Friday, February 26th, 2016

Andrea Halpern – Halpern, Andrea; Golden, Hannah L.; Magdalinou, Nadia; Witoonpanich, Pirada; and Warren, Jason D. “Musical Tasks Targeting Preserved and Impaired Functions in Two Dementias.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1337, no. 1 (2015) : 241-248.

Andrea Halpern, Professor of Psychology

Studies of musical abilities in dementia have for the most part been rather general assessments of abilities, for instance, assessing retention of music learned premorbidly. Here, we studied patients with dementias with contrasting cognitive profiles to explore specific aspects of music cognition under challenge. Patients suffered from Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in which a primary impairment is in forming new declarative memories, or Lewy body disease (PD/LBD), a type of parkinsonism in which executive impairments are prominent. In the AD patients, we examined musical imagery. Behavioral and neural evidence confirms involvement of perceptual networks in imagery, and these are relatively spared in early stages of the illness. Thus, we expected patients to have relatively intact imagery in a mental pitch comparison task. For the LBD patients, we tested whether executive dysfunction would extend to music. We probed inhibitory skills by asking for a speeded pitch or timbre judgment when the irrelevant dimension was held constant or also changed. Preliminary results show that AD patients score similarly to controls in the imagery tasks, but PD/LBD patients are impaired relative to controls in suppressing some irrelevant musical dimensions, particularly when the required judgment varies from trial to trial.

2014 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of The New York Academy of Sciences.

Halpern, Andrea; Golden, Hannah L.; Magdalinou, Nadia; Witoonpanich, Pirada; and Warren, Jason D. “Musical Tasks Targeting Preserved and Impaired Functions in Two Dementias.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1337, no. 1 (2015) : 241-248.

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

Andrea Halpern – Schaal, Nora K.; Javadi, Amir-Homayoun; Halpern, Andrea; Pollok, Bettina; and Banissy, Michael J. “Right Parietal Cortex Mediates Recognition Memory for Melodies.” European Journal of Neuroscience 42, no. 1 (2015) : 1660-1666.

Andrea Halpern, Professor of Psychology

Functional brain imaging studies have highlighted the significance of right-lateralized temporal, frontal and parietal brain areas for memory for melodies. The present study investigated the involvement of bilateral posterior parietal cortices (PPCs) for the recognition memory of melodies using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Participants performed a recognition task before and after tDCS. The task included an encoding phase (12 melodies), a retention period, as well as a recognition phase (24 melodies). Experiment 1 revealed that anodal tDCS over the right PPC led to a deterioration of overall memory performance compared with sham. Experiment 2 confirmed the results of Experiment 1 and further showed that anodal tDCS over the left PPC did not show a modulatory effect on memory task performance, indicating a right lateralization for musical memory. Furthermore, both experiments revealed that the decline in memory for melodies can be traced back to an interference of anodal stimulation on the recollection process (remember judgements) rather than to familiarity judgements. Taken together, this study revealed a causal involvement of the right PPC for memory for melodies and demonstrated a key role for this brain region in the recollection process of the memory task.

Schaal, Nora K.; Javadi, Amir-Homayoun; Halpern, Andrea; Pollok, Bettina; and Banissy, Michael J. “Right Parietal Cortex Mediates Recognition Memory for Melodies.” European Journal of Neuroscience 42, no. 1 (2015) : 1660-1666.

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

Chris Boyatzis – Cook, Kaye V.; Kimball, Cynthia; Boyatzis, Chris; and Leonard, Kathleen C. “Religiousness and Spirituality Among Highly Religious Emerging Adults.” Journal of Psychology and Christianity 34, no. 3 (2015) : 252-265.

Chris Boyatzis, Professor of Psychology

Three mixed-methods studies assessed whether students at Christian colleges maintain a traditional faith over time. For a population of recent, two-year, and four-year alumni at two Christian colleges (Study 1), as well as first-year and senior undergraduate students at one of the two Christian colleges (Studies 2 and 3), we measured changes in denominational commitments, religious attitudes and behavior, and descriptions of changing points in faith. We analyzed the interview data (faith changing points) for instances of moralistic therapeutic deism (MTD), which Smith and his colleagues (Smith & Denton, 2005; Smith & Snell, 2009) have identified as characteristic of emerging adults’ religiousness. MTD is described as a watered-down faith in which God is understood as a personal helper who sets moral standards but places little demand on the believer. Our findings indicate that undergraduates and alumni from Christian college contexts maintain solid faith commitments that are not consistent with MTD. Instead they hold a robust, traditional faith marked by trust in God, ownership of their own faith, and an embrace of historically central religious constructs, consistent with the traditionalists (Smith & Snell, 2009) and conservative believers (Arnett, 2014). In their traditionalism, the undergraduates in Study 3 experience themselves as having greater concern for spirituality (or faith) than when they entered college, but no greater concern for religiousness (or institutional commitment), describing themselves as “more spiritual but less religious.”

Cook, Kaye V.; Kimball, Cynthia; Boyatzis, Chris; and Leonard, Kathleen C. “Religiousness and Spirituality Among Highly Religious Emerging Adults.” Journal of Psychology and Christianity 34, no. 3 (2015) : 252-265.

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

David Evans – Evans, David W.; Lazar, Steven M.; Boomer, K B.; Mitchel, Aaron; Michael, Andrew M.; and Moore, Gregory J. “Social Cognition and Brain Morphology: Implications for Developmental Brain Dysfunction.” Brain Imaging and Behavior 9, no. 2 (2015) : 264-274.

Chris Boyatzis, Professor of Psychology

The social-cognitive deficits associated with several neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders have been linked to structural and functional brain anomalies. Given the recent appreciation for quantitative approaches to behavior, in this study we examined the brain-behavior links in social cognition in healthy young adults from a quantitative approach. Twenty-two participants were administered quantitative measures of social cognition, including the social responsiveness scale (SRS), the empathizing questionnaire (EQ) and the systemizing questionnaire (SQ). Participants underwent a structural, 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure that yielded both volumetric (voxel count) and asymmetry indices. Model fitting with backward elimination revealed that a combination of cortical, limbic and striatal regions accounted for significant variance in social behavior and cognitive styles that are typically associated with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Specifically, as caudate and amygdala volumes deviate from the typical R > L asymmetry, and cortical gray matter becomes more R > L asymmetrical, overall SRS and Emotion Recognition scores increase. Social Avoidance was explained by a combination of cortical gray matter, pallidum (rightward asymmetry) and caudate (deviation from rightward asymmetry). Rightward asymmetry of the pallidum was the sole predictor of Interpersonal Relationships and Repetitive Mannerisms. Increased D-scores on the EQ-SQ, an indication of greater systemizing relative to empathizing, was also explained by deviation from the typical R > L asymmetry of the caudate.

Evans, David W.; Lazar, Steven M.; Boomer, K B.; Mitchel, Aaron; Michael, Andrew M.; and Moore, Gregory J. “Social Cognition and Brain Morphology: Implications for Developmental Brain Dysfunction.” Brain Imaging and Behavior 9, no. 2 (2015) : 264-274.

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

William F. Flack, Jr. – Flack, William F. Jr.; Kimble, Matthew O.; Campbell, Brooke E.; Hopper, Allyson B.; Peterca, Oana; and Heller, Emily J. “Sexual Assault Victimization Among Female Undergraduates During Study Abroad: A Single Campus Survey Study.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 30, no. 20 (2015) : 3453-3466.

William F. Flack, Jr., Associate Professor of Psychology

Almost all research on sexual assault victimization among undergraduate university students pertains to incidents that occur on domestic college and university campuses. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of sexual assault victimization and related factors among undergraduates in the context of study-abroad programs. Two hundred eight female students (52% response rate) from a small university in the northeastern United States who had recently studied abroad responded to an online survey containing measures of sexual assault, posttraumatic stress responses (PSR), and alcohol consumption. Almost 19% of the respondents indicated one or more types of sexual assault victimization. Approximately 17% reported non-consensual sexual touching, 7% attempted rape, 4% rape, with 9% reporting attempted rape or rape. As in domestic studies, victimization in this sample was related positively to alcohol consumption and PSR. Use of force was the most frequently reported perpetrator tactic. In sum, the high rates of sexual assault victimization reported by this sample during study abroad replicate previous findings. This context requires further attention from sexual assault researchers, especially given the increasing numbers of university students engaging in study abroad, and from campus support personnel who may be unaware of the likelihood of assault in this context.

The Author(s) 2014.

Flack, William F. Jr.; Kimble, Matthew O.; Campbell, Brooke E.; Hopper, Allyson B.; Peterca, Oana; and Heller, Emily J. “Sexual Assault Victimization Among Female Undergraduates During Study Abroad: A Single Campus Survey Study.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 30, no. 20 (2015) : 3453-3466.

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

Andrea Halpern – Pfordresher, Peter Q.; Halpern, Andrea; and Greenspon, Emma B. “A Mechanism for Sensorimotor Translation in Singing: the Multi-Modal Imagery Association (MMIA) Model.” Music Perception 32, no. 3 (2015) : 242-253.

Andrea Halpern, Professor of Psychology

WE PROPOSE A NEW FRAMEWORK TO UNDERSTAND singing accuracy, based on multi-modal imagery associations: the MMIA model. This model is based on recent data suggesting a link between auditory imagery and singing accuracy, evidence for a link between imagery and the functioning of internal models for sensorimotor associations, and the use of imagery in singing pedagogy. By this account, imagery involves automatic associations between different modalities, which in the present context comprise associations between pitch height and the regulation of vocal fold tension. Importantly, these associations are based on probabilistic relationships that may vary with respect to their precision and accuracy. We further describe how this framework may be extended to multi-modal associations at the sequential level, and how these associations develop. The model we propose here constitutes one part of a larger architecture responsible for singing, but at the same time is cast at a general level that can extend to multi-modal associations outside the domain of singing.

Pfordresher, Peter Q.; Halpern, Andrea; and Greenspon, Emma B. “A Mechanism for Sensorimotor Translation in Singing: the Multi-Modal Imagery Association (MMIA) Model.” Music Perception 32, no. 3 (2015) : 242-253.

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