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See detailMothers’ and fathers’ reflective functioning and its association with parenting behaviors and cortisol reactivity during a conflict interaction with their adolescent children
Decarli, Alessandro; Schulz, André UL; Pierrehumbert, Blaise et al

in Emotion (in press)

We assessed parental reflective functioning (PRF) with the Parent Development Interview - Revised, and investigated its association with parenting behaviors, i.e., autonomy support and psychological ... [more ▼]

We assessed parental reflective functioning (PRF) with the Parent Development Interview - Revised, and investigated its association with parenting behaviors, i.e., autonomy support and psychological control (operationalized in terms of behaviors promoting and undermining autonomy relatedness), and stress responses (cortisol reactivity) during a parent-child conflict interaction task (Family Interaction Task). Participants were 40 mothers and 28 fathers, who took part in the study together with their adolescent children (N = 49). Mothers had significantly lower PRF and displayed more psychologically controlling behaviors in the interaction with their children than fathers. Rather than sex per se, high levels of PRF were the best predictors of autonomy support, whereas lower levels of PRF predicted more psychological control. Higher levels of PRF were also the best predictor for lower levels of parenting stress. Stress in the context of parenting was neither related to autonomy support nor to psychological control, which were best predicted by divorced family status. The findings point to the potential utility of interventions aimed at improving PRF and stress management in the context of parenting, especially in divorced families, given their protective effects on parenting behaviors. [less ▲]

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See detailA theory-driven design framework for smartphone applications to support healthy and sustainable grocery shopping
Blanke, Julia UL; Billieux, Joel; Vögele, Claus UL

in Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies (in press)

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See detailCognitive processes underlying impaired decision-making in gambling disorder.
Brevers, Damien UL; Vögele, Claus UL; Billieux, Joël

in Zaleskiewicz, Thomas (Ed.) Psychological Perspectives on Financial Decision Making. (in press)

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See detailWell-being and working from home during COVID-19
Schifano, Sonia UL; Clark, Andrew; Greiff, Samuel UL et al

in Information Technology and People (in press)

Purpose – The authors track the well-being of individuals across five European countries during the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relate their well-being to working from ... [more ▼]

Purpose – The authors track the well-being of individuals across five European countries during the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relate their well-being to working from home. The authors also consider the role of pandemic-policy stringency in affecting well-being in Europe. Design/methodology/approach – The authors have four waves of novel harmonised longitudinal data in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Sweden, covering the period May–November 2020. Well-being is measured in five dimensions: life satisfaction, a worthwhile life, loneliness, depression and anxiety. A retrospective diary indicates whether the individual was working in each month since February 2020 and if so whether at home or not at home. Policy stringency is matched in per country at the daily level. The authors consider both cross- section and panel regressions and the mediating and moderating effects of control variables, including household variables and income. Findings – Well-being among workers is lower for those who work from home, and those who are not working have the lowest well-being of all. The panel results are more mitigated, with switching into working at home yielding a small drop in anxiety. The panel and cross-section difference could reflect adaptation or the selection of certain types of individuals into working at home. Policy stringency is always negatively correlated with well-being. The authors find no mediation effects. The well-being penalty from working at home is larger for the older, the better-educated, those with young children and those with more crowded housing. Originality/value – The harmonised cross-country panel data on individuals’ experiences during COVID-19 are novel. The authors relate working from home and policy stringency to multiple well-being measures. The authors emphasise the effect of working from home on not only the level of well-being but also its distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailAddressing the need for new interoceptive methods
Garfinkel, Sarah N.; Schulz, André UL; Tsakiris, Manos

in Biological Psychology (2022), 170(1), 108322

Internal bodily signals are dynamically coupled to brain dynamics; interoception, the ‘sensing’ of internal signals, can influence cognition, emotion and perception. An appreciation of the wide-ranging ... [more ▼]

Internal bodily signals are dynamically coupled to brain dynamics; interoception, the ‘sensing’ of internal signals, can influence cognition, emotion and perception. An appreciation of the wide-ranging implications of interoceptive processing has surpassed the range and breadth of available interoceptive methods. New techniques are required to support the scientific study of interoception and this special issue brings together a diverse array of novel interoceptive methods and assessments, spanning psychophysiology, experimental psychology, affective neuroscience and computational approaches, divided into 5 core sections. Section 1 presents novel theoretical and computational models of interoception, while section two brings together a range of perspectives on questionnaire measures of interoception. Section 3 is devoted to the development of novel methods to assess interoception in behavioral tasks and section 4 focuses on the validity and confounds present in a range of methods used to assess interoception. Finally, section 5 details new methodological insights of interoception in the domains of emotion, cognition and health. Improved interoceptive methods are needed to progress this field; greater precision in techniques and core interoceptive constructs will aid in the mapping of interoceptive measures to cognition and emotion factors, as well as help to elucidate precise interoceptive alterations observed in clinical conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailGastric interoception and gastric myoelectrical activity in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder
van Dyck, Zoé UL; Schulz, André UL; Blechert, Jens et al

in International Journal of Eating Disorders (2021), 54(7), 1106-1115

Objective: Identifying factors that control food intake is crucial to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders characterized by binge eating. In healthy individuals, stomach distension plays an ... [more ▼]

Objective: Identifying factors that control food intake is crucial to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders characterized by binge eating. In healthy individuals, stomach distension plays an important role in the development of satiation, but gastric sensations might be overridden in binge eating. The present study investigated the perception of gastric signals (i.e., gastric interoception) and gastric motility in patients experiencing binge eating episodes, i.e. bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED). Method: Twenty-nine patients with BN or BED (ED group) and 32 age-, sex-, and BMI-matched healthy controls (HC group) participated in the study. The onset of satiation and stomach fullness were assessed using a novel 2-step water load test (WLT-II). Gastric myoelectrical activity (GMA) was measured by electrogastrography (EGG) before and after ingestion of non-caloric water. Results: Individuals in the ED group drank significantly more water until reporting satiation during the WLT-II. The percentage of normal gastric myoelectrical power was significantly smaller in the ED group compared to HC, and negatively related to the number of objective binge-eating episodes per week in bulimic patients. Power in the bradygastria range was greater in ED than in HC subjects. Discussion: Patients with EDs have a delayed response to satiation compared to HC participants, together with abnormal GMA. Repeated binge eating episodes may induce disturbances to gastric motor function. [less ▲]

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See detailNegative mood increases desire to eat, but not event-related potentials, for food images in bulimia nervosa
Lutz, Annika UL; Georgii, Claudio; Blechert, Jens et al

Scientific Conference (2021, March 12)

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See detailMood-induced changes in the cortical processing of food images in bulimia nervosa
Lutz, Annika UL; Dierolf, Angelika; van Dyck, Zoé UL et al

in Addictive Behaviors (2021), 113

Background Negative mood often triggers binge eating in bulimia nervosa (BN). We investigated motivational salience as a possible underlying mechanism using event-related potentials (ERPs) as indicators ... [more ▼]

Background Negative mood often triggers binge eating in bulimia nervosa (BN). We investigated motivational salience as a possible underlying mechanism using event-related potentials (ERPs) as indicators of motivated attention allocation (P300) and sustained processing (LPP). Methods We collected ERPs (P300: 350–400 ms; LPP: 600–1000 ms) from 21 women with full-syndrome or partially remitted BN and 21 healthy women (HC), matched for age and body mass index. Idiosyncratic negative and neutral situations were used to induce corresponding mood states (counterbalanced), before participants viewed images of high- and low-calorie foods and neutral objects, and provided ratings for pleasantness and desire to eat. Results P300 was larger for foods than objects; LPP was largest for high-calorie foods, followed by low-calorie foods, then objects. The BN group showed an increased desire to eat high-calorie foods under negative mood and stronger mood induction effects on ERPs than the HC group, with generally reduced P300 and a small increase in LPP for high-calorie foods. Effects were limited to circumscribed electrode positions. Exploratory analyses showed clearer effects when comparing high vs. low emotional eaters. Conclusion We argue that negative mood decreased the availability of cognitive resources (decreased P300) in BN, thereby facilitating disinhibition and food cravings (increased desire-to-eat ratings). Increased sustained processing might be linked to emotional eating tendencies rather than BN pathology per se, and reflect approach motivation, conflict, or regulatory processes. Negative mood appears to induce complex changes in food image processing, whose understanding may contribute to the development of tailored interventions in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailBrain mechanisms underlying prospective thinking of sustainable behaviours
Brevers, Damien UL; Baeken, Chris; Maurage, Pierre et al

in Nature Sustainability (2021)

The preservation of our environment requires sustainable ways of thinking and living. Here, we aimed to explore the core network of brain regions involved in the prospective thinking about (un)sustainable ... [more ▼]

The preservation of our environment requires sustainable ways of thinking and living. Here, we aimed to explore the core network of brain regions involved in the prospective thinking about (un)sustainable behaviours. Using a neuroimaging cue-exposure paradigm, we requested participants (n = 86) to report behaviours that were the most feasible for them to implement (sustainable behaviour) or diminish (unsustainable behaviour) in the future. We find that increasing sustainable behaviours was perceived to be more feasible than reducing unsustainable ones. Consistent with the role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in providing access to new representations of past behaviours, we observed stronger activation of these regions when picturing an increase in sustainable behaviours. Critically, simulating the reduction of unsustainable behaviours triggered activation within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for inhibitory-control processes), which was negatively associated with hippocampal activation (a key region for memory). These findings suggest that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex downregulates brain regions that support memory retrieval of unsustainable behaviours. This mechanism could inhibit the access to episodic details associated with unsustainable behaviours and in turn allow for prospective thinking of sustainable behaviours. These findings provide an initial step towards a better understanding of the brain networks that are involved in the adoption of sustainable habits. [less ▲]

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See detailInteroceptive Approaches to Embodiment Research
Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Robinson, Michael D.; Thomas, Laura E. (Eds.) Handbook of Embodied Psychology: Thinking, Feeling, and Acting. (2021)

Interoception refers to the processing and perception of signals arising from inside the body. Currently, there are two alternative conceptualizations of interoception: (1) an ‘inclusive’ view considering ... [more ▼]

Interoception refers to the processing and perception of signals arising from inside the body. Currently, there are two alternative conceptualizations of interoception: (1) an ‘inclusive’ view considering all bodily signals from inside the body as relevant for interoception, and (2) an ‘exclusive’ view, which is based on receptor types and neurophysiology, and, therefore, a focus on visceroception. These conceptualizations have different implications for the underlying neurophysiology and, therefore, the mechanisms behind embodiment. Thereafter, we discuss current models of interoception and provide definitions of the most common interoceptive terms, which include interoceptive accuracy, sensibility, sensitivity, awareness, and prediction error. We then present examples of interoceptive paradigms to assess different elements of interoception models. Typical interoceptive indicators include self-reports, behavioral measures, and neurophysiological indices. Finally, we discuss the link between interoceptive indicators and emotional experience and emotion regulation, consciousness, and decision-making. These findings illustrate the relevance of interoceptive indicators for embodiment. [less ▲]

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See detailSmartphone-based interventions for physical activity promotion: scoping review of the evidence over the last 10-years.
Domin, Alex UL; Spruijt-Metz, Donna; Theisen, Daniel UL et al

in Journal of Medical Internet Research (2021), 9(7), 24308

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See detailOn the construct validity of interoceptive accuracy based on heartbeat counting: cardiovascular determinants of absolute and tilt-induced change scores
Schulz, André UL; Back, Sarah N.; Schaan, Violetta K. et al

in Biological Psychology (2021), 164(1), 108168

Interoceptive accuracy (IAcc) as assessed with the heartbeat counting task (IAccHBCT) may be affected by a range of factors including (1.) the ability to adequately detect cardiac signals, indicated by ... [more ▼]

Interoceptive accuracy (IAcc) as assessed with the heartbeat counting task (IAccHBCT) may be affected by a range of factors including (1.) the ability to adequately detect cardiac signals, indicated by IAcc in a heartbeat discrimination task (IAccHBDT), (2.) cardiac signal properties, affected by sympathetic and parasympathetic tone, and (3.) non-interoceptive processes, including time estimation accuracy (TEAcc). In the current study we investigated the contribution of these factors to absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores, induced by passive head-up and head-down tilt in 49 healthy individuals. A set of hierarchical regression models showed IAccHBDT scores as the strongest and, across different orthostatic (tilt) conditions, most stable (positive) predictor of absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores. Neither indicators of cardiac signal properties (except for HR in head-down-tilt), nor TEAcc predicted absolute or Δ IAccHBCT scores. These findings support the convergent and discriminant validity of absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores. [less ▲]

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See detailNoradrenergic activation induced by yohimbine decreases interoceptive accuracy in healthy individuals with childhood adversity
Schulz, André UL; Deuter, Christian E.; Breden, Ion-Hideo et al

in Development and Psychopathology (2021)

Acute stress affects interoception, but it remains unclear if this is due to activation of the sympatho-adreno-medullary (SAM) or hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical axis. This study aimed to investigate ... [more ▼]

Acute stress affects interoception, but it remains unclear if this is due to activation of the sympatho-adreno-medullary (SAM) or hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical axis. This study aimed to investigate the effect of SAM axis activation on interoceptive accuracy (IAcc). Central alpha2-adrenergic receptors represent a negative feedback mechanism of the SAM axis. Major depressive disorder and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with alterations in the biological stress systems, including central alpha2-adrenergic receptors. Here, healthy individuals with and without ACE as well as depressive patients with and without ACE (n=114; all without antidepressant medication) were tested after yohimbine (alpha2-adrenergic antagonist) and placebo. We assessed IAcc and sensibility in a heartbeat counting task. Increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after yohimbine confirmed successful SAM axis activation. IAcc decreased after yohimbine only in the healthy group with ACE, but remained unchanged in all other groups (‘group’ × ‘drug’ interaction). This effect may be due to selective up-regulation of alpha2-adrenergic receptors after childhood trauma, which reduces capacity for attention focus on heartbeats. The sympathetic neural pathway including alpha2-adrenergic circuitries may be essential for mediating interoceptive signal transmission. Suppressed processing of physical sensations in stressful situations may represent an adaptive response in healthy individuals who experienced ACE. [less ▲]

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See detailOlder adults show a higher heartbeat-evoked potential than young adults and a negative association with everyday metacognition
Kamp, Siri-Maria; Schulz, André UL; Forester, Glen et al

in Brain Research (2021), 1752(1), 147238

The ability to monitor internal bodily and cognitive processes is essential for everyday functioning and independence in older adults, because it allows for adjustments when lapses in performance are ... [more ▼]

The ability to monitor internal bodily and cognitive processes is essential for everyday functioning and independence in older adults, because it allows for adjustments when lapses in performance are imminent. In the present study, age-related morphological changes to the heartbeat evoked potential (HEP), an electrophysiological cortical representation of cardiac signals, and its association with self-reported everyday cognition were examined. A community sample of older adults showed an increased HEP amplitude, which could reflect a stronger representation of early stages of cardiac interoception, and a more anterior scalp distribution of the HEP, suggesting a more widespread configuration of the underlying neural generators, compared to a group of young adults. Furthermore, in older adults, HEP amplitude was negatively correlated with self-estimated everyday cognitive functioning. Older adults with pronounced cortical representations of peripheral signals may thus be more likely to take note of lapses in their own bodily and cognitive function, leading to lower estimates of their cognitive abilities. These results provide novel insights into age-related changes in interoceptive processing and their association with metacognitive judgments, with potentially far-reaching implications for cognitive aging and age-related cognitive decline. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing social marketing for the promotion of cognitive health: a scoping review protocol
Barbier, Mathilde UL; Schulte, Caroline; Kornadt, Anna Elena UL et al

in BMJ Open (2021)

Introduction: The use of social marketing strategies to induce the promotion of cognitive health has received little attention in research. The objective of this scoping review is twofold: (i) to identify ... [more ▼]

Introduction: The use of social marketing strategies to induce the promotion of cognitive health has received little attention in research. The objective of this scoping review is twofold: (i) to identify the social marketing strategies that have been used in recent years to initiate and maintain health-promoting behaviour; (ii) to advance research in this area to inform policy and practice on how to best make use of these strategies to promote cognitive health. Methods and analysis: We will use the five-stage methodological framework of Arksey and O’Malley. Articles in English published since 2010 will be searched in electronic databases (the Cochrane Library, DoPHER, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, PsycInfo, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Scopus). Quantitative and qualitative study designs as well as reviews will be considered. We will include those articles that report the design, implementation, outcomes and evaluation of programmes and interventions concerning social marketing and/or health promotion and/or promotion of cognitive health. Grey literature will not be searched. Two independent reviewers will assess in detail the abstracts and full text of selected citations against the inclusion criteria. A Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flowchart for Scoping Reviews will be used to illustrate the process of article selection. We will use a data extraction form, present the results through narrative synthesis and discuss them in relation to the scoping review research questions. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval is not required for conducting this scoping review. The results of the review will be the first step to advance a conceptual framework, which contributes to the development of interventions targeting the promotion of cognitive health. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. They will also be disseminated to key stakeholders in the field of the promotion of cognitive health. [less ▲]

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See detailA randomized controlled trial of an Internet-based emotion regulation intervention for sexual health: study protocol
Fischer, Vinicius Jobim; Andersson, Gerhard; Billieux, Joel et al

in Trials (2021), 22

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See detailHeartbeat evoked potentials in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: an unaltered neurobiological regulation system?
Schmitz, Marius; Müller, Laura E.; Seitz, Katja I. et al

in European Journal of Psychotraumatology (2021), 12(1), 1987686

Background: Early life maltreatment is a risk factor for psychiatric disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Posttraumatic stress disorder is a severe and heterogeneous disorder with ... [more ▼]

Background: Early life maltreatment is a risk factor for psychiatric disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Posttraumatic stress disorder is a severe and heterogeneous disorder with fluctuating states of emotional over- and undermodulation including hypervigilance, dissociation, and emotion regulation deficits. The perception and regulation of emotions have been linked to interoception, the cortical representation and sensing of inner bodily processes. Although first therapeutic approaches targeting bodily sensations have been found effective in patients with PTSD, and deficits in interoceptive signal representation have been reported in other trauma-related disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), the role of interoception remains largely unexplored for PTSD. Objective: The objective was to investigate the cortical representation of cardiac interoceptive signals in patients with PTSD and its associations with early life maltreatment, trait dissociation, and emotion dysregulation. Methods: Twenty-four medication-free patients with PTSD and 31 healthy controls (HC) completed a 5-min resting electrocardiogram (ECG) with parallel electroencephalogram (EEG). Heartbeat evoked potential (HEP) amplitudes as a measure for cortical representation of cardiac interoceptive signals were compared between groups and correlated with self-report questionnaires. Results: We did not find significantly different mean HEP amplitudes in patients with PTSD compared to HC, although HEPs of patients with PTSD were descriptively higher. No significant associations between mean HEP amplitudes and early life maltreatment, trait dissociation or emotion dysregulation were obtained within the groups. Conclusion: The current finding does not indicate deficits in interoceptive signal representation at rest in individuals with PTSD. Whether patients with PTSD show altered HEP modulations during emotion regulation tasks and might benefit from therapeutic approaches aiming at changing the perception of bodily signals, needs to be investigated in future studies. [less ▲]

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