjusting the filter parameters carefully according to the components of interest, it is possible to minimize filter artifacts and obtain more easily interpretable ERP waveforms. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • HAROSA II Study Grp; Dauvilliers, Yves; Verbraecken, Johan; Partinen, Markku; Pepin, Jean-Louis (2020)
    Rationale: Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common disabling symptom in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of pitolisant, a selective histamine H3 receptor antagonist with wake-promoting effects, for the treatment of daytime sleepiness in patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea refusing continuous positive airway pressure treatment. Methods: In an international, multicenter, double-blind, randomized (3:1), placebo-controlled, parallel-design trial, pitolisant was individually titrated at up to 20 mgld over 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was the change in the Epworth Sleepiness Scale score. Key secondary endpoints were maintenance of wakefulness assessed on the basis of the Oxford Sleep Resistance test, safety, Clinical Global Impression of severity, patient's global opinion, EuroQol quality-of-life questionnaire, and Pichot fatigue questionnaire. Measurements and Main Results: A total of 268 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (75% male; mean age, 52 yr; apnea-hypopnea index, 49/h; baseline sleepiness score, 15.7) were randomized (200 to pitolisant and 68 to placebo) and analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale score was reduced more with pitolisant than with placebo (-2.8; 95% confidence interval, -4.0 to -1.5; P <0.001). Wake maintenance tests were not improved. The Pichot fatigue score was reduced with pitolisant. The overall impact of pitolisant was confirmed by both physicians' and patients' questionnaires. Adverse event incidence, mainly headache, insomnia, nausea, and vertigo, was similar in the pitolisant and placebo groups (29.5% and 25.4%, respectively), with no cardiovascular or other significant safety concerns. Conclusions: Pitolisant significantly reduced self-reported daytime sleepiness and fatigue and improved patient-reported outcomes and physician disease severity assessment in sleepy patients with obstructive sleep apnea refusing or nonadherent to continuous positive airway pressure.
  • Reyes-Garcia, Victoria; Pyhälä, Aili; Diaz-Reviriego, Isabel; Duda, Romain; Fernandez-Llamazares Onrubia, Alvaro; Gallois, Sandrine; Gueze, Maximilien; Napitupulu, Lucentezza (2016)
    Researchers have analysed whether school and local knowledge complement or substitute each other, but have paid less attention to whether those two learning models use different cognitive strategies. In this study, we use data collected among three contemporary hunter-gatherer societies with relatively low levels of exposure to schooling yet with high levels of local ecological knowledge to test the association between i) schooling and ii) local ecological knowledge and verbal working memory. Participants include 94 people (24 Baka, 25 Punan, and 45 Tsimane') from whom we collected information on 1) schooling and school related skills (i.e., literacy and numeracy), 2) local knowledge and skills related to hunting and medicinal plants, and 3) working memory. To assess working memory, we applied a multi-trial free recall using words relevant to each cultural setting. People with and without schooling have similar levels of accurate and inaccurate recall, although they differ in their strategies to organize recall: people with schooling have higher results for serial clustering, suggesting better learning with repetition, whereas people without schooling have higher results for semantic clustering, suggesting they organize recall around semantically meaningful categories. Individual levels of local ecological knowledge are not related to accurate recall or organization recall, arguably due to overall high levels of local ecological knowledge. While schooling seems to favour some organization strategies this might come at the expense of some other organization strategies.
  • Lonka, Kirsti; Ketonen, Elina; Vermunt, Jan D. (2021)
    University students' epistemic beliefs may have practical consequences for studying and success in higher education. Such beliefs constitute epistemic theories that may empirically manifest themselves as epistemic profiles. This study examined university students' epistemic profiles and their relations to conceptions of learning, age, gender, discipline, and academic achievement. The participants were 1515 students from five faculties who completed questionnaires about epistemic beliefs, including a subsample who also completed a questionnaire that included conceptions of learning. We measured epistemic beliefs: reflective learning, collaborative knowledge-building, valuing metacognition, certain knowledge, and practical value. First, we analyzed structural validity by using confirmatory factor analysis. Second, we conducted latent profile analysis that revealed three epistemic profiles:Pragmatic(49%),reflective-collaborative(26%) andfact-oriented(25%). Then, we compared the conceptions of learning across the profiles as well as demographic information, credits, and grades. The profiles' conceptions of learning varied: Thereflective-collaborativegroup scored high on conception of learning named "construction of knowledge." Its members were more likely to be females, teachers, and mature students, and they had the highest academic achievement. Thefact-orientedgroup (mostly engineering/science students) scored highest on "intake of knowledge." Thepragmaticgroup scored highest on "use of knowledge:" During the second year, their academic achievement improved. In sum, the epistemic profiles were closely related to conceptions of learning and also associated with academic achievement.
  • Ravaja, Niklas; Bente, Gary; Kätsyri, Jari; Salminen, Mikko; Takala, Tapio (2018)
    We examined the effects of the emotional facial expressions of a virtual character (VC) on human frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) asymmetry (putatively indexing approach/withdrawal motivation), facial electromyographic (EMG) activity (emotional expressions), and social decision making (cooperation/defection). In a within-subjects design, the participants played the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game with VCs with different dynamic facial expressions (predefined or dependent on the participant's electrodermal and facial EMG activity). In general, VC facial expressions elicited congruent facial muscle activity. However, both frontal EEG asymmetry and facial EMG activity elicited by an angry VC facial expression varied as a function of preceding interactional events (human collaboration/defection). Pre-decision inner emotional-motivational processes and emotional facial expressions were dissociated, suggesting that human goals influence pre-decision frontal asymmetry, whereas display rules may affect (pre-decision) emotional expressions in human-VC interaction. An angry VC facial expression, high pre-decision corrugator EMG activity, and relatively greater left frontal activation predicted the participant's decision to defect. Both post-decision frontal asymmetry and facial EMG activity were related to reciprocal cooperation. The results suggest that the justifiability of VC emotional expressions and the perceived fairness of VC actions influence human emotional responses.