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Behav. Sci., Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Action-Centered Exposure Therapy (ACET): A New Approach to the Use of Virtual Reality to the Care of People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080076
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 5 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be seen as the result of dysfunctional beliefs that associate stimuli with a danger or a threat leading to anxious reactions. Exposure therapy is so far considered to be the most effective treatment, and research suggests that it
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be seen as the result of dysfunctional beliefs that associate stimuli with a danger or a threat leading to anxious reactions. Exposure therapy is so far considered to be the most effective treatment, and research suggests that it is mainly based on a habituation process. Based on learning theories, it appears that a passive systemic exposure to traumatic stimuli should not be the best option for the treatment of PTSD. We hypothesis that an active learning of safer and healthier coping strategies combined with systematic exposure should be more effective in reducing the psychological distress associated with PTSD. In this paper, we describe the theoretical foundations of this approach that focuses on the action and activity of the patient in his or her exposure environment. In this approach, we take advantage of Virtual Reality technologies and learning mechanics of serious games to allow the patient to learn new safe associations while promoting the empowerment. We named this action-centered exposure therapy (ACET). This approach exploits behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism learning theories. With the different benefits of virtual reality technologies, this approach would easily integrate with in-virtuo exposure therapy and would allow us to exploit as much as possible the enormous potential of these technologies. As a first step toward validation, we present a case study that supports the ACET approach. Full article
Open AccessArticle Alterations in the MicroRNA of the Blood of Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients: Effects on Epigenetic Regulation and Potential Biomarkers
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080075
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
Aims: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of heterogeneous brain-based neurodevelopmental disorders with different levels of symptom severity. Given the challenges, the clinical diagnosis of ASD is based on information gained from interviews with patients’ parents. The heterogeneous pathogenesis of this
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Aims: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of heterogeneous brain-based neurodevelopmental disorders with different levels of symptom severity. Given the challenges, the clinical diagnosis of ASD is based on information gained from interviews with patients’ parents. The heterogeneous pathogenesis of this disorder appears to be driven by genetic and environmental interactions, which also plays a vital role in predisposing individuals to ASD with different commitment levels. In recent years, it has been proposed that epigenetic modifications directly contribute to the pathogenesis of several neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ASD. The microRNAs (miRNAs) comprises a species of short noncoding RNA that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and have an essential functional role in the brain, particularly in neuronal plasticity and neuronal development, and could be involved in ASD pathophysiology. The aim of this study is to evaluate the expression of blood miRNA in correlation with clinical findings in patients with ASD, and to find possible biomarkers for the disorder. Results: From a total of 26 miRNA studied, seven were significantly altered in ASD patients, when compared to the control group: miR34c-5p, miR92a-2-5p, miR-145-5p and miR199a-5p were up-regulated and miR27a-3p, miR19-b-1-5p and miR193a-5p were down-regulated in ASD patients. Discussion: The main targets of these miRNAs are involved in immunological developmental, immune response and protein synthesis at transcriptional and translational levels. The up-regulation of both miR-199a-5p and miR92a-2a and down-regulation of miR-193a and miR-27a was observed in AD patients, and may in turn affect the SIRT1, HDAC2, and PI3K/Akt-TSC:mTOR signaling pathways. Furthermore, MeCP2 is a target of miR-199a-5p, and is involved in Rett Syndrome (RTT), which possibly explains the autistic phenotype in male patients with this syndrome. Full article
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Open AccessProject Report Predictors of Problematic Smartphone Use: An Examination of the Integrative Pathways Model and the Role of Age, Gender, Impulsiveness, Excessive Reassurance Seeking, Extraversion, and Depression
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080074
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: The progression of mobile phone technology has led to the development of multi-functional smartphones providing access to features such as social media, e-mail, and videos alongside the basic functions of a mobile phone. Increasing amounts of research has explored the potential
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Background: The progression of mobile phone technology has led to the development of multi-functional smartphones providing access to features such as social media, e-mail, and videos alongside the basic functions of a mobile phone. Increasing amounts of research has explored the potential addictive nature of smartphones to develop a theoretical framework that describes personality factors related to problematic use. The present study examined the Integrative Pathways Model and the effect of age, gender, impulsiveness, excessive reassurance seeking, extraversion, and depression on problematic smartphone use. Method: A total of 147 smartphone users (mean age = 30.96, SD = 12.97, 69.4% female) completed an online survey comprising of measures of problematic smartphone use, excessive reassurance seeking, extraversion, depression, and impulsiveness. Results: Age, impulsiveness, excessive reassurance seeking, and depression were all significantly related to problematic smartphone use, however extraversion was not significantly related. Furthermore, age and impulsiveness were significant independent predictors of problematic smartphone use. No gender differences were found. Conclusions: The findings presented several factors that predict problematic smartphone use, implications and suggestions for future research are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Importance of Behavioral Therapy in Patients Hospitalized for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Opioid Use Disorder
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080073
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 12 August 2018
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Abstract
Objective: To analyze differences in demographic pattern and hospitalization outcomes in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with opioid use disorder (OUD) patients managed with versus without behavioral therapy (BT). Methods: We conducted case-control study using Nationwide Inpatient Sample and identified PTSD and
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Objective: To analyze differences in demographic pattern and hospitalization outcomes in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with opioid use disorder (OUD) patients managed with versus without behavioral therapy (BT). Methods: We conducted case-control study using Nationwide Inpatient Sample and identified PTSD and OUD using ICD–9–CM codes. Linear regression model was used to evaluate impact of BT on inpatient stay and cost. Results: We analyzed 1531 inpatient admissions and 786 patients received BT. Females had higher odds of receiving BT during inpatient management for PTSD with OUD (OR 1.210; 95% CI 1.020–1.436). About 63.1% patients receiving BT were benefited by Medicaid. Patients receiving BT had an increase in hospital stay by 1.27 days (P = 0.085) and hospitalization cost by $4734 (P = 0.018). There were no transfers to short term hospitals and lower transfers to skilled nursing facility (3.8% vs. 10.1%) in patients receiving BT. Conclusion: This study aims to reinforce combination management with psychotropic medications and BT in PTSD patients with comorbid OUD during hospitalization as it significantly decreases adverse disposition of the patient and thereby improves the quality of life post-treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle 4E Music Pedagogy and the Principles of Self-Organization
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080072
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
Recent approaches in the cognitive and psychological sciences conceive of mind as an Embodied, Embedded, Extended, and Enactive (or 4E) phenomenon. While this has stimulated important discussions and debates across a vast array of disciplines, its principles, applications, and explanatory power have not
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Recent approaches in the cognitive and psychological sciences conceive of mind as an Embodied, Embedded, Extended, and Enactive (or 4E) phenomenon. While this has stimulated important discussions and debates across a vast array of disciplines, its principles, applications, and explanatory power have not yet been properly addressed in the domain of musical development. Accordingly, it remains unclear how the cognitive processes involved in the acquisition of musical skills might be understood through the lenses of this approach, and what this might offer for practical areas like music education. To begin filling this gap, the present contribution aims to explore central aspects of music pedagogy through the lenses of 4E cognitive science. By discussing cross-disciplinary research in music, pedagogy, psychology, and philosophy of mind, we will provide novel insights that may help inspire a richer understanding of what musical learning entails. In doing so, we will develop conceptual bridges between the notion of ‘autopoiesis’ (the property of continuous self-regeneration that characterizes living systems) and the emergent dynamics contributing to the flourishing of one’s musical life. This will reveal important continuities between a number of new teaching approaches and principles of self-organization. In conclusion, we will briefly consider how these conceptual tools align with recent work in interactive cognition and collective music pedagogy, promoting the close collaboration of musicians, pedagogues, and cognitive scientists. Full article
Open AccessArticle Interaction of Physical Activity and Personality in the Subjective Wellbeing of Older Adults in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080071
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Subjective wellbeing (SWB) has been widely accepted as one of the most important elements of successful ageing. The present study explores the impact of two well-established correlates of SWB: physical activity and personality. Physical activity and each of the Big Five personality traits
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Subjective wellbeing (SWB) has been widely accepted as one of the most important elements of successful ageing. The present study explores the impact of two well-established correlates of SWB: physical activity and personality. Physical activity and each of the Big Five personality traits are consistent predictors of SWB, but there has been little research on whether certain personality traits enhance or hinder the psychological benefits of physical activity in older adults. This study examines the interactions of leisure-time physical activity and personality traits on SWB, and whether such interactions vary between older adults in Hong Kong (HK) and older adults in the United Kingdom (UK). Altogether, 349 participants (178 HK, 171 UK; 157 males, 192 female) aged 50 years or above (mean age = 61.84 ± 8.46 years old) completed an online assessment of: (1) leisure-time physical activity (Godin–Shephard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire); (2) personality traits (Big Five Inventory); and (3) SWB (Satisfaction with Life Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule). Results showed that agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, and physical activity were all significantly related to SWB in the expected direction. The relationship between physical activity and SWB was moderated by extraversion and by openness to experience: higher levels of these two traits significantly enhanced the relationship. None of the interactions varied between the HK and UK samples. The expected negative relationship between neuroticism and SWB, however, was significantly stronger in the UK sample than in the HK sample. The findings of the present study indicate that personality needs to be considered when promoting and providing physical activity for older adults, although more research is needed to further explore how this can work effectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Depressed as Freshmen, Stressed as Seniors: The Relationship between Depression, Perceived Stress and Academic Results among Medical Students
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080070
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 28 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Research in the field has identified the presence of stress and depression among medical students. However, no other study has pointed out the differences between years of study. The objectives of the study are to identify the levels of stress and depression among
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Research in the field has identified the presence of stress and depression among medical students. However, no other study has pointed out the differences between years of study. The objectives of the study are to identify the levels of stress and depression among medical students and to point out the relationship between these two variables. Methods: The cross-sectional study gathered data regarding socio-demographic characteristics, depression, self-identified psychological and physical symptoms during stressful periods and perceived stress among medical students in a university in Romania. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics v23. For comparative analysis the t-test for independent samples and one-way ANOVA was used and for correlational analysis, Pearson and Spearman correlations was used. Results: Freshmen are the most depressed and graduating students are the most stressed medical students. Statistical analysis reveals an average score of perceived stress (M = 17.31 ± 6.79) and mild-moderate depression (M = 10.11 ± 7.69). Women are more prone to symptoms of depression. Students enrolled in the third year of study are the least depressed and the least stressed. Perceived stress is significantly positive correlated with depression and negative in strong correlation with the number of course credits received. More than half of students experience an increased rate of anxiety and consumption of alcohol, coffee, sweets or cigarettes during stressful academic periods. Over 60% declare themselves satisfied with their academic results. Conclusions: Strategies to diminish the level of stress and depression among medical students are necessary. Psychological support and educational counseling should start from admission, since freshmen experience the highest rate of depression. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Exploring Definitions and Prevalence of Verbal Sexual Coercion and Its Relationship to Consent to Unwanted Sex: Implications for Affirmative Consent Standards on College Campuses
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080069
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Campus sexual assault is a pervasive issue impacting the well-being, quality of life, and education of all students. There have been many recent efforts to prevent and address campus sexual assault, most notably the adoption of affirmative consent standards. (1) Efforts to address
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Campus sexual assault is a pervasive issue impacting the well-being, quality of life, and education of all students. There have been many recent efforts to prevent and address campus sexual assault, most notably the adoption of affirmative consent standards. (1) Efforts to address sexual assault on college campuses through an affirmative consent standard could be undermined by traditional gender norms, sexual scripts, and the power dynamics inherent in heterosexual relations, which lead to situations in which many women provide consent to unwanted sex. (2) Studies indicate that college women are likely to experience verbal sexual coercion, yet research has failed to come to a consensus on how to define, operationalize, and study verbal sexual coercion. (3) Research on sexual consent is also lacking, in particular as it relates to consent to unwanted sex as a result of the presence of verbal sexual coercion. (4) This article discusses how multiple forms of unwanted sex can be conceptually examined. (5) Policy implications and areas for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Violence on College Campus)
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Open AccessArticle Regional Variations of Fertility Control Behavior among Rural Reproductive Women in Bangladesh: A Hierarchical Analysis
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080068
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Women’s fertility decision is quite difficult in male-dominant rural culture due to their poor reproductive autonomy. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in rural community of Bangladesh between November 2017 and February 2018 among 1285 respondents selected by multi-stage stratified sampling to explore regional
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Women’s fertility decision is quite difficult in male-dominant rural culture due to their poor reproductive autonomy. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in rural community of Bangladesh between November 2017 and February 2018 among 1285 respondents selected by multi-stage stratified sampling to explore regional variations of rural women’s fertility control behavior and its determinants using hierarchical and other inferential statistics. Data collection was done by face-to-face interview using questionnaire. Average parity was 2.5 per woman and 41% respondents had three or more children. About 60% of them used modern contraceptives (MCs) and oral contraceptive pill (OCP) was their first choice. Male participation in contraceptive use was less than 5%. Regional variation, women’s empowerment, fertility control knowledge, family planning (FP) attitude, social influence, perceived behavioral control (PBC) and fertility intention were significant predictors of fertility control behavior (p < 0.05). Significant regional variations were determined in fertility control behavior of rural women (p < 0.05). Almost all of its predictors explained by Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) also showed significant regional variations (p < 0.05). Current fertility control policy should be strengthened more not only to improve fertility behavior of rural women but also to establish regional equity in fertility control by improving their reproductive decision-making in a rational way. Full article
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Open AccessArticle What Does It Mean to Be a Young African Woman on a University Campus in Times of Sexual Violence? A New Moment, a New Conversation
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080067
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 26 July 2018
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Abstract
Sexual violence in the higher education is an epidemic of global proportions. Scholars conclude that the individual and collective silence that surrounds such violence enables its perpetration and that violence will only be eradicated when we break this silence. In this paper, we
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Sexual violence in the higher education is an epidemic of global proportions. Scholars conclude that the individual and collective silence that surrounds such violence enables its perpetration and that violence will only be eradicated when we break this silence. In this paper, we used two participatory visual methods (PVM), collage and storytelling, to explore what sexual violence at university looks like and what it means to woman students. Two groups of student teachers in two South African universities were engaged in collage and storytelling workshops in late 2017 and early 2018, respectively. We thematically analyzed the issues that emerged from the data, drawing on transformative learning theory to explore how our approach might help women students to break the silence around sexual violence and stimulate critical dialogue to address it. Our analysis suggests that these visual tools enabled deep reflections on the meaning and impact of sexual violence, particularly for women. In addition, the participatory process supported introspection about their experiences of sexual violence and their responses to it as bystanders in and around campus. More importantly, they discussed how they, as young women, might break the silence and sustain new conversations about gender and gender equality in institutions and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Violence on College Campus)
Open AccessArticle Approaches of School Administrators toward Teachers with Different Types of Human Nature: The Cyprus Case
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080066
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
This study seeks answers to the questions regarding the types of human nature that primary school teachers possess from the perspective of primary school administrators and what their approaches are toward teachers with different types of human nature. The study is prepared using
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This study seeks answers to the questions regarding the types of human nature that primary school teachers possess from the perspective of primary school administrators and what their approaches are toward teachers with different types of human nature. The study is prepared using a case study model with the qualitative method. “Scenario analysis” is used to obtain data, and eight different scenarios prepared within this context were presented to school administrators. In total, 25 administrators during the 2017–2018 scholar year were selected based on purposive sampling and were contacted accordingly. In terms of the conclusions of the study, it can be seen that school administrators defined self-actualizing teachers with social human nature using positive adjectives, while they had different opinions in regard to defining teachers with a rational-economic human nature, and they defined teachers with a complex human nature with negative adjectives. In terms of the findings related to the attitudes of administrators toward different human natures, it was found that there are some administrators who display positive administrative behaviors (appreciating, rewarding, respecting, motivating etc.) as well as administrators who display negative administrative behaviors (punishing, being indifferent to incidents, imposing by using legal powers, etc.). Full article
Open AccessArticle Acute Administration of Caffeine: The Effect on Motor Coordination, Higher Brain Cognitive Functions, and the Social Behavior of BLC57 Mice
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080065
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
Excessive caffeine consumption causes adverse health effects. The effects of moderate and high doses of caffeine consumption on the motor coordination, cognitive brain functions, and the social behavior in mice were studied. Animals were divided into three groups: control group, moderate dose group
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Excessive caffeine consumption causes adverse health effects. The effects of moderate and high doses of caffeine consumption on the motor coordination, cognitive brain functions, and the social behavior in mice were studied. Animals were divided into three groups: control group, moderate dose group (Ac MD), and high dose group (Ac HD). The animals were tested after 7 days of caffeine administration. A rotarod test for motor coordination showed that the mice of the moderate dose group could stay on the rotating rod longer before falling in comparison to the control group and the high dose group. A water maze test for learning and memory showed better performance of mice receiving the moderate dose of caffeine compared to the other groups. Animals that were administered moderate as well as high doses of caffeine showed no sociability and no preference for social novelty in the three-chamber test used to test social behavior. In an elevated plus maze test, control animals showed no anxiety-like behavior while mice from both of the groups administered with caffeine showed anxiety-like behaviors. Our data conclude that the effects of caffeine on higher brain functions depend on the administration dose. When caffeine was given in moderate doses, it resulted in enhancement of memory and motor coordination functions. However, high doses caused defects in memory and learning. The social behavior of the mice, as determined by the level of anxiety and sociability, was affected negatively by moderate as well as high dose caffeine administration. Full article
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