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See detailDo executive functions predict binge-drinking patterns? Evidence from a longitudinal study in young adulthood
Bø, Ragnhild; Billieux, Joël UL; Gjerde, Line C. et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2017), 8

Background: Impairments in executive functions (EFs) are related to binge drinking in young adulthood, but research on how EFs influence future binge drinking is lacking. The aim of the current report is ... [more ▼]

Background: Impairments in executive functions (EFs) are related to binge drinking in young adulthood, but research on how EFs influence future binge drinking is lacking. The aim of the current report is therefore to investigate the association between various EFs and later severity of, and change in, binge drinking over a prolonged period during young adulthood. Methods: At baseline, 121 students reported on their alcohol habits (the Alcohol use disorder identification test; Alcohol use questionnaire). Concurrently, EFs (working memory, reversal, set-shifting, response inhibition, response monitoring and decision-making (with ambiguity and implicit risk)) were assessed. Eighteen months later, information on alcohol habits for 103 of the participants were gathered. Data were analyzed by means of multilevel regression modeling. Results: Future severity of binge drinking was uniquely predicted by performance on the Information sampling task, assessing risky decision-making (β = -1.86, 95% CI: -3.69, -0.04). None of the study variables predicted severity or change in binge drinking. Conclusion: Future severity of binge was associated with making risky decisions in the prospect for gain, suggesting reward hypersensitivity. Future studies should aim at clarifying whether there is a causal association between decision-making style and binge drinking. Performance on all executive tasks was unrelated to change in binge drinking patterns; however, the finding was limited by overall small changes, and needs to be confirmed with longer follow-up periods. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Math Anxiety relates to Number-Space Associations.
Georges, Carrie UL; Hoffmann, Danielle UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2016), 7(1401),

Given the considerable prevalence of math anxiety, it is important to identify the factors contributing to it in order to improve mathematical learning. Research on math anxiety typically focusses on the ... [more ▼]

Given the considerable prevalence of math anxiety, it is important to identify the factors contributing to it in order to improve mathematical learning. Research on math anxiety typically focusses on the effects of more complex arithmetic skills. Recent evidence, however, suggests that deficits in basic numerical processing and spatial skills also constitute potential risk factors of math anxiety. Given these observations, we determined whether math anxiety also depends on the quality of spatial-numerical associations. Behavioral evidence for a tight link between numerical and spatial representations is given by the SNARC (spatial-numerical association of response codes) effect, characterized by faster left-/right-sided responses for small/large digits respectively in binary classification tasks. We compared the strength of the SNARC effect between high and low math anxious individuals using the classical parity judgment task in addition to evaluating their spatial skills, arithmetic performance, working memory and inhibitory control. Greater math anxiety was significantly associated with stronger spatio-numerical interactions. This finding adds to the recent evidence supporting a link between math anxiety and basic numerical abilities and strengthens the idea that certain characteristics of low-level number processing such as stronger number-space associations constitute a potential risk factor of math anxiety. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the origin of interoception
Ceunen, Erik UL; Vlaeyen, Johan UL; Van Diest, Ilse

in Frontiers in psychology (2016), 7

Over the course of a century, the meaning of interoception has changed from the restrictive to the inclusive. In its inclusive sense, it bears relevance to every individual via its link to emotion ... [more ▼]

Over the course of a century, the meaning of interoception has changed from the restrictive to the inclusive. In its inclusive sense, it bears relevance to every individual via its link to emotion, decision making, time-perception, health, pain, and various other areas of life. While the label for the perception of the body state changes over time, the need for an overarching concept remains. Many aspects can make any particular interoceptive sensation unique and distinct from any other interoceptive sensation. This can range from the sense of agency, to the physical cause of a sensation, the ontogenetic origin, the efferent innervation, and afferent pathways of the tissue involved amongst others. In its overarching meaning, interoception primarily is a product of the central nervous system, a construct based on an integration of various sources, not per se including afferent information. This paper proposes a definition of interoception as based on subjective experience, and pleas for the use of specific vocabulary in addressing the many aspects that contribute to it. [less ▲]

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See detailCognitive, emotional and psychosocial functioning of girls treated with pharmacological puberty blockage for idiopathic central precocious puberty
Wojniusz, S; Callens, N; Sütterlin, S et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2016), 7

Central precocious puberty (CPP) develops due to premature activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, resulting in early pubertal changes and rapid bone maturation. CPP is associated ... [more ▼]

Central precocious puberty (CPP) develops due to premature activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, resulting in early pubertal changes and rapid bone maturation. CPP is associated with lower adult height and increased risk for development of psychological problems. Standard treatment of CPP is based on postponement of pubertal development by blockade of the HPG axis with gonadotropin releasing hormone analogs (GnRHa) leading to abolition of gonadal sex hormones synthesis. Whereas the hormonal and auxological effects of GnRHa are well researched, there is a lack of knowledge whether GnRHa treatment influences psychological functioning of treated children, despite the fact that prevention of psychological problems is used as one of the main reasons for treatment initiation. In the present study we seek to address this issue by exploring differences in cognitive function, behavior, emotional reactivity, and psychosocial problems between GnRHa treated CPP girls and age-matched controls. Fifteen girls with idiopathic CPP; median age 10.4 years, treated with slow-release GnRHa (triptorelin acetate – Decapeptyl SR ® 11.25) and 15 age-matched controls, were assessed with a comprehensive test battery consisting of paper and pencil tests, computerized tasks, behavioral paradigms, heart rate variability, and questionnaires filled in by the children’s parents. Both groups showed very similar scores with regard to cognitive performance, behavioral and psychosocial problems. Compared to controls, treated girls displayed significantly higher emotional reactivity (p = 0.016; Cohen’s d = 1.04) on one of the two emotional reactivity task conditions. Unexpectedly, the CPP group showed significantly lower resting heart rates than the controls (p = 0.004; Cohen’s d = 1.03); lower heart rate was associated with longer treatment duration (r = - 0.582, p = 0.037). The results suggest that GnRHa treated CPP girls do not differ in their cognitive or psychosocial functioning from age matched controls. However, they might process emotional stimuli differently. The unexpected finding of lower heart rate that was associated with longer duration of the treatment should be further explored by methods appropriate for assessment of cardiac health. [less ▲]

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See detailMore than only skin deep? Appearance self-concept predicts most of students' self-esteem.
Baudson, Tanja Gabriele UL; Weber, Kira; Freund, Alexander

in Frontiers in Psychology (2016), 7

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See detailThe mad genius: still alive and well
Baudson, Tanja Gabriele UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2016), 7

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See detailInteroception and the uneasiness of the mind: Anxiety as perceptual style
Petersen, Sibylle UL; von Leupoldt, Andreas; Van den Bergh, Omer

in Frontiers in Psychology (2015), 6

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See detailInteroception and Stress
Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2015), 6(1), 993

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See detailThe relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals: insights from different stages of language acquisition
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Brunner, Martin UL; Landerl, Karin et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2015), 6

Solving arithmetic problems is a cognitive task that heavily relies on language processing. One might thus wonder whether this language-reliance leads to qualitative differences (e.g., greater ... [more ▼]

Solving arithmetic problems is a cognitive task that heavily relies on language processing. One might thus wonder whether this language-reliance leads to qualitative differences (e.g., greater difficulties, error types, etc.) in arithmetic for bilingual individuals who frequently have to solve arithmetic problems in more than one language. The present study investigated how proficiency in two languages interacts with arithmetic problem solving throughout language acquisition in adolescents and young adults. Additionally, we examined whether the number word structure that is specific to a given language plays a role in number processing over and above bilingual proficiency. We addressed these issues in a German–French educational bilingual setting, where there is a progressive transition from German to French as teaching language. Importantly, German and French number naming structures differ clearly, as two-digit number names follow a unit-ten order in German, but a ten-unit order in French. We implemented a transversal developmental design in which bilingual pupils from grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and young adults were asked to solve simple and complex additions in both languages. The results confirmed that language proficiency is crucial especially for complex addition computation. Simple additions in contrast can be retrieved equally well in both languages after extended language practice. Additional analyses revealed that over and above language proficiency, language-specific number word structures (e.g., unit-ten vs. ten-unit) also induced significant modulations of bilinguals' arithmetic performances. Taken together, these findings support the view of a strong relation between language and arithmetic in bilinguals. [less ▲]

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See detailInteroception and symptom reporting: Disentangling accuracy and bias.
Petersen, Sibylle UL; Van Staeyen, Ken; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2015)

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See detailExecutive functioning and reading achievement in school: a study of Brazilian children assessed by their teachers as “poor readers”
Engel de Abreu, Pascale UL; Abreu, Neander; Nikaedo, Carolina et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5

This study examined executive functioning and reading achievement in 106 6- to 8-year-old Brazilian children from a range of social backgrounds of whom approximately half lived below the poverty line. A ... [more ▼]

This study examined executive functioning and reading achievement in 106 6- to 8-year-old Brazilian children from a range of social backgrounds of whom approximately half lived below the poverty line. A particular focus was to explore the executive function profile of children whose classroom reading performance was judged below standard by their teachers and who were matched to controls on chronological age, sex, school type (private or public), domicile (Salvador/BA or São Paulo/SP) and socioeconomic status. Children completed a battery of 12 executive function tasks that were conceptual tapping cognitive flexibility, working memory, inhibition and selective attention. Each executive function domain was assessed by several tasks. Principal component analysis extracted four factors that were labeled “Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility,” “Interference Suppression,” “Selective Attention,” and “Response Inhibition.” Individual differences in executive functioning components made differential contributions to early reading achievement. The Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility factor emerged as the best predictor of reading. Group comparisons on computed factor scores showed that struggling readers displayed limitations in Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility, but not in other executive function components, compared to more skilled readers. These results validate the account that working memory capacity provides a crucial building block for the development of early literacy skills and extends it to a population of early readers of Portuguese from Brazil. The study suggests that deficits in working memory/cognitive flexibility might represent one contributing factor to reading difficulties in early readers. This might have important implications for how educators might intervene with children at risk of academic under achievement. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting first-grade mathematics achievement: the contributions of domain-general cognitive abilities, nonverbal number sense, and early number competence
Hornung, Caroline UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Brunner, Martin UL et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5

Early number competence, grounded in number-specific and domain-general abilities, is supposed to lay the foundation for later math achievement. Few longitudinal studies tested a comprehensive model for ... [more ▼]

Early number competence, grounded in number-specific and domain-general abilities, is supposed to lay the foundation for later math achievement. Few longitudinal studies tested a comprehensive model for early math development. Using structural equation modeling and mediation analyses, we studied the influence of kindergarteners’ basic cognitive abilities (i.e., nonverbal number sense, working memory, fluid intelligence, and receptive vocabulary) and their early number competence (i.e., symbolic number skills) on first grade math achievement (arithmetic, shape and space, and number line estimation) assessed one year later. Latent regression models revealed that nonverbal number sense and working memory are central building blocks for developing early number competence in kindergarten and that early number competence is key for first grade math achievement. Fluid intelligence significantly predicted arithmetic and number line estimation while receptive vocabulary significantly predicted shape and space after controlling for early number competence. In sum we suggest that early math achievement draws on different constellations of number-specific and domain-general mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailInterword and intraword pause threshold in writing
Chenu, Florence; Pellegrino, François; Jisa, Harriet et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5

Writing words in real life involves setting objectives, imagining a recipient, translating ideas into linguistic forms, managing grapho-motor gestures, etc. Understanding writing requires observation of ... [more ▼]

Writing words in real life involves setting objectives, imagining a recipient, translating ideas into linguistic forms, managing grapho-motor gestures, etc. Understanding writing requires observation of the processes as they occur in real time. Analysis of pauses is one of the preferred methods for accessing the dynamics of writing and is based on the idea that pauses are behavioral correlates of cognitive processes. However, there is a need to clarify what we are observing when studying pause phenomena, as we will argue in the first section. This taken into account, the study of pause phenomena can be considered following two approaches. A first approach, driven by temporality, would define a threshold and observe where pauses, e.g., scriptural inactivity occurs. A second approach, linguistically driven, would define structural units and look for scriptural inactivity at the boundaries of these units or within these units. Taking a temporally driven approach, we present two methods which aim at the automatic identification of scriptural inactivity which is most likely not attributable to grapho-motor management in texts written by children and adolescents using digitizing tablets in association with Eye and Pen© (Chesnet and Alamargot, 2005). The first method is purely statistical and is based on the idea that the distribution of pauses exhibits different Gaussian components each of them corresponding to a different type of pause. After having reviewed the limits of this statistical method, we present a second method based on writing dynamics which attempts to identify breaking points in the writing dynamics rather than relying only on pause duration. This second method needs to be refined to overcome the fact that calculation is impossible when there is insufficient data which is often the case when working with young scriptors. [less ▲]

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See detailFood-cue affected motor response inhibition and self-reported dieting success: a pictorial affective shifting task
Meule, Adrian; Lutz, Annika UL; Krawietz, Vera et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5(216),

Behavioral inhibition is one of the basic facets of executive functioning and is closely related to self-regulation. Impulsive reactions, i.e. low inhibitory control, have been associated with higher body ... [more ▼]

Behavioral inhibition is one of the basic facets of executive functioning and is closely related to self-regulation. Impulsive reactions, i.e. low inhibitory control, have been associated with higher body-mass-index (BMI), binge eating, and other problem behaviors (e.g. substance abuse, pathological gambling, etc.). Nevertheless, studies which investigated the direct influence of food-cues on behavioral inhibition have been fairly inconsistent. In the current studies, we investigated food-cue affected behavioral inhibition in young women. For this purpose, we used a go/no-go task with pictorial food and neutral stimuli in which stimulus-response mapping is reversed after every other block (affective shifting task). In study 1, hungry participants showed faster reaction times to and omitted fewer food than neutral targets. Low dieting success and higher BMI were associated with behavioral disinhibition in food relative to neutral blocks. In study 2, both hungry and satiated individuals were investigated. Satiation did not influence overall task performance, but modulated associations of task performance with dieting success and self-reported impulsivity. When satiated, increased food craving during the task was associated with low dieting success, possibly indicating a preload-disinhibition effect following food intake. Food-cues elicited automatic action and approach tendencies regardless of dieting success, self-reported impulsivity, or current hunger levels. Yet, associations between dieting success, impulsivity, and behavioral food-cue responses were modulated by hunger and satiation. Future research investigating clinical samples and including other salient non-food stimuli as control category is warranted. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat You See Is What You (Don’t) Get: A Comment on Funke’s (2014) Opinion Paper
Greiff, Samuel UL; Martin, Romain UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5

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See detailEstimation abilities of large numerosities in Kindergartners
Mejias Vanslype, Sandrine UL; Schiltz, Christine UL

in Frontiers in Psychology (2013), 4

The approximate number system (ANS) is thought to be a building block for the elaboration of formal mathematics. However, little is known about how this core system develops and if it can be influenced by ... [more ▼]

The approximate number system (ANS) is thought to be a building block for the elaboration of formal mathematics. However, little is known about how this core system develops and if it can be influenced by external factors at a young age (before the child enters formal numeracy education). The purpose of this study was to examine numerical magnitude representations of 5-6 year old children at 2 different moments of Kindergarten considering children's early number competence as well as schools' socio-economic index (SEI). This study investigated estimation abilities of large numerosities using symbolic and non-symbolic output formats (8-64). In addition, we assessed symbolic and non-symbolic early number competence (1-12) at the end of the 2nd (N = 42) and the 3rd (N = 32) Kindergarten grade. By letting children freely produce estimates we observed surprising estimation abilities at a very young age (from 5 year on) extending far beyond children's symbolic explicit knowledge. Moreover, the time of testing has an impact on the ANS accuracy since 3rd Kindergarteners were more precise in both estimation tasks. Additionally, children who presented better exact symbolic knowledge were also those with the most refined ANS. However, this was true only for 3rd Kindergarteners who were a few months from receiving math instructions. In a similar vein, higher SEI positively impacted only the oldest children's estimation abilities whereas it played a role for exact early number competences already in 2nd and 3rd graders. Our results support the view that approximate numerical representations are linked to exact number competence in young children before the start of formal math education and might thus serve as building blocks for mathematical knowledge. Since this core number system was also sensitive to external components such as the SEI this implies that it can most probably be targeted and refined through specific educational strategies from preschool on. [less ▲]

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See detailBreath holding duration as a measure of distress tolerance: examining its relation to measures of executive control
Sütterlin, Stefan UL; Schroijen, Mathias; Constantinou, Elena et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2013), 4(483), 1-9

Recent research considers distress (in)tolerance as an essential component in the development of various forms of psychopathology. A behavioral task frequently used to assess distress tolerance is the ... [more ▼]

Recent research considers distress (in)tolerance as an essential component in the development of various forms of psychopathology. A behavioral task frequently used to assess distress tolerance is the breath holding task. Although breath holding time (BHT) has been associated with behavioral outcomes related to inhibitory control (e.g., smoking cessation), the relationship among breath holding and direct measures of executive control has not yet been thoroughly examined. The present study aims to assess (a) the BHT-task's test-retest reliability in a 1-year follow-up and (b) the relationship between a series of executive function tasks and breath holding duration. One hundred and thirteen students completed an initial BHT assessment, 58 of which also completed a series of executive function tasks [the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), the Parametric Go/No-Go task and the N-back memory updating task]. A subsample of these students (N = 34) repeated the breath holding task in a second session 1 year later. Test-retest reliability of the BHT-task over a 1-year period was high (r = 0.67, p < 0.001), but none of the executive function tasks was significantly associated with BHT. The rather moderate levels of unpleasantness induced by breath holding in our sample may suggest that other processes (physiological, motivational) besides distress tolerance influence BHT. Overall, the current findings do not support the assumption of active inhibitory control in the BHT-task in a healthy sample. Our findings suggest that individual differences (e.g., in interoceptive or anxiety sensitivity) should be taken into account when examining the validity of BHT as a measure of distress tolerance. [less ▲]

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