Music therapy to reduce stress and improve wellbeing in COVID-19 pandemic

• In an emergency situation it is possible to put in place a remote MT support intervention. • Clinical Staff define this structured intervention as empathic, supportive and professional. • MTps were able to create a remote therapeutic relationship with Clinical staff (CS). • Self-administration of music by CS would not have been enough to achieve the objective of the present study. • Few studies have been conducted so far with a focus on MT support to CS assisting COVID patients.

The influence of music therapy (MT) as a support intervention to reduce stress and improve wellbeing in Clinical Staff (CS) working with COVID-19 patients was evaluated. Participants were enrolled as a result of spontaneous agreement (n = 34) and were given remote receptive MT intervention over a 5-week period. Their levels of tiredness, sadness, fear and worry were measured with MTC-Q1 before and after MT intervention. An immediate significant variation in the CS emotional status was observed. The results seem to confirm that in an emergency situation, it is possible to put in place a remote MT support intervention for CS exposed to highly stressful situations.

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Posted in COVID-19 | Tagged ,

On the Same Wavelength: Face-to-Face Communication Increases Interpersonal Neural Synchronization

Understanding neural mechanisms of social interaction is important for understanding human social nature and for developing treatments for social deficits related to disorders such as autism. However, conventional cognitive and behavioral neuroscience has concentrated on developing novel experimental paradigms and investigating human–computer interactions, rather than studying interpersonal interaction per se. To fully understand neural mechanisms of human interpersonal interaction, we will likely have to investigate human behavior and neural processes in face-to-face social interaction rather than human–computer interaction. Recently, simultaneous EEG or functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) has been used to record brain activity of two participants in a face-to-face setting (i.e., hyperscanning) to investigate human social interaction in a more naturalistic context (Jiang et al., 2012; Yun et al., 2012).

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Posted in Communication | Tagged ,

Neural synchrony in mother-child conversation

Conversations are an essential form of communication in daily family life. Specific patterns of caregiver-child conversations have been linked to children‟s socio-cognitive development and child relationship quality beyond the immediate family environment. Recently, interpersonal neural synchronization has been proposed as a neural mechanism supporting conversation. Here, we present a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning study looking at the temporal dynamics of neural synchrony during mother-child conversation. Preschoolers (20 boys and 20 girls; M age 5;07 years) and their mothers (M age 36.37 years) were tested simultaneously with fNIRS hyperscanning while engaging in a free verbal conversation lasting for four minutes. Neural synchrony (using wavelet transform coherence analysis) was assessed over time. Furthermore, each conversational turn was coded for conversation patterns comprising turn-taking, relevance, contingency, and intrusiveness. Results from linear mixed-effects modeling revealed that turntaking, but not relevance, contingency, or intrusiveness predicted neural synchronization during the conversation over time. Results are discussed to point out possible variables affecting parent-child conversation quality and the potential functional role of interpersonal neural synchronization for parent-child conversation.

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Posted in Child, conversation, Mother, Relationship | Tagged , , ,

The Phenomenological Mind

The Phenomenological Mind is the first book to properly introduce fundamental questions about the mind from the perspective of phenomenology. Key questions and topics covered include:

• what is phenomenology?
• naturalizing phenomenology and the cognitive sciences
• phenomenology and consciousness
• consciousness and self-consciousness
• time and consciousness
• intentionality
• the embodied mind
• action
• knowledge of other minds
• situated and extended minds
• phenomenology and personal identity.

This second edition includes a new preface, and revised and improved chapters. Also included are helpful features such as chapter summaries, guides to further reading, and a glossary, making The Phenomenological Mind an ideal introduction to key concepts in phenomenology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind.

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Intentional action processing results from automatic bottom-up attention: the Social Relevance Hypothesis

Social stimuli grab our attention. However, it has rarely been investigated how variations in attention affect the processing of social stimuli, although the answer could help us uncover details of social cognition processes such as action understanding. In the present study, we examined how changes to bottom-up attention affects neural EEG-responses associated with intentional action processing. We induced an increase in bottom-up attention by using hypnosis. We recorded the electroencephalographic μ-wave suppression of hypnotized participants when presented with intentional actions in first and third person perspective in a video-clip paradigm. Previous studies have shown that the μ-rhythm is selectively suppressed both when executing and observing goal-directed motor actions; hence it can be used as a neural signal for intentional action processing. Our results show that neutral hypnotic trance increases μ-suppression in highly suggestible participants when they observe intentional actions. This suggests that social action processing is enhanced when bottom-up attentional processes are predominant. Our findings support the Social Relevance Hypothesis, according to which social action processing is a bottom-up driven attentional process, and can thus be altered as a function of bottom-up processing devoted to a social stimulus.

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Posted in Intentional action, Social brain, Social relevance | Tagged , ,

Social Relevance: Brain processes social information at high priority

Everyday actions activate bottom-up attention processes.

Our perception is highly sensitized for absorbing social information, new research has found. The brain is thus trained to pay a great degree of attention to everyday actions.

Our brain automatically pays great attention to everyday actions linked to a social context. Researchers from Bochum have verified this fact with the aid of hypnosis.

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Posted in Brains, Social brain | Tagged ,

Darwin without Malthus: The Russian Evolutionary Thought

The first book in English to examine in detail the scientific work of 19th-century Russian evolutionists, and the first in any language to explore the relationship of their theories to their economic, political, and natural milieu.

This book addresses one episode in this drama by examining the crosscultural transmission of a metaphor in scientific thought. Specifically, it explores the fate of an expression—the “struggle for existence”—utilized by a member of one culture, the Englishman Charles Darwin, to explain his selection theory to members of a quite different culture, the intellectuals of tsarist Russia.

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Posted in Darwin, Evolution, Kropotkin | Tagged , ,

Kropotkin’s Theory of Mutual Aid

Prince Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) is well-known to Western scholars as a leader of the international anarchist movement and as the author of Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. One is tempted to see his ideas about cooperation in nature as the simple product of the strongly-held political convictions with which they were so compatible.

This temptation, however, reveals as much about the marginality of mutual aid theories in Europe and the United States as it does about the actual origin of Kropotkin’s views. Kropotkin first questioned Darwin’s approach to the struggle for existence while exploring Siberia as a youth and was an accomplished and celebrated naturalist years before his political views crystallized. Furthermore, as we have seen in Chapter 5, his ideas about cooperation in nature were quite common among Russian naturalists of varying political perspectives.

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Mutual Aid – A Factor in Evolution

On the other hand, wherever I saw animal life in abundance, as, for instance, on the lakes where scores of species and millions of individuals came together to rear their progeny; in the colonies of rodents; in the migrations of birds which took place at that time on a truly American scale along the Usuri; and especially in a migration of fallow-deer which I witnessed on the Amur, and during which scores of thousands of these intelligent animals came together from an immense territory, flying before the coming deep snow, in order to cross the Amur where it is narrowest – in all these scenes of animal life which passed before my eyes, I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species, and its further evolution.

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Posted in Empathy, Mutual aid | Tagged ,

The evolutionary neurobiology, emergence and facilitation of empathy

Mutual aid between and among members of a species may be the most potent force in evolution. This was the position taken by the Russian evolutionists who proposed that greater emphasis be placed on ‘mutual aid’ than on ‘survival of the fittest’ in the struggle for existence (Kropotkin, 1989; Todes, 1989). They noted that those species with the most highly evolved brains having the greatest brain weight and the most complex neocortical development show the greatest social cooperation and are the most sociable.

MacLean’s (1990) emphasis on integrated brain function in social adaptation is critical to understanding the evolution of empathy. He and his colleagues provide an ethological perspective on the study of empathy in their paleo-ethological and ethological studies of behaviour. Evolutionary steps toward sociability are highlighted in his studies of audiovocal communication and on the effects of brain lesions on behaviour in lizards (Anolis carolinensis), rodents and squirrel monkeys. An increase in social behaviour and social responsiveness accompanies the evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammal-like reptiles to early mammals to primates and humans. Preston and de Waal (2002) suggest that in this evolutionary transition there are proximate and ultimate bases for empathy. Proximately, the perception of an object’s state activates the individual’s corresponding representations, which activate somatic and autonomic responses. They propose a Perception-Action Model (PAM) that along with experience can predict empathetic behaviour or its absence.

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Posted in Empathy, Evolution, Neurobiology | Tagged , ,