41,248 research outputs found

    New mathematical foundations for AI and Alife: Are the necessary conditions for animal consciousness sufficient for the design of intelligent machines?

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    Rodney Brooks' call for 'new mathematics' to revitalize the disciplines of artificial intelligence and artificial life can be answered by adaptation of what Adams has called 'the informational turn in philosophy' and by the novel perspectives that program gives into empirical studies of animal cognition and consciousness. Going backward from the necessary conditions communication theory imposes on cognition and consciousness to sufficient conditions for machine design is, however, an extraordinarily difficult engineering task. The most likely use of the first generations of conscious machines will be to model the various forms of psychopathology, since we have little or no understanding of how consciousness is stabilized in humans or other animals

    Effects of Chronic Variable Stress Across Developmental Stages in Mice

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    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a response to trauma exposure that involves a number of symptoms that can be highly impairing to affected individuals. Only a subset of those exposed to traumatic events will develop the disorder, which is conceptualized as developing via conditional fear. Research into factors predisposing for PTSD is needed. Furthermore, little work has been done to investigate predisposing factors in children more specifically. This research tests the effects of stress exposure on subsequent fear learning, across developmental stages in mice, as a model for PTSD. Juvenile and adult male mice were exposed to chronic variable stress (CVS) for a period of 7d and their behavior was examined immediately thereafter. Both juvenile and adult mice exposed to CVS showed exaggerated anxiety behavior, as indicated by decreased exploratory behavior on the elevated plus-maze. While adult mice exposed to CVS displayed enhancements in long-term context fear learning, juvenile mice failed to display this pattern. Findings suggest differences in stress effects across developmental stages and provide further evidence supporting dissociation of the anxiety and fear pathways in the rodent brain. While PTSD does occur in childhood, onset is more common in adulthood, which may be reflective of differential developmental schedules in the fear and anxiety pathways

    Maternal tobacco, cannabis and alcohol use during pregnancy and risk of adolescent psychotic symptoms in offspring

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    Background Adverse effects of maternal substance use during pregnancy on fetal development may increase risk of psychopathology. Aims To examine whether maternal use of tobacco, cannabis or alcohol during pregnancy increases risk of offspring psychotic symptoms. Method A longitudinal study of 6356 adolescents, age 12, who completed a semi-structured interview for psychotic symptoms in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort. Results Frequency of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of suspected or definite psychotic symptoms (adjusted odds ratio 1.20, 95% CI 1.05–1.37, P = 0.007). Maternal alcohol use showed a non-linear association with psychotic symptoms, with this effect almost exclusively in the offspring of women drinking >21 units weekly. Maternal cannabis use was not associated with psychotic symptoms. Results for paternal smoking during pregnancy and maternal smoking post-pregnancy lend some support for a causal effect of tobacco exposure in utero on development of psychotic experiences. Conclusions These findings indicate that risk factors for development of non-clinical psychotic experiences may operate during early development. Future studies of how in utero exposure to tobacco affects cerebral development and function may lead to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of psychotic phenomena

    Affective affordances and psychopathology

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    Self-disorders in depression and schizophrenia have been the focus of much recent work in phenomenological psychopathology. But little has been said about the role the material environment plays in shaping the affective character of these disorders. In this paper, we argue that enjoying reliable (i.e., trustworthy) access to the things and spaces around us — the constituents of our material environment — is crucial for our ability to stabilize and regulate our affective life on a day-today basis. These things and spaces often play an ineliminable role in shaping what we feel and how we feel it; when we interact with them, they contribute ongoing feedback that " scaffolds " the character and temporal development of our affective experiences. However, in some psychopathological conditions, the ability to access to these things and spaces becomes disturbed. Individuals not only lose certain forms of access to the practical significance of the built environment but also to its ​ regulative​ significance, too — and the stability and organization of their affective life is compromised. In developing this view, we discuss core concepts like " affordance spaces " , " scaffolding " , and " incorporation ". We apply these concepts to two case studies, severe depression and schizophrenia, and we show why these cases support our main claim. We conclude by briefly considering implications of this view for developing intervention and treatment strategies

    Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Context of Human Brain Evolution:A Role for Theory in DSM-V?

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    The “hypervigilance, escape, struggle, tonic immobility”\ud evolutionarily hardwired acute peritraumatic response\ud sequence is important for clinicians to understand. Our\ud commentary supplements the useful article on human\ud tonic immobility (TI) by Marx, Forsyth, Gallup, Fusé and Lexington (2008). A hallmark sign of TI is peritraumatic\ud tachycardia, which others have documented as a\ud major risk factor for subsequent posttraumatic stress\ud disorder (PTSD). TI is evolutionarily highly conserved\ud (uniform across species) and underscores the need for\ud DSM-V planners to consider the inclusion of evolution\ud theory in the reconceptualization of anxiety and PTSD.\ud We discuss the relevance of evolution theory to the\ud DSM-V reconceptualization of acute dissociativeconversion\ud symptoms and of epidemic sociogenic disorder(epidemic “hysteria”). Both are especially in need of attention in light of the increasing threat of terrorism\ud against civilians. We provide other pertinent examples.\ud Finally, evolution theory is not ideology driven (and\ud makes testable predictions regarding etiology in “both\ud directions”). For instance, it predicted the unexpected\ud finding that some disorders conceptualized in DSM-IV-TR as innate phobias are conditioned responses and thus better conceptualized as mild forms of PTSD. Evolution\ud theory may offer a conceptual framework in\ud DSM-V both for treatment and for research on psychopathology.\u

    Flupenthixol in relapse prevention in schizophrenics with comorbid alcoholism: Results from an open clinical study

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    Substance use, especially alcoholism, has been recognized as a significant problem in schizophrenic patients, though only a few studies on the effects of pharmacotherapy in these patients have been conducted so far. The thioxanthene neuroleptic flupenthixol, which can be given intramuscularly (i.m.) for improving compliance, has been studied as a possible anti-craving drug both in animal models of alcoholism and some clinical studies. Pilot studies suggest that comorbid schizophrenics with substance use may benefit from treatment with flupenthixol. Efficacy of flupenthixol (10-60 mg i.m.) in reducing alcohol consumption of dual diagnosis patients was studied in an open 6-month clinical trial in 27 schizophrenics with comorbid alcoholism. Twenty-one patients entered the intention-to-treat analysis. Fourteen subjects were completers, 13 dropped out. Six patients completely abstained from alcohol during treatment. Alcohol consumption was significantly reduced compared to baseline (4 weeks before treatment as measured by timeline follow-back interview). In general, while patients showed a marked improvement concerning alcohol consumption, only a slight improvement in psychopathology was recorded. Overall tolerability was good. These data indicate a probable beneficial effect of flupenthixol in schizophrenic patients with comorbid alcoholism. Although the efficacy of flupenthixol as an anti-craving drug in dual diagnosis patients has to be explored in further studies, the drug may be considered a promising medication for these patients. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

    How the Rat Turned White

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    This is the first in a three-part series on the use of animals in psychological research. In it, I describe how animals got into laboratories in the first place, and their purpose and life there. In the second, I will describe animal model research, the strategy whereby psychologists\u27 develop nonhuman animal models to study human psychopathology. In the concluding piece, I will present a critique of this enterprise, using original data I gathered. The three articles are based on a forthcoming book, Animal Models of Human Psychology: Science, Ethics, and Policy

    Developmental imaging genetics: challenges and promises for translational research

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    Advances in molecular biology, neuroimaging, genetic epidemiology, and developmental psychopathology have provided a unique opportunity to explore the interplay of genes, brain, and behavior within a translational research framework. Herein, we begin by outlining an experimental strategy by which genetic effects on brain function can be explored using neuroimaging, namely, imaging genetics. We next describe some major findings in imaging genetics to highlight the effectiveness of this strategy for delineating biological pathways and mechanisms by which individual differences in brain function emerge and potentially bias behavior and risk for psychiatric illness. We then discuss the importance of applying imaging genetics to the study of psychopathology within a developmental framework. By beginning to move toward a systems-level approach to understanding pathways to behavioral outcomes as they are expressed across development, it is anticipated that we will move closer to understanding the complexities of the specific mechanisms involved in the etiology of psychiatric disease. Despite the numerous challenges that lie ahead, we believe that developmental imaging genetics has potential to yield highly informative results that will ultimately translate into public health benefits. We attempt to set out guidelines and provide exemplars that may help in designing fruitful translational research applications that incorporate a developmental imaging genetics strategy
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