Effects of aging on face processing
In the scope of the research project 249/16 - Healthy aging and economic decision-making: neuropsychophysiological examination of the affect-integration-motivation framework of decision-making in aging brain, supported by the BIAL Foundation, João Marques-Teixeira and colleagues studied the impact of aging on face processing. It was observed that older adults, compared to younger adults, engage additional neural resources during the visualization of facial expressions of emotion, as well as non-facial stimuli (houses and mugs). Aging may hamper the neural processing of facial expressions of emotion, and this difficulty may be exacerbated during the identification of emotions from faces of their own-age peers. More results are available in the paper Effects of aging on face processing: An ERP study of the own-age bias with neutral and emotional faces published in Cortex.
Dispositional mindfulness and startle reactivity
Veena Kumari, principal investigator of the research project 92/18 – Attending mindfully: A psychophysiology study of sensory processing in meditators, supported by the BIAL Foundation, examined possible associations between dispositional mindfulness and alexithymia and found a negative association. In addition, it was assessed the eye-blink startle responses to acoustic stimuli of varying intensity and observed a positive association between startle response habituation and dispositional mindfulness (i.e., more habituation in individuals with a high level of naturally-occurring mindfulness). Similar results were also obtained by long-term mindfulness practitioners engaging in mild-to-moderate meditation practices, suggesting similar sensory information processing styles. These findings are reported in the paper Dispositional mindfulness, alexithymia and sensory processing: Emerging insights from habituation of the acoustic startle reflex response published in International Journal of Psychophysiology.
A multi-laboratory replication of a precognition experiment
The paper Raising the value of research studies in psychological science by increasing the credibility of research reports: the transparent Psi project was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science in the scope of the research project 122/16 - A fully transparent pre-registered replication study of precognitive detection of reinforcement using an expert consensus design, supported by the BIAL Foundation. It was devised a multi-laboratory replication of Daryl Bem's Experiment 1 on precognition, in which the participants were presented with two curtains on the computer screen and had to guess which one hides a picture. The target side (left or right) was determined randomly by the computer after the participant's guess. Data collection was carried out in 10 laboratories from nine different countries, involving 2115 participants. Bem's findings were not replicated, since it was obtained 49.89% successful guesses, while Bem reported 53.07% success rate, with the chance level being 50%.
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