73 research outputs found

    The Design Matters: How to Detect Neural Correlates of Baby Body Odors

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    Functional magnetic resonance imaging of body odors is challenging due to methodological obstacles of odor presentation in the scanner and low intensity of body odors. Hence, few imaging studies investigated neural responses to body odors. Those differ in design characteristics and have shown varying results. Evidence on central processing of baby body odors has been scarce but might be important in order to detect neural correlates of bonding in mothers. A suitable paradigm for investigating perception of baby body odors has still to be established. We compared neural responses to baby body odors in a new to a conventional block design in a sample of ten normosmic mothers. For the new short design, 6 s of continuous odor presentation were followed by 19 s baseline and 13 repetitions were performed. For the conventional long design, 15 s of pulsed odor presentation were followed by 30 s of baseline and eight repetitions were performed. Neural responses were observed in brain structures related to basal and higher-order olfactory processing, such as insula, orbitofrontal cortex, and amygdala. Neural responses following the short design were significantly higher in comparison to the long design. This effect was based on higher number of repetitions but affected olfactory areas differently. The BOLD signal in the primary olfactory structures was enhanced by short and continuous stimulation, secondary structures did profit from longer stimulations with many repetitions. The short design is recommended as a suitable paradigm in order to detect neuronal correlates of baby body odors

    Localization of odors can be learned

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    Chemicals selectively stimulating the olfactory nerve typically cannot be localized in a lateralization task. Purpose of this study was to investigate whether the ability of subjects to localize an olfactory stimulus delivered passively to 1 of the 2 nostrils would improve under training. Fifty-two young, normosmic women divided in 2 groups participated. One group performed olfactory lateralization training, whereas the other group performed cognitive tasks. Results showed that only subjects performing lateralization training significantly improved in their ability to lateralize olfactory stimuli compared with subjects who did not undergo such training

    Differential Patterns of Food Appreciation during Consumption of a Simple Food in Congenitally Anosmic Individuals: An Explorative Study

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    Food is evaluated for various attributes. One of the key food evaluation domains is hedonicity. As food is consumed, its hedonic valence decreases (due to prolonged sensory stimulation) and hedonic habituation results. The aim of the present study was to investigate changes in food pleasantness ratings during consumption of a simple food by individuals without olfactory experience with food as compared to normosmics. 15 congenital anosmics and 15 normosmic controls were each presented with ten 10 g banana slices. Each was visually inspected, then smelled and chewed for ten seconds and subsequently rated for hedonicity on a 21-point scale. There was a significant difference in pleasantness ratings between congenital anosmics and controls (F(1, 26) = 6.71, p = .02) with the anosmics exhibiting higher ratings than the controls, a significant main repeated-measures effect on the ratings (F(1.85, 48) = 12.15, p<.001), which showed a decreasing trend over the course of consumption, as well as a significant portion*group interaction (F(1.85, 48) = 3.54, p = .04), with the anosmic participants experiencing a less pronounced decline. The results of the present explorative study suggest that over the course of consumption of a simple food, congenitally anosmic individuals experience differential patterns of appreciation of food as compared to normosmics. In this particular case, the decrease of hedonic valence was less pronounced in congenital anosmics

    Affective interpersonal touch in close relationships: a cross-cultural perspective

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    Interpersonal touch behavior differs across cultures, yet no study to date has systematically tested for cultural variation in affective touch, nor examined the factors that might account for this variability. Here, over 14,000 individuals from 45 countries were asked whether they embraced, stroked, kissed, or hugged their partner, friends, and youngest child during the week preceding the study. We then examined a range of hypothesized individual-level factors (sex, age, parasitic history, conservatism, religiosity, and preferred interpersonal distance) and cultural-level factors (regional temperature, parasite stress, regional conservatism, collectivism, and religiosity) in predicting these affective-touching behaviors. Our results indicate that affective touch was most prevalent in relationships with partners and children, and its diversity was relatively higher in warmer, less conservative, and religious countries, and among younger, female, and liberal people. This research allows for a broad and integrated view of the bases of cross-cultural variability in affective touch

    Sex differences in mate preferences across 45 countries: A large-scale replication

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    Considerable research has examined human mate preferences across cultures, finding universal sex differences in preferences for attractiveness and resources as well as sources of systematic cultural variation. Two competing perspectives—an evolutionary psychological perspective and a biosocial role perspective—offer alternative explanations for these findings. However, the original data on which each perspective relies are decades old, and the literature is fraught with conflicting methods, analyses, results, and conclusions. Using a new 45-country sample (N = 14,399), we attempted to replicate classic studies and test both the evolutionary and biosocial role perspectives. Support for universal sex differences in preferences remains robust: Men, more than women, prefer attractive, young mates, and women, more than men, prefer older mates with financial prospects. Cross-culturally, both sexes have mates closer to their own ages as gender equality increases. Beyond age of partner, neither pathogen prevalence nor gender equality robustly predicted sex differences or preferences across countries

    1. Folge: Was ist eine psychische Störung?

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    Eine schwierige Phase, eine Eigenheit oder doch schon eine psychische Störung? In dieser Episode beschäftigen sich Ilona Croy und Fabian Rottstädt mit der Frage: „Was ist eine psychische Erkrankung?

    Pleasantness Only?: How Sensory and Affective Attributes Describe Touch Targeting C-Tactile Fibers

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    Abstract. When gently stroked with velocities between 0.1 and 30 cm/s, participants typically rate velocities around 3 cm/s as most pleasant, and the ratings follow an inverted u-shape. This pleasantness curve correlates often, but not always, with the firing rate of unmyelinated C-tactile (CT) afferents, leading to the notion that CT afferents code for the hedonic or emotional aspect of gentle touch. However, there is also evidence that CT firing does not necessarily equal pleasantness, and the range of attributes that CT afferents code for is not known. Here, participants were stroked with different velocities assumed to activate CT afferents to a different extent while they rated the touch on several sensory and emotional attributes. We expected an inverted u-shaped rating curve for pleasantness and other emotional attributes, but not for sensory attributes. Inverted u-shaped rating patterns were found for the emotional attributes “pleasant” and “not burdensome,” but also for the sensory attribute “rough.” CT-directed stimulation is thus not only experienced as hedonic. The sensations arising from CTs together with all other types of mechanoreceptors might be centrally integrated into a percept that represents those aspects which are most salient for the stimulation at hand
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