News

Disengaging punishment avoidance is difficult for humans

12 September, 2021
Disengaging punishment avoidance is difficult for humans

It is known that compulsivity is linked to a problem in planning based on a cognitive map of the environment, which is necessary for predicting the consequences of our actions. Paul Sharp, from Dr. Eran Eldar’s lab, found that this problem is associated with a more fundamental impairment in learning the structure of cognitive maps. Paul demonstrated this impairment in three different experiments in collaboration with researchers from University College London.

See full article https://psyarxiv.com/63fq8/(The paper expected to be published at Psychological Medicine).

The links between an individual's personal "biological clock", levels of alertness, and OCD symptoms

25 August, 2021
The links between an individual's personal "biological clock", levels of alertness, and OCD symptoms

Congratulations to the PhD candidate Hadar Naftalovich and Prof. Eyal Kalanthroff, who were awarded the International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation's Michael Jenike Young Investigator Award along with collaborators Dr. Alex Gileles-Hillel, from Hadassah Medical School, Dr. Helen Blair Simpson, from Columbia University, and Drs. Hagai Bergman, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The grant was awarded to examine the links between an individual's personal "biological clock" (called “chronotypes”), levels of alertness, and OCD symptoms. She and her team will closely track OCD symptoms in a group of study participants for a period of seven days, and ask them throughout the day how alert they feel. They’ll also closely monitor each participant’s sleep patterns, including when they go to bed, get up, and how long they sleep.

Their goal is to gain a better understanding of how and why OCD symptoms fluctuate throughout the day, and to give people with OCD additional tools and information they can use to understand when their symptoms may be the easiest or most difficult to control. Their findings could provide clues about how treatments that influence alertness and circadian rhythm (like light therapy) could be combined with existing forms of OCD treatment to better serve patients.

Rumination is associated with a narrow temporal attentional scope

15 August, 2021
Rumination is associated with a narrow temporal attentional scope

Rumination about negative experiences is widely viewed as a transdiagnostic process underlying various forms of psychopathology that involve emotion dysregulation. Cognitive models highlight the role of attentional control and emotional biases in the development and maintenance of rumination. We suggest that the temporality of the attentional blink paradigm may make it especially relevant for studying rumination-related biases and designing bias modification interventions for rumination.

In a new paper, Dr. tal Ganor, Prof. Nilly Mor and Prof. Jonathan Huppert examine the association between brooding, a maladaptive form of rumination, and emotional biases in the attentional blink paradigm. They show that brooding is associated with biased disengagement from positive stimuli. Our findings support the Attentional Scope Model of rumination (Whitmer and Gotlib, Psychol Bull 139:1036, 2013) in suggesting that rumination is associated with a narrow temporal attentional scope.

See full article here

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

8 August, 2021
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Searching for something, whether it is your keys or a familiar face, is a frequent everyday activity. Under some circumstances, such as in security settings, it even carries life-saving implications. Until now, it was widely believed that in order to find what they are looking for, people need to know at least some aspects of what they are trying to find. However, this assumption is inconsistent with common human experiences, such as suddenly finding a friend in a crowd although there was no prior expectation of seeing them.

PhD candidate Oryah Lancry-Dayan and Prof. Yoni Pertzov (in collaboration with Prof. Matthias Gamer of University of Würzburg), demonstrate that despite the many people that each person knows, we can all find a familiar face embedded in unfamiliar ones, even without knowing the identity of that face in advance. This calls for a modification of current theories and makes clear that the cognitive system can utilize information from a large area of the visual environment to guide search, even if it is unclear what the search target looks like.

See full Article here

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