• The Development of Shared Liking of Representational but not Abstract Art in Primary School Children and Their Justifications for Liking

      Rodway, Paul; Kirkham, Julie A.; Schepman, Astrid; Lambert, Jordana; Locke, Anastasia; University of Chester (Frontiers, 2016-02-05)
      Understanding how aesthetic preferences are shared among individuals, and its developmental time course, is a fundamental question in aesthetics. It has been shown that semantic associations, in response to representational artworks, overlap more strongly among individuals than those generated by abstract artworks and that the emotional valence of the associations also overlaps more for representational artworks. This valence response may be a key driver in aesthetic appreciation. The current study tested predictions derived from the semantic association account in a developmental context. Twenty 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-year-old children (n = 80) were shown 20 artworks (10 representational, 10 abstract) and were asked to rate each artwork and to explain their decision. Cross-observer agreement in aesthetic preferences increased with age from 4–8 years for both abstract and representational art. However, after age 6 the level of shared appreciation for representational and abstract artworks diverged, with significantly higher levels of agreement for representational than abstract artworks at age 8 and 10. The most common justifications for representational artworks involved subject matter, while for abstract artworks formal artistic properties and color were the most commonly used justifications. Representational artwork also showed a significantly higher proportion of associations and emotional responses than abstract artworks. In line with predictions from developmental cognitive neuroscience, references to the artist as an agent increased between ages 4 and 6 and again between ages 6 and 8, following the development of Theory of Mind. The findings support the view that increased experience with representational content during the life span reduces inter-individual variation in aesthetic appreciation and increases shared preferences. In addition, brain and cognitive development appear to impact on art appreciation at milestone ages.
    • Eating Disorders Impact on Vigilance and Decision Making of a Community Sample of Treatment Naive Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Young Adults

      Nazar, Bruno Palazzo; Trindade, Amanda Pompeu; Leslie, Monica; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro Fernandes; Sergeant, Joseph; Treasure, Janet; Mattos, Paulo; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; King's College London; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; University Amsterdam; D'Or Institute for Education and Research
      Although impulsivity is suggested as a possible link to explain the association of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with an Eating Disorder (ED), there is little research on how clinical and cognitive/neuropsychological functioning might change when this comorbidity occurs. ADHD individuals are at a higher of developing ED and also obesity. Some research has described the impact of ADHD in clinical treatment-seeking samples of ED patients. Consequently, we investigated how ED impacted on clinical and cognitive variables of a community sample of treatment-naive ADHD individuals. Ninety college students arranged in three groups (ADHD+ED, ADHD only and Controls) were analyzed using semi-structured interviews for ADHD (K-SADS), the Iowa Gambling Task, the Conner's Continuous Performance Test, Digit and Visual span, as well as rating scales for anxiety (STAI), depression (BDI) and impulsivity (BIS-11), and binge eating (BES). We found that ADHD+ED individuals significantly differed from both groups, presenting with a higher body mass index; more hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms; higher binge eating scores; more omission errors on the Continuous Performance Test; disadvantageous choices on the Iowa Gambling Task. Also, we demonstrated through a moderation/mediation analysis that a greater level of binge eating mediated the increases in body mass index on our sample. There were no significant paths to explain binge-eating severity through changes on any of the neuropsychological tests used. The presence of an ED in normal weight in a community sample of ADHD individuals is associated with higher body mass index and a worse cognitive functioning.
    • Neural Correlates of Theory of Mind Are Preserved in Young Women with Anorexia Nervosa

      Leslie, Monica; Halls, Daniel; Leppanen, Jenni; Sedgewick, Felicity; Smith, Katherine; Hayward, Hannah; Lang, Katie; Fonville, Leon; Simic, Mima; Mandy, William; et al.
      People with anorexia nervosa (AN) commonly exhibit social difficulties, which may be related to problems with understanding the perspectives of others, commonly known as Theory of Mind (ToM) processing. However, there is a dearth of literature investigating the neural basis of these differences in ToM and at what age they emerge. This study aimed to test for differences in the neural correlates of ToM processes in young women with AN, and young women weight-restored from AN, as compared to healthy control participants (HC). Based on previous findings in AN, we hypothesised that young women with current or prior AN, as compared to HCs, would exhibit a reduced neural response in the medial prefrontal cortex, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the temporo-parietal junction whilst completing a ToM task. We recruited 73 young women with AN, 45 weight-restored young women, and 70 young women without a history of AN to take part in the current study. Whilst undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, participants completed the Frith-Happé task, which is a commonly-used measure of ToM with demonstrated reliability and validity in adult populations. In this task, participants viewed the movements of triangles, which depicted either action movements, simple interactions, or complex social interactions. Viewing trials with more complex social interactions in the Frith-Happé task was associated with increased brain activation in regions including the right temporo-parietal junction, the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. There were no group differences in neural activation in response to the ToM contrast. Overall, these results suggest that the neural basis of spontaneous mentalising is preserved in most young women with AN.