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People believe they see emotion written on the faces of other people. In an instant, simple facial actions are transformed into information about another's emotional state. The present research examined whether a perceiver unknowingly contributes to emotion perception with emotion word knowledge. We present 2 studies that together support a role for emotion concepts in the formation of visual percepts of emotion. As predicted, we found that perceptual priming of emotional faces (e.g., a scowling face) was disrupted when the accessibility of a relevant emotion word (e.g., anger) was temporarily reduced, demonstrating that the exact same face was encoded differently when a word was accessible versus when it was not. The implications of these findings for a linguistically relative view of emotion perception are discussed.
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Lang's distinction of psychophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive domains in psychological problems and therapies provides a useful heuristic for guiding psychotherapy. Much psychotherapy practice emphasizes the cognitive domain, but behavioral and psychophysiological interventions show at least equivalent effectiveness for some kinds of problems. Most descriptions of cognitive behavior therapy emphasize cognitive procedures, although most CBT approaches also incorporate behavioral interventions such as social skills training, exposure, and behavior activation. The contribution of psychophysiological methods is often underemphasized. Muscle relaxation and breathing interventions, particularly heart rate variability biofeedback, have been shown to have clinically significant therapeutic effects for a variety of problems. Although used more sporadically in the West, similar methods are part of traditional medical practice in Eastern countries. Examples are given for how these methods can be integrated into more generic psychotherapy practice, using Lang's distinctions, for a variety of psychological problems.

In recent years there has been substantial support for heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) as a treatment for a variety of disorders and for performance enhancement (Gevirtz, 2013). Since conditions as widely varied as asthma and depression seem to respond to this form of cardiorespiratory feedback training, the issue of possible mechanisms becomes more salient. The most supported possible mechanism is the strengthening of homeostasis in the baroreceptor (Vaschillo et al., 2002; Lehrer et al., 2003). Recently, the effect on the vagal afferent pathway to the frontal cortical areas has been proposed. In this article, we review these and other possible mechanisms that might explain the positive effects of HRVB.

Stress among parents and other primary caregivers of children with developmental disabilities is pervasive and linked to lower quality of life, unhealthy family functioning, and negative psychological consequences. However, few programs address the needs of parents or caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program is a well-suited approach for these parents and caregivers, who may be overwhelmed by their children’s situation, anticipating future challenges and reliving past traumas. We aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate the feasibility of an MBSR program designed for this population in a community-based participatory setting. Parents and caregivers were equal partners with researchers in curriculum development, recruitment, implementation and evaluation. Two concurrent classes, morning and evening, were conducted weekly in English with simultaneous Spanish translation over 8-weeks. Classes consisted of meditation practice, supported discussion of stressors affecting parents/caregivers, and gentle stretching. Of 76 participants recruited, 66 (87 %) completed the program. All participants experienced a significant reduction (33 %) in perceived stress (p < 0.001) and parents (n = 59) experienced a 22 % reduction (p < 0.001) in parental stress. Parents/caregivers also reported significantly increased mindfulness, self-compassion, and well-being (p < 0.05). Participants continued to report significant reduction in stress 2 months after the program. Our study suggests that a community-based MBSR program can be an effective intervention to reduce stress and improve psychological well-being for parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. Additional research should assess the effect of cultural or socioeconomic factors on the outcomes of the intervention and further expand MBSR programs to include community-based participatory settings.

This article explains the paradox of altruism as related to evolutionary theory.

<p>Four theories of the human conceptual system—semantic memory, exemplar models, feed‐forward connectionist nets, and situated simulation theory—are characterised and contrasted on five dimensions: (1) architecture (modular vs. non‐modular), (2) representation (amodal vs. modal), (3) abstraction (decontextualised vs. situated), (4) stability (stable vs. dynamical), and (5) organisation (taxonomic vs. action–environment interface). Empirical evidence is then reviewed for the situated simulation theory, and the following conclusions are reached. Because the conceptual system shares mechanisms with perception and action, it is non-modular. As a result, conceptual representations are multi-modal simulations distributed across modality‐specific systems. A given simulation for a concept is situated, preparing an agent for situated action with a particular instance, in a particular setting. Because a concept delivers diverse simulations that prepare agents for action in many different situations, it is dynamical. Because the conceptual system’s primary purpose is to support situated action, it becomes organised around the action–environment interface.</p>
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The efficacy of meditation-relaxation techniques has been widely researched in the laboratory, but their effectiveness for management of stress in organizational settings is still relatively unexplored. The present study compared relaxation and control conditions as part of a program of stress-reduction in industry. A total of 154 New York Telephone employees self-selected for stress learned one of three techniques--clinically standardized meditation (CSM), respiratory one method meditation (ROM) or progressive relaxation (PMR)--or served as waiting list controls. At 5.5 months, the treatment groups showed clinical improvement in self-reported symptoms of stress, but only the meditation groups (not the PMR group) showed significantly more symptom reduction than the controls. The meditation groups had a 78% compliance rate at 5.5 months with treatment effect seen whether subjects practiced their techniques frequently or occasionally. The safe and inexpensive semi-automated meditation training has considerable value for stress-management programs in organizational settings.

<p>OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of "tanden breathing" by Zen practitioners on cardiac variability. Tanden breathing involves slow breathing into the lower abdomen. METHODS: Eleven Zen practitioners, six Rinzai and five Soto, were each studied during 20 minutes of tanden breathing, preceded and followed by 5-minute periods of quiet sitting. During this time, we measured heart rate and respiration rate. RESULTS: For most subjects, respiration rates fell to within the frequency range of 0.05 to 0.15 Hz during tanden breathing. Heart rate variability significantly increased within this low-frequency range but decreased in the high-frequency range (0.14-0.4 Hz), reflecting a shift of respiratory sinus arrhythmia from high-frequency to slower waves. Rinzai practitioners breathed at a slower rate and showed a higher amplitude of low-frequency heart rate waves than observed among Soto Zen participants. One Rinzai master breathed approximately once per minute and showed an increase in very-low-frequency waves (&lt;0.05 Hz). Total amplitude of heart rate oscillations (across frequency spectra) also increased. More experienced Zen practitioners had frequent heart rhythm irregularities during and after the nadir of heart rate oscillations (ie, during inhalation). CONCLUSIONS: These data are consistent with the theory that increased oscillation amplitude during slow breathing is caused by resonance between cardiac variability caused by respiration and that produced by physiological processes underlying slower rhythms. The rhythm irregularities during inhalation may be related to inhibition of vagal modulation during the cardioacceleratory phase. It is not known whether they reflect cardiopathology.</p>