Task Performance (task + performance)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Psychology

Selected Abstracts

Examining the Unique Effects of Multiple Motivational Sources on Task Performance

Judith Scully Callahan
This paper examines whether multiple motivational sources uniquely influence task performance. Using the established framework in the goal-setting literature that suggests a pattern of mediated relationships, we test the relationship between assigned goals, incentives, and intrinsic motivation and task performance. The results show that assigned goals, incentives, and intrinsic motivation each positively influence task performance. However, the magnitude of the relationship varies considerably. The relationship for assigned goals was fully mediated by self-efficacy and self-set goals, whereas only a direct relationship emerged for incentives. The data reveal both direct and indirect relationships associated with intrinsic motivation. [source]

Cultural Intelligence: Its Measurement and Effects on Cultural Judgment and Decision Making, Cultural Adaptation and Task Performance

Soon Ang
abstract We enhance the theoretical precision of cultural intelligence (CQ: capability to function effectively in culturally diverse settings) by developing and testing a model that posits differential relationships between the four CQ dimensions (metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural) and three intercultural effectiveness outcomes (cultural judgment and decision making, cultural adaptation and task performance in culturally diverse settings). Before testing the model, we describe development and cross-validation (N = 1,360) of the multidimensional cultural intelligence scale (CQS) across samples, time and country. We then describe three substantive studies (N = 794) in field and educational development settings across two national contexts, the USA and Singapore. The results demonstrate a consistent pattern of relationships where metacognitive CQ and cognitive CQ predicted cultural judgment and decision making; motivational CQ and behavioural CQ predicted cultural adaptation; and metacognitive CQ and behavioural CQ predicted task performance. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our model and findings. [source]

Assessment of professional behaviour in undergraduate medical education: peer assessment enhances performance

Johanna Schönrock-Adema
Objectives, To examine whether peer assessment can enhance scores on professional behaviour, with the expectation that students who assess peers score more highly on professional behaviour than students who do not assess peers. Methods, Undergraduate medical students in their first and second trimesters were randomly assigned to conditions with or without peer assessment. Of the total group of 336 students, 278 students participated in the first trimester, distributed over 31 tutorial groups, 17 of which assessed peers. The second trimester involved 272 students distributed over 32 groups, 15 of which assessed peers. Professional behaviour was rated by tutors on 3 dimensions: Task Performance; Aspects of Communication, and Personal Performance. The rating scale ranged from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Data were analysed using multivariate repeated measures multilevel analysis. Results, Assessment scores were found to have generally increased in the second trimester, especially the personal performance scores of students who assessed peers. In addition, female students were found to have significantly higher scores than male students. Conclusions, In undergraduate medical education, peer assessment has a positive influence on professional behaviour. However, the results imply that peer assessment is only effective after students have become adjusted to the complex learning environment. [source]

Overt and Covert Verbal Problem-Solving Strategies: Developmental Trends in Use, Awareness, and Relations With Task Performance in Children Aged 5 to 17

Adam Winsler
Age-related changes in children's use, self report, and awareness of verbal problem-solving strategies (private speech) and strategy effectiveness were explored with a large (N= 2,156) cross-sectional sample of children aged 5 to 17. Children's verbal strategies moved from overt, to partially covert, to fully covert forms with age. Self-reports of verbal strategy use were accurate yet incomplete. Awareness of children's use of verbal strategies was low and increased with age. Although verbal strategies were associated with competence among the youngest children, self-talk was unrelated to task performance for older children, suggesting considerable persistence over time of a relatively ineffective strategy. Awareness was not a prerequisite for children's verbal strategy use but was positively associated with strategy effectiveness among those who talked. [source]

Acute Ethanol Effects on Brain Activation in Low- and High-Level Responders to Alcohol

ALCOHOLISM, Issue 7 2010
Ryan S. Trim
Background:, A low level of response (LR) to alcohol is an important endophenotype associated with an increased risk of alcoholism. However, little is known about how neural functioning may differ between individuals with low and high LRs to alcohol. This study examined whether LR group effects on neural activity varied as a function of acute alcohol consumption. Methods:, A total of 30 matched high- and low-LR pairs (N = 60 healthy young adults) were recruited from the University of California, San Diego, and administered a structured diagnostic interview and laboratory alcohol challenge followed by two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) sessions under placebo and alcohol conditions, in randomized order. Task performance and blood oxygen level-dependent response contrast to high relative to low working memory load in an event-related visual working memory (VWM) task were examined across 120 fMRI sessions. Results:, Both LR groups performed similarly on the VWM task across conditions. A significant LR group by condition interaction effect was observed in inferior frontal and cingulate regions, such that alcohol attenuated the LR group differences found under placebo (p < 0.05). The LR group by condition effect remained even after controlling for cerebral blood flow, age, and typical drinking quantity. Conclusions:, Alcohol had differential effects on brain activation for low- and high-LR individuals within frontal and cingulate regions. These findings represent an additional step in the search for physiological correlates of a low LR and identify brain regions that may be associated with the low LR response. [source]

The effects of 28 hours of sleep deprivation on respiratory sinus arrhythmia during tasks with low and high controlled attention demands

Alexander D. Walker
Abstract Task performance while sleep deprived may be moderated by the controlled attention required by the task (Pilcher, Band, Odle-Dusseau, & Muth, 2007). This study examined the effects of 28 h of sleep deprivation on respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during tasks with low and high controlled attention demands. The results showed that RSA increased throughout the night for both task types, but was consistently reduced during the low compared to high controlled attention tasks. The increase in RSA was linear for the high controlled attention tasks but curvilinear for the low ones. Hence, RSA followed a circadian pattern during the low controlled attention tasks but not the high ones. These results suggest that the effects of sleep deprivation on task performance may be moderated by parasympathetic activity and task type, and this has implications for task assignment during sustained operations that cause sleep deprivation. [source]

Involuntary interpretation of social cues is compromised in autism spectrum disorders

Tjeerd Jellema
Abstract A new social distance judgment task was used to measure quantitatively the extent to which social cues are immediately and involuntary interpreted by typically developing (TD) individuals and by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The task thus tapped into the ability to involuntary "pick up" the meaning of social cues. The cues tested were social attention and implied biological motion. Task performance of the ASD and TD groups was similarly affected by a perceptual low-level illusion induced by physical characteristics of the stimuli. In contrast, a high-level illusion induced by the implications of the social cues affected only the TD individuals; the ASD individuals remained unaffected (causing them to perform superior to TD controls). The results indicate that despite intact perceptual processing, the immediate involuntary interpretation of social cues can be compromised. We propose that this type of social cue understanding is a distinct process that should be differentiated from reflective social cue understanding and is specifically compromised in ASD. We discuss evidence for an underpinning neural substrate. [source]

Failing to ponder? delusion-prone individuals rush to conclusions

Lars O. White
Jumping to conclusions (JTC) has been proposed as an aetiological factor involved in the formation of delusions from the earliest stages. A number of researchers have thus shifted their focus to include the study of subclinical populations. Expanding on these studies, 17 delusion-prone and 22 control students completed four versions of the beads-in-a-jar paradigm (including multiple jar variants) to test recent claims regarding JTC's specificity to less ambiguous paradigms with a limited number of jars. Additional measures were administered to tease out a potential mechanism underlying JTC. The delusion-prone group showed a higher JTC bias which proved relatively robust across variants. Task performance was related to degree of self-reported rushing. It is concluded that delusion-prone individuals exhibit JTC, even when confronted with more ambiguous scenarios, potentially as a consequence of feeling rushed.,Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Beyond the Black Box of Demography: board processes and task effectiveness within Italian firms

Fabio Zona
In this paper we analyse boards of directors as workgroups, i.e. groups of people that perform one or more tasks within an organisational context. Building on previous studies, we developed a model that relates group's social-psychological processes to three different board tasks: service, monitoring and networking. We tested our model through a survey on 301 large manufacturing firms in Italy. Our findings support the idea that (a) process variables and, to a limited extent, demographic variables significantly influence board task performance; (b) board processes have a different impact on each specific board task; (c) board task performance varies depending upon firm and industry characteristics. [source]

An Investigation of Localization as an Element of Cognitive Fit in Accounting Model Representations

Cheryl Dunn
Abstract Cognitive fit, a correspondence between task and data representation format, has been demonstrated to lead to superior task performance by individual users and has been posited as an explanation for performance differences among users of various problem representations such as tables, graphs, maps, and schematic faces. The current study extends cognitive fit to accounting models and integrates cognitive fit theory with the concept of localization to provide additional evidence for how cognitive fit works. Two accounting model representations are compared in this study, the traditional DCA (Debit-Credit-Account) accounting model and the REA (Resources-Events-Agents) accounting model. Results indicate that the localization of relevant objects or linkages is important in establishing cognitive fit. [source]

Young children's use of a visual aid: an experimental study of the effectiveness of training

We report an experiment concerning the use of a stand magnifier by young children with visual impairments (21 males, 12 females; mean age 4y 8mo [SD 11mo]). Children had a normative developmental level and a visual acuity of 0.4 or less (,20/50 in Snellen's notation). To measure magnifier use objectively, we developed a task that closely resembled the dynamics of its real-life (pre-reading) use. Children had to follow trails visually, from a start location to an unseen end location. This could only be done successfully and reliably by proper use of the magnifier. In addition to this, we analyzed the effect of specific training with the magnifier by using a repeated-measures (before and after training) matched-groups (with respect to age and near-visual acuity) design. Results established both the task's efficacy as an instrument for measuring magnifier use in young children and the effectiveness of the training. Improvement in task performance after training was found in both groups, except for the youngest children (<3y 6mo). On average, 1.8 times as many paths were followed in both groups after training (p=0.001). The without-magnifier training group became 2.5 times as good at finding the correct end location, whereas the with-magnifier training group became 4.3 times as good (p=0.05). [source]

Age- and subcaste-related patterns of serotonergic immunoreactivity in the optic lobes of the ant Pheidole dentata

Marc A. Seid
Abstract Serotonin, a biogenic amine known to be a neuromodulator of insect behavior, has recently been associated with age-related patterns of task performance in the ant Pheidole dentata. We identified worker age- and subcaste-related patterns of serotonergic activity within the optic lobes of the P. dentata brain to further examine its relationship to polyethism. We found strong immunoreactivity in the optic lobes of the brains of both minor and major workers. Serotonergic cell bodies in the optic lobes increased significantly in number as major and minor workers matured. Old major workers had greater numbers of serotonergic cell bodies than minors of a similar age. This age-related increase in serotonergic immunoreactivity, as well as the presence of diffuse serotonin networks in the mushroom bodies, antennal lobes, and central complex, occurs concomitantly with an increase in the size of worker task repertoires. Our results suggest that serotonin is associated with the development of the visual system, enabling the detection of task-related stimuli outside the nest, thus playing a significant role in worker behavioral development and colony-wide division of labor. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2008. [source]

A shift from diffuse to focal cortical activity with development

Sarah Durston
Recent imaging studies have suggested that developmental changes may parallel aspects of adult learning in cortical activation becoming less diffuse and more focal over time. However, while adult learning studies examine changes within subjects, developmental findings have been based on cross-sectional samples and even comparisons across studies. Here, we used functional MRI in children to test directly for shifts in cortical activity during performance of a cognitive control task, in a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study. Our longitudinal findings, relative to our cross-sectional ones, show attenuated activation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortical areas, paralleled by increased focal activation in ventral prefrontal regions related to task performance. [source]

Visual deficits in developmental dyslexia: relationships between non-linguistic visual tasks and their contribution to components of reading

DYSLEXIA, Issue 2 2008
Manon W. Jones
Abstract Developmental dyslexia is often characterized by a visual deficit, but the nature of this impairment and how it relates to reading ability is disputed (Brain 2003; 126: 841,865). In order to investigate this issue, we compared groups of adults with and without dyslexia on the Ternus, visual-search and symbols tasks. Dyslexic readers yielded more errors on the visual-search and symbols tasks compared with non-dyslexic readers. A positive correlation between visual-search and symbols task performance suggests a common mechanism shared by these tasks. Performance on the visual-search and symbols tasks also correlated with non-word reading and rapid automatized naming measures, and visual search contributed independent variance to non-word reading. The Ternus task did not discriminate reading groups nor contributed significant variance to reading measures. We consider how visual-attention processes might underlie specific component reading measures. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Emergence and Consequences of Division of Labor in Associations of Normally Solitary Sweat Bees

ETHOLOGY, Issue 4 2009
C. Tate Holbrook
Division of labor is a pervasive feature of animal societies, but little is known about the causes or consequences of division of labor in non-eusocial cooperative groups. We tested whether division of labor self-organizes in an incipient social system: artificially induced nesting associations of the normally solitary sweat bee Lasioglossum (Ctenonomia) NDA-1 (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). We quantified task performance and construction output by females nesting either alone or with a conspecific. Within pairs, a division of labor repeatedly arose in which one individual specialized on excavation and pushing/tamping while her nestmate guarded the nest entrance. Task specialization could not be attributed to variation in overall activity, and the degree of behavioral differentiation was greater than would be expected due to random variation, indicating that division of labor was an emergent phenomenon generated in part by social dynamics. Excavation specialists did not incur a survival cost, in contrast to previous findings for ant foundress associations. Paired individuals performed more per capita guarding, and pairs collectively excavated deeper nests than single bees , potential early advantages of social nesting in halictine bees. [source]

Intra-Patriline Variability in the Performance of the Vibration Signal and Waggle Dance in the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera

ETHOLOGY, Issue 7 2008
Nhi Duong
We examined intra-patriline behavioral plasticity in communication behavior by generating lifetime behavioral profiles for the performance of the vibration signal and waggle dance in workers which were the progeny of three unrelated queens, each inseminated with the semen of a single, different drone. We found pronounced variability within each patriline for the tendency to produce each signal, the ontogeny of signal performance, and the persistence with which individual workers performed the signals throughout their lifetimes. Within each patriline, the number of workers that performed each signal and the distribution of onset ages for each signal were significantly different. In each patriline, workers of all ages could perform vibration signals; vibration signal production began 3,5 d before waggle dancing; and some workers began performing waggle dances at ages typically associated with precocious foraging. Most workers vibrated and waggled only 1,2 d during their lifetimes, although each patriline contained some workers that performed the signal persistently for up to 8 or 9 d. We also found marked variability in signal performance among the three worker lineages examined. Because the vibration signal and waggle dance influence task performance, variability in signaling behavior within and between subfamilies may help to organize information flow and collective labor in honey bee colonies. Inter-patriline variability may influence the total number of workers from different partrilines that perform the signals, whereas intra-patriline variability may further fine-tune signal performance and the allocation of labor to a given set of circumstances. Although intra-patriline behavioral variability is assumed to be widespread in the social insects, our study is the first to document the extent of this variability for honey bee communication signals. [source]

Thresholds of Response in Nest Thermoregulation by Worker Bumble Bees, Bombus bifarius nearcticus (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

ETHOLOGY, Issue 5 2001
Sean O'Donnell
Regulation of nest temperature is important to the fitness of eusocial insect colonies. To maintain appropriate conditions for the developing brood, workers must exhibit thermoregulatory responses to ambient temperature. Because nest-mate workers differ in task performance, thermoregulatory behavior provides an opportunity to test threshold of response models for the regulation of division of labor. We found that worker bumble bees (Bombus bifarius nearcticus) responded to changes in ambient temperature by altering their rates of performing two tasks , wing fanning and brood cell incubation. At the colony level, the rate of incubating decreased, and the rate of fanning increased, with increasing temperature. Changes in the number of workers performing these tasks were more important to the colony response than changes in workers' task performance rates. At the individual level, workers' lifetime rates of incubation and fanning were positively correlated, and most individuals did not specialize exclusively on either of these temperature-sensitive tasks. However, workers differed in the maximum temperature at which they incubated and in the minimum temperature at which they fanned. More individuals fanned at high and incubated at low temperatures. Most of the workers that began incubating at higher temperatures continued performing this task at lower temperatures, when additional nest-mates became active. The converse was true for fanning behavior. These data are consistent with a threshold of response model for thermoregulatory behavior of B. bifarius workers. [source]

Contrasting effects of selective lesions of nucleus accumbens core or shell on inhibitory control and amphetamine-induced impulsive behaviour

E. R. Murphy
Abstract The core and shell subregions of the nucleus accumbens receive differential projections from areas of the medial prefrontal cortex that have dissociable effects on impulsive and perseverative responding. The contributions of these subregions to simple instrumental behaviour, inhibitory control and behavioural flexibility were investigated using a ,forced choice' task, various parameter manipulations and an omission schedule version of the task. Post-training, selective core lesions were achieved with microinjections of quinolinic acid and shell lesions with ibotenic acid. After a series of behavioural task manipulations, rats were re-stabilized on the standard version of the task and challenged with increasing doses of d - amphetamine (vehicle, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg i.p. 30 min prior to test). Neither core- nor shell-lesioned rats exhibited persistent deficits in simple instrumental behaviour or challenges to behavioural flexibility or inhibitory control. Significant differences between lesion groups were unmasked by d- amphetamine challenge in the standard version of the forced task. Core lesions potentiated and shell lesions attenuated the dose-dependent effect of d- amphetamine on increasing anticipatory responses seen in sham rats. These data imply that the accumbens core and shell subregions do not play major roles in highly-trained task performance or in challenges to behavioural control, but may have opposed effects following d- amphetamine treatment. Specifically, they suggest the shell subregion to be necessary for dopaminergic activation driving amphetamine-induced impulsive behaviour and the core subregion for the normal control of this behaviour via conditioned influences. [source]

Dopamine gene predicts the brain's response to dopaminergic drug

Michael X Cohen
Abstract Dopamine is critical for reward-based decision making, yet dopaminergic drugs can have opposite effects in different individuals. This apparent discrepancy can be accounted for by hypothesizing an ,inverted-U' relationship, whereby the effect of dopamine agents depends on baseline dopamine system functioning. Here, we used functional MRI to test the hypothesis that genetic variation in the expression of dopamine D2 receptors in the human brain predicts opposing dopaminergic drug effects during reversal learning. We scanned 22 subjects while they engaged in a feedback-based reversal learning task. Ten subjects had an allele on the Taq1A DRD2 gene, which is associated with reduced dopamine receptor concentration and decreased neural responses to rewards (A1+ subjects). Subjects were scanned twice, once on placebo and once on cabergoline, a D2 receptor agonist. Consistent with an inverted-U relationship between the DRD2 polymorphism and drug effects, cabergoline increased neural reward responses in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, cingulate cortex and striatum for A1+ subjects but decreased reward responses in these regions for A1, subjects. In contrast, cabergoline decreased task performance and fronto-striatal connectivity in A1+ subjects but had the opposite effect in A1, subjects. Further, the drug effect on functional connectivity predicted the drug effect on feedback-guided learning. Thus, individual variability in how dopaminergic drugs affect the brain reflects genetic disposition. These findings may help to explain the link between genetic disposition and risk for addictive disorders. [source]

Discussion on ,Personality psychology as a truly behavioural science' by R. Michael Furr

Article first published online: 14 JUL 200
Yes We Can! A Plea for Direct Behavioural Observation in Personality Research MITJA D. BACK and BORIS EGLOFF Department of Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany mback@uni-leipzig.de Furr's target paper (this issue) is thought to enhance the standing of personality psychology as a truly behavioural science. We wholeheartedly agree with this goal. In our comment we argue for more specific and ambitious requirements for behavioural personality research. Specifically, we show why behaviour should be observed directly. Moreover, we illustratively describe potentially interesting approaches in behavioural personality research: lens model analyses, the observation of multiple behaviours in diverse experimentally created situations and the observation of behaviour in real life. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The Categories of Behaviour Should be Clearly Defined PETER BORKENAU Department of Psychology, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany p.borkenau@psych.uni-halle.de The target paper is helpful by clarifying the terminology as well as the strengths and weaknesses of several approaches to collect behavioural data. Insufficiently considered, however, is the clarity of the categories being used for the coding of behaviour. Evidence is reported showing that interjudge agreement for retrospective and even concurrent codings of behaviour does not execeed interjudge agreement for personality traits if the categories being used for the coding of behaviour are not clearly defined. By contrast, if the behaviour to be registered is unambiguously defined, interjudge agreement may be almost perfect. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Behaviour Functions in Personality Psychology PHILIP J. CORR Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK Philip.Corr@btopenworld.com Furr's target paper highlights the importance, yet under-representation, of behaviour in published articles in personality psychology. Whilst agreeing with most of his points, I remain unclear as to how behaviour (as specifically defined by Furr) relates to other forms of psychological data (e.g. cognitive task performance). In addition, it is not clear how the functions of behaviour are to be decided: different behaviours may serve the same function; and identical behaviours may serve different functions. To clarify these points, methodological and theoretical aspects of Furr's proposal would benefit from delineation. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. On the Difference Between Experience-Sampling Self-Reports and Other Self-Reports WILLIAM FLEESON Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA fleesonW@wfu.edu Furr's fair but evaluative consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of behavioural assessment methods is a great service to the field. As part of his consideration, Furr makes a subtle and sophisticated distinction between different self-report methods. It is easy to dismiss all self-reports as poor measures, because some are poor. In contrast, Furr points out that the immediacy of the self-reports of behaviour in experience-sampling make experience-sampling one of the three strongest methods for assessing behaviour. This comment supports his conclusion, by arguing that ESM greatly diminishes one the three major problems afflicting self-reports,lack of knowledge,and because direct observations also suffer from the other two major problems afflicting self-reports. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. What and Where is ,Behaviour' in Personality Psychology? LAURA A. KING and JASON TRENT Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA kingla@missouri.edu Furr is to be lauded for presenting a coherent and persuasive case for the lack of behavioural data in personality psychology. While agreeing wholeheartedly that personality psychology could benefit from greater inclusion of behavioural variables, here we question two aspects of Furr's analysis, first his definition of behaviour and second, his evidence that behaviour is under-appreciated in personality psychology. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Naturalistic Observation of Daily Behaviour in Personality Psychology MATTHIAS R. MEHL Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA mehl@email.arizona.edu This comment highlights naturalistic observation as a specific method within Furr's (this issue) cluster direct behavioural observation and discusses the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) as a naturalistic observation sampling method that can be used in relatively large, nomothetic studies. Naturalistic observation with a method such as the EAR can inform researchers' understanding of personality in its relationship to daily behaviour in two important ways. It can help calibrate personality effects against act-frequencies of real-world behaviour and provide ecological, behavioural personality criteria that are independent of self-report. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Measuring Behaviour D. S. MOSKOWITZ and JENNIFER J. RUSSELL Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada dsm@psych.mcgill.ca Furr (this issue) provides an illuminating comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of various methods for assessing behaviour. In the selection of a method for assessing behaviour, there should be a careful analysis of the definition of the behaviour and the purpose of assessment. This commentary clarifies and expands upon some points concerning the suitability of experience sampling measures, referred to as Intensive Repeated Measurements in Naturalistic Settings (IRM-NS). IRM-NS measures are particularly useful for constructing measures of differing levels of specificity or generality, for providing individual difference measures which can be associated with multiple layers of contextual variables, and for providing measures capable of reflecting variability and distributional features of behaviour. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Behaviours, Non-Behaviours and Self-Reports SAMPO V. PAUNONEN Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada paunonen@uwo.ca Furr's (this issue) thoughtful analysis of the contemporary body of research in personality psychology has led him to two conclusions: our science does not do enough to study real, observable behaviours; and, when it does, too often it relies on ,weak' methods based on retrospective self-reports of behaviour. In reply, I note that many researchers are interested in going beyond the study of individual behaviours to the behaviour trends embodied in personality traits; and the self-report of behaviour, using well-validated personality questionnaires, is often the best measurement option. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. An Ethological Perspective on How to Define and Study Behaviour LARS PENKE Department of Psychology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK lars.penke@ed.ac.uk While Furr (this issue) makes many important contributions to the study of behaviour, his definition of behaviour is somewhat questionable and also lacks a broader theoretical frame. I provide some historical and theoretical background on the study of behaviour in psychology and biology, from which I conclude that a general definition of behaviour might be out of reach. However, psychological research can gain from adding a functional perspective on behaviour in the tradition of Tinbergens's four questions, which takes long-term outcomes and fitness consequences of behaviours into account. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. What is a Behaviour? MARCO PERUGINI Faculty of Psychology, University of Milan,Bicocca, Milan, Italy marco.perugini@unimib.it The target paper proposes an interesting framework to classify behaviour as well as a convincing plea to use it more often in personality research. However, besides some potential issues in the definition of what is a behaviour, the application of the proposed definition to specific cases is at times inconsistent. I argue that this is because Furr attempts to provide a theory-free definition yet he implicitly uses theoretical considerations when applying the definition to specific cases. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Is Personality Really the Study of Behaviour? MICHAEL D. ROBINSON Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA Michael.D.Robinson@ndsu.edu Furr (this issue) contends that behavioural studies of personality are particularly important, have been under-appreciated, and should be privileged in the future. The present commentary instead suggests that personality psychology has more value as an integrative science rather than one that narrowly pursues a behavioural agenda. Cognition, emotion, motivation, the self-concept and the structure of personality are important topics regardless of their possible links to behaviour. Indeed, the ultimate goal of personality psychology is to understanding individual difference functioning broadly considered rather than behaviour narrowly considered. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Linking Personality and Behaviour Based on Theory MANFRED SCHMITT Department of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany schmittm@uni-landau.de My comments on Furr's (this issue) target paper ,Personality as a Truly Behavioural Science' are meant to complement his behavioural taxonomy and sharpen some of the presumptions and conclusions of his analysis. First, I argue that the relevance of behaviour for our field depends on how we define personality. Second, I propose that every taxonomy of behaviour should be grounded in theory. The quality of behavioural data does not only depend on the validity of the measures we use. It also depends on how well behavioural data reflect theoretical assumptions on the causal factors and mechanisms that shape behaviour. Third, I suggest that the quality of personality theories, personality research and behavioural data will profit from ideas about the psychological processes and mechanisms that link personality and behaviour. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The Apparent Objectivity of Behaviour is Illusory RYNE A. SHERMAN, CHRISTOPHER S. NAVE and DAVID C. FUNDER Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA funder@ucr.edu It is often presumed that objective measures of behaviour (e.g. counts of the number of smiles) are more scientific than more subjective measures of behaviour (e.g. ratings of the degree to which a person behaved in a cheerful manner). We contend that the apparent objectivity of any behavioural measure is illusory. First, the reliability of more subjective measures of behaviour is often strikingly similar to the reliabilities of so-called objective measures. Further, a growing body of literature suggests that subjective measures of behaviour provide more valid measures of psychological constructs of interest. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Personality and Behaviour: A Neglected Opportunity? LIAD UZIEL and ROY F. BAUMEISTER Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA Baumeister@psy.fsu.edu Personality psychology has neglected the study of behaviour. Furr's efforts to provide a stricter definition of behaviour will not solve the problem, although they may be helpful in other ways. His articulation of various research strategies for studying behaviour will be more helpful for enabling personality psychology to contribute important insights and principles about behaviour. The neglect of behaviour may have roots in how personality psychologists define the mission of their field, but expanding that mission to encompass behaviour would be a positive step. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Effect of perceived conflict among multiple performance goals and goal difficulty on task performance

Mandy M. Cheng
M40; M41 Abstract Contemporary performance measurement systems, such as the balanced scorecard, often advocate the use of an array of financial and non-financial measures. Despite many claimed advantages for these systems, recent research shows that the inclusion of multiple performance measures sometimes has undesirable effects. The present study examines one of the potential problems of implementing these systems; namely, the impact of perceived goal conflict on task performance. Using survey data from employees working in multiple call centres in a telecommunication company, we find that perceived goal difficulty increases perceived goal conflict. Additionally, perceived goal difficulty also has a negative, indirect effect of task performance, through the mediating role of perceived goal conflict. Our results have important implications for both the research literature and the designers of performance measurement systems. [source]

Frontolimbic responses to emotional face memory: The neural correlates of first impressions

Theodore D. Satterthwaite
Abstract First impressions, especially of emotional faces, may critically impact later evaluation of social interactions. Activity in limbic regions, including the amygdala and ventral striatum, has previously been shown to correlate with identification of emotional content in faces; however, little work has been done describing how these signals may influence emotional face memory. We report an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study in 21 healthy adults where subjects attempted to recognize a neutral face that was previously viewed with a threatening (angry or fearful) or nonthreatening (happy or sad) affect. In a hypothesis-driven region of interest analysis, we found that neutral faces previously presented with a threatening affect recruited the left amygdala. In contrast, faces previously presented with a nonthreatening affect activated the left ventral striatum. A whole-brain analysis revealed increased response in the right orbitofrontal cortex to faces previously seen with threatening affect. These effects of prior emotion were independent of task performance, with differences being seen in the amygdala and ventral striatum even if only incorrect trials were considered. The results indicate that a network of frontolimbic regions may provide emotional bias signals during facial recognition. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Functional connectivity of default mode network components: Correlation, anticorrelation, and causality

Lucina Q. Uddin
Abstract The default mode network (DMN), based in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), exhibits higher metabolic activity at rest than during performance of externally oriented cognitive tasks. Recent studies have suggested that competitive relationships between the DMN and various task-positive networks involved in task performance are intrinsically represented in the brain in the form of strong negative correlations (anticorrelations) between spontaneous fluctuations in these networks. Most neuroimaging studies characterize the DMN as a homogenous network, thus few have examined the differential contributions of DMN components to such competitive relationships. Here, we examined functional differentiation within the DMN, with an emphasis on understanding competitive relationships between this and other networks. We used a seed correlation approach on resting-state data to assess differences in functional connectivity between these two regions and their anticorrelated networks. While the positively correlated networks for the vmPFC and PCC seeds largely overlapped, the anticorrelated networks for each showed striking differences. Activity in vmPFC negatively predicted activity in parietal visual spatial and temporal attention networks, whereas activity in PCC negatively predicted activity in prefrontal-based motor control circuits. Granger causality analyses suggest that vmPFC and PCC exert greater influence on their anticorrelated networks than the other way around, suggesting that these two default mode nodes may directly modulate activity in task-positive networks. Thus, the two major nodes comprising the DMN are differentiated with respect to the specific brain systems with which they interact, suggesting greater heterogeneity within this network than is commonly appreciated. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Biphasic hemodynamic responses influence deactivation and may mask activation in block-design fMRI paradigms

Jed A. Meltzer
Abstract A previous block-design fMRI study revealed deactivation in the hippocampus in the transverse patterning task, specifically designed, on the basis of lesion literature, to engage hippocampal information processing. In the current study, a mixed block/event-related design was used to determine the temporal nature of the signal change leading to the seemingly paradoxical deactivation. All positive activations in the hippocampal-dependent condition, relative to a closely matched control task, were seen to result from positive BOLD transients in the typical 4,7 s poststimulus time range. However, most deactivations, including in the hippocampus and in other "default mode" regions commonly deactivated in cognitive tasks, were attributable to enhanced negative transient signals in a later time range, 10,12 s. This late hemodynamic transient was most pronounced in medial prefrontal cortex. In some regions, the hippocampal-dependent condition enhanced both the early positive and late negative transients to approximately the same degree, resulting in no significant signal change when block analysis is used, despite very different event-related responses. These results imply that delayed negative transients can play a role in determining the presence and sign of brain activation in block-design studies, in which case an event-related analysis can be more sensitive than a block analysis, even if the different conditions occur within blocks. In this case, default mode deactivations are timelocked to stimulus presentation as much as positive activations are, but in a later time range, suggesting a specific role of negative transient signals in task performance. Hum Brain Mapp, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Fronto-striatal dysfunction and potential compensatory mechanisms in male adolescents with fragile X syndrome

Fumiko Hoeft
Abstract Response inhibition is an important facet of executive function. Fragile X syndrome (FraX), with a known genetic etiology (fragile X mental retardation-1 (FMR1) mutation) and deficits in response inhibition, may be an ideal condition for elucidating interactions among gene-brain-behavior relationships. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown evidence of aberrant neural activity when individuals with FraX perform executive function tasks, though the specific nature of this altered activity or possible compensatory processes has yet to be elucidated. To address this question, we examined brain activation patterns using fMRI during a go/nogo task in adolescent males with FraX and in controls. The critical comparison was made between FraX individuals and age, gender, and intelligent quotient (IQ)-matched developmentally delayed controls; in addition to a control group of age and gender-matched typically developing individuals. The FraX group showed reduced activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and right caudate head, and increased contralateral (left) VLPFC activation compared with both control groups. Individuals with FraX, but not controls, showed a significant positive correlation between task performance and activation in the left VLPFC. This potential compensatory activation was predicted by the interaction between FMR1 protein (FMRP) levels and right striatal dysfunction. These results suggest that right fronto-striatal dysfunction is likely an identifiable neuro-phenotypic feature of FraX and that activation of the left VLPFC during successful response inhibition may reflect compensatory processes. We further show that these putative compensatory processes can be predicted by a complex interaction between genetic risk and neural function. Hum Brain Mapp, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Volitional control of attention and brain activation in dual task performance

Sharlene D. Newman
Abstract This study used functional MRI (fMRI) to examine the neural effects of willfully allocating one's attention to one of two ongoing tasks. In a dual task paradigm, participants were instructed to focus either on auditory sentence comprehension, mental rotation, or both. One of the major findings is that the distribution of brain activation was amenable to strategic control, such that the amount of activation per task was systematically related to the attention-dividing instructions. The activation in language processing regions was lower when attending to mental rotation than when attending to the sentences, and the activation in visuospatial processing regions was lower when attending to sentences than when attending to mental rotations. Additionally, the activation was found to be underadditive, with the dual-task condition eliciting less activation than the sum of the attend sentence and attend rotation conditions. We also observed a laterality shift across conditions within language-processing regions, with the attend sentence condition showing bilateral activation, while the dual task condition showed a left hemispheric dominance. This shift suggests multiple language-processing modes and may explain the underadditivity in activation observed in the current and previous studies. Hum. Brain Mapp, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

A developmental fMRI study of self-regulatory control

Rachel Marsh
Abstract We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural correlates of self-regulatory control across development in healthy individuals performing the Stroop interference task. Proper performance of the task requires the engagement of self-regulatory control to inhibit an automatized response (reading) in favor of another, less automatic response (color naming). Functional MRI scans were acquired from a sample of 70 healthy individuals ranging in age from 7 to 57 years. We measured task-related regional signal changes across the entire cerebrum and conducted correlation analyses to assess the associations of signal activation with age and with behavioral performance. The magnitude of fMRI signal change increased with age in the right inferolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area [BA] 44/45) and right lenticular nucleus. Greater activation of the right inferolateral prefrontal cortex also accompanied better performance. Activity in the right frontostriatal systems increased with age and with better response inhibition, consistent with the known functions of frontostriatal circuits in self-regulatory control. Age-related deactivations in the mesial prefrontal cortex (BA 10), subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (BA 24), and posterior cingulate cortex (BA 31) likely represented the greater engagement of adults in self-monitoring and free associative thought processes during the easier baseline task, consistent with the improved performance on this task in adults compared with children. Although we cannot exclude the possibility that age-related changes in reading ability or in the strategies used to optimize task performance were responsible for our findings, the correlations of brain activation with performance suggest that changes in frontostriatal activity with age underlie the improvement in self-regulatory control that characterizes normal human development. Hum Brain Mapp, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Tactile discrimination of grating orientation: fMRI activation patterns

Minming Zhang
Abstract Grating orientation discrimination is employed widely to test tactile spatial acuity. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural circuitry underlying performance of this task. Two studies were carried out. In the first study, an extensive set of parietal and frontal cortical areas was activated during covert task performance, relative to a rest baseline. The active regions included the postcentral sulcus bilaterally and foci in the left parietal operculum, left anterior intraparietal sulcus, and bilateral premotor and prefrontal cortex. The second study examined selective recruitment of cortical areas during discrimination of grating orientation (a task with a macrospatial component) compared to discrimination of grating spacing (a purely microspatial task). The foci activated on this contrast were in the left anterior intraparietal sulcus, right postcentral sulcus and gyrus, left parieto-occipital cortex, bilateral frontal eye fields, and bilateral ventral premotor cortex. These findings not only confirm and extend previous studies of the neural processing underlying grating orientation discrimination, but also demonstrate that a distributed network of putatively multisensory areas is involved. Hum Brain Mapp, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Brief breath holding may confound functional magnetic resonance imaging studies

David F. Abbott
Abstract We demonstrate that breath holding of short durations may confound functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. Some subjects may hold their breath for a short time during task performance, especially if the task is challenging. Breath holding may therefore need to be considered specifically when interpreting fMRI experiments. We studied the temporal and spatial characteristics of cerebral T2*-weighted signal during short periods of breath holding by seven individuals in a 3-tesla MR scanner. We demonstrate that breath-holds as short as 3 s can result in regions of significant cerebral activation. More interestingly, we show that focal activation remains present when the data is analysed in a number of different ways, including analyses that correct for motion and model the task epoch as if it were 10 times longer than the actual breath-hold length. These findings have potential relevance for many researchers carrying out fMRI studies. Hum. Brain Mapping 24:284,290, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Applying the proximity compatibility and the control-display compatibility principles to engineering design interfaces

Ling Rothrock
The authors determine the utility of applying two display design principles toward the development of interfaces for engineering design. The first principle, called the Proximity Compatibility Principle, specifies that displays relevant to a common task or mental operation should be rendered close together in perceptual space. The second principle, called the Control-Display Compatibility Principle, stipulates that the spatial arrangement and manipulation of controls should be easily distinguishable. To examine the utility of both principles, the authors conducted an experiment comparing the ability of subjects to find effective designs using a separable versus a configural interface in a multi-objective engineering design task. Results suggest that the proximity compatibility principle is an effective indicator of task performance. Moreover, the control-display compatibility principle can be used as an indicator of performance efficiency. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Hum Factors Man 16: 61,81, 2006. [source]