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Behav. Sci., Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2016)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Advances in Animal Cognition
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 27; doi:10.3390/bs6040027
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
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Abstract
This editorial endorses a diverse approach to the study of animal cognition and emphasizes the theoretical and applied gains that can be made by embracing this approach. This diversity emerges from cross-talk among scientists trained in a variety of backgrounds and theoretical approaches,
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This editorial endorses a diverse approach to the study of animal cognition and emphasizes the theoretical and applied gains that can be made by embracing this approach. This diversity emerges from cross-talk among scientists trained in a variety of backgrounds and theoretical approaches, who study a variety of topics with a range of species. By shifting from an anthropocentric focus on humans and our closest living relatives, and the historic reliance on the lab rat or pigeon, modern students of animal cognition have uncovered many fascinating facets of cognition in species ranging from insects to carnivores. Diversity in both topic and species of study will allow researchers to better understand the complex evolutionary forces giving rise to widely shared and unique cognitive processes. Furthermore, this increased understanding will translate into more effective strategies for managing wild and captive populations of nonhuman species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Cognition)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Engagement in Formal Volunteering and Well-Being: An Exploratory Indian Study
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 20; doi:10.3390/bs6040020
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 13 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 September 2016 / Published: 27 September 2016
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Abstract
Sustained engagement in volunteering and its correlates have been examined in many studies across the globe. However, there is a dearth of research that explores the perspectives of long-term formal volunteers on the nature of changes perceived in oneself as a result of
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Sustained engagement in volunteering and its correlates have been examined in many studies across the globe. However, there is a dearth of research that explores the perspectives of long-term formal volunteers on the nature of changes perceived in oneself as a result of volunteering. Moreover, the linkages between psychological well-being and volunteering have been insufficiently explored. The present study was aimed at addressing these gaps. A heterogeneous sample of 20 long-term formal volunteer engaged in volunteering across different voluntary organisations in a southern metropolitan Indian city formed the primary sample for the study. In addition, a group of 21 short-term volunteers, matched on age, income and gender, was utilised for comparison with long-term volunteers on well-being indices. A semi structured interview schedule was used to explore self-perceived changes attributable to volunteering experience. In addition, a few standardised measures were used to comprehensively assess subjective well-being and psychological well-being. The interview data provided rich descriptions of perceived positive changes in self across cognitive, behavioral and emotional domains. Mirroring these patterns, the quantitative analyses indicated that long-term volunteers experienced higher levels of psychological well-being (sense of mastery and competence, self-acceptance and sense of engagement and growth) than short-term volunteers. The potential mechanisms involved in beneficial outcomes of long-term volunteering and implications for further research are highlighted. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Black–White Disparities in Criminal Justice Referrals to Drug Treatment: Addressing Treatment Need or Expanding the Diagnostic Net?
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 21; doi:10.3390/bs6040021
Received: 31 July 2016 / Revised: 11 September 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 2 October 2016
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Abstract
Slightly more than half of admissions to U.S. publicly-funded treatment for marijuana use are referred by the criminal justice system; this pattern has remained for at least 20 years. Nationally, Blacks comprise nearly a third of treatment admissions for marijuana use. This article
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Slightly more than half of admissions to U.S. publicly-funded treatment for marijuana use are referred by the criminal justice system; this pattern has remained for at least 20 years. Nationally, Blacks comprise nearly a third of treatment admissions for marijuana use. This article explores the interplay between race and criminal justice referrals to treatment for marijuana use. Using data from the (U.S.) 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set, we examine the relationship between race and diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (dependence versus abuse) among referrals to community-based treatment in North Carolina. We compare Black/White differences in cannabis diagnoses across four referral sources: the criminal justice system, healthcare providers, self, and other sources. Race was significantly related to type of diagnosis across all four referral sources, however, the nature of the relationship was distinctly different among criminal justice referrals with Whites being more likely than Blacks to be diagnosed with cannabis dependence. Moreover, the marijuana use profiles of criminal justice referrals differed substantially from individuals referred by other sources. The findings suggest that diagnoses of cannabis abuse (rather than dependence) may have worked to widen the diagnostic net by “capturing” individuals under control of the criminal justice system who manifested few problems with marijuana use, other than their involvement in the criminal justice system. The potential for a net-widening effect appeared to be most pronounced for Blacks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race, Ethnicity, and Drug Addiction)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Learned Use of Picture Cues by Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) in a Delayed Matching Task
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 22; doi:10.3390/bs6040022
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Picture-object correspondence provides an alternate method of investigating delayed matching by providing a cue (picture) which may be spontaneously perceived as similar but different from a corresponding target. Memory for, and corresponding choice of, a target corresponding to a cue could be facilitated
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Picture-object correspondence provides an alternate method of investigating delayed matching by providing a cue (picture) which may be spontaneously perceived as similar but different from a corresponding target. Memory for, and corresponding choice of, a target corresponding to a cue could be facilitated by the use of a picture. Bumblebees have been found to both easily differentiate images from corresponding objects but also spontaneously perceive a similarity between the two. Herein, an approach was designed to test the possible use of picture cues to signal reward in a delayed matching task. Target choice preference corresponding to picture cues was tested among three bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) colonies using photograph cues (presented prior to target stimuli) corresponding to one of four target stimuli. Photograph cues were the only predictor of corresponding target reward, presented in stable locations. Rewarded and unrewarded tests show a choice preference significantly higher than chance for targets matching the cue. Results suggest that bumblebees can learn to use picture cues in a delayed matching task. Furthermore, experience, conditions of reward inconsistency and location, are discussed as possible contributing factors to learning in a delayed matching task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Cognition)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Supportive Relationships in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Perspectives of Individuals with ASD and Supporters
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 23; doi:10.3390/bs6040023
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
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Abstract
This study explored 17 dyads of academically successful people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals who they identified as supportive. Qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews, participant observations, and document analysis, were used to study these supportive relationships. The purpose of the study
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This study explored 17 dyads of academically successful people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals who they identified as supportive. Qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews, participant observations, and document analysis, were used to study these supportive relationships. The purpose of the study was to develop a substantive grounded theory regarding supportive relationships within the lives of individuals with ASD. A dynamic model of supportive relationships emerged, with trust, unity, and support as the three core categories of these relationships. The data suggest that the quality of the relationship between an individual with ASD and the support provider can be a critical factor within effective support. These findings suggest that there is much yet to be learned about the social world of individuals with ASD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism Spectrum Disorder 2016)
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Open AccessArticle “We Dance and Find Each Other”1: Effects of Dance/Movement Therapy on Negative Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 24; doi:10.3390/bs6040024
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
The treatment of deficits in social interaction, a shared symptom cluster in persons with schizophrenia (negative symptoms) and autism spectrum disorder (DSM-5 A-criterion), has so far remained widely unsuccessful in common approaches of psychotherapy. The alternative approach of embodiment brings to focus body-oriented
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The treatment of deficits in social interaction, a shared symptom cluster in persons with schizophrenia (negative symptoms) and autism spectrum disorder (DSM-5 A-criterion), has so far remained widely unsuccessful in common approaches of psychotherapy. The alternative approach of embodiment brings to focus body-oriented intervention methods based on a theoretic framework that explains the disorders on a more basic level than common theory of mind approaches. The randomized controlled trial at hand investigated the effects of a 10-week manualized dance and movement therapy intervention on negative symptoms in participants with autism spectrum disorder. Although the observed effects failed to reach significance at the conventional 0.05 threshold, possibly due to an undersized sample, an encouraging trend towards stronger symptom reduction in the treatment group for overall negative symptoms and for almost all subtypes was found at the 0.10-level. Effect sizes were small but clinically meaningful, and the resulting patterns were in accordance with theoretical expectations. The study at hand contributes to finding an effective treatment approach for autism spectrum disorder in accordance with the notion of embodiment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism Spectrum Disorder 2016)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Dynamic Duos? Jamaican Fruit Bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) Do Not Show Prosocial Behavior in a Release Paradigm
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 25; doi:10.3390/bs6040025
Received: 7 October 2016 / Revised: 13 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 20 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (840 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Once thought to be uniquely human, prosocial behavior has been observed in a number of species, including vampire bats that engage in costly food-sharing. Another social chiropteran, Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis), have been observed to engage in cooperative mate guarding,
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Once thought to be uniquely human, prosocial behavior has been observed in a number of species, including vampire bats that engage in costly food-sharing. Another social chiropteran, Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis), have been observed to engage in cooperative mate guarding, and thus might be expected to display prosocial behavior as well. However, frugivory and hematophagy diets may impose different selection pressures on prosocial preferences, given that prosocial preferences may depend upon cognitive abilities selected by different ecological constraints. Thus, we assessed whether Jamaican fruit bats would assist a conspecific in an escape paradigm in which a donor could opt to release a recipient from an enclosure. The test apparatus contained two compartments—one of which was equipped with a sensor that, once triggered, released the trap door of the adjacent compartment. Sixty-six exhaustive pairs of 12 bats were tested, with each bat in each role, twice when the recipient was present and twice when absent. Bats decreased their behavior of releasing the trapdoor in both conditions over time, decreasing the behavior slightly more rapidly in the recipient absent condition. Bats did not release the door more often when recipients were present, regardless of the recipient; thus, there was no clear evidence of prosocial behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Cognition)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sex-Specific Effects of Childhood Poverty on Neurocircuitry of Processing of Emotional Cues: A Neuroimaging Study
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 28; doi:10.3390/bs6040028
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 26 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 December 2016 / Published: 12 December 2016
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Abstract
Background: There is accumulating evidence on the negative impacts of childhood poverty on physical and mental health. Previous work has suggested hyperactive neural response to social fear cues, as well as impairment in neural regulatory functions. However, despite differences found between males and
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Background: There is accumulating evidence on the negative impacts of childhood poverty on physical and mental health. Previous work has suggested hyperactive neural response to social fear cues, as well as impairment in neural regulatory functions. However, despite differences found between males and females in stress-related and anxiety disorders, possible sex-specific effects of poverty on emotional processing have not been explored. Methods: We analyzed data from three previously reported experiments of childhood poverty effects on emotional processing and regulation, for sex-specific effects. Participants were 52 healthy Caucasian males and females, from a longitudinal cohort of poverty development study, who were recruited for examining the long-term effects of childhood poverty and stress. The three functional MRI studies included emotion regulation task, emotional face assessment task, and shifted attention emotion appraisal task. Brain activations that associated with childhood poverty previously were entered into a regression analysis with interaction of gender by childhood income-to-need ratio as the independent variable, and age and current income-to-need ratio as variables of no interest, separately for males and females. Results: Amygdala reactivity to implicitly processed fearful faces was positively correlated with childhood income-to-need in adult females but not males. On the other hand, activation in dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal regions during emotion regulation by reappraisal was positively correlated with childhood income-to-need in males. Conclusion: Childhood poverty may exert sex-specific effects in adulthood as presented by hypersensitive emotional reactivity of the amygdala in females, and impaired emotion regulatory function of the prefrontal cortex in males. Results suggest further focus on sex-specific effects of childhood poverty. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Effect of Computerized Testing on Sun Bear Behavior and Enrichment Preferences
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 19; doi:10.3390/bs6040019
Received: 21 July 2016 / Revised: 13 September 2016 / Accepted: 18 September 2016 / Published: 22 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1617 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The field of comparative cognition investigates species’ differences and similarities in cognitive abilities, and sheds light on the evolutionary origins of such capacities. Cognitive testing has been carried out in a variety of species; however, there are some taxa that are underrepresented in
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The field of comparative cognition investigates species’ differences and similarities in cognitive abilities, and sheds light on the evolutionary origins of such capacities. Cognitive testing has been carried out in a variety of species; however, there are some taxa that are underrepresented in this field. The current work follows on a recent increase in cognitive research in the order Carnivora with a specific focus on sun bears. Sun bears are the smallest existing bear species and live in tropical regions of Southeast Asia. They have an omnivorous diet and use their tongues to forage for insects and sap. Little is known about sun bear cognition, although much like other bear species, anecdotes suggest a high level of intelligence. The current work explored training sun bears to use a touchscreen computer. This effort allows for insight into cognitive abilities as well as providing a complex source of enrichment for the bears. The bears use their tongues to respond to a touchscreen computer, and the effects on stereotypic behaviors on exhibit and preference for this over other forms of enrichment were examined. Overall, bears performed well on the task and showed a preference for the computer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Cognition)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Peripheral Inflammatory Markers Contributing to Comorbidities in Autism
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 29; doi:10.3390/bs6040029
Received: 22 October 2016 / Revised: 8 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
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Abstract
This study evaluates the contribution of peripheral biomarkers to comorbidities and clinical findings in autism. Seventeen autistic children and age-matched typically developing (AMTD), between three to nine years old were evaluated. The diagnostic followed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th
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This study evaluates the contribution of peripheral biomarkers to comorbidities and clinical findings in autism. Seventeen autistic children and age-matched typically developing (AMTD), between three to nine years old were evaluated. The diagnostic followed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DMS-IV) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) was applied to classify the severity. Cytokine profile was evaluated in plasma using a sandwich type ELISA. Paraclinical events included electroencephalography (EEG) record. Statistical analysis was done to explore significant differences in cytokine profile between autism and AMTD groups and respect clinical and paraclinical parameters. Significant differences were found to IL-1β, IL-6, IL-17, IL-12p40, and IL-12p70 cytokines in individuals with autism compared with AMTD (p < 0.05). All autistic patients showed interictalepileptiform activity at EEG, however, only 37.5% suffered epilepsy. There was not a regional focalization of the abnormalities that were detectable with EEG in autistic patients with history of epilepsy. A higher IL-6 level was observed in patients without history of epilepsy with interictalepileptiform activity in the frontal brain region, p < 0.05. In conclusion, peripheral inflammatory markers might be useful as potential biomarkers to predict comorbidities in autism as well as reinforce and aid informed decision-making related to EEG findings in children with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism Spectrum Disorder 2016)
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Other

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Open AccessCorrection Bramlett-Parker, J.; Washburn, D.A. Can Rhesus Monkey Learn Executive Attention? Behav. Sci. 2016, 6, 11
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 26; doi:10.3390/bs6040026
Received: 24 November 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Cognition)

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