Publications by authors named "Ursula Beermann"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Temporal Unfolding of Micro-valences in Facial Expression Evoked by Visual, Auditory, and Olfactory Stimuli.

Affect Sci 2020 13;1(4):208-224. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (CISA), University of Geneva, Campus Biotech, 9, Chemin des Mines, CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland.

Appraisal theories suggest that valence appraisal should be differentiated into micro-valences, such as intrinsic pleasantness and goal-/need-related appraisals. In contrast to a macro-valence approach, this dissociation explains, among other things, the emergence of mixed or blended emotions. Here, we extend earlier research that showed that these valence types can be empirically dissociated. We examine the timing and the response patterns of these two micro-valences via measuring facial muscle activity changes (electromyography, EMG) over the brow and the cheek regions. In addition, we explore the effects of the sensory stimulus modality (vision, audition, and olfaction) on these patterns. The two micro-valences were manipulated in a social judgment task: first, intrinsic un/pleasantness (IP) was manipulated by exposing participants to appropriate stimuli presented in different sensory domains followed by a goal conduciveness/obstruction (GC) manipulation consisting of feedback on participants' judgments that were congruent or incongruent with their task-related goal. The results show significantly different EMG responses and timing patterns for both types of micro-valence, confirming the prediction that they are independent, consecutive parts of the appraisal process. Moreover, the lack of interaction effects with the sensory stimulus modality suggests high generalizability of the underlying appraisal mechanisms across different perception channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s42761-020-00020-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7717056PMC
November 2020

Measuring aesthetic emotions: A review of the literature and a new assessment tool.

PLoS One 2017 5;12(6):e0178899. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

Department of Psychology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Aesthetic perception and judgement are not merely cognitive processes, but also involve feelings. Therefore, the empirical study of these experiences requires conceptualization and measurement of aesthetic emotions. Despite the long-standing interest in such emotions, we still lack an assessment tool to capture the broad range of emotions that occur in response to the perceived aesthetic appeal of stimuli. Elicitors of aesthetic emotions are not limited to the arts in the strict sense, but extend to design, built environments, and nature. In this article, we describe the development of a questionnaire that is applicable across many of these domains: the Aesthetic Emotions Scale (Aesthemos). Drawing on theoretical accounts of aesthetic emotions and an extensive review of extant measures of aesthetic emotions within specific domains such as music, literature, film, painting, advertisements, design, and architecture, we propose a framework for studying aesthetic emotions. The Aesthemos, which is based on this framework, contains 21 subscales with two items each, that are designed to assess the emotional signature of responses to stimuli's perceived aesthetic appeal in a highly differentiated manner. These scales cover prototypical aesthetic emotions (e.g., the feeling of beauty, being moved, fascination, and awe), epistemic emotions (e.g., interest and insight), and emotions indicative of amusement (humor and joy). In addition, the Aesthemos subscales capture both the activating (energy and vitality) and the calming (relaxation) effects of aesthetic experiences, as well as negative emotions that may contribute to aesthetic displeasure (e.g., the feeling of ugliness, boredom, and confusion).
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0178899PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5459466PMC
September 2017

"The world is upside down" - The Innsbruck Goggle Experiments of Theodor Erismann (1883-1961) and Ivo Kohler (1915-1985).

Cortex 2017 07 23;92:222-232. Epub 2017 Apr 23.

Department of Psychology, Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

The "Innsbruck Goggle Experiments" on long-term wearing of reversing mirrors, prismatic and half prismatic goggles, and colored half goggles represent a milestone in research on adaptation (adapting to the introduced "disturbance") and after-effects (after removal of the "disturbance"). By means of these goggles it is, for example, possible to invert or distort the visual field (such as flipping top and bottom or left and right), as well as to observe how individuals learn to change the image back to vertical or recognize left and right. The Innsbruck Experiments gave decisive momentum to further international research on the ontogenetic development of perception, special perception, color perception, perceptual constancy, sensorimotor coordination, as well as to the development of theories. In the current paper, aside from presenting the history and results of selected studies, we will give an introduction to the life and work of the protagonists of these studies in Innsbruck, namely Theodor Erismann (1883-1961) and Ivo Kohler (1915-1985). Furthermore, we will propose ideas for future research on cognition and neuroscience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.04.014DOI Listing
July 2017

[Treatment Outcome in Female In-Patients with Anorexia nervosa and Comorbid Personality Disorders Prevalence - Therapy Drop out and Weight Gain].

Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 2017 Sep 16;67(9-10):420-430. Epub 2017 May 16.

Abteilung für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Österreich.

Personality disorders (PD) are among the most common comorbid disorders in female patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Recent research findings suggest that comorbid PD are associated with a higher treatment drop-out rate and a worse therapeutic outcome. However, no study to date has distinguished between certain age groups concerning these issues. Therefore, the present study focuses on the prevalence of PD (1), treatment drop-out rates (2) and weight gain (3) in female in-patients with AN. Thereby, we differentiate among three age groups (17-24 years; 25-34 years; 35-65 years). We assessed female in-patients (N=331) with AN at the Helios Clinic in Bad Grönenbach in Germany using the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 and the psychotherapeutic-medical basic documentation at the beginning and at the end of their treatment. Furthermore, we investigated the drop-out rate and weight gain by comparing anorexic patients with and without comorbid PD that were diagnosed by clinicians using ICD-10 criteria. In sum, our patients with AN demonstrated a prevalence rate of 34% for one or more comorbid PD. Interestingly, patients between 17-24 years showed a lower prevalence rate of 22% compared to those between 25-34 years (42%) and 35-65 years (41%). Furthermore, younger age and comorbid PD seemed to be significant predictors for treatment dropout. One of the most striking results was that younger patients (17-24) without a comorbid PD had the highest weight gain during treatment. This could not be observed in patients with a comorbid PD, who demonstrated the highest weight gain between 25 and 34 years of age. Our findings support the hypothesis that comorbid PD are related to a worse outcome in patients with eating disorders. Future studies might do well in assessing dimensional scores of personality disorders and other relevant aspects like for example the amount of social support to draw further conclusions on these associations. Our results emphasize the need for more disorder-specific interventions tailoring at patients with AN and comorbid PD to improve treatment outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0043-103271DOI Listing
September 2017

Social affiliation in same-class and cross-class interactions.

J Exp Psychol Gen 2017 Feb;146(2):269-285

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Historically high levels of economic inequality likely have important consequences for relationships between people of the same and different social class backgrounds. Here, we test the prediction that social affiliation among same-class partners is stronger at the extremes of the class spectrum, given that these groups are highly distinctive and most separated from others by institutional and economic forces. An internal meta-analysis of 4 studies (N = 723) provided support for this hypothesis. Participant and partner social class were interactively, rather than additively, associated with social affiliation, indexed by affiliative behaviors and emotions during structured laboratory interactions and in daily life. Further, response surface analyses revealed that paired upper or lower class partners generally affiliated more than average-class pairs. Analyses with separate class indices suggested that these patterns are driven more by parental income and subjective social class than by parental education. The findings illuminate the dynamics of same- and cross-class interactions, revealing that not all same-class interactions feature the same degree of affiliation. They also reveal the importance of studying social class from an intergroup perspective. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000258DOI Listing
February 2017

Positive urgency and emotional reactivity: Evidence for altered responding to positive stimuli.

Emotion 2017 04 7;17(3):442-449. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Positive urgency, defined as a tendency to become impulsive during positive affective states, has gained support as a form of impulsivity that is particularly important for understanding psychopathology. Despite this, little is known about the emotional mechanisms and correlates of this form of impulsivity. We hypothesized that positive urgency would be related to greater emotional reactivity in response to a positive film clip. Seventy-five undergraduates watched a positive film clip, and a multimodal assessment of emotion was conducted, including subjective emotional experience, physiological activation (i.e., heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance), and facial emotional behavior (i.e., objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Positive urgency was not significantly related to greater positive emotional reactivity but rather a more complex array of emotions expressed in facial behavior, as indexed by similar levels of positive yet greater levels of negative behavior. These findings show that positive urgency may be linked to altered emotionality, but does not appear related to heightened positive emotional reactivity. Potential implications for functional outcomes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000240DOI Listing
April 2017

Short alleles, bigger smiles? The effect of 5-HTTLPR on positive emotional expressions.

Emotion 2015 Aug 1;15(4):438-48. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Department of Psychology and Institute for Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley.

The present research examined the effect of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene on objectively coded positive emotional expressions (i.e., laughing and smiling behavior objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Three studies with independent samples of participants were conducted. Study 1 examined young adults watching still cartoons. Study 2 examined young, middle-aged, and older adults watching a thematically ambiguous yet subtly amusing film clip. Study 3 examined middle-aged and older spouses discussing an area of marital conflict (that typically produces both positive and negative emotion). Aggregating data across studies, results showed that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR predicted heightened positive emotional expressions. Results remained stable when controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and depressive symptoms. These findings are consistent with the notion that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR functions as an emotion amplifier, which may confer heightened susceptibility to environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4861141PMC
August 2015

Can people really "laugh at themselves?"--experimental and correlational evidence.

Emotion 2011 Jun;11(3):492-501

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Laughing at oneself is considered a core component of the sense of humor in the theories of several authors. In McGhee's (1996) eight-step-training program of the sense of humor, laughing at oneself constitutes one of the most difficult levels. However, until now, only little empirical evidence on laughing at oneself exists. Using a multimethod approach, in the current study, 70 psychology students and a total of 126 peers filled in the Sense of Humor Scale (SHS, McGhee, 1996), containing as a subscale "Laughing at oneself". In addition, the participants answered the Trait and State forms of the State-Trait-Cheerfulness-Inventory (STCI, Ruch, Köhler, & van Thriel, 1996; Ruch, Köhler, & van Thriel, 1997). They then were confronted with six distorted images of themselves. Facial responses of the participants were videotaped and analyzed using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS, Ekman, Friesen, & Hager, 2002). Four indicators of exhilaration were examined: (a) experienced funniness, (b) AU12 smiles, (c) Duchenne displays, and (d) laughter. Furthermore, fake and masking smiles were studied. Results demonstrated that self- and peer reports of "laughing at oneself" converged moderately. All four indicators of exhilaration were shown, but funniness and laughter seemed to be the most strongly related indicators. Trait cheerfulness and (low) seriousness, and a cheerful mood state formed further characteristics of persons who laugh at themselves.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0023444DOI Listing
June 2011