Publications by authors named "Pierre Maurage"

148 Publications

Self-dehumanisation in severe alcohol use disorder: Links with self-stigma and environmental satisfaction.

Int J Psychol 2021 May 10. Epub 2021 May 10.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Metadehumanisation (i.e., the perception of being considered as less than human by others) is proposed to be widespread in stigmatised populations, such as people with severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD). However, the relations between metadehumanisation, self-dehumanisation (i.e., the self-perception of being less than human), and stigmatisation (i.e., the negative taint applied to some groups) remain unexplored. The aim of this research is thus to investigate the relations between these processes. Metadehumanisation, self-dehumanisation, self-stigma (and its subdimensions) and environmental satisfaction were assessed in 120 inpatients with SAUD and analysed in a mediational model. Stigma awareness was positively associated with metadehumanisation, whereas environmental satisfaction was negatively associated with metadehumanisation. Stigma's application to the self was associated with increased self-dehumanisation. Self-stigma and self-dehumanisation are closely intertwined phenomena. Self-dehumanisation seems to follow a multi-step process suggesting that some steps, such as dehumanisation awareness, are missing from current models of dehumanisation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12774DOI Listing
May 2021

Time perception and alcohol use: A systematic review.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2021 Apr 29;127:377-403. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group, Psychological Science Research Institute, UClouvain, 10, place Cardinal Mercier, Louvain-la-Neuve, B-1348, Belgium. Electronic address:

Attentional, executive, and memory processes play a pivotal role in time perception. As acute or chronic alcohol consumption influences these processes, it should also modify time perception. We systematically reviewed and critically assessed all existing studies on time perception among alcohol drinkers, following the PICOS procedure and PRISMA guidelines. We selected 31 articles, distributed across four populations (i.e., alcohol intoxication, binge/heavy drinking, severe alcohol use disorder [SAUD], and Korsakoff syndrome). Several studies suggested the overestimation or underestimation of time during alcohol intoxication. No direct effect of binge/heavy drinking was observed on time perception, while studies on SAUD reported conflicting results. Participants with Korsakoff syndrome exhibited globally impaired time perception and marked deficits in associated cognitive abilities. This systematic review suggests that alcohol consumption affects time perception only when specific cognitive processes are depleted. However, due to the methodological limitations related to existing studies, no firm conclusion can be drawn. Guidelines and perspectives to advance the field are proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.04.027DOI Listing
April 2021

Alcohol consumption changes during the first COVID-19 lockdown: an online population survey in a convenience sample of French-speaking Belgian residents.

Psychiatry Res 2021 Apr 17;300:113938. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology research group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

An online survey among French-speaking Belgians (N=7711) investigated self-reported changes in alcohol consumption during the first COVID-19-related lockdown (March 17 - May 4 2020). Population-weighted estimates indicated that 31.37% of the population increased consumption during lockdown, 30.32% decreased consumption and 38.31% reported unchanged consumption. The magnitude of change was higher for "decreasers" than "increasers", resulting in a slight reduction in overall consumption. A multiple regression analysis revealed that age, occupational status, number of cohabitants, perceived alcohol accessibility, drinking motivations and previous consumption predicted consumption changes. The lockdown was thus associated with consumption modifications among French-speaking Belgians, without a prevailing direction of change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113938DOI Listing
April 2021

My Physical Appearance at the Center of Others' Concerns: What are the Consequences for Women's Metadehumanization and Emotions?

Psychol Belg 2021 Mar 23;61(1):116-130. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Louvain Social Psychology Lab, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Place C. Mercier 10, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Despite the frequency of women's exposure to sexually objectifying behaviors in their daily life (e.g., through comments on their appearance, gazing or touching), no previous work has investigated how such a focus on their physical appearance influences women's meta-perceptions. Capitalizing on recent studies showing that sexually objectified women are dehumanized by both male and female participants, the present paper investigates women's metadehumanization (i.e., their perceptions of being viewed as less than fully human) and its emotional consequences following interpersonal sexual objectification. In three studies, we showed that when an interaction partner focuses on their physical appearance, women report higher levels of metadehumanization, as well as increased anger and sadness, than when the partner focuses on non-physical parts. Theoretical and empirical contributions of the present findings are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/pb.558DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996437PMC
March 2021

Stigmatization and dehumanization perceptions towards psychiatric patients among nurses: A path-analysis approach.

Arch Psychiatr Nurs 2021 Apr 23;35(2):153-161. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Place du Cardinal Mercier 10, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background: People with mental illness are stigmatized and dehumanized, which contributes to disorders' maintenance. Dehumanization is associated with abuse/neglect and should thus be evaluated among healthcare workers. We compared nurses' stigmatizing/dehumanizing perceptions of people with psychiatric versus non-psychiatric disorders. We also investigated the impact of social contact's quality/frequency and identified the determinants of dehumanization.

Methods: French-speaking hospitals and nurses' associations were contacted to disseminate the survey among their employees or members. Three hundred thirty-six nurses reported their perceptions of one among three clinical populations (people with severe alcohol use disorder, schizophrenia, or cardiovascular disease). Nurses' perception of patients was evaluated through stigmatization, dehumanization, quality of contacts, structural discrimination, and evaluation of patients' life, pain, consent, and diagnostic overshadowing. Nurses' well-being was evaluated through their own perception of being dehumanized by superiors and their burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress levels.

Results: Nurses stigmatized and dehumanized people with a psychiatric disorder more than people without a psychiatric disorder. Nurses dehumanized patients more if they felt dehumanized by their hierarchical superiors and less if they had qualitative contacts with patients.

Conclusions: Stigmatization and dehumanization are widespread among nurses in psychiatry, which advocates for less stigmatizing practices in healthcare settings. We propose concrete perspectives to reduce stigma/dehumanization among nurses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2020.12.005DOI Listing
April 2021

How Should Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation be Used in Populations With Severe Alcohol Use Disorder? A Clinically Oriented Systematic Review.

Clin EEG Neurosci 2021 Mar 18:15500594211001212. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Science Research Institute, 83415UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

. Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is a major public health concern, given its massive individual, interpersonal, and societal consequences. The available prevention and treatment programs have proven limited effectiveness, as relapse rates are still high in this clinical population. Developing effective interventions reducing the appearance and persistence of SAUD thus constitutes an experimental and clinical priority. Among the new therapeutic approaches, there is a growing interest for noninvasive neuromodulation techniques, and particularly for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as an adjunctive treatment in neuropsychiatric disorders, including SAUD. . We propose a systematic review, based on preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, evaluating the available evidence on the effectiveness of tDCS to improve clinical interventions in SAUD. . We provide an integrative overview of studies applying tDCS in clinical populations with SAUD, together with a standardized methodological quality assessment. We show that the currently available data remain inconsistent. Some data suggested that tDCS can (1) reduce craving, relapse or alcohol-cue reactivity and (2) improve cognitive control and inhibition. However, other studies did not observe any beneficial effect of tDCS in SAUD. . Capitalizing on the identified strengths and shortcomings of available results, we present evidence-based clinical guidelines to integrate tDCS in current clinical settings and to combine it with neurocognitive training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/15500594211001212DOI Listing
March 2021

Drinking frequency matters: links between consumption pattern and implicit/explicit attitudes towards alcohol.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2021 Mar 1. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology research group (LEP), Psychological Science Research Institute, UCLouvain, Place Cardinal Mercier, 10, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Rationale: Attitudes towards alcohol constitute a central factor to predict future consumption. Previous studies showed that young adults with risky alcohol consumption present positive implicit and explicit attitudes towards alcohol.

Objectives: It appears crucial to disentangle the relationship between specific consumption patterns (e.g., binge drinking or moderate daily drinking) and these alcohol-related attitudes.

Methods: We compared implicit/explicit positive attitudes towards alcohol among 101 university students distributed in 4 groups [control low-drinking participants (CP), daily drinkers (DD), low binge drinkers (LBD), high binge drinkers (HBD)] differing regarding alcohol consumption profile, to explore the impact of consumption characteristics on alcohol-related attitudes. Participants performed a visual version of the Implicit Association Test (evaluating implicit attitudes towards alcohol), followed by self-reported measures of explicit alcohol-related attitudes and expectancies.

Results: HBD and DD (but not LBD) presented stronger implicit positive attitudes towards alcohol than CP. All drinkers explicitly considered alcohol consumption as pleasant, but only DD qualified it as something good.

Conclusion: Beyond and above the quantity consumed and the presence of binge drinking habits, consumption frequency appears as a central factor associated with high implicit/explicit positive attitudes towards alcohol in young drinkers. This underlines the need to consider this factor not only in future studies exploring implicit/explicit attitudes but also in the development of prevention and intervention campaigns in youth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-021-05804-zDOI Listing
March 2021

Visuoperceptive Impairments in Severe Alcohol Use Disorder: A Critical Review of Behavioral Studies.

Neuropsychol Rev 2021 Feb 16. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Univ. Lille, Inserm, CHU Lille, U1172 - LilNCog - Lille Neuroscience & Cognition, F-59000, Lille, France.

The present literature review is aimed at offering a comprehensive and critical view of behavioral data collected during the past seventy years concerning visuoperception in severe alcohol use disorders (AUD). To pave the way for a renewal of research and clinical approaches in this very little understood field, this paper (1) provides a critical review of previous behavioral studies exploring visuoperceptive processing in severe AUD, (2) identifies the alcohol-related parameters and demographic factors that influence the deficits, and (3) addresses the limitations of this literature and their implications for current clinical strategies. By doing so, this review highlights the presence of visuoperceptive deficits but also shows how the lack of in-depth studies exploring the visual system in this clinical population results in the current absence of integration of these deficits in the dominant models of vision. Given the predominance of vision in everyday life, we stress the need to better delineate the extent, the specificity, and the actual implications of the deficits for severe AUD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11065-020-09469-xDOI Listing
February 2021

Alcohol consumption changes following COVID-19 lockdown among French-speaking Belgian individuals at risk for alcohol use disorder.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2021 Feb 12;110:110282. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

We investigated changes in alcohol consumption following the COVID-19 lockdown among French-speaking Belgian individuals at risk for severe alcohol use disorder. Participants (N = 299) at risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD, i.e., score higher than 19 at the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test), and 299 moderate drinkers (MOD, i.e., score lower than 8) individually matched for age, gender and education provided self-reports of alcohol consumption changes (i.e., number of alcohol units consumed during a typical week before and during lockdown). AUD were more likely (91.31%) than MOD (71.57%) to modify their consumption following lockdown (p < 0.0001). They were more likely to decrease (65.89% vs. 35.12%, p < 0.0001) and less likely to increase (25.42% vs. 36.45%, p = 0.004) their consumption than MOD. Analyses of post-pre lockdown differences in alcohol consumption showed that AUD presented a stronger decrease than MOD (-13.97 units/week vs. -0.07, p < 0.0001). Among individuals who decreased consumption, AUD decreased more (-27.92 vs. -2.74, p < 0.0001) than MOD. Among those who increased consumption, AUD increased more (17.32 vs. 2.44, p < 0.0001) than MOD. We thus observed sharp consumption increases or conversely abrupt decreases in individuals at high risk of alcohol use disorder, underscoring the need to develop prophylactic interventions for this population during such sanitary crises, to avoid brutal changes of the alcohol consumption pattern. Efforts should be made to mitigate consumption increases but also to favor progressive rather than sudden decreases in order to prevent damaging withdrawal symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110282DOI Listing
February 2021

What is binge drinking? Insights from a network perspective.

Addict Behav 2021 Jun 29;117:106848. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Quartier UNIL-Mouline Bâtiment Géopolis, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

This study aimed to delineate the specific characteristics of binge drinking habits by capitalizing on data-driven network analysis. Such an approach allowed us to consider binge drinking as a network system of interacting elements, thus identifying the key variables involved in this phenomenon. A total of 1,455 university students with excessive drinking habits were included in this study. We assessed the most critical features of binge drinking (i.e., the consumption of more than six alcohol units per occasion, drunkenness frequency, consumption speed), together with alcohol use and more general alcohol-related components of dysfunction and harm. All variables were considered in the network analysis. Centrality analysis identified drunkenness frequency as the most influential variable in the entire network. Community detection analysis showed three distinct subnetworks related to alcohol use, drunkenness, and dysfunction/harm components. Drunkenness frequency and blackout occurrence emerged as core bridge items in the binge drinking network. Drunkenness is recognized as the hallmark feature of binge drinking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.106848DOI Listing
June 2021

Neural correlates of visuoperceptive changes in severe alcohol use disorder: A critical review of neuroimaging and electrophysiological findings.

J Neurosci Res 2021 May 7;99(5):1253-1275. Epub 2021 Feb 7.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (UCLEP), Faculté de Psychologie, Psychological Sciences Research Institute (IPSY), UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Visuoperceptive deficits are frequently reported in severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) and are considered as pervasive and persistent in time. While this topic of investigation has previously driven researchers' interest, far fewer studies have focused on visuoperception in SAUD since the '90s, leaving open central questions regarding the origin and implications of these deficits. To renew research in the field and provide a solid background to work upon, this paper reviews the neural correlates of visuoperception in SAUD, based on data from neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies. Results reveal structural and functional changes within the visual system but also in the connections between occipital and frontal areas. We highlight the lack of integration of these findings in the dominant models of vision which stress the dynamic nature of the visual system and consider the presence of both bottom-up and top-down cerebral mechanisms. Visuoperceptive changes are also discussed in the framework of long-lasting debates regarding the influence of demographic and alcohol-related factors, together stressing the presence of inter-individual differences. Capitalizing on this review, we provide guidelines to inform future research, and ultimately improve clinical care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24799DOI Listing
May 2021

New directions in the evaluation and rehabilitation of neurocognitive processes in addictive disorders.

Addict Behav 2021 Jun 27;117:106842. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.106842DOI Listing
June 2021

Sex-based and beauty-based objectification: Metadehumanization and emotional consequences among victims.

Br J Soc Psychol 2021 Jan 27. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Louvain Social Psychology Lab, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

We investigated how two forms of objectification (i.e., sex- and beauty-based objectification) relate to metadehumanization (i.e., the perception of being dehumanized) and emotional consequences for victims. Capitalizing on previous research, we hypothesized that sex-based objectification would induce animalistic metadehumanization and that beauty-based objectification would induce mechanistic metadehumanization. Our four studies showed that sex-based objectification elicits stronger mechanistic metadehumanization than beauty-based objectification, which also elicits higher mechanistic metadehumanization than non-objectifying control condition. Unexpectedly, animalistic metadehumanization did not vary across conditions. These findings suggest that, consistent with the social metaphor, objectified women feel mechanistically dehumanized, independently of the objectification type faced. Sex- and beauty-based objectifications also elicit more anger but less sadness than the control condition. However, only sex-based objectification increases guilt feelings. The general discussion contrasts perpetrators' vision of objectified women to women's own experience of objectification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12446DOI Listing
January 2021

Emotional processes in binge drinking: A systematic review and perspective.

Clin Psychol Rev 2021 Jan 13;84:101971. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology research group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Binge drinking is a widespread alcohol consumption pattern commonly engaged by youth. Here, we present the first systematic review of emotional processes in relation to binge drinking. Capitalizing on a theoretical model describing three emotional processing steps (emotional appraisal/identification, emotional response, emotional regulation) and following PRISMA guidelines, we considered all identified human studies exploring emotional abilities among binge drinkers. A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and PsychINFO, and a standardized methodological quality assessment was performed for each study. The main findings offered by the 43 studies included are: 1) regarding emotional appraisal/identification, binge drinking is related to heightened negative emotional states, including greater severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and have difficulties in recognizing emotional cues expressed by others; 2) regarding emotional response, binge drinkers exhibit diminished emotional response compared with non-binge drinkers; 3) regarding emotional regulation, no experimental data currently support impaired emotion regulation in binge drinking. Variability in the identification and measurement of binge drinking habits across studies limits conclusions. Nevertheless, current findings establish the relevance of emotional processes in binge drinking and set the stage for new research perspectives to identify the nature and extent of emotional impairments in the onset and maintenance of excessive alcohol use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2021.101971DOI Listing
January 2021

Prior drinking motives predict alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional online survey among Belgian college students.

Addict Behav 2021 04 9;115:106772. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

The global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the resulting lockdown measures have raised concerns regarding their effect on alcohol consumption. We investigated alcohol use during lockdown in a population of college students, usually characterized by social and heavy drinking. We also tested the predictive role of pre-lockdown drinking motives on alcohol consumption during lockdown. We collected data from 1951 French-speaking Belgian students during the lockdown period (April 1st - May 3rd, 2020) through a cross-sectional online survey. Participants self-reported their daily alcohol consumption (1) during a typical week in normal circumstances (i.e., before lockdown), and (2) since lockdown onset. We also assessed drinking motives and severity of alcohol use before lockdown. Our findings showed that 68.2% of the sample reported a lower alcohol consumption during lockdown compared to before lockdown, 17.2% conversely reporting a higher consumption. Enhancement, social and coping motives were all associated with heavy drinking before lockdown. Enhancement and social motives predicted lower alcohol consumption during lockdown among heavy drinkers. Conversely, coping motives, as well as social motives among low drinkers, predicted higher consumption during lockdown. Conformity motives, as well as enhancement motives among low and moderate drinkers, did not predict alcohol consumption before or during lockdown. Overall, several pre-lockdown drinking motives reliably predicted alcohol consumption during lockdown and could thus be used to identify at-risk populations and to tailor intervention programs on alcohol misuse during sanitary crises.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106772DOI Listing
April 2021

Magnocellular and Parvocellular Mediated Luminance Contrast Discrimination in Severe Alcohol Use Disorder.

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2021 02 29;45(2):375-385. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Univ. Lille, Inserm, CHU Lille, U1172 - LilNCog - Lille Neuroscience & Cognition, Lille, France.

Background: Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is associated with widespread cognitive impairments, including low-level visual processing deficits that persist after prolonged abstinence. However, the extent and characteristics of these visual deficits remain largely undetermined, impeding the identification of their underlying mechanisms and influence on higher-order processing. In particular, little work has been conducted to assess the integrity of the magnocellular (MC) and parvocellular (PC) visual pathways, namely the 2 main visual streams that convey information from the retina up to striate, extrastriate, and dorsal/ventral cerebral regions.

Methods: We investigated achromatic luminance contrast processing mediated by inferred MC and PC pathways in 33 patients with SAUD and 32 matched healthy controls using 2 psychophysical pedestal contrast discrimination tasks that promote responses of inferred MC or PC pathways. We relied on a staircase procedure to assess participants' ability to detect small changes in luminance within an array of 4 gray squares that were either continuously presented (steady pedestal, MC-biased) or briefly flashed (pulsed pedestal, PC-biased).

Results: We replicated the expected pattern of MC and PC contrast responses in healthy controls. We found preserved dissociation of MC and PC contrast signatures in SAUD but higher MC-mediated mean contrast discrimination thresholds combined with a steeper PC-mediated contrast discrimination slope compared with healthy controls.

Conclusion: These findings indicate altered MC-mediated contrast sensitivity and PC-mediated contrast gain, confirming the presence of early sensory disturbances in individuals with SAUD. Such low-level deficits, while usually overlooked, might influence higher-order abilities (e.g., memory, executive functions) in SAUD by disturbing the "coarse-to-fine" tuning of the visual system, which relies on the distinct functional properties of MC and PC pathways and ensures proper and efficient monitoring of the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acer.14541DOI Listing
February 2021

A biological framework for emotional dysregulation in alcohol misuse: from gut to brain.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 04 7;26(4):1098-1118. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been associated with impairments in social and emotional cognition that play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of addiction. Repeated alcohol intoxications trigger inflammatory processes and sensitise the immune system. In addition, emerging data point to perturbations in the gut microbiome as a key regulator of the inflammatory cascade in AUD. Inflammation and social cognition are potent modulators of one another. At the same time, accumulating evidence implicates the gut microbiome in shaping emotional and social cognition, suggesting the possibility of a common underlying loop of crucial importance for addiction. Here we propose an integrative microbiome neuro-immuno-affective framework of how emotional dysregulation and alcohol-related microbiome dysbiosis could accelerate the cycle of addiction. We outline the overlapping effects of chronic alcohol use, inflammation and microbiome alterations on the fronto-limbic circuitry as a convergence hub for emotional dysregulation. We discuss the interdependent relationship of social cognition, immunity and the microbiome in relation to alcohol misuse- from binge drinking to addiction. In addition, we emphasise adolescence as a sensitive period for the confluence of alcohol harmful effects and emotional dysregulation in the developing gut-brain axis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00970-6DOI Listing
April 2021

Eye Tracking Studies Exploring Cognitive and Affective Processes among Alcohol Drinkers: a Systematic Review and Perspectives.

Neuropsychol Rev 2021 03 25;31(1):167-201. Epub 2020 Oct 25.

Univ. Lille, Inserm, CHU Lille, U1172 - LilNCog - Lille Neuroscience & Cognition, Université de Lille, Lille, France.

Acute alcohol intoxication and alcohol use disorders are characterized by a wide range of psychological and cerebral impairments, which have been widely explored using neuropsychological and neuroscientific techniques. Eye tracking has recently emerged as an innovative tool to renew this exploration, as eye movements offer complementary information on the processes underlying perceptive, attentional, memory or executive abilities. Building on this, the present systematic and critical literature review provides a comprehensive overview of eye tracking studies exploring cognitive and affective processes among alcohol drinkers. Using PRISMA guidelines, 36 papers that measured eye movements among alcohol drinkers were extracted from three databases (PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus). They were assessed for methodological quality using a standardized procedure, and categorized based on the main cognitive function measured, namely perceptive abilities, attentional bias, executive function, emotion and prevention/intervention. Eye tracking indexes showed that alcohol-related disorders are related to: (1) a stable pattern of basic eye movement impairments, particularly during alcohol intoxication; (2) a robust attentional bias, indexed by increased dwell times for alcohol-related stimuli; (3) a reduced inhibitory control on saccadic movements; (4) an increased pupillary reactivity to visual stimuli, regardless of their emotional content; (5) a limited visual attention to prevention messages. Perspectives for future research are proposed, notably encouraging the exploration of eye movements in severe alcohol use disorders and the establishment of methodological gold standards for eye tracking measures in this field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11065-020-09458-0DOI Listing
March 2021

Tackling heterogeneity: Individual variability of emotion decoding deficits in severe alcohol use disorder.

J Affect Disord 2021 01 15;279:299-307. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Centre de Neurosciences Cognitives, UMR 5229, CNRS, Bron, France; Service Universitaire de Réhabilitation, SUR-CL3R, Centre Hospitalier Le Vinatier, Lyon, France.

Background: Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is associated with social cognition deficits. Patients with SAUD are impaired for the recognition of emotional facial expressions, particularly at early stages of abstinence. These deficits damage interpersonal relations and increase relapse risk. However, uncertainties still abound on their variation across emotions and on the heterogeneity of emotional impairments across patients. We addressed these questions by exploring how the deficit varies according to emotions' type/intensity and patients' heterogeneity.

Methods: Sixty-five recently detoxified patients with SAUD and 65 matched healthy controls performed the Facial Emotion Recognition Test, assessing the ability to identify six emotions (anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness) displayed by morphed faces with various intensities. Accuracy scores and detection thresholds were collected for each emotion. Beyond group comparisons, multiple single-case analyses determined the percentage of patients presenting decoding deficits for each emotion.

Results: When current depression and anxiety symptoms were controlled for, patients did not present a general emotion decoding deficit, but were rather characterized by specific deficits for disgust/contempt in accuracy, and for disgust in detection threshold scores. Single-case analyses showed that only a third of patients presented a clinically significant emotional deficit.

Conclusions: Patients with SAUD only present emotional decoding deficits for specific interpersonal emotions (disgust/contempt) when subclinical psychopathological states are controlled for, and show no general emotional impairment. This goes against the proposal of a generalized social cognition deficit in this population. This group effect moreover masks a massive heterogeneity across patients, which has implications at experimental and clinical levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7738413PMC
January 2021

COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and problematic eating behaviors in a student population.

J Behav Addict 2020 Oct 24;9(3):826-835. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

13Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Unité INSERM UMR 1247, Groupe de Recherche sur l'Alcool & les Pharmacodépendances, Centre Universitaire de Recherche en Santé, 80025, Amiens, France.

Background And Aims: Since mid-March 2020, over 3 billion people have been confined as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Problematic eating behaviors are likely to be impacted by the pandemic through multiple pathways. This study examined the relationships between stress related to lockdown measures and binge eating and dietary restriction in a population of French students during the first week of confinement.

Methods: A sample of undergraduate students (N = 5,738) completed an online questionnaire 7 days after lockdown measures were introduced. The survey comprised variables related to lockdown measures and the COVID-19-pandemic, mood, stress, body image, binge eating and dietary restriction during the past 7 days, as well as intent to binge eat and restrict in the following 15 days.

Results: Stress related to the lockdown was associated with greater likelihood of binge eating and dietary restriction over the past week and intentions to binge eat and restrict over the next 15 days. Greater exposure to COVID-19-related media was associated with increased eating restriction over the past week. Binge eating and restriction (past and intentions) were associated with established risk factors, including female gender, low impulse regulation, high body dissatisfaction, and having a concurrent probable eating disorder.

Discussion And Conclusion: The higher the stress related to the first week of confinement, the higher the risk of problematic eating behaviors among students, particularly those characterized by eating-related concerns. Screening for risk factors and providing targeted interventions might help decrease problematic eating behaviors among those who are most vulnerable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/2006.2020.00053DOI Listing
October 2020

Understanding Attentional Biases in Severe Alcohol Use Disorder: A Combined Behavioral and Eye-Tracking Perspective.

Alcohol Alcohol 2021 Jan;56(1):1-7

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Science Research Institute, UCLouvain, 1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Rationale: Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is a psychiatric condition linked to cerebral and cognitive consequences. SAUD is notably characterized by an overactivation of the reflexive/reward system when confronted with alcohol-related cues. Such overreactivity generates a preferential allocation of attentional resources toward these cues, labeled as attentional biases (AB). Theoretical assumptions have been made regarding the characteristics of AB and their underlying processes. While often considered as granted, these assumptions remain to be experimentally validated.

Aims: We first identify the theoretical assumptions made by previous studies exploring the nature and role of AB. We then discuss the current evidence available to establish their validity. We finally propose research avenues to experimentally test them.

Methods: Capitalizing on a narrative review of studies exploring AB in SAUD, the current limits of the behavioral measures used for their evaluation are highlighted as well as the benefits derived from the use of eye-tracking measures to obtain a deeper understanding of their underlying processes. We describe the issues related to the theoretical proposals on AB and propose research avenues to test them. Four experimental axes are proposed, respectively, related to the determination of (a) the genuine nature of the mechanisms underlying AB; (b) their stability over the disease course; (c) their specificity to alcohol-related stimuli and (d) their reflexive or controlled nature.

Conclusions: This in-depth exploration of the available knowledge related to AB in SAUD, and of its key limitations, highlights the theoretical and clinical interest of our innovative experimental perspectives capitalizing on eye-tracking measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agaa062DOI Listing
January 2021

Hostile attributional bias in severe alcohol use disorder.

J Psychiatr Res 2020 10 29;129:176-180. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Impairments in social cognition have been documented in severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) over the past two decades. They have been linked with lower social functioning and poor treatment outcomes, illustrating their key role in the disorder. However, studies investigating social cognition in SAUD have largely focused on emotional decoding and theory of mind abilities, neglecting other important processes. We expand this line of research by exploring the association between SAUD and hostile attributional biases (i.e., the tendency to attribute hostile intentions to others), another clinically relevant subcomponent of social cognition. Thirty-five patients with SAUD and thirty-five matched healthy controls completed the short version of the Ambiguous Intentions Hostility Questionnaire, a validated measure assessing participants' perceived hostility, blame attribution and aggression in relation to vignettes depicting social situations with negative outcomes and ambiguous intent. Patients with SAUD attributed more hostile intentions to others than did healthy controls. Moreover, this hostile attributional bias was associated with increased interpersonal problems in SAUD, as measured through the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems. We thus evidence hostile attributional bias in SAUD and extend the growing literature on social cognition impairments in this population. Furthermore, these findings corroborate the recent proposal that patients with SAUD exhibit biases toward socially threatening information. The association between hostile attributional bias and interpersonal problems suggests that targeting this bias in treatment may reduce the relapse risk resulting from interpersonal deficits. Recommendations are made to further explore the clinical relevance of hostile attributional bias in SAUD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.06.031DOI Listing
October 2020

What We Talk About When We Talk About Binge Drinking: Towards an Integrated Conceptualization and Evaluation.

Alcohol Alcohol 2020 Aug;55(5):468-479

INSERM UMR 1247, Research Group on Alcohol and Pharmacodependences, GRAP, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens 80025, France.

Rationale: Binge drinking (BD), characterized by recurring alternations between intense intoxication episodes and abstinence periods, is the most frequent alcohol consumption pattern in youth and is growing in prevalence among older adults. Many studies have underlined the specific harmful impact of this habit by showing impaired abilities in a wide range of cognitive functions among binge drinkers, as well as modifications of brain structure and function.

Aims: Several controversies and inconsistencies currently hamper the harmonious development of the field and the recognition of BD as a specific alcohol consumption pattern. The main concern is the absence of consensual BD conceptualization, leading to variability in experimental group selection and alcohol consumption evaluation. The present paper aims at overcoming this key issue through a two-step approach.

Methods And Conclusions: First, a literature review allows proposing an integrated BD conceptualization, distinguishing it from other subclinical alcohol consumption patterns. Six specific characteristics of BD are identified, namely, (1) the presence of physiological symptoms related to BD episodes, (2) the presence of psychological symptoms related to BD episodes, (3) the ratio of BD episodes compared to all alcohol drinking occasions, (4) the frequency of BD episodes, (5) the consumption speed and (6) the alternation between BD episodes and soberness periods. Second, capitalizing on this conceptual clarification, we propose an evaluation protocol jointly measuring these six BD characteristics. Finally, several research perspectives are presented to refine the proposed conceptualization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agaa041DOI Listing
August 2020

Selective visual and crossmodal impairment in the discrimination of anger and fear expressions in severe alcohol use disorder.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2020 May 28;213:108079. Epub 2020 May 28.

Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (UCLEP), Psychological Sciences Research Institute (IPSY) and Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS), UCLouvain, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background: Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is associated with impaired discrimination of emotional expressions. This deficit appears increased in crossmodal settings, when simultaneous inputs from different sensory modalities are presented. However, so far, studies exploring emotional crossmodal processing in SAUD relied on static faces and unmatched face/voice pairs, thus offering limited ecological validity. Our aim was therefore to assess emotional processing using a validated and ecological paradigm relying on dynamic audio-visual stimuli, manipulating the amount of emotional information available.

Method: Thirty individuals with SAUD and 30 matched healthy controls performed an emotional discrimination task requiring to identify five emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness) expressed as visual, auditory, or auditory-visual segments of varying length. Sensitivity indices (d') were computed to get an unbiased measure of emotional discrimination and entered in a Generalized Linear Mixed Model. Incorrect emotional attributions were also scrutinized through confusion matrices.

Results: Discrimination levels varied across sensory modalities and emotions, and increased with stimuli duration. Crucially, performances also improved from unimodal to crossmodal conditions in both groups, but discrimination for anger crossmodal stimuli and fear crossmodal/visual stimuli remained selectively impaired in SAUD. These deficits were not influenced by stimuli duration, suggesting that they were not modulated by the amount of emotional information available. Moreover, they were not associated with systematic emotional error patterns reflecting specific confusions between emotions.

Conclusions: These results clarify the nature and extent of crossmodal impairments in SAUD and converge with earlier findings to ascribe a specific role for anger and fear in this pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108079DOI Listing
May 2020

Inter-individual variability of social perception and social knowledge impairments among patients with schizophrenia.

Psychiatry Res 2020 08 15;290:112951. Epub 2020 May 15.

Clinique Notre-Dame des Anges, 4000 Liège, and Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS), Université catholique de Louvain, 10 Avenue Hippocrate, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

Deficits in social perception and knowledge and their negative impact on social functioning, have been repeatedly reported among patients with schizophrenia. However, earlier studies have focused on an overall assessment of social perception and social knowledge, without exploring their sub-components nor the interindividual variation of the deficit. This study aims to refine the exploration of this deficit and to assess its interindividual variation. Twenty-nine patients with schizophrenia and 24 healthy controls, matched for age and gender, completed a validated and integrated social perception and knowledge task (i.e. the PerSo test). Patients with schizophrenia had reduced performance in all PerSo subtests, namely contextual fluency, interpretation and social convention. However, these deficits were not correlated with the severity of clinical symptoms, and individual profiles analyses showed a marked heterogeneity among patients on their abilities. Our study confirms the existence of deficits in social perception and knowledge and underlines their considerable heterogeneity. Therefore, it is necessary to test and rehabilitate individually social perception and knowledge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112951DOI Listing
August 2020

Distinct psychological profiles among college students with substance use: A cluster analytic approach.

Addict Behav 2020 10 21;109:106477. Epub 2020 May 21.

Université de Caen-Normandie, UNICAEN, LPCN, Esplanade de la Paix, 14000 Caen, France. Electronic address:

Substance use in youth is a central public health concern, related to deleterious consequences at psychological, social, and cognitive/cerebral levels. Previous research has identified impulsivity and consumption motives as key factors in the emergence of excessive substance use among college students. However, most studies have focused on a specific substance and have considered this population as a unitary group, ignoring the potential heterogeneity in psychological profiles. We used a cluster analytic approach to explore the heterogeneity in a large sample (N = 2741) of substance users (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin) on impulsivity and consumption motives. We identified four clusters: The first two clusters, associated with good self-esteem, low anxiety, and moderate substance use, were respectively characterized by low impulsivity and consumption motives (Cluster 1) and by high social and enhancement motives without marked impulsivity (Cluster 2). The two other clusters were conversely related to low self-esteem and high anxiety, and characterized by high consumption motives (particularly conformity) together with elevated urgency (Cluster 3) and by globally increased impulsivity and consumption motives (Cluster 4). These two clusters were also associated with higher substance use. These results highlight the existence of distinct psychological profiles of substance users and underline the need to develop targeted prevention and intervention programs (e.g., focusing on the specific impulsivity facets and consumption motives presented by each subgroup). Based on these findings, we also suggest extending the exploration of distinct profiles of substance users by targeting other psychological variables (e.g., self-esteem).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106477DOI Listing
October 2020

A review of studies exploring fetal alcohol spectrum disorders through eye tracking measures.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2020 12 26;103:109980. Epub 2020 May 26.

Univ. Lille, Inserm, CHU Lille, U1172 - Lille Neuroscience & Cognition, Lille, France; CHU Lille, Clinique de Psychiatrie, Unité CURE, Lille, France; Centre National de Ressources et de Résilience Lille-Paris (CN2R), Lille, France. Electronic address:

The widespread cognitive and cerebral consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure have been established during the last decades, through the exploration of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) using neuropsychological and neuroscience tools. This research field has recently benefited from the emergence of innovative measures, among which eye tracking, allowing a precise measure of the eye movements indexing a large range of cognitive functions. We propose a comprehensive review, based on PRISMA guidelines, of the eye tracking studies performed in populations with FASD. Studies were selected from the PsycINFO, PubMed and Scopus databases, and were evaluated through a standardized methodological quality assessment. Studies were classified according to the eye tracking indexes recorded (saccade characteristics, initial fixation, number of fixations, dwell time, gaze pattern) and the process measured (perception, memory, executive functions). Eye tracking data showed that FASD are mostly associated with impaired ocular perceptive/motor abilities (i.e., altered eye movements, centrally for saccade initiation), lower accuracy as well as increased error rates in saccadic eye movements involving working memory abilities, and reduced inhibitory control on saccades. After identifying the main limitations presented by the reviewed studies, we propose guidelines for future research, underlining the need to increase the standardization of diagnosis and evaluation tools, and to improve the methodological quality of eye tracking measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.109980DOI Listing
December 2020

Contribution of Time Estimation and Knowledge to Heartbeat Counting Task Performance under Original and Adapted Instructions.

Biol Psychol 2020 07 25;154:107904. Epub 2020 May 25.

Psychological Science Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Fund for Scientific Research - Belgium (FRS-FNRS), Belgium.

Interoceptive accuracy is frequently assessed using the Heartbeat Counting Task (HCT), requiring participants to count the number of times their heart beats. The HCT validity has been questioned, as participants may perform the task by estimating, rather than counting, their felt heartbeats. Participants could estimate the time or use their knowledge of their heart rate. Some research ruled out the contribution of time estimation in HCT performance. However, we believe these studies relied on a problematic analytic rationale. We revisited this question by relying on new analytic strategies, and by examining the role of estimation in HCT performance, while varying task instructions. The findings support the role of time and knowledge-based estimations under original instructions. They also highlight the critical impact of instructions on HCT validity. Given the many limitations of the HCT, we urge researchers to test the robustness of published effects and to reconsider the interpretation of replicable results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2020.107904DOI Listing
July 2020

Examining the role of fundamental psychological needs in the development of metadehumanization: A multi-population approach.

Br J Soc Psychol 2021 Jan 28;60(1):196-221. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

In the present paper, we investigate dehumanization processes from a victim perspective. We propose that dehumanization experiences, that is metadehumanization, arise from people's feelings that their fundamental human needs are thwarted and that such experiences influence their emotions, self-esteem, and coping strategies. Our model is put at test in three contexts involving different types of dehumanization victims: Women (Study 1a, N = 349), patients with severe alcohol use disorder (Study 1b, N = 120), and employees in organizations (Study 1c, N = 347). Our integrated model of metadehumanization, which considers both its antecedents and consequences, proved stable across contexts and populations and therefore helps building bridges between different psychological disciplines in which dehumanization occurs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12380DOI Listing
January 2021

Metadehumanization in severe alcohol-use disorders: Links with fundamental needs and clinical outcomes.

Addict Behav 2020 08 30;107:106425. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Place C. Mercier 10, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background: Dehumanization, i.e., the denial of one's humanity, has important consequences for social interactions. Earlier works mainly studied the dehumanizer's perspective, neglecting victims and particularly psychiatric populations. This study's goal is thus to investigate if patients with severe alcohol-use disorders (SAUD) feel dehumanized by others and to reveal factors linked to metadehumanization.

Methods: A cross-sectional study in 120 patients with SAUD as diagnosed by their psychiatrist using DSM-IV criteria.

Results: Participants reported significant levels of metadehumanization, which were directly or indirectly linked to fundamental needs threat (γ = 0.41, p < .001), decreased positive emotions (indirect effect = -0.11, p < .05), reduced self-esteem (indirect effect = -0.16, p < .01), reduced use of functional coping strategies focused on the search of social support (γ = -0.20, p < .05), and increased use of dysfunctional coping strategies (indirect effect = 0.15, p < .01) such as excessive alcohol use (indirect effect = 0.10, p < .05).

Conclusions: Patients feel dehumanized by others, an experience linked to important deleterious consequences for patients' wellbeing and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106425DOI Listing
August 2020