The unique social sense of puerperium: Increased empathy and Schadenfreude in parents of newborns.
ABSTRACT: Pregnancy and puerperium are typified by marked biobehavioral changes. These changes, which are traceable in both mothers and fathers, play an important role in parenthood and may modulate social cognition abilities. However, the latter effects remain notably unexplored in parents of newborns (PNs). To bridge this gap, we assessed empathy and social emotions (envy and Schadenfreude) in 55 PNs and 60 controls (childless healthy participants without a romantic relationship or sexual intercourse in the previous 48?hours). We used facial electromyography to detect physiological signatures of social emotion processing. Results revealed higher levels of affective empathy and Schadenfreude in PNs, the latter pattern being accompanied by increased activity of the corrugator suppercilii region. These effects were not explained by potential confounding variables (educational level, executive functioning, depression, stress levels, hours of sleep). Our novel findings suggest that PNs might show social cognition changes crucial for parental bonding and newborn care.
Project description:The study of moral emotions (i.e. Schadenfreude and envy) is critical to understand the ecological complexity of everyday interactions between cognitive, affective, and social cognition processes. Most previous studies in this area have used correlational imaging techniques and framed Schadenfreude and envy as unified and monolithic emotional domains. Here, we profit from a relevant neurodegeneration model to disentangle the brain regions engaged in three dimensions of Schadenfreude and envy: deservingness, morality, and legality. We tested a group of patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), patients with Alzheimer's disease, as a contrastive neurodegeneration model, and healthy controls on a novel task highlighting each of these dimensions in scenarios eliciting Schadenfreude and envy. Compared with the Alzheimer's disease and control groups, patients with bvFTD obtained significantly higher scores on all dimensions for both emotions. Correlational analyses revealed an association between envy and Schadenfreude scores and greater deficits in social cognition, inhibitory control, and behaviour disturbances in bvFTD patients. Brain anatomy findings (restricted to bvFTD and controls) confirmed the partially dissociable nature of the moral emotions' experiences and highlighted the importance of socio-moral brain areas in processing those emotions. In all subjects, an association emerged between Schadenfreude and the ventral striatum, and between envy and the anterior cingulate cortex. In addition, the results supported an association between scores for moral and legal transgression and the morphology of areas implicated in emotional appraisal, including the amygdala and the parahippocampus. By contrast, bvFTD patients exhibited a negative association between increased Schadenfreude and envy across dimensions and critical regions supporting social-value rewards and social-moral processes (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, angular gyrus and precuneus). Together, this study provides lesion-based evidence for the multidimensional nature of the emotional experiences of envy and Schadenfreude. Our results offer new insights into the mechanisms subsuming complex emotions and moral cognition in neurodegeneration. Moreover, this study presents the exacerbation of envy and Schadenfreude as a new potential hallmark of bvFTD that could impact in diagnosis and progression.
Project description:People often fail to empathize with outgroup members, and sometimes even experience Schadenfreude-pleasure-in response to their misfortunes. One potent predictor of Schadenfreude is envy. According to the Stereotype Content Model, envy is elicited by groups whose stereotypes comprise status and competitiveness. These are the first studies to investigate whether stereotypes are sufficient to elicit pleasure in response to high-status, competitive targets' misfortunes. Study 1 participants feel least negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other social targets; participants' facial muscles simultaneously exhibit a pattern consistent with positive affect (i.e., smiling). Study 2 attenuates the Schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information; Schadenfreude decreases when the target-group member has lowered status or is cooperative. Stereotypes' specific content, and not just individual relationships with targets themselves, can predict Schadenfreude.
Project description:Emotional mimicry and empathy are mechanisms underlying social interaction. Benzodiazepines have been proposed to inhibit empathy and promote antisocial behaviour. First, we aimed to investigate the effects of oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain, and second, we aimed to investigate the association of personality traits to emotional mimicry and empathy. Participants (n=76) were randomized to 25 mg oxazepam or placebo. Emotional mimicry was examined using video clips with emotional expressions. Empathy was investigated by pain stimulating the participant and a confederate. We recorded self-rated experience, activity in major zygomatic and superciliary corrugator muscles, skin conductance, and heart rate. In the mimicry experiment, oxazepam inhibited corrugator activity. In the empathy experiment, oxazepam caused increased self-rated unpleasantness and skin conductance. However, oxazepam specifically inhibited neither emotional mimicry nor empathy for pain. Responses in both experiments were associated with self-rated empathic, psychopathic and alexithymic traits. The present results do not support a specific effect of 25 mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry or empathy.
Project description:Viewing pictures of social interaction can facilitate approach behaviors. We conducted two studies to investigate if social interaction cues, empathy, and/or social touch modulate facial electromyographic (EMG) reactivity (as evidenced by the zygomaticus major and corrugator supercilii muscles) and mood states. We presented bonding pictures (depicting social interaction) and control pictures (without social interaction) while continuously recording zygomatic and corrugator EMG activities. In both studies, picture blocks were paired by valence and arousal. All participants were college students. In study 1, participants (n?=?80, 47 women) read relevant priming texts immediately before viewing each block of 14 pictures. In study 2, participants did not read (n?=?82, 63 women) priming texts before each block of 28 pictures. In study 1 and study 2, participants also completed mood states questionnaires to assess sociability and altruistic behavior. Empathy and social touch frequency were also assessed by self-reported questionnaires. In both studies, bonding pictures increased the zygomatic activity and the self-reported sociability feeling compared to control pictures. Only in study 2, bonding pictures decreased median corrugator activity compared to control pictures. We concluded that social interaction cues were efficient to increase sociability and prompt a sustained smile expression regardless of priming texts.
Project description:Frontostriatal disorders, such as Parkinson's disease (PD), are characterized by progressive disruption of cortico-subcortical dopaminergic loops involved in diverse higher-order domains, including language. Indeed, syntactic and emotional language tasks have emerged as potential biomarkers of frontostriatal disturbances. However, relevant studies and models have typically considered these linguistic dimensions in isolation, overlooking the potential advantages of targeting multidimensional markers. Here, we examined whether patient classification can be improved through the <i>joint assessment</i> of both dimensions using sentential stimuli. We evaluated 31 early PD patients and 24 healthy controls <i>via</i> two syntactic measures (functional-role assignment, parsing of long-distance dependencies) and a verbal task tapping social emotions (envy, <i>Schadenfreude</i>) and compared their classification accuracy when analyzed in isolation and in combination. Complementarily, we replicated our approach to discriminate between patients on and off medication. Results showed that specific measures of each dimension were selectively impaired in PD. In particular, joint analysis of outcomes in functional-role assignment and <i>Schadenfreude</i> improved the classification accuracy of patients and controls, irrespective of their overall cognitive and affective state. These results suggest that multidimensional linguistic assessments may better capture the complexity and multi-functional impact of frontostriatal disruptions, highlighting their potential contributions in the ongoing quest for sensitive markers of PD.
Project description:Acute kidney injury (AKI) is rare in women during pregnancy and puerperium, however, it is related to increased morbidity and mortality rates.The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence, characteristics, and outcomes of AKI during pregnancy and puerperium in a Chinese population.In this study, pregnant women discharged from hospital between January 2008 and June 2015 were screened. AKI was defined if the level of serum creatitine >70.72umol/l in pregnant women without chronic kidney disease (CKD). Acute-on-CKD was defined as a 50% increase in the level of serum creatinine vs baseline in patients with pre-existed CKD.We reported a high incidence (0.81%) of AKI during pregnancy and puerperium. Three hundred and forty-three cases of AKI during pregnancy and puerperium included 21 severe AKI cases and 21 cases with acute-on-CKD. Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, and postpartum hemorrhage were the most frequent causes of AKI during pregnancy and puerperium. About 17% women with pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and 60% women with HELLP syndrome complicated with AKI. The maternal outcome was good except in the setting of amniotic fluid embolism or hemorrhagic shock, whereas the prenatal outcome was relatively poor. Among the 14 death cases, 7 cases received renal replacement therapy. Amniotic fluid embolism and postpartum hemorrhage were the major causes of death in pregnant women with AKI.AKI during pregnancy and puerperium is not as rare as we thought. Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia is the most common cause of AKI during pregnancy and puerperium, however, the outcome of pre-eclampsia-related AKI is good. Amniotic fluid embolism and postpartum hemorrhage are the leading causes of maternal mortality. Severe AKI may predict poor outcome.
Project description:Impairments in social cognition are believed contribute to disability, particularly for disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction. There has been little transdiagnostic investigation of this across social cognition domains in young adults. A total of 199 young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; N?=?53), early psychosis (EP; N?=?51), and social anxiety disorder (SAD; N?=?64) were compared against neurotypical controls (NT; N?=?31) on a battery of lower and higher-order and self-report social cognition measures. For both ASD and EP, participants showed impaired performance on all lower-order emotion recognition tasks and one higher-order social cognition test. Self-reports of empathy were reduced in all clinical groups and particularly in ASD. For SAD, despite showing no objective social cognition impairment, self-reported empathy was reduced to the same level as EP. Discriminant analysis revealed that self-reported empathy and lower-order emotion recognition tests provide best capacity to differentiate groups. Regressions predicting disability revealed depression as the strongest predictor across all disability measures. Empathy provided additional predictive value for social disability and social interaction anxiety. Overall, results support a similar social-cognitive development profile across ASD and EP. While self-reported empathy differentiated between groups, discrepancy between objective social cognition test performance and self-reported empathy in the SAD group suggests probable threat-related self-monitoring report biases that likely further influence all group outcomes. As depression and empathy were the most important predictors of disability, regardless of diagnostic group, research is required to explore targeted interventions for difficulties in these domains to reduce disability.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To analyze trends in the incidence, in-hospital management, and outcomes of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) complicating pregnancy and the puerperium in the United States. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Women 18 years or older hospitalized during pregnancy and the puerperium were identified from the National Inpatient Sample database from January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2014. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis and procedure codes were used to identify AMI during pregnancy-related admissions. RESULTS:Overall, 55,402,290 pregnancy-related hospitalizations were identified. A total of 4471 cases of AMI (8.1 [95% CI, 7.5-8.6] cases per 100,000 hospitalizations) occurred, with 922 AMI cases (20.6%) identified in the antepartum period, 1061 (23.7%) during labor and delivery, and 2390 (53.5%) in the postpartum period. ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction occurred in 1895 cases (42.4%), and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction occurred in 2576 cases (57.6%). Among patients with pregnancy-related AMI, 2373 (53.1%) underwent invasive management and 1120 (25.1%) underwent coronary revascularization. In-hospital mortality was significantly higher in patients with AMI than in those without AMI during pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio, 39.9; 95% CI, 23.3-68.4; P<.001). The rate of AMI during pregnancy and the puerperium increased over time (adjusted odds ratio, 1.25 [for 2014 vs 2002]; 95% CI, 1.02-1.52). CONCLUSION:In patients hospitalized during pregnancy and the puerperium, AMI occurred in 1 of every 12,400 hospitalizations and rates of AMI increased over time. Maternal mortality rates were high. Additional research on the prevention and optimal management of AMI during pregnancy is necessary.
Project description:Schadenfreude is a social emotion that describes one's happiness at the misfortune of others. Because people experience schadenfreude to different extents, it can also be considered a trait. The present research aimed to develop a trait measure of schadenfreude and investigate the relationship between schadenfreude and political downfalls. We developed an item pool and used exploratory (Study 1) and confirmatory (Study 2) factor analyses to establish a 12-item, two-factor schadenfreude measure: benign and malicious. We also assessed its test-retest reliability (Study 3) and convergent validity with related measures (Study 4). Findings supported a two-factor schadenfreude measure that produced valid and reliable scores (Studies 1-4). In an experiment, we found a positive correlation between episodic-but not trait-schadenfreude on spreading news of a politician's downfall (Study 5). Using a 3 (Political affiliation: Democrat, Republican, or other) × 3 (Manipulated condition: Democrat, Republican, or CEO) design, we examined the extent to which participants' schadenfreude predicted their intentions and choices to share an embarrassing news story about a politician or CEO via social media. Schadenfreude can be assessed as a reliable trait-one that may help us predict why some people intend to spread news of embarrassing political failures.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The ability to integrate contextual information with social cues to generate social meaning is a key aspect of social cognition. It is widely accepted that patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders have deficits in social cognition; however, previous studies on these disorders did not use tasks that replicate everyday situations.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>This study evaluates the performance of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders on social cognition tasks (emotional processing, empathy, and social norms knowledge) that incorporate different levels of contextual dependence and involvement of real-life scenarios. Furthermore, we explored the association between social cognition measures, clinical symptoms and executive functions. Using a logistic regression analysis, we explored whether the involvement of more basic skills in emotional processing predicted performance on empathy tasks. The results showed that both patient groups exhibited deficits in social cognition tasks with greater context sensitivity and involvement of real-life scenarios. These deficits were more severe in schizophrenic than in bipolar patients. Patients did not differ from controls in tasks involving explicit knowledge. Moreover, schizophrenic patients' depression levels were negatively correlated with performance on empathy tasks.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Overall performance on emotion recognition predicted performance on intentionality attribution during the more ambiguous situations of the empathy task. These results suggest that social cognition deficits could be related to a general impairment in the capacity to implicitly integrate contextual cues. Important implications for the assessment and treatment of individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, as well as for neurocognitive models of these pathologies are discussed.