Friday, August 17, 2018

On the biological basis of musicality - Honing - 2018 - Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences



On the biological basis of musicality - Honing - 2018 - Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.13638

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******************************************************
Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics
IAP
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Brain Networks Responsible for Naming Objects Identified



Brain Networks Responsible for Naming Objects Identified
https://neurosciencenews.com/object-naming-networks-9704/

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Beyond IQ: Mining the “no-mans-land” between Intelligence and IQ: Journal of Intelligence special issue

I am pleased to see the Journal of Intelligence addressing the integration of non-cognitive variables (personality; self-beliefs; motivational constructs; often called the “no-mans land” between intelligence and personality— I believe this catchy phrase was first used by Stankov) with intellectual constructs to better understanding human performance. I have had a long-standing interest in such comprehensive models as reflected by my articulation of the Model of Academic Competence and Motivation (MACM) and repeated posting of “beyond IQ” information at my blogs.

Joel Schneider and I briefly touched in this topic in our soon to be published CHC intelligence theory update chapter. Below is the select text and some awesome figures crafted by Joel.

Our simplified conceptual structure of knowledge abilities is presented in Figure 3.10. At the center of overlapping knowledge domains is general knowledge—knowledge and skills considered important for any member of the population to know (e.g., literacy, numeracy, self-care, budgeting, civics, etiquette, and much more). The bulk of each knowledge domain is the province of specialists, but some portion is considered important for all members of society to know. Drawing inspiration from F. L. Schmidt (2011, 2014), we posit that interests and experience drive acquisition of domain-specific knowledge.

In Schmidt's model, individual differences in general knowledge are driven largely by individual differences in fluid intelligence and general interest in learning, also known as typical intellectual engagement (Goff & Ackerman, 1992). In contrast, individual differences in domain-specific knowledge are more driven by domain-specific in-terests, and also by the “tilt” of one's specific abilities (Coyle, Purcell, Snyder, & Richmond, 2014; Pässler, Beinicke, & Hell, 2015). In Figure 3.11, we present a simplified hypothetical synthesis of several ability models in which abilities, interests, and personality traits predict general and specific knowledge (Ackerman, 1996a, 1996b, 2000; Ackerman, Bowen, Beier, & Kanfer, 2001; Ackerman & Heggestad, 1997; Ackerman & Rolfhus, 1999; Fry & Hale, 1996; Goff & Ackerman, 1992; Kail, 2007; Kane et al., 2004; Rolfhus & Ackerman, 1999; Schmidt, 2011, 2014; Schneider et al., 2016; Schneider & Newman, 2015; Woodcock, 1993; Ziegler, Danay, Heene, Asendorpf, & Bühner, 2012).


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Study: Brain training games could be used to assess cognitive abilities, replace the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)



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Study: Brain training games could be used to assess cognitive abilities, replace the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)
// SharpBrains

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The Use of Mobile Games to Assess Cognitive Function of Elderly with and without Cognitive Impairment (Journal of Alzheimer's Disease):

Abstract: In the past few years numerous mobile games have been developed to train the brain. There is a lack of information about the relation between the scores obtained in these games and the cognitive abilities of the patients. The aim of this study was to determine whether or not mobile games can be used to assess cognitive abilities of elderly. Twenty healthy young adults, 29 old patients with cognitive impairments (Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) [20- 24]) and 27-aged controls participated in this study. Scores obtained in 7 mobile games were correlated with MMSE and the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Evaluation revised (ACE-R). Statistically significant differences were found for all games between patients with cognitive impairments and the aged controls. Correlations between the average scores of the games and the MMSE and ACE-R are significant (R = 0.72 [p < 0.001] and R = 0.81 [p < 0.001], respectively). Scores of cognitive mobile games could be used as an alternative to MMSE and ACE-R to evaluate cognitive function of aged people with and without cognitive impairment at least when MMSE is higher than 20/30.

Study in context:


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******************************************************
Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics
IAP
******************************************************

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Children's academic attainment is linked to the global organization of the white matter connectome - Bathelt - - Developmental Science



Children's academic attainment is linked to the global organization of the white matter connectome - Bathelt - - Developmental Science
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/desc.12662

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******************************************************
Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics
IAP
******************************************************

Thursday, July 19, 2018

When Mind Wandering is a Strategy, Not a Disadvantage




Searching for the fundamental mental processes that cut across diagnostic categories, driving confusion and distress



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Searching for the fundamental mental processes that cut across diagnostic categories, driving confusion and distress
// BPS Research Digest

GettyImages-667879250.jpg
A new paper in Journal of Clinical Psychology is the just the latest to take a trans-diagnostic approach to mental health

By Alex Fradera

The number of psychiatric diagnoses keep on growing, with perhaps ten times as many categories now as there were 50 years ago. This may in part reflect our growing knowledge, which is welcome. But the sheer density of diagnoses makes it difficult for researchers or clinicians to see the wood for the trees, and it encourages them to settle into silos. It would be advantageous for clinical research and practice if we could introduce some elegance to our understanding. A recent movement in psychology and psychiatry is seeking to do exactly this. It follows evidence that, in the words of US psychologists Robert Kruger and Nicholas Eaton in their 2015 review, "many mental disorders are manifestations of relatively few core underlying dimensions." In the latest foray from this movement, the Journal of Clinical Psychology has published a review outlining another potential core feature: the repetitive occurrence of negative thoughts.

The proliferation of psychiatric diagnoses was baked in from the beginning. Modern psychiatry sought to apply the burgeoning medical model to the mind, treating madness as illness. Physical illnesses are considered as discrete categories, even if they produce overlapping symptoms like a fever, because we can point to their distinct microbial origins. 

This has influenced how we approach mental health, meaning someone struggling could be diagnosed with a phobia and also with an eating disorder and maybe separately with depression (and anxiety, and another eating disorder, and another phobia, and OCD…ad infinitum). We bracket these issues out as if they each originate from their own unique strain of mind bacteria. But mental disorders are rooted in dysfunctional mental processes, of which there are only so many. If we put aside the disease model and look for these processes, maybe we can get to a more solid and elegant foundation. 

One example would be internalising-externalising. In internalising disorders such as depression, OCD, anxiety and bulimia, the individual tends to draw problems inwards to an inappropriate degree; issues are suppressed or privately managed using ineffective or unhealthy strategies. Meanwhile, externalising disorders like pyromania, kleptomania, and conditions like oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, all involve manifesting problematic thoughts or emotions by projecting them onto the world. 

According Kruger and Eaton's landmark review, these aren't just convenient labels: they may actually be more informative than the specific diagnoses. For instance, suicide risk may be better predicted by internalising in all its forms than a specific diagnosis like depression. Similarly, externalising behaviour of any kind is a strong predictor of other forms of externalising, suggesting that it might sometimes be useful to think of the problem as externalising, which can manifest in different ways depending on contextual factors. 

Still, this division is too simple to explain everything about mental health. But in interaction with some other features, perhaps we can start to arrive at a complete model that cuts across diagnostic categories while also capturing the richness of psychiatric conditions. What other relevant factors are there? We recently covered work that suggested another potential trans-diagnostic structure: meta-cognition, the ability to judge your cognitive ability. People who were more anxious or depressed showed more accuracy, but less confidence, in how they judged their performance on a mental task, whereas those who tended towards compulsive behaviour (such as those with schizophrenia or OCD) showed overconfidence and did less well. In our piece we described how this pattern can account for patterns of behaviour found in the real world, such as pessimism and jumping to conclusions, respectively.

Screenshot 2018-07-19 09.46.01.png

Now in the most recent example, Deanna Kaplan and her team at the University of Arizona suggest another trans-diagnostic feature: "maladaptive repetitive thought". This is found across many mental health disorders, typically accompanied by a sense that the thoughts are uncontrollable, a negative flavour, and a fixation on seeking rather than solving problems. Consider the ruminative thoughts that characterise depression, the worries that surge up in anxiety, and the obsessive thoughts that drive OCD. Kaplan's team suggest that these different manifestations should be thought of as variations on a key theme, often differing simply in whether the thoughts are focused on the past, present or future. 

The researchers note that their model helped them to draw connections to other related phenomena such as the problematic grief phenomenon of yearning, which pulls you into the past towards a desire that cannot be satisfied. They also see parallels in somatic hypervigilance, the constant monitoring of bodily sensations for any cause for alarm. Again, the same features come up: negative valence, uncontrollability, and seeking of problems, in this case in the present moment.

It's not news that unwelcome thoughts are a frequent feature of poor mental health. But as with the internalising and externalising dimensions, it's possible that grouping mental health problems that share repetitive thought processes could offer fresh way of looking at the root causes of people's difficulties. It could be that the core problems driving all psychological disorders are countable on our fingers – if so, and if we can identity these core processes, then it will be easier to understand how they develop, and to apply advances from one area of treatment to another, as well as to see when doing so would be ill-advised.

For example, consider how the three features of internalising/externalising, meta-cognitive judgment and repetitive thought processes could be used to organise our understanding of the recently proposed diagnostic category of maladaptive daydreaming, whereby people are compulsively drawn to their daydreams at the cost of their psychological health. This certainly seems to involve internalising, and could involve overconfident misjudgment of whether the daydreaming is beneficial. And what is a daydream if not an extended, imagistic form of thought (much like a yearning)?

I believe we may be on the verge of a real advance in psychiatry, akin to the turn from individual symptoms to mental syndromes we made one hundred years ago. By looking past surface issues and gripping the fundamental mental processes that drive confusion and distress, we might be better placed to remedy them.

Maladaptive repetitive thought as a transdiagnostic phenomenon and treatment target: An integrative review

Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) is Staff Writer at BPS Research Digest


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

White matter matters: Changes in white matter tracts due to reading intervention

More research supporting “white matter matters”.




Rapid and widespread white matter plasticity during an intensive reading intervention

Nature Communications

Elizabeth Huber, Patrick M. Donnelly, Ariel Rokem & Jason D. Yeatman

ABSTRACT

White matter tissue properties are known to correlate with performance across domains ranging from reading to math, to executive function. Here, we use a longitudinal intervention design to examine experience-dependent growth in reading skills and white matter in grade school-aged, struggling readers. Diffusion MRI data were collected at regular intervals during an 8-week, intensive reading intervention. These measurements reveal large-scale changes throughout a collection of white matter tracts, in concert with growth in reading skill. Additionally, we identify tracts whose properties predict reading skill but remain fixed throughout the intervention, suggesting that some anatomical properties stably predict the ease with which a child learns to read, while others dynamically reflect the effects of experience. These results underscore the importance of considering recent experience when interpreting cross-sectional anatomy–behavior correlations. Widespread changes throughout the white matter may be a hallmark of rapid plasticity associated with an intensive learning experience.

Very interesting. The arcuate fasciculus tracts have also been implicated in higher order thinking (Gf) such as in the P-FIT model of intelligence. Also see white paper that implicates the AF in temporal processing “brain clock” timing interventions




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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Excellent conceptual framework for organizing mind wandering research



Trends in Cognitive Sciences, June 2018, Vol. 22, No. 6

ABSTRACT

As empirical research on mind-wandering accelerates, we draw attention to an emerging trend in how mind-wandering is conceptualized. Previously articulated definitions of mind-wandering differ from each other in important ways, yet they also maintain overlapping characteristics. This conceptual structure suggests that mind-wandering is best considered from a family-resemblances perspective, which entails treating it as a graded, heterogeneous construct and clearly measuring and describing the specific aspect(s) of mind-wandering that researchers are investigating. We believe that adopting this family-resemblances approach will increase conceptual and methodological connections among related phenomena in the mind-wandering family and encourage a more nuanced and precise understanding of the many varieties of mind-wandering.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mind wandering is fine in some situations, Harvard-based study says



******************************************************
Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics
IAP
******************************************************

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Can emotional intelligence (Gei) be trained: A meta-analysis

Can emotional intelligence be trained? A meta-analysis

Please cite this article as: Mattingly, V., Human Resource Management Review (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2018.03.002

Victoria Mattingly, Kurt Kraiger

Keywords: Emotional intelligence, Training Meta-analysis

A B S T R A C T

Human resource practitioners place value on selecting and training a more emotionally in-telligent workforce. Despite this, research has yet to systematically investigate whether emo-tional intelligence can in fact be trained. This study addresses this question by conducting a meta-analysis to assess the effect of training on emotional intelligence, and whether effects are mod-erated by substantive and methodological moderators. We identified a total of 58 published and unpublished studies that included an emotional intelligence training program using either a pre-post or treatment-control design. We calculated Cohen's d to estimate the effect of formal training on emotional intelligence scores. The results showed a moderate positive effect for training, regardless of design. Effect sizes were larger for published studies than dissertations. Effect sizes were relatively robust over gender of participants, and type of EI measure (ability v. mix-edmodel). Further, our effect sizes are in line with other meta-analytic studies of competency-based training programs. Implications for practice and future research on EI training are discussed.

See prior Gei posts here and here.


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Interactive Metronome study: Clapping in time parallels literacy and calls upon overlapping neural mechanisms in early readers

Clapping in time parallels literacy and calls upon overlapping neural mechanisms in early readers

Annals of the New York Academy Of Science. Article link here.

Link to complete paper at IM site.

Silvia Bonacina Jennifer Krizman Travis White‐Schwoch Nina Krau

Abstract

The auditory system is extremely precise in processing the temporal information of perceptual events and using these cues to coordinate action. Synchronizing movement to a steady beat relies on this bidirectional connection between sensory and motor systems, and activates many of the auditory and cognitive processes used when reading. Here, we use Interactive Metronome, a clinical intervention technology requiring an individual to clap her hands in time with a steady beat, to investigate whether the links between literacy and synchronization skills, previously established in older children, are also evident in children who are learning to read. We tested 64 typically developing children (ages 5–7 years) on their synchronization abilities, neurophysiological responses to speech in noise, and literacy skills. We found that children who have lower variability in synchronizing have higher phase consistency, higher stability, and more accurate envelope encoding—all neurophysiological response components linked to language skills. Moreover, performing the same task with visual feedback reveals links with literacy skills, notably processing speed, phonological processing, word reading, spelling, morphology, and syntax. These results suggest that rhythm skills and literacy call on overlapping neural mechanisms, supporting the idea that rhythm training may boost literacy in part by engaging sensory‐motor systems.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Higher intelligence related to more efficiently organized brains-bigger/larger not always better




Click on image to enlarge

Diffusion markers of dendritic density and arborization in gray matter predict differences in intelligence. Article link.

Erhan Genç, Christoph Fraenz, Caroline Schlüter, Patrick Friedrich, Rüdiger Hossiep, Manuel C. Voelkle, Josef M. Ling, Onur Güntürkün, & Rex E. Jung

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that individuals with higher intelligence are more likely to have larger gray matter volume in brain areas predominantly located in parieto-frontal regions. These findings were usually interpreted to mean that individuals with more cortical brain volume possess more neurons and thus exhibit more computational capacity during reasoning. In addition, neuroimaging studies have shown that intelligent individuals, despite their larger brains, tend to exhibit lower rates of brain activity during reasoning. However, the microstructural architecture underlying both observations remains unclear. By combining advanced multi-shell diffusion tensor imaging with a culture-fair matrix-reasoning test, we found that higher intelligence in healthy individuals is related to lower values of dendritic density and arborization. These results suggest that the neuronal circuitry associated with higher intelligence is organized in a sparse and efficient manner, fostering more directed information processing and less cortical activity during reasoning.

From discussion

Taken together, the results of the present study contribute to our understanding of human intelligence differences in two ways. First, our findings confirm an important observation from previous research, namely, that bigger brains with a higher number of neurons are associated with higher intelligence. Second, we demonstrate that higher intelligence is associated with cortical mantles with sparsely and well-organized dendritic arbor, thereby increasing processing speed and network efficiency. Importantly, the findings obtained from our experimental sample were confirmed by the analysis of an independent validation sample from the Human Connectome Project25



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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Gates, Zuckerberg team up on new education initiative



Gates, Zuckerberg team up on new education initiative

From Education, a Flipboard topic

Tech moguls Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday they will team up to help develop new technologies for kids with trouble learning — an…

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

The salience brain network and personality (self-directedness; cognitive control)

Abstract:

A prevailing topic in personality neuroscience is the question how personality traits are
reflected in the brain. Functional and structural networks have been examined by functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, however, the structural correlates of functionally defined networks have not been investigated in a personality context. By using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), the present study assesses in a sample of 116 healthy participants how personality traits proposed in the framework of the biopsychosocial theory on personality relate to white matter pathways delineated by functional network imaging. We show that the character trait self-directedness relates to the overall microstructural integrity of white matter tracts constituting the salience network as indicated by DTI-derived measures. Self-directedness has been proposed as the executive control component of personality and describes the tendency to stay focused on the attainment of long-term goals. The present finding corroborates the view of the salience network as an executive control network that serves maintenance of rules and task-sets to guide ongoing behavior.

Click here for info regarding one of the better brain network overview articles by Bressler and Menon.


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Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Science of Mind Wandering

As per usual, another great summary by Dr. Jon Lieff.


The Science of Mind Wandering

Some feel that spontaneous thought occurring without specific stimulation is closest to understanding how we define ourselves. These seemingly random self-produced…

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Read it on jonlieffmd.com




Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mapping the Human Connectome

Nice brief video overview.

Mapping the Human Connectome

In the early 1800s, Lewis and Clark set out to map the western United States. Charting the network of rivers that wound their way across the land. Like those 19th century…

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Read it on brainfacts.org