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Jan 09, 2010

Sense of agency primes manual motor responses

Sense of agency primes manual motor responses.

Perception. 2009;38(1):69-78

Authors: Longo MR, Haggard P

Perceiving the body influences how we perceive and respond to stimuli in the world. We investigated the respective effects of different components of bodily representation--the senses of ownership and agency--on responses to simple visual stimuli. Participants viewed a video image of their hand on a computer monitor presented either in real time, or with a systematic delay. Blocks began with an induction period in which the index finger was (i) brushed, (ii) passively moved, or (iii) actively moved by the participant. Subjective reports showed that the sense of ownership over the seen hand emerged with synchronous video, regardless of the type of induction, whereas the sense of agency over the hand emerged only following synchronous video with active movement. Following induction, participants responded as quickly as possible to the onset of visual stimuli near the hand by pressing a button with their other hand. Reaction time was significantly speeded when participants had a sense of agency over their seen hand. This effect was eliminated when participants responded vocally, suggesting that it reflects priming of manual responses, rather than enhanced stimulus detection. These results suggest that vision of one's own hand-and, specifically, the sense of agency over that hand-primes manual motor responses.

An Adaptive Display for the Treatment of Diverse Trauma PTSD Victims

An Adaptive Display for the Treatment of Diverse Trauma PTSD Victims.

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009 Dec 20;

Authors: Botella C, García-Palacios A, Guillen V, Baños RM, Quero S, Alcaniz M

Abstract Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after exposure to a terrifying event. People who suffer from PTSD experience hyperarousal and avoidance, and they reexperience symptoms that provoke distress and impairment in significant life areas. Cognitive behavior programs, including exposure therapy, are currently the treatment of choice for PTSD. Although these programs are effective, there is room for improvement; utilization of exposure therapy by clinicians is low, and attrition rates are high. Application of new technologies, especially virtual reality (VR), could help to overcome these issues. Several VR programs that address PTSD already exist. This study presents preliminary data on the efficacy of a VR adaptive display called EMMA's World, as applied in the treatment of diverse trauma PTSD victims. This VR program is unique; its flexibility allows it to be used to treat patients who suffer from PTSD due to different kinds of traumatic events. Results support the utility of EMMA's World in the treatment of PTSD.

Virtual reality for obsessive-compulsive disorder: past and the future

Virtual reality for obsessive-compulsive disorder: past and the future.

Psychiatry Investig. 2009 Sep;6(3):115-21

Authors: Kim K, Kim CH, Kim SY, Roh D, Kim SI

The use of computers, especially for virtual reality (VR), to understand, assess, and treat various mental health problems has been developed for the last decade, including application for phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficits, and schizophrenia. However, the number of VR tools addressing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is still lacking due to the heterogeneous symptoms of OCD and poor understanding of the relationship between VR and OCD. This article reviews the empirical literatures for VR tools in the future, which involve applications for both clinical work and experimental research in this area, including examining symptoms using VR according to OCD patients' individual symptoms, extending OCD research in the VR setting to also study behavioral and physiological correlations of the symptoms, and expanding the use of VR for OCD to cognitive-behavioral intervention.

Simon's Cat 'Fly Guy'

A hungry cat resorts to increasingly desperate measures to catch a housefly.


13:21 Posted in Blue sky | Permalink | Comments (0)

Interface Fantasy - A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology

Cyberspace is first and foremost a mental space. Therefore we need to take a psychological approach to understand our experiences in it. In Interface Fantasy, André Nusselder uses the core psychoanalytic notion of fantasy to examine our relationship to computers and digital technology. Lacanian psychoanalysis considers fantasy to be an indispensable "screen" for our interaction with the outside world; Nusselder argues that, at the mental level, computer screens and other human-computer interfaces incorporate this function of fantasy: they mediate the real and the virtual.

Interface Fantasy illuminates our attachment to new media: why we love our devices; why we are fascinated by the images on their screens; and how it is possible that virtual images can provide physical pleasure. Nusselder puts such phenomena as avatars, role playing, cybersex, computer psychotherapy, and Internet addiction in the context of established psychoanalytic theory. The virtual identities we assume in virtual worlds, exemplified best by avatars consisting of both realistic and symbolic self-representations, illustrate the three orders that Lacan uses to analyze human reality: the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real.

Nusselder analyzes our most intimate involvement with information technology—the almost invisible, affective aspects of technology that have the greatest impact on our lives. Interface Fantasy lays the foundation for a new way of thinking that acknowledges the pivotal role of the screen in the current world of information. And it gives an intelligible overview of basic Lacanian principles (including fantasy, language, the virtual, the real, embodiment, and enjoyment) that shows their enormous relevance for understanding the current state of media technology.

Read more at MIT press.

Photos: International Robot Exhibition 2009

Hundreds of robots have gathered at the International Robot Exhibition (IREX) held in November 2009 at Tokyo Big Sight. Here are a few photos from the event, collected by Pink Tentacle.






Jan 07, 2010

Why $0.00 is the future of business

In this video, Chris Anderson (chief editor of Wired) explains why giving your products for free is a winning strategy. The "freemium" (free+premium) approach enhances customers' expectations and their involvement in your work. Once you have gained the attention of customers, you can choose other approaches, i.e. selling higher-quality products or proposing better packages, in order to generate revenues.

Sleep contribution to motor memory consolidation: a motor imagery study

Sleep contribution to motor memory consolidation: a motor imagery study.

Sleep. 2009 Dec 1;32(12):1559-65

Authors: Debarnot U, Creveaux T, Collet C, Doyon J, Guillot A

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Sleep is known to enhance performance following physical practice (PP) of a new sequence of movements. Apart from a pilot study, it is still unknown whether a similar sleep-dependent consolidation effect can be observed following motor imagery (MI) and whether this mnemonic process is related to MI speed. DESIGN: Counterbalanced within-subject design. SETTING: The laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-two participants. INTERVENTIONS: PP, real-time MI, fast MI, and NoSleep (control) groups. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Subjects practiced an explicitly known sequence of finger movements, and were assigned to PP, real-time MI, or fast MI, in which they intentionally imagined the sequence at a faster pace. A NoSleep group subjected to real-time MI, but without any intervening sleep, was also tested. Performance was evaluated before practice, as well as prior to, and after a night of sleep or a similar time interval during the daytime. Compared with the NoSleep group, the results revealed offline gains in performance after sleep in the PP, real-time MI, and fast MI groups. There was no correlation between a measure of underestimation of the time to imagine the motor sequence and the actual speed gains after sleep, neither between the ease/difficulty to form mental images and performance gains. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence that sleep contributes to the consolidation of motor sequence learning acquired through MI and further suggests that offline delayed gains are not related to the MI content per se. They extend our previous findings and strongly confirm that performance enhancement following MI is sleep dependent.