Publications by authors named "Gianluca Esposito"

158 Publications

Developmental disabilities across the world: A scientometric review from 1936 to 2020.

Res Dev Disabil 2021 Jul 29;117:104031. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy; Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore; Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore. Electronic address:

Background: Developmental disabilities have been largely studied in the past years. Their etiological mechanisms have been underpinned to the interactions between genetic and environmental factors. These factors show variability across the world. Thus, it is important to understand where the set of knowledge obtained on developmental disabilities originates from and whether it is generalizable to low- and middle-income countries.

Aims: This study aims to understand the origins of the available literature on developmental disabilities, keeping a focus on parenting, and identify the main trend of research.

Methods And Procedure: A sample of 11,315 publications from 1936 to 2020 were collected from Scopus and a graphical country analysis was conducted. Furthermore, a qualitative approach enabled the clustering of references by keywords into four main areas: "Expression of the disorder", "Physiological Factors", "How it is studied" and "Environmental factors". For each area, a document co-citation analysis (DCA) on CiteSpace software was performed.

Outcomes And Results: Results highlight the leading role of North America in the study of developmental disabilities. Trends in the literature and the documents' scientific relevance are discussed in details.

Conclusions And Implications: Results demand for investigation in different socio-economical settings to generalize our knowledge. What this paper adds? The current paper tries to provide insight into the origins of the literature on developmental disabilities with a focus on parenting, together with an analysis of the trends of research in the field. The paper consisted of a multi-disciplinary and multi-method review. In fact, the review tried to integrate the analysis of the relation between developmental disabilities with a closer look at the scientific contributions to the field across the world. Specifically, the paper integrates a total of 11,315 papers published on almost a century of research (from 1936 to 2020). An initial qualitative analysis on keywords was combined to a subsequent quantitative approach in order to maximize the comprehension of the impact of almost a century of scientific contributions. Specifically, documents were studied with temporal and structural metrics on a scientometric approach. This allowed the exploration of patterns within the literature available on Scopus in a quantitative way. This method not only assessed the importance of single documents within the network. As a matter of fact, the document co-citation analysis used on CiteSpace software provided insight into the relations existing between multiple documents in the field of research. As a result, the leading role of North America in the literature of developmental disabilities and parenting emerged. This was accompanied by the review of the main trends of research within the existing literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.104031DOI Listing
July 2021

Pseudopyloric Metaplasia Is Not Associated With the Development of Gastric Cancer.

Am J Gastroenterol 2021 Jul 27. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Translational Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, University Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: Corpus atrophic gastritis (CAG) is associated with intestinal metaplasia (IM) and pseudopyloric metaplasia (PPM). Prospective data on corpus mucosa PPM and its link to the development of gastric cancer (GC) are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the presence of corpus mucosa PPM at baseline and the development of GC at follow-up in patients with CAG.

Methods: A longitudinal cohort study was conducted on patients with consecutive CAG adhering to endoscopic-histological surveillance. Patients were stratified for the presence/absence of corpus PPM without concomitant corpus IM at baseline, and the occurrence of gastric neoplastic lesions at the longest available follow-up was assessed.

Results: A total of 292 patients with CAG with a follow-up of 4.2 (3-17) years were included. At baseline, corpus PPM without corpus IM was diagnosed in 62 patients (21.2%). At the follow-up, GC was detected in 5 patients (1.7%) and gastric dysplasia (GD) in 4 patients (1.4%). In all these 9 patients with GC/GD at the follow-up, corpus IM was present at baseline and follow-up. Age <50 years (odds ratio [OR] 2.5), absence of pernicious anemia (OR 4.3), and absence of severe corpus atrophy (OR 2.3) were associated with corpus PPM without corpus IM.

Discussion: At the 4.2-year follow-up, in patients with CAG characterized at baseline with corpus PPM without corpus IM, GC or GD was not observed because these lesions were consistently associated with corpus IM. Corpus PPM without corpus IM was associated with younger age, absence of pernicious anemia, and severe corpus atrophy, suggesting a lower stage of disease progression. Corpus PPM alone seems not to be associated with GC, whose development seems to require the presence of corpus IM as a necessary step.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000001390DOI Listing
July 2021

Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 Jul 15;18(14). Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto TN, Italy.

Social networking sites have determined radical changes in human life, demanding investigations on online socialization mechanisms. The knowledge acquired on in-person sociability could guide researchers to consider both environmental and genetic features as candidates of online socialization. Here, we explored the impact of the quality of adult attachment and the genetic properties of the Serotonin Transporter Gene () on Instagram social behavior. questionnaire was adopted to assess 57 Instagram users' attachment pattern in close relationships with partners. Genotypes from the /rs25531 region were extracted from the users' buccal mucosa and analyzed. Users' Instagram social behavior was examined from four indexes: number of posts, number of followed users ("followings") and number of followers, and the Social Desirability Index calculated from the followers to followings ratio. Although no interaction between rs25531 and ECR-R dimensions was found, an association between avoidance in close relationships and Instagram number of followings emerged. Post hoc analyses revealed adult avoidance from the partner predicts the Instagram number of followings with good evidence. Moreover, users reporting high avoidance levels displayed fewer followings than users who reported low levels of avoidance. This research provides a window into the psychobiological understanding of online socialization on Instagram.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303232PMC
July 2021

Parental involvement in developmental disabilities across cultures.

Res Dev Disabil 2021 Jul 6;116:104023. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.104023DOI Listing
July 2021

Hacking Trust: The Presence of Faces on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Affects Trustworthiness.

Behav Sci (Basel) 2021 Jun 21;11(6). Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Psychology Program, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639818, Singapore.

Trustworthiness is a core concept that drives individuals' interaction with others, as well with objects and digital interfaces. The perceived trustworthiness of strangers from the evaluation of their faces has been widely studies in social psychology; however, little is known about the possibility of transferring trustworthiness from human faces to other individuals, objects or interfaces. In this study, we explore how the perceived trustworthiness of automated teller machines (ATMs) is influenced by the presence of faces on the machines, and how the trustworthiness of the faces themselves is transferred to the machine. In our study, participants (N = 57) rated the trustworthiness of ATMs on which faces of different age, gender, and ethnicity are placed. Subsequently, the trustworthiness of the ATMs is compared to the trustworthiness ratings of faces presented on their own. Results of our works support the idea that faces' trustworthiness can be transferred to objects on which faces are presented. Moreover, the trustworthiness of ATMs seems to be influenced by the age of presented faces, with ATMs on which children faces are presented are trusted more than the same machines when adults' or elders' faces are presented, but not by the ethnicity (Asian or Caucasian) or gender (male or female) of presented faces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs11060091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8235198PMC
June 2021

OXTR moderates adverse childhood experiences on depressive symptoms among incarcerated males.

J Psychiatr Res 2021 Aug 23;140:221-227. Epub 2021 May 23.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore; Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy.

Objectives: This study examined the moderation of an oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene in the link between childhood adversity and depressive symptoms among incarcerated males.

Methods: Questionnaires about adverse childhood experiences and depressive symptoms, as well as genomic DNA from blood were collected among 608 incarcerated males (M = 32.4 years, SD = 9.41, 18-74 years). Moderation analysis was applied to examine the interaction between adverse childhood experiences (including abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction) and the OXTR polymorphisms (rs2254298, rs53576) in predicting depressive symptoms.

Results: Incarcerated males had relatively higher prevalence of childhood adversity (70.2%) and depressive symptoms (49.8%). Higher childhood adversity was associated with increased depressive symptoms, and the effect was more pronounced in the GG homozygotes of OXTR rs2254298 (b = 0.406, p < .001), as compared with the AA/AG carriers (b = 0.236, p < .001). By contrast, the OXTR rs53576 did not interact with childhood adversity in predicting depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Chinese incarcerated males with the GG genotype of OXTR rs2254298 have higher vulnerability in the effect of childhood adversity on depressive symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.05.043DOI Listing
August 2021

Gastric microbiota composition in patients with corpus atrophic gastritis.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 Jun 8. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Medical-Surgical Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, University Sapienza, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: In corpus atrophic gastritis (CAG), hypochlorhydria makes plausible the overgrowth of intragastric bacteria, whose role in gastric carcinogenesis is under debate.

Aims: To characterize the antrum/corpus composition of the gastric bacterial microbiota in CAG patients compared to controls without CAG.

Methods: A cross-sectional monocentric study on consecutive patients with known histological diagnosis of CAG undergoing gastroscopy for gastric cancer surveillance and patients without CAG undergoing gastroscopy for dyspepsia or anemia (108 biopsies from 55 patients, median age 61.5). Genomic DNA from one antral and one corpus biopsy from each case (n = 23) and control (n = 32) was extracted. Gastric microbiota was assessed by sequencing hypervariable regions of the 16SrRNA gene.

Results: Bacterial abundance and diversity were significantly lower in CAG cases than in controls (p < 0.001). Firmicutes were more frequent in cases, Bacteroidetes and Fusobacteria in controls (p < 0.0001). Streptococcaceae were more abundant in cases (p < 0.0001), Prevotellaceae in controls (p < 0.0001). The genus Streptococcus was positively correlated with severe OLGA/OLGIM stages linked to a higher risk of gastric cancer.

Conclusion: Gastric bacterial microbiota in CAG showed a reduced abundance and complexity but was characterized by higher colonization of Firmicutes, in particular Streptococcus, increased in subjects with severe atrophy/metaplasia stages at higher risk of gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.05.005DOI Listing
June 2021

An fNIRS Investigation of Masculinity, Femininity, and Sex on Nonparents' Empathic Response to Infant Cries.

Brain Sci 2021 May 14;11(5). Epub 2021 May 14.

Psychology Program, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639818, Singapore.

According to societal stereotypes, the female sex and people who are more feminine have been considered to be more empathic than males and people who are more masculine. Therefore, females and feminine individuals are expected to respond more empathically to an infant's cries. While this hypothesis was tested using self-report scales, it has not been explored thoroughly in terms of prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity, which may be a more objective means of measuring empathy. Specifically, the medial PFC (mPFC) is involved in social cognitive processing and thus a good proxy to measure the level of empathy. This study aims to (1) assess if the empathic response, in terms of medial PFC (mPFC) activity, to infant cries differ between sexes; (2) investigate if the empathic response is moderated by levels of masculinity and femininity. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to measure nonparent participants' (18 males, 20 females) mPFC response to infant cries of different pitches (high and low). The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire was used to measure trait empathy and Bem's Sex Role Inventory was used to measure the level of masculinity and femininity. Results revealed that biological sex had no significant effect on the empathic response towards infant cries of varying pitch. Furthermore, masculinity, not femininity, was correlated with an increase in empathic response in the mPFC to high but not low-pitch infant cries. We reason that this is because of the higher aversiveness and inflicted pain associated with higher-pitched cries, which induces more emotional and physical pain that masculine individuals seek to avoid. Overall, the results suggest that greater masculinity would imply greater mentalizing and processing of empathy-related information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050635DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8155919PMC
May 2021

Savouring as an Intervention to Decrease Negative Affect in Anxious Mothers of Children with Autism and Neurotypical Children.

Brain Sci 2021 May 16;11(5). Epub 2021 May 16.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore.

Savouring is an emotion regulation strategy and intervention that focuses on the process of attending, intensifying and prolonging positive experiences and positive affect associated with these memories. Personal savouring involves a reflection on positive memories that are specific to the individual and do not involve others. In contrast, relational savouring entails reflecting on instances when people were responsive to the needs of their significant others. Such interventions hold potential benefits in enhancing positive affect (PA) and reducing negative affect (NA) for both parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and parents of neurotypical children. Adults with greater symptoms of generalised anxiety have been found to have less PA and more NA. However, no study has investigated the effects of a mother's anxiety symptoms on the efficacy of savouring in enhancing PA and reducing NA. Thus, this paper combined personal and relational savouring to investigate whether savouring may enhance PA and reduce NA of a pooled sample of mothers of neurotypical children and mothers of children with ASD. 52 mothers of neurotypical children and 26 mothers of children with ASD aged 3-7 years old were given a series of questionnaires and randomly assigned to either relational savouring or personal savouring conditions. In relational savouring, mothers were asked to reflect upon a shared positive experience with their child while in the personal savouring condition, a personal positive experience was recalled. Across mothers of children with ASD and neurotypical children, findings suggest that savouring leads to a decrease in NA ( < 0.01) but not increases in PA. Similarly, mothers with higher levels of anxiety experience a greater decrease in NA ( < 0.001) compared to mothers with lower levels of anxiety post-savouring. This study proposes that a brief savouring intervention may be effective among mothers of preschoolers. As lower levels of negative affect is linked to healthier psychological well-being, mothers might be able to engage in more effective and warm parenting after savouring exercises, which would cultivate positive mother-child relationships that benefit their children in the long-term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050652DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157107PMC
May 2021

The Recognition of Cross-Cultural Emotional Faces Is Affected by Intensity and Ethnicity in a Japanese Sample.

Behav Sci (Basel) 2021 Apr 23;11(5). Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy.

Human faces convey a range of emotions and psychobiological signals that support social interactions. Multiple factors potentially mediate the facial expressions of emotions across cultures. To further determine the mechanisms underlying human emotion recognition in a complex and ecological environment, we hypothesized that both behavioral and neurophysiological measures would be influenced by stimuli ethnicity (Japanese, Caucasian) in the context of ambiguous emotional expressions (mid-happy, angry). We assessed the neurophysiological and behavioral responses of neurotypical Japanese adults ( = 27, 13 males) involved in a facial expression recognition task. Results uncover an interaction between universal and culturally-driven mechanisms. No differences in behavioral responses are found between male and female participants, male and female faces, and neutral Japanese versus Caucasian faces. However, Caucasian ambiguous emotional expressions which require more energy-consuming processing, as highlighted by neurophysiological results of the Arousal Index, were judged more accurately than Japanese ones. Additionally, a differential Frontal Asymmetry Index in neuronal activation, the signature of an approach versus avoidance response, is found in male participants according to the gender and emotional valence of the stimuli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs11050059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8146535PMC
April 2021

Recalled Parental Bonding Interacts with Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphism in Modulating Anxiety and Avoidance in Adult Relationships.

Brain Sci 2021 Apr 14;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy.

Early interactions with significant individuals affect social experience throughout the course of a lifetime, as a repeated and prolonged perception of different levels of care, independence, or control influences the modulation of emotional regulatory processes. As many factors play a role in shaping the expectations and features of social interaction, in this study, we considered the influence of parental bonding and genetic allelic variation of oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (rs53576) over levels of experienced anxiety and avoidance in 313 young adults belonging to two different cultural contexts, namely Italy and Singapore. Results highlighted a major effect of maternal characteristics, care, and overprotection, with differences between the two cultural groups. Additionally, the interaction between rs53576 and maternal overprotection suggested different environmental susceptibility in the Italian sample and the Singaporean one. Implications for clinical work and future steps are described in the Conclusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11040496DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8070703PMC
April 2021

Comparison of Endoscopic Techniques in the Management of Type I Gastric Neuroendocrine Neoplasia: A Systematic Review.

Gastroenterol Res Pract 2021 30;2021:6679397. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Digestive Disease Unit, Sant'Andrea University Hospital, ENETS Center of Excellence, Rome, Italy.

Background: Endoscopic resection is considered the treatment of choice for type I gastric neuroendocrine neoplasia (gNEN) given its indolent behaviour; however, the favoured endoscopic technique to remove these tumours is not well established.

Aims: This systematic review is aimed at investigating the best endoscopic management for type I gNEN.

Methods: PubMed Central/Medline and Scopus were systematically searched for records up to August 31, 2020.

Results: After screening the 675 retrieved records, 6 studies were selected for the final analysis. The main endoscopic resection techniques described were endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD). Overall, 112 gNENs were removed by EMR and 77 by ESD. Both techniques showed similar results for complete and resection (97.4% and 98.7%; 92.3% and 96.3% with ESD and EMR, respectively). ESD was associated with a higher rate of complications than EMR (11.7% vs. 5.4%), but this difference was not statistically significant ( = 0.17). The rates of recurrence during follow-up were 18.2% and 11.5% for EMR and ESD, respectively.

Conclusions: To date, there are no sufficient data showing superiority of a given endoscopic technique over others. Both ESD and EMR seem to be effective in the management of type I gNEN, with a relatively low rate of recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/6679397DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026302PMC
March 2021

An Analysis of the Generalizability and Stability of the Halo Effect During the COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak.

Front Psychol 2021 24;12:631871. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.

The influence on the global evaluation of a person based on the perception of a single trait is a phenomenon widely investigated in social psychology. Widely regarded as , this phenomenon has been studied for more than 100 years now, and findings such as the relationship between aesthetic perception and other personality traits-such as competence and trustworthiness-have since been uncovered. Trustworthiness plays an especially crucial role in individuals' social interactions. Despite the large body of literature published on the Halo effect, and especially on the relationship between aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness, little is known about the overall generalizability of the effect, as almost all of the studies have been conducted on adult participants from Western countries. Moreover, little is known about the stability of the effect over time, in the event of major destabilization, such as the outbreak of a pandemic. In this work, the cross-cultural generalizability of the is investigated before and during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of the generalizability and stability over time of the is presented. Participants ( = 380, = 145 Asians, = 235 Caucasians) have been asked to rate the aesthetic appearance and perceived trustworthiness of a set of human faces of different ages, gender, and ethnicity. Result of our analysis demonstrated that the (Aesthetic × trustworthiness) is influenced by the age of presented faces, but not by their gender or ethnicity. Moreover, our results show that the strength of the effect can be affected by external events and that the volatility is higher for adults' than children's faces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631871DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8024691PMC
March 2021

A Scientometric Approach to Review the Role of the Medial Preoptic Area (MPOA) in Parental Behavior.

Brain Sci 2021 Mar 20;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy.

Research investigating the neural substrates underpinning parental behaviour has recently gained momentum. Particularly, the hypothalamic medial preoptic area (MPOA) has been identified as a crucial region for parenting. The current study conducted a scientometric analysis of publications from 1 January 1972 to 19 January 2021 using CiteSpace software to determine trends in the scientific literature exploring the relationship between MPOA and parental behaviour. In total, 677 scientific papers were analysed, producing a network of 1509 nodes and 5498 links. Four major clusters were identified: "C-Fos Expression", "Lactating Rat", "Medial Preoptic Area Interaction" and "Parental Behavior". Their content suggests an initial trend in which the properties of the MPOA in response to parental behavior were studied, followed by a growing attention towards the presence of a brain network, including the reward circuits, regulating such behavior. Furthermore, while attention was initially directed uniquely to maternal behavior, it has recently been extended to the understanding of paternal behaviors as well. Finally, although the majority of the studies were conducted on rodents, recent publications broaden the implications of previous documents to human parental behavior, giving insight into the mechanisms underlying postpartum depression. Potential directions in future works were also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003755PMC
March 2021

Deep Neural Networks and Transfer Learning on a Multivariate Physiological Signal Dataset.

Bioengineering (Basel) 2021 Mar 6;8(3). Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto (Trento), Italy.

While Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) and Transfer Learning (TL) have greatly contributed to several medical and clinical disciplines, the application to multivariate physiological datasets is still limited. Current examples mainly focus on one physiological signal and can only utilise applications that are customised for that specific measure, thus it limits the possibility of transferring the trained DNN to other domains. In this study, we composed a dataset (n=813) of six different types of physiological signals (Electrocardiogram, Electrodermal activity, Electromyogram, Photoplethysmogram, Respiration and Acceleration). Signals were collected from 232 subjects using four different acquisition devices. We used a DNN to classify the type of physiological signal and to demonstrate how the TL approach allows the exploitation of the efficiency of DNNs in other domains. After the DNN was trained to optimally classify the type of signal, the features that were automatically extracted by the DNN were used to classify the type of device used for the acquisition using a Support Vector Machine. The dataset, the code and the trained parameters of the DNN are made publicly available to encourage the adoption of DNN and TL in applications with multivariate physiological signals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8030035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8058952PMC
March 2021

The Specificity Principle in Young Dual Language Learners' English Development.

Child Dev 2021 Mar 19. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Nanyang Technological University.

This study employs the Specificity Principle to examine the relative impacts of external (input quantity at home and at school, number of books and reading frequency at home, teachers' degree and experience, language usage, socioeconomic status) and internal factors (children's working memory, nonverbal intelligence, learning-related social-skills, chronological age, gender) on children's English-language development in phonological awareness (PA), receptive vocabulary (RV), and word reading (WR). Altogether, 736 four- to five-year-old Singaporean Mandarin-English speaking kindergarteners were assessed twice longitudinally. Their English-language PA, RV, and WR development was predicted using the eight external factors and five internal factors with Bayesian least absolute shrinkage and selection operators. Internal factors explained more variance than external factors in all three language domains. External factors had their largest impact on RV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13558DOI Listing
March 2021

Feasibility of Healthcare Providers' Autonomic Activation Recognition in Real-Life Cardiac Surgery Using Noninvasive Sensors.

HCI Int 2020 Late Break Posters (2020) 2020 Jul 8;1293:402-408. Epub 2020 Nov 8.

Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery Lab, Harvard Medical School and VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.

Cardiac surgery is one of the most complex specialties in medicine, akin to a complex sociotechnical system. Patient outcomes are vulnerable to surgical flow disruptions (SFDs), a source of preventable harm. Healthcare providers' (HCPs) sympathetic activation secondary to emotional states represent an underappreciated source of SFDs. This study's objective was to demonstrate the feasibility of detecting elevated sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity as a proxy for emotional distress associated with a medication error using heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. After obtaining informed consent, audio/video and HRV data were captured intraoperatively during cardiac surgery from multiple HCPs. Following a critical medication administration error by the anesthesiologist in-training, the attending anesthesiologists' recorded HRV data was analyzed using , an open-source signal analysis package, to identify events precipitating this near-miss event. We considered elevated low-frequency/high-frequency (LF/HF) HRV ratio (normal value <2) as a primary indicator of SNS activity and emotional distress. A heightened SNS response by the attending anesthesiologist, observed as an LF/HF ratio value of 3.39, was detected prior to the near-miss event. The attending anesthesiologist confirmed a state of significant SNS activity/distress induced by task-irrelevant environmental factors, which led to a temporarily ineffective mental model. Qualitative analysis of audio/video recordings revealed that SNS activation coincided with an argument over operating room management causing SFD. This preliminary study confirms the feasibility of recognizing potentially detrimental psychophysiological states during cardiac surgery in the wild using HRV analysis. To our knowledge, this is the first case demonstrating SNS activation coinciding with self-reported and observable emotional distress during live surgery using HRV. Irrespective of the HCP's expertise, transient but intense emotional changes may disrupt attention processes leading to SFDs and preventable errors. This work supports the possibility to detect real-time SNS activation, which could enable interventions to proactively mitigate errors. Additional studies on our large database of surgical cases are underway to confirm this observation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-60700-5_51DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7923697PMC
July 2020

Bio-culturally grounded: why separation and connection may not be the same around the world.

Behav Brain Sci 2021 02 18;44:e14. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore639818,

Central to the account of grounded procedures is the premise that mental experiences are grounded in physical actions. We complement this account by incorporating frameworks in cultural psychology and developmental neuroscience, with new predictions. Through the examples of vicarious experiences and demerit transfer, we discuss why, and how, separation and connection may operate somewhat differently across cultures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X2000045XDOI Listing
February 2021

Virtual reality and naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Res Dev Disabil 2021 Apr 3;111:103885. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Faculty of Education, Østfold University College, Norway.

Background: Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBI) have been evaluated as the most promising interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. In recent years, a growing body of literature suggests that technological advancements such as Virtual Reality (VR) are promising intervention tools. However, to the best of our knowledge no studies have combined evidence-based practice with such tools.

Aim: This article aims to review the current literature combining NDBI and VR, and provide suggestions on merging NDBI-approaches with VR.

Methods: This article is divided into two parts, where we first conduct a review mapping the research applying NDBI-approaches in VR. In the second part we argue how to apply the common features of NDBI into VR-technology.

Results: Our findings show that no VR-studies explicitly rely on NDBI-approaches, but some utilize elements in their interventions that are considered to be common features to NDBI.

Conclusions And Implications: As the results show, to date, no VR-based studies have utilized NDBI in their intervention. We therefore, in the second part of this article, suggests ways to merge VR and NDBI and introduce the term Virtual Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (VNDBI). VNDBI is an innovative way of implementing NDBI which will contribute in making interventions more accessible in central as well as remote locations, while reducing unwanted variation between service sites. VNDBI will advance the possibilities of individually tailoring and widen the area of interventions. In addition, VNDBI can provide the field with new knowledge on effective components enhancing the accuracy in the intervention packages and thus move forward the research field and clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.103885DOI Listing
April 2021

Predictors of Contemporary under-5 Child Mortality in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Machine Learning Approach.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 02 1;18(3). Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy.

Child Mortality (CM) is a worldwide concern, annually affecting as many as 6.81% children in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). We used data of the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) (N = 275,160) from 27 LMIC and a machine-learning approach to rank 37 distal causes of CM and identify the top 10 causes in terms of predictive potency. Based on the top 10 causes, we identified households with improved conditions. We retrospectively validated the results by investigating the association between variations of CM and variations of the percentage of households with improved conditions at country-level, between the 2005-2007 and the 2013-2017 administrations of the MICS. A unique contribution of our approach is to identify lesser-known distal causes which likely account for better-known proximal causes: notably, the identified distal causes and preventable and treatable through social, educational, and physical interventions. We demonstrate how machine learning can be used to obtain operational information from big dataset to guide interventions and policy makers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908191PMC
February 2021

Contrasting lexical biases in bilingual English-Mandarin speech: Verb-biased mothers, but noun-biased toddlers.

J Child Lang 2021 Feb 3:1-24. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Is noun dominance in early lexical acquisition a widespread or a language-specific phenomenon? Thirty Singaporean bilingual English-Mandarin learning toddlers and their mothers were observed in a mother-child play interaction. For both English and Mandarin, toddlers' speech and reported vocabulary contained more nouns than verbs across book reading and toy playing. In contrast, their mothers' speech contained more verbs than nouns in both English and Mandarin but differed depending on the context of the interaction. Although toddlers demonstrated a noun bias for both languages, the noun bias was more pronounced in English than in Mandarin. Together, these findings support early noun dominance as a widespread phenomenon in the lexical acquisition debate but also provide evidence that language specificity also plays a minor role in children's early lexical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000920000720DOI Listing
February 2021

Social Media Usage and Development of Psychiatric Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence: A Review.

Front Psychiatry 2020 13;11:508595. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Affiliative Behavior and Physiology Lab, Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are now part of almost everyone's social life, especially for the newer generations. Children and teenagers grew up together with these Internet-based services, which have become an integral part of their personal and social life. However, as reported in various studies, psychological and psychiatric problems are sometimes associated with problematic usage of social media. The primary purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the cognitive, psychological, and social outcomes correlated with a problematic use of social media sites during the developmental stages, from age 10 to 19 years. With a specific focus on depression, anxiety, eating, and neurodevelopmental disorders, the review also discusses evidence related to genetic and neurobiological issues, together with the implications in clinical work and future directions under a multidisciplinary perspective. While the scientific community has made significant progress in enhancing our understanding of the impact of social media on teenagers' lives, more research integrating biological and environmental factors is required to fully elucidate the development of these disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.508595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838524PMC
January 2021

Successful coping with SARS-CoV-2 infection of adult celiac patients assessed by telemedicine.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 04 14;53(4):391-393. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Surgical-Medical Sciences and Translational Medicine, Sant'Andrea University Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189 Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7808248PMC
April 2021

The Moderating Role of Parental Sleep Knowledge on Children with Developmental Disabilities and Their Parents' Sleep.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 01 16;18(2). Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Sleep Education and Research Laboratory (SERL), UCL Institute of Education, London WC1H 0AA, UK.

Background: Children with intellectual and developmental difficulties often experience sleep problems, which in turn may impact parental sleep patterns. This study explored the role of parental sleep knowledge as a moderator on the relationship between child sleep and parental sleep impairment.

Methods: 582 parents or caregivers (92.6% mothers) of children with different developmental disabilities (Age = 9.34, 29.5% females) such as Down's syndrome, participated in an online survey. Multiple regression analysis was conducted.

Results: Parental sleep knowledge of child sleep was a moderating variable in the relationship between child sleep nocturnal duration and parental sleep impairment. Although overall, sleep knowledge was high in this sample, two specific knowledge gaps were identified namely child sleep duration requirements, and the recognition of signs of a well-rested child.

Conclusion: This study has provided evidence that increased parental sleep knowledge can positively impact both child and parental sleep outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020746DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830639PMC
January 2021

A Scientometric Review of Alexithymia: Mapping Thematic and Disciplinary Shifts in Half a Century of Research.

Front Psychiatry 2020 10;11:611489. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy.

The term "alexithymia" was introduced in the lexicon of psychiatry in the early '70s by Sifneos to outline the difficulties manifested by some patients in identifying and describing their own emotions. Since then, the construct has been broadened and partially modified. Today this describes a condition characterized by an altered emotional awareness which leads to difficulties in recognizing your own and others' emotions. In half a century, the volume of scientific products focusing on alexithymia has exceeded 5,000. Such an expansive knowledge domain poses a difficulty for those willing to understand how alexithymia research has developed. Scientometrics embodies a solution to this issue, employing computational, and visual analytic methods to uncover meaningful patterns within large bibliographical corpora. In this study, we used the CiteSpace software to examine a corpus of 4,930 publications on alexithymia ranging from 1980 to 2020 and their 100,251 references included in Web of Science. Document co-citation analysis was performed to highlight pivotal publications and major research areas on alexithymia, whereas journal co-citation analysis was conducted to find the related editorial venues and disciplinary communities. The analyses suggest that the construct of alexithymia experienced a gradual thematic and disciplinary shift. Although the first conceptualization of alexithymia came from psychoanalysis and psychosomatics, empirical research was pushed by the operationalization of the construct formulated at the end of the '80s. Specifically, the development of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, currently the most used self-report instrument, seems to have encouraged both the entrance of new disciplines in the study of alexithymia (i.e., cognitive science and neuroscience) and an implicit redefinition of its conceptual nucleus. Overall, we discuss opportunities and limitations in the application of this bottom-up approach, which highlights trends in alexithymia research that were previously identified only through a qualitative, theory-driven approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.611489DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7758403PMC
December 2020

Probing the association between maternal anxious attachment style and mother-child brain-to-brain coupling during passive co-viewing of visual stimuli.

Attach Hum Dev 2020 Dec 28:1-16. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.

Brain-to-brain coupling during co-viewing of video stimuli reflects similar intersubjective mentalisation processes. During an everyday joint activity of watching video stimuli (television shows) with her child, an anxiously attached mother's preoccupation with her child is likely to distract her from understanding the mental state of characters in the show. To test the hypothesis that reduced coupling in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) would be observed with increasing maternal attachment anxiety (MAA), we profiled mothers' MAA using the Attachment Style Questionnaire and used functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess PFC coupling in 31 mother-child dyads while they watched three 1-min animation videos together. Reduced coupling was observed with increasing MAA in the medial right PFC cluster which is implicated in mentalisation processes. This result did not survive control analyses and should be taken as preliminary. Reduced coupling between anxiously-attached mothers and their children during co-viewing could undermine quality of shared experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2020.1840790DOI Listing
December 2020

Comparison of Wearable and Clinical Devices for Acquisition of Peripheral Nervous System Signals.

Sensors (Basel) 2020 Nov 27;20(23). Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38122 Trento, Italy.

A key access point to the functioning of the autonomic nervous system is the investigation of peripheral signals. Wearable devices (WDs) enable the acquisition and quantification of peripheral signals in a wide range of contexts, from personal uses to scientific research. WDs have lower costs and higher portability than medical-grade devices. However, the achievable data quality can be lower, and data are subject to artifacts due to body movements and data losses. It is therefore crucial to evaluate the reliability and validity of WDs before their use in research. In this study, we introduce a data analysis procedure for the assessment of WDs for multivariate physiological signals. The quality of cardiac and electrodermal activity signals is validated with a standard set of signal quality indicators. The pipeline is available as a collection of open source Python scripts based on the pyphysio package. We apply the indicators for the analysis of signal quality on data simultaneously recorded from a clinical-grade device and two WDs. The dataset provides signals of six different physiological measures collected from 18 subjects with WDs. This study indicates the need to validate the use of WDs in experimental settings for research and the importance of both technological and signal processing aspects to obtain reliable signals and reproducible results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20236778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7730565PMC
November 2020

A Machine Learning Approach for the Automatic Estimation of Fixation-Time Data Signals' Quality.

Sensors (Basel) 2020 Nov 27;20(23). Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639818, Singapore.

Fixation time measures have been widely adopted in studies with infants and young children because they can successfully tap on their meaningful nonverbal behaviors. While recording preverbal children's behavior is relatively simple, analysis of collected signals requires extensive manual preprocessing. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of using different Machine Learning (ML)-a Linear SVC, a Non-Linear SVC, and K-Neighbors-classifiers to automatically discriminate between and eye fixation recordings. Results of our models show an accuracy of up to the 80%, suggesting that ML tools can help human researchers during the preprocessing and labelling phase of collected data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20236775DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731361PMC
November 2020

Endoscopic surveillance at 3 years after diagnosis, according to European guidelines, seems safe in patients with atrophic gastritis in a low-risk region.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 Apr 13;53(4):467-473. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Translational Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189, Rome, Italy.

Background: Autoimmune and multifocal atrophic gastritis (AG) are at risk for gastric neoplastic lesions. European guidelines recommend surveillance with high-quality endoscopy every 3 years.

Aim: To prospectively investigate the occurrence of gastric neoplastic lesions at the 3-year follow-up in patients with autoimmune and multifocal AG.

Methods: Longitudinal cohort study conducted between 2011 and 2019: consecutive patients with histological diagnosis of autoimmune or multifocal AG underwent follow-up gastroscopy 3 years after diagnosis with high-resolution-narrow-band-imaging endoscopes.

Results: Overall, 160 patients were included(F117(73.0%);median age 66(35-87)years). Autoimmune and multifocal AG were present in 122(76.3%) and 38(23.7%) patients, respectively. At the 3-year follow-up, 16(10.0%) patients presented 16 gastric neoplastic lesions: 3(18.7%) gastric cancers, 4(25.0%) low-grade dysplasia, 2(12.5%) low-grade dysplasia adenomas, 7(43.7%) type-1 neuroendocrine tumours. In these patients, OLGA and OLGIM III/IV stages were present in 4(25.0)% and 1(6.3%), respectively; 11(69.0%) presented autoimmune AG, and all but one(93.7%) had parietal cells antibodies positivity (p = 0.026 vs patients without lesions). All lesions were endoscopically(87.5%) or surgically(12.5%) treated with favourable outcome. Age>70 years was associated with a 9-fold higher probability of developing gastric epithelial neoplastic lesions (OR 9.6,95CI% 1.2-79.4,p = 0.0359).

Conclusions: The first endoscopic surveillance 3 years after diagnosis seems safe for autoimmune and multifocal AG patients and should be offered to elderly patients who are at higher risk for gastric neoplasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2020.10.038DOI Listing
April 2021

Child disability and caregiving in low and middle income countries: Big data approach on open data.

Res Dev Disabil 2020 Dec 1;107:103795. Epub 2020 Nov 1.

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Italy; School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Electronic address:

Background: The presence of child disabilities might affect the amount of caregiving attention the child receives, with potential ramifications on the development of the child and increasing the likelihood of developing a more severe condition. Little is known about the association between child disabilities and caregiving practices in less developed countries, penalized by both lack of data and a research bias toward western societies.

Method: In this study, we apply data mining methods on a large (N = 29,525) dataset from UNICEF to investigate the association between caregiving practices and developmental disabilities of the children, and highlight the differences between intellectual and other disabilities.

Results: Our results highlight that, compared to other types of disabilities, intellectual disabilities increased the risk of being neglected by the caregiver in those activities oriented to the cognitive development. The education of the caregiver and the socioeconomical development of the country are actively involved in the moderation of the risk.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that educational policies of parental training, such as psychoeducation regarding intellectual disabilities and destigmatization campaigns, are needed to benefit parental practices in low- and middle-income countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103795DOI Listing
December 2020
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