Publications by authors named "Corinna M Perchtold-Stefan"

9 Publications

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Creative, Antagonistic, and Angry? Exploring the Roots of Malevolent Creativity with a Real-World Idea Generation Task.

J Creat Behav 2021 Sep 12;55(3):710-722. Epub 2020 Dec 12.

University of Graz.

Research is currently witnessing more investigations into malevolent creativity-creativity that is used to intentionally harm others. Inspired by previous methods to measure malevolent creativity, in the present study, we introduce a real-world behavioral task designed to capture individuals' capacity for using creativity for the purpose of attaining malevolent goals in response to everyday, provocative situations. In a sample of 105 students, we found malevolent creativity positively correlated with fluency in conventional creative ideation, as well as with self-reported typical malevolent creativity behavior in daily life. Moreover, performance on the malevolent creativity task showed positive correlations with the maladaptive personality trait of antagonism (PID-5) as well as individuals' state anger at the beginning of the experiment. Further, our multiple regression analysis revealed that conventional creative ideation, antagonistic personality, and state anger all explained unique, non-overlapping variance in the capacity for implementing malevolent creativity. As a whole, these findings suggest that different cognitive and affective factors, along with specific personality traits may each contribute to the expression of malevolent creativity in distinct ways. Future investigations striving to further decode the destructive potential of individuals toward others may benefit from this validated behavioral measurement approach to malevolent creativity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jocb.484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8518065PMC
September 2021

A two-week running intervention reduces symptoms related to depression and increases hippocampal volume in young adults.

Cortex 2021 Nov 24;144:70-81. Epub 2021 Sep 24.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria.

This study examined the effects of a two-week running intervention on depressive symptoms and structural changes of different subfields of the hippocampus in young adults from the general population. The intervention was realized in small groups of participants in a mostly forested area and was organized into seven units of about 60 min each. The study design included two intervention groups which were tested at three time points and which received the intervention time-delayed: The first group between the first and the second time point, and the second group between the second and the third time point (waiting control group). At each test session, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed and symptoms related to depression were measured by means of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale. Results revealed a significant reduction of CES-D scores after the running intervention. The intervention also resulted in significant increases in the volume of the hippocampus, and reductions of CES-D scores right after the intervention were associated with increases in hippocampal volume. These findings add important new evidence on the beneficial role of aerobic exercise on depressive symptoms and related structural alterations of the hippocampus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.08.010DOI Listing
November 2021

Failure to reappraise: Malevolent creativity is linked to revenge ideation and impaired reappraisal inventiveness in the face of stressful, anger-eliciting events.

Anxiety Stress Coping 2021 07 26;34(4):437-449. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, AUT.

The complexities of daily life often necessitate creative ideas to successfully cope with negative social situations. This study investigated the relationship of two types of creativity that may be elicited by similar contexts but are associated with different goals and impact of ideas: reappraisal inventiveness (the capability to generate manifold reappraisals for negative situations) and malevolent creativity, capturing the inventiveness in intentionally harming others. In 73 women, these variables were assessed by performance tests depicting real-life, anger-eliciting situations. Additionally, participants reported their trait anger and depressive symptoms. Inventiveness (ideational fluency) was positively correlated between the two tasks, probably indicating shared divergent thinking demands. A more intricate pattern emerged for quality aspects of generated ideas. Participants inventing particularly harmful ideas for damaging others generated fewer valid reappraisals and displayed less problem-oriented thinking during reappraisal. Greater inventiveness in damaging others was linked to more revenge-related ideation during reappraisal attempts, which also correlated with self-reported depressive symptoms. A higher capacity for malevolent ideation may potentially hamper successful coping with stressful, anger-eliciting events and, as a result, may advance an adverse spiral of reinforcement. Considering these links may help tailor psychotherapeutic interventions to individuals' specific predispositions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2021.1918682DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8367047PMC
July 2021

Brain activation during the observation of real soccer game situations predicts creative goal scoring.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2021 07;16(7):707-715

Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz 8010, Austria.

Creativity is an important source of success in soccer players. In order to be effective in soccer, unpredictable, sudden and at the same time creative (i.e. unique, original and effective) ideas are required in situations with high time pressure. Accordingly, creative task performance in soccer should be primarily driven by rapid and automatic cognitive processes. This study investigated if functional patterns of brain activation during the observation/encoding of real soccer game situations can predict creative soccer task performance. A machine learning approach (multivariate pattern recognition) was applied in a sample of 35 experienced male soccer players. The results revealed that brain activation during the observation of the soccer scenes significantly predicted creative soccer task performance, while brain activation during the subsequent ideation/elaboration period did not. The identified brain network included areas such as the angular gyrus, the supramarginal gyrus, the occipital cortex, parts of the cerebellum and (left) supplementary motor areas, which are important for semantic information processing, memory retrieval, integration of sensory information and motor control. This finding suggests that early and presumably automatized neurocognitive processes, such as (implicit) knowledge about motor movements, and the rapid integration of information from different sources are important for creative task performance in soccer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsab035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8259291PMC
July 2021

The Impacts of the Presence of an Unfamiliar Dog on Emerging Adults' Physiological and Behavioral Responses Following Social Exclusion.

Behav Sci (Basel) 2020 Dec 14;10(12). Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Social Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, University of Klagenfurt, 9020 Klagenfurt, Austria.

Research indicates that non-human attachment figures may mitigate the negative consequences of social exclusion. In the current experiment, we examined how the presence of an unfamiliar companion dog in the laboratory effects physiological and behavioral reactions in female emerging adults after social exclusion compared to inclusion. Results revealed the beneficial effects of the dog: Socially excluded participants in the company of a dog showed less aggressive behavior in response to the hot sauce paradigm compared to excluded participants in the control condition. Furthermore, cardiac responses indicated mitigated perception of threat in a subsequent insult episode when a dog was present. The presence of a dog did not impact the most instantaneous, "reflexive" response to the social exclusion as revealed by characteristic cardiac changes. Together, the findings indicate that the presence of a companion dog takes effect in a later, reflective period following a social exclusion experience, which implicates relevant social elaboration and appraisal processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs10120191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7764974PMC
December 2020

Patients with hip fracture and total hip arthroplasty surgery differ in anthropometric, but not cardiovascular screening abnormalities.

BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2020 12 2;20(1):507. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Division of Physiology, Otto Loewi Research Center, Medical University of Graz, Neue Stiftingtalstraße 6/D05, 8036, Graz, Austria.

Background: With the rising number of hip surgeries, simple and cost-effective tools for surgery risk assessment are warranted. The analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) may not only provide critical insights into the general frailty of patients with hip surgery, but also allow for better differentiation of health profiles in different hip surgery groups. Using HRV analysis, the present study compared cardiovascular as well as anthropometric parameters between patients with hip surgery, the hip fracture surgery group (HFS) and the total hip arthroplasty group (THA), and a control group.

Methods: 71 participants (56.3% women), aged 60-85 years, took part, divided into three groups-patients after hip surgery (21 HFS and 30 THA patients) and a control group (20 participants). Electrocardiogram was recorded at baseline and after the application of a physical stressor (grip strength). A 3 (group) × 2 (time) repeated measures ANOVA, and a chi square test were carried out to test for group differences.

Results: Higher weight (p = .002), body mass index (p = .001), and systolic blood pressure (p = .034) were found in THA patients compared to HFS patients. Lower calf circumference (p = .009) and diastolic blood pressure (p = .048) were observed for the HFS group compared to the control group. For cardiovascular parameters, significant differences emerged between the HFS group and the control group in HR (p = .005), SDNN (p = .034) and SD2 (p = .012). No significant differences in cardiovascular parameters were observed between the two hip surgery groups: neither at baseline nor during stressor recovery.

Conclusions: While HRV seems to differentiate well between HFS patients and controls, more research with larger samples is needed to scrutinize similaritites and differences in cardiovascular profiles between HFS and THA patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12872-020-01792-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7713041PMC
December 2020

Motivational Factors in the Typical Display of Humor and Creative Potential: The Case of Malevolent Creativity.

Front Psychol 2020 23;11:1213. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Research is still disputing if an individual's use of humor in everyday life is also indicative of his or her creative potential. To date, the focus has been mainly restricted to shared cognitive factors, while motivational aspects that may link the production of humor and of creative ideas have been largely neglected. Humor motivation implicates latent social goals the creator pursues through the use of humor. These goals can be benign or more malicious and manifest in an individual's typical display of comic styles. While often overlooked, creativity often serves social functions as well, especially in common everyday situations. Similar to humor, creativity is typically regarded as beneficial for individuals and society. Yet, creative ideas may also originate from less prosocial goals. This is reflected in the concept of malevolent creativity, where novel ideas are generated to deliberately harm others. The present study investigated individuals' typical display of humor, differentiated in eight distinct comic styles in relation to their productivity in a behavioral test for malevolent creativity and general creative potential ( = 106). Individuals with higher scores on comic styles that are affiliated with malicious interpersonal goals - such as hurting or upsetting others or demonstrating superiority over others - were more fluent in producing malevolent creative ideas in the malevolent creativity test. This finding shows that individual differences in humor motivation relate to the capacity of coming up with relevant creative ideas also outside the domain of humor. The pattern of relationships between humor motivation and general creative potential differed from that of malicious creativity and implied the comic style "wit" only, primarily adding to the notion of shared cognitive processes in the production of humor and creative ideas. The study offers a novel perspective for how the inclusion of motivational factors that are inherent to conceptualizations of humor may also benefit creativity research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325593PMC
June 2020

Humor comprehension and creative cognition: Shared and distinct neurocognitive mechanisms as indicated by EEG alpha activity.

Neuroimage 2020 06 3;213:116695. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria. Electronic address:

Humor comprehension is increasingly recognized as showing parallels to more conventional creative cognition; yet our understanding of brain mechanisms underlying creative cognition in a humorous context is still limited. The present study addressed this issue by investigating functional patterns of EEG alpha activity while 93 participants viewed nonverbal humorous cartoons until they indicated having recognized the punch line, and subsequently vocalized their idea as to what constituted it. In a similar fashion, EEG was also assessed during performance of the Alternate Uses Task (AUT), in order to identify similarities and differences in EEG alpha activity implicated in conventional creative cognition vs. humor comprehension. Analyses revealed a pattern of robust task-related alpha power increases in both tasks, which were markedly more right-lateralized at ventral fronto-temporal sites in the humor task as compared to the AUT. Findings are interpreted in line with recent literature on the functional role of alpha activity in the creativity domain. Altogether, this study adds further evidence to the particular role of EEG alpha oscillations in creative cognition and supports the idea that conventional creative ideation and the comprehension of humor share neural mechanisms affiliated to creative cognition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116695DOI Listing
June 2020

More habitual physical activity is linked to the use of specific, more adaptive cognitive reappraisal strategies in dealing with stressful events.

Stress Health 2020 Aug 9;36(3):274-286. Epub 2020 Feb 9.

Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Physical activity may improve stress resilience and well-being. However, specific links to individuals' coping abilities with stressful events are sparse. This study tested whether individuals reporting more physical activity in daily life showed a higher capacity for cognitive reappraisal in dealing with potential stressors. Ninety-eight participants reported their regular physical activity in the Freiburger Questionnaire on Physical Activity and completed a maximum performance test of their inventiveness in generating reappraisals for situations depicting real-life stressors. The latter provides scores for overall cognitive reappraisal capacity (quantity of ideas) and preference for specific cognitive reappraisal strategies (quality of ideas; positive reinterpretation; problem-oriented, de-emphasizing reappraisals). Additionally, participants' anxious and depressive dispositions and general creative abilities were assessed. Results showed no association between time spent on physical activities per week and total quantity of generated reappraisal ideas. However, a higher degree of physical activity was specifically linked to a greater relative preference for the reappraisal strategy of positive reinterpretation. Opposite associations emerged for the strategy of de-emphasizing reappraisals. The findings support the notion of more adaptive cognitive reappraisal use in more physically active individuals and may advance research on interrelationships between physical activity and cognitive and affective functions implicated in stress management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smi.2929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497133PMC
August 2020
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