Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 793
Moral judgements of fairness-related actions are flexibly updated to account for contextual information.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-10-20)
In everyday life we are constantly updating our moral judgements as we learn new information. However, this judgement updating process has not been systematically studied. We investigated how people update their moral judgements of fairness-related actions of others after receiving contextual information regarding the deservingness of the action recipient. Participants (N = 313) observed a virtual 'Decision-maker' share a portion of $10 with a virtual 'Receiver'. Participants were aware that the Decision-maker made these choices knowing the Receiver's previous offer to another person. Participants first made a context-absent judgement of the Decision-maker's offer to the Receiver, and then a subsequent context-present judgement of the same offer after learning the Receiver's previous offer. This sequence was repeated for varying dollar values of Decision-makers' and Receivers' offers. Patterns of judgements varied across individuals and were interpretable in relation to moral norms. Most participants flexibly switched from relying on context-independent norms (generosity, equality) to related, context-dependent norms (relative generosity, indirect reciprocity) as they integrated contextual information. Judgement of low offers varied across individuals, with a substantial minority of participants withholding their context-absent judgements of selfishness, and another minority that was lenient towards selfishness across both judgements. Our paradigm provides a novel framework for investigating how moral judgements evolve in real time as people learn more information about a given situation.
Microstructural degeneration and cerebrovascular risk burden underlying executive dysfunction after stroke
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2020-10-21)
Executive dysfunction affects 40% of stroke patients, but is poorly predicted by characteristics of the stroke itself. Stroke typically occurs on a background of cerebrovascular burden, which impacts cognition and brain network structural integrity. We used structural equation modelling to investigate whether measures of white matter microstructural integrity (fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity) and cerebrovascular risk factors better explain executive dysfunction than markers of stroke severity. 126 stroke patients (mean age 68.4 years) were scanned three months post-stroke and compared to 40 age- and sex-matched control participants on neuropsychological measures of executive function. Executive function was below what would be expected for age and education level in stroke patients as measured by the organizational components of the Rey Complex Figure Test, F(3,155) = 17, R2 = 0.25, p < 0.001 (group significant predictor at p < 0.001) and the Trail-Making Test (B), F(3,157) = 3.70, R2 = 0.07, p < 0.01 (group significant predictor at p < 0.001). A multivariate structural equation model illustrated the complex relationship between executive function, white matter integrity, stroke characteristics and cerebrovascular risk (root mean square error of approximation = 0.02). Pearson's correlations confirmed a stronger relationship between executive dysfunction and white matter integrity (r = - 0.74, p < 0.001), than executive dysfunction and stroke severity (r = 0.22, p < 0.01). The relationship between executive function and white matter integrity is mediated by cerebrovascular burden. White matter microstructural degeneration of the superior longitudinal fasciculus in the executive control network better explains executive dysfunction than markers of stroke severity. Executive dysfunction and incident stroke can be both considered manifestations of cerebrovascular risk factors.
The Child and Parent Emotion Study: protocol for a longitudinal study of parent emotion socialisation and child socioemotional development
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-01-01)
INTRODUCTION: Parents shape child emotional competence and mental health via their beliefs about children's emotions, emotion-related parenting, the emotional climate of the family and by modelling emotion regulation skills. However, much of the research evidence to date has been based on small samples with mothers of primary school-aged children. Further research is needed to elucidate the direction and timing of associations for mothers and fathers/partners across different stages of child development. The Child and Parent Emotion Study (CAPES) aims to examine longitudinal associations between parent emotion socialisation, child emotion regulation and socioemotional adjustment at four time points from pregnancy to age 12 years. CAPES will investigate the moderating role of parent gender, child temperament and gender, and family background. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: CAPES recruited 2063 current parents from six English-speaking countries of a child 0-9 years and 273 prospective parents (ie, women/their partners pregnant with their first child) in 2018-2019. Participants will complete a 20-30 min online survey at four time points 12 months apart, to be completed in December 2022. Measures include validated parent-report tools assessing parent emotion socialisation (ie, parent beliefs, the family emotional climate, supportive parenting and parent emotion regulation) and age-sensitive measures of child outcomes (ie, emotion regulation and socioemotional adjustment). Analyses will use mixed-effects regression to simultaneously assess associations over three time-point transitions (ie, T1 to T2; T2 to T3; T3 to T4), with exposure variables lagged to estimate how past factors predict outcomes 12 months later. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval was granted by the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee and the Deakin University Faculty of Health Human Research Ethics Committee. We will disseminate results through conferences and open access publications. We will invite parent end users to co-develop our dissemination strategy, and discuss the interpretation of key findings prior to publication. TRIAL REGISTERATION: Protocol pre-registration: DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/NGWUY.
Flowers in the Attic: Lateralization of the detection of meaning in visual noise.
(Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), 2020-10-01)
The brain is a slave to sense; we see and hear things that are not there and engage in ongoing correction of these illusory experiences, commonly termed pareidolia. The current study investigates whether the predisposition to see meaning in noise is lateralized to one hemisphere or the other and how this predisposition to visual false-alarms is related to personality. Stimuli consisted of images of faces or flowers embedded in pink (1/f) noise generated through a novel process and presented in a divided-field paradigm. Right-handed undergraduates participated in a forced-choice signal-detection task where they determined whether a face or flower signal was present in a single-interval trial. Experiment 1 involved an equal ratio of signal-to-noise trials; experiment 2 provided more potential for illusionary perception with 25% signal and 75% noise trials. There was no asymmetry in the ability to discriminate signal from noise trials (measured using d') for either faces and flowers, although the response criterion (c) suggested a stronger predisposition to visual false alarms in the right visual field, and this was negatively correlated to the unusual experiences dimension of schizotypy. Counter to expectations, changing the signal-image to noise-image proportion in Experiment 2 did not change the number of false alarms for either faces and flowers, although a stronger bias was seen to the right visual field; sensitivity remained the same in both hemifields but there was a moderate positive correlation between cognitive disorganization and the bias (c) for "flower" judgements. Overall, these results were consistent with a rapid evidence-accumulation process of the kind described by a diffusion decision model mediating the task lateralized to the left-hemisphere.
Changes in Smoking and Vaping over 18 Months among Smokers and Recent Ex-Smokers: Longitudinal Findings from the 2016 and 2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys
This descriptive study of smokers (smoked at least monthly) and recent ex-smokers (quit for ≤2 years) examined transitions over an 18 month period in their smoking and vaping behaviors. Data are from Waves 1 (W1: 2016) and 2 (W2: 2018) of the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey, a cohort study of adult (≥18+) smokers, concurrent users (smoke and vape), and recent ex-smokers from Australia, Canada, England, and the United States (US). Respondents (N = 5016) were classified according to their smoking and vaping status, which resulted in eight subgroups: (1) exclusive daily smokers (2) exclusive non-daily smokers; (3-6) concurrent users (subdivided into four groups by each combination of daily/non-daily smoking and daily/non-daily vaping); (7) ex-smokers who vape; (8) ex-smokers not vaping. The analyses focused first on describing changes between groups from W1 to W2. Second, transition outcomes were assessed based on changes in smoking and vaping between W1 and W2. Transitions focused on smoking were: no change in smoking (continued smoking at the same frequency); decreased smoking; increased smoking; discontinued smoking; relapsed (ex-smokers at W1 who were smoking at W2). Transitions focused on vaping were: initiated vaping; switched from smoking to vaping. Overall, this study found that the vast majority of smokers were smoking 18 months later. Non-daily smokers were more likely than daily smokers to have discontinued smoking (p < 0.0001) and to have switched to exclusive vaping (p = 0.034). Exclusive non-daily smokers were more likely than exclusive daily smokers to have initiated vaping (p = 0.04). Among all W1 daily smokers, there were no differences in discontinued smoking between daily smokers who vaped (concurrent users) and exclusive daily smokers; however, concurrent users were more likely than exclusive daily smokers to have decreased to non-daily smoking (p < 0.001) or to have switched to vaping by W2 (p < 0.001). Among all W1 non-daily smokers, there were no significant differences in increased smoking or discontinued smoking between concurrent users or exclusive smokers. Most ex-smokers remained abstinent from smoking, and there was no difference in relapse back to smoking between those who vaped and those who did not.
Comparing responses to public health and industry-funded alcohol harm reduction advertisements: an experimental study
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-01-01)
OBJECTIVES: Conduct a head-to-head experimental test of responses to alcohol harm reduction advertisements developed by alcohol industry Social Aspects/Public Relations Organisations (SAPROs) versus those developed by public health (PH) agencies. We hypothesised that, on average, SAPRO advertisements would be less effective at generating motivation (H1) and intentions to reduce alcohol consumption (H2) but more effective at generating positive perceptions of people who drink (H3). DESIGN: Online experiment with random assignment to condition. PARTICIPANTS: 2923 Australian adult weekly drinkers (49% high-risk drinkers) recruited from an opt-in online panel. INTERVENTIONS: Participants viewed 3 of 83 advertisements developed by PH agencies (n=2174) or 3 of 28 advertisements developed by SAPROs (n=749). PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants reported their motivation to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed; behave responsibly and/or not get drunk; and limit their drinking around/never supply to minors, as well as intentions to avoid drinking alcohol completely; reduce the number of drinking occasions; and reduce the amount of alcohol consumed per occasion. Participants also reported their perceptions of people who drink alcohol on six success-related items and four fun-related items. RESULTS: Compared with drinkers exposed to PH advertisements, those exposed to SAPRO advertisements reported lower motivation to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed (β=-0.091, 95% CI -0.171 to -0.010), and lower odds of intending to avoid alcohol completely (OR=0.77, 0.63 to 0.94) and to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed per occasion (OR=0.82, 0.69 to 0.97). SAPRO advertisements generated more favourable fun-related perceptions of drinkers (β=0.095, 0.013 to 0.177). CONCLUSIONS: The alcohol harm reduction advertisements produced by alcohol industry SAPROs that were tested in this study were not as effective at generating motivation and intentions to reduce alcohol consumption as those developed by PH organisations. These findings raise questions as to whether SAPROs should play a role in alcohol harm reduction efforts.
An In-Depth Exploration of Knowledge and Beliefs Associated with Soda and Diet Soda Consumption
The need to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is widely accepted, but whether artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) are a recommended alternative is a growing policy issue because of emerging evidence of potential health effects associated with excess consumption. This study aimed to establish the extent of the Australian population's knowledge of the risks associated with consuming SSBs (e.g., soda) and ASBs (e.g., diet soda), which is essential for identifying which facets of knowledge to target with public health interventions. A national computer-assisted telephone survey of 3430 Australian adults was conducted in 2017. The survey included a range of measures to test associations between SSB and ASB knowledge and beliefs, demographic characteristics, and soda and diet soda consumption. Participants had an overall awareness that there were health risks associated with SSB and ASB consumption, but they lacked more detailed knowledge of health effects and nutritional composition of these drinks. These knowledge gaps are concerning given that SSBs and ASBs are consumed in large quantities in Australia. Public health interventions targeting consumers' limited knowledge and perceptions of health risks associated with excess sugar, calorie intake and artificial sweeteners are essential in reducing the health burden of obesity.
Study Protocol for the COVID-19 Pandemic Adjustment Survey (CPAS): A Longitudinal Study of Australian Parents of a Child 0-18 Years
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-08-31)
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risks to the mental health and wellbeing of Australian families. Employment and economic uncertainty, chronic stress, anxiety, and social isolation are likely to have negative impacts on parent mental health, couple and family relationships, as well as child health and development. Objective: This study aims to: (1) provide timely information on the mental health impacts of the emerging COVID-19 crisis in a close to representative sample of Australian parents and children (0-18 years), (2) identify adults and families most at risk of poor mental health outcomes, and (3) identify factors to target through clinical and public health intervention to reduce risk. Specifically, this study will investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with increased risk for parents' mental health, lower well-being, loneliness, and alcohol use; parent-parent and parent-child relationships (both verbal and physical); and child and adolescent mental health problems. Methods: The study aims to recruit a close to representative sample of at least 2,000 adults aged 18 years and over living in Australia who are parents of a child 0-4 years (early childhood, N = 400), 5-12 years (primary school N = 800), and 13-18 years (secondary school, N = 800). The design will be a longitudinal cohort study using an online recruitment methodology. Participants will be invited to complete an online baseline self-report survey (20 min) followed by a series of shorter online surveys (10 min) scheduled every 2 weeks for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., estimated to be 14 surveys over 6 months). Results: The study will employ post stratification weights to address differences between the final sample and the national population in geographic communities across Australia. Associations will be analyzed using multilevel modeling with time-variant and time-invariant predictors of change in trajectory over the testing period. Conclusions: This study will provide timely information on the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on parents and children in Australia; identify communities, parents, families, and children most at risk of poor outcomes; and identify potential factors to address in clinical and public health interventions to reduce risk.
Tablet-based adaptation and administration of the Castles and Coltheart Reading Test 2 for a large longitudinal study
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-09-18)
Tablet-adapted measures provide an efficient, accurate method of data collection for large-scale studies. The Castles and Coltheart Reading Test 2 (CC2) is a standardized paper-and-pencil measure of children's reading ability. In the current study, the CC2 was administered to 603 children aged 7-8 years via iPad using electronic data capture software. Results indicate the tablet-adapted measure could be reliably administered by non-clinical staff and showed quantitative equivalence, i.e., comparable score distributions, to CC2 normative data. Internal consistency was good for regular and non-word lists. Findings suggest that the tablet-adapted CC2 is a viable tool for large research studies.
Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment
Degraded parks in disadvantaged areas are underutilized for recreation, which may impact long-term health. Using a natural experiment, we examined the effects of local government refurbishments to parks (n = 3 intervention; n = 3 comparison) in low socioeconomic areas (LSEA) of Melbourne on park use, health behavior, social engagement and psychological well-being. Amenities promoting physical activity and sun protection included walking paths, playground equipment and built shade. Outcomes were measured via systematic observations, and self-report surveys of park visitors over three years. The refurbishments significantly increased park use, while shade use increased only in parks with shade sails. A trend for increased social engagement was also detected. Findings infer improvement of quality, number and type of amenities in degraded parks can substantially increase park use in LSEA. Findings support provision of shade over well-designed playgrounds in future park refurbishments to enhance engagement and sun protection behavior. Further research should identify park amenities to increase physical activity.
Vision for the blind: visual psychophysics and blinded inference for decision models
Evidence accumulation models like the diffusion model are increasingly used by researchers to identify the contributions of sensory and decisional factors to the speed and accuracy of decision-making. Drift rates, decision criteria, and nondecision times estimated from such models provide meaningful estimates of the quality of evidence in the stimulus, the bias and caution in the decision process, and the duration of nondecision processes. Recently, Dutilh et al. (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 26, 1051-1069, 2019) carried out a large-scale, blinded validation study of decision models using the random dot motion (RDM) task. They found that the parameters of the diffusion model were generally well recovered, but there was a pervasive failure of selective influence, such that manipulations of evidence quality, decision bias, and caution also affected estimated nondecision times. This failure casts doubt on the psychometric validity of such estimates. Here we argue that the RDM task has unusual perceptual characteristics that may be better described by a model in which drift and diffusion rates increase over time rather than turn on abruptly. We reanalyze the Dutilh et al. data using models with abrupt and continuous-onset drift and diffusion rates and find that the continuous-onset model provides a better overall fit and more meaningful parameter estimates, which accord with the known psychophysical properties of the RDM task. We argue that further selective influence studies that fail to take into account the visual properties of the evidence entering the decision process are likely to be unproductive.
The Association of E-cigarette Flavors With Satisfaction, Enjoyment, and Trying to Quit or Stay Abstinent From Smoking Among Regular Adult Vapers From Canada and the United States: Findings From the 2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-10-08)
AIMS: This study examined whether nontobacco flavors are more commonly used by vapers (e-cigarette users) compared with tobacco flavor, described which flavors are most popular, and tested whether flavors are associated with: vaping satisfaction relative to smoking, level of enjoyment with vaping, reasons for using e-cigarettes, and making an attempt to quit smoking by smokers. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 1603 adults from Canada and the United States who vaped at least weekly, and were either current smokers (concurrent users) or former smokers (exclusive vapers). Respondents were categorized into one of seven flavors they used most in the last month: tobacco, tobacco-menthol, unflavored, or one of the nontobacco flavors: menthol/mint, fruit, candy, or "other" (eg, coffee). RESULTS: Vapers use a wide range of flavors, with 63.1% using a nontobacco flavor. The most common flavor categories were fruit (29.4%) and tobacco (28.7%), followed by mint/menthol (14.4%) and candy (13.5%). Vapers using candy (41.0%, p < .0001) or fruit flavors (26.0%, p = .01) found vaping more satisfying (compared with smoking) than vapers using tobacco flavor (15.5%) and rated vaping as very/extremely enjoyable (fruit: 50.9%; candy: 60.9%) than those using tobacco flavor (39.4%). Among concurrent users, those using fruit (74.6%, p = .04) or candy flavors (81.1%, p = .003) were more likely than tobacco flavor users (63.5%) to vape in order to quit smoking. Flavor category was not associated with the likelihood of a quit attempt (p = .46). Among exclusive vapers, tobacco and nontobacco flavors were popular; however, those using tobacco (99.0%) were more likely than those using candy (72.8%, p = .002) or unflavored (42.5%, p = .005) to vape in order to stay quit. CONCLUSIONS: A majority of regular vapers in Canada and the US use nontobacco flavors. Greater satisfaction and enjoyment with vaping are higher among fruit and candy flavor users. While it does not appear that certain flavors are associated with a greater propensity to attempt to quit smoking among concurrent users, nontobacco flavors are popular among former smokers who are exclusively vaping. Future research should determine the likely impact of flavor bans on those who are vaping to quit smoking or to stay quit. IMPLICATIONS: Recent concerns about the attractiveness of e-cigarette flavors among youth have resulted in flavor restrictions in some jurisdictions of the United States and Canada. However, little is known about the possible consequences for current and former smokers if they no longer have access to their preferred flavors. This study shows that a variety of nontobacco flavors, especially fruit, are popular among adult vapers, particularly among those who have quit smoking and are now exclusively vaping. Limiting access to flavors may therefore reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes among adults who are trying to quit smoking or stay quit.