According to a growing body of studies, people’s ability to forecast future emotional experiences is generally biased. Nonetheless, the existing literature has mainly explored affective forecasting in relation to specific events, whereas little is still known about the ability to make general estimations of future emotional states. Based on existing evidence suggesting future-oriented disposition as a key factor for mental health, the aims of the current study were (1) to investigate the relationship between negative (NA) and positive (PA) affective forecasting (...) biases and perceived psychological well-being, and (2) to explore whether positively biased predictions are associated with resilience and foster one’s skills to cope with stressful events. To do so, we asked 85 undergraduate students to forecast PA and NA over two weeks, as well as to report their daily affect through a web-based Ecological Momentary Assessment. According to the results, positively biased PA forecasting (i.e., overestimating positive emotional states) was associated with greater perceived psychological well-being and higher resilience. When high levels of stress were experienced, participants holding an optimistic, yet biased, estimation of future PA were more likely to successfully manage stressors, thus maintaining lower levels of NA and higher levels of positive emotions. We suggest that positively biased PA forecasting is an adaptive cognitive distortion that boosts people’s resilience and mental health, thus opening new avenues for the promotion of psychological well-being. (shrink)
We support the idea of applying cultural evolution theory to the study of storytelling, and fiction in particular. However, we suggest that a more plausible link between real and imaginary worlds is the feeling of “presence” we can experience in both of them: we feel present when we are able to correctly and intuitively enact our embodied predictions.
Jaswal & Akhtar in their target article convincingly argue that subjects with autism do not have diminished social motivation. However, they still recognize that autistic people behave socially in an unusual way. Why? Here we suggest that these behaviours are the results of a multisensory integration deficit. Viewed from this perspective, the assumption that autistic people's unusual behaviours indicate diminished social motivation has to be replaced by the one that they have diminished social prediction skills.
This observational study analyzes the impact of Internet use on the quality of life and well-being of the elderly. Specifically, it seeks to understand and clarify the effects of Internet use on relationships in terms of self-esteem, life satisfaction and online and offline social support in a sample of senior and elderly Italian people (over 60 years of age). A cohort of 271 elderly people (133 males, 138 females) aged between 60 and 94 years old participated in the study: 236 (...) were Internet Users while the other 35 were Non-Internet Users. The results showed that the time elderly people spend online has a negative effect on their perception of Offline Social Support (Offline Emotional and Informational, and Offline Affective Social Support) and a positive effect on their perception of Online Social Support (particularly on Online Positive Social Interactions). Surprisingly, Internet Use among elderly people seems to impact positively on the perception of Offline Social Support. Indeed, Elderly Internet Users have a more positive perception of Offline Social Support (particularly Offline Positive Social Interactions and Offline Affective Social Support) than Non-Internet Users. A discussion of this finding is provided, positing that the Internet seems to represent the technological side of a functional organ that allows the elderly to stay in closer touch with their family and friends, and in doing so to also overcome some age-related difficulties. (shrink)
Oncological treatments are responsible for many of the physical changes associated with cancer. Because of this, cancer patients are at high risk of developing mental health problems. The aim of this study is to propose an innovative Virtual Reality training that uses a somatic technique to create a bridge with the bodily dimension of cancer. After undergoing a psycho-educational procedure, a combination of exposure, out-of-body experience, and body swapping will gradually train the patient to cope with cancer-related difficulties, increasing stress (...) tolerance, and patient empowerment. The most engaging step of this advanced form of Stress Inoculation Training is the body swapping experience, which will guide the patient in embodying a resilient cancer patient who is facing similar difficulties. Through the VR ability to simulate the human brain functioning, and the potential of embodiment to hook to the somatic dimension of illness, we expect that once the concepts endured through the patient’s experience of resilience are triggered, the patient will be more prone to implement functional coping strategies in real life, reaching empowerment and adjusting to the post-treatment difficulties. When the scenarios are built and the training tested, our intervention could be used to support patients with different oncological diseases and who are treated in different cancer hospitals, as well as patients with other non-oncological problems. Future research should focus on using our paradigm for other clinical populations, and supporting cancer patients in coping with different distressing situations. (shrink)
In this commentary on Bastin et al., we suggest that spatial context plays a critical role in the encoding and retrieval of events. Specifically, the translation process between the viewpoint-independent content of a memory and the viewpoint-dependent stimuli activating the retrieval plays a critical role in spatial memory recollection. This perspective also provides an explanatory model for pathological disturbances such as Alzheimer's disease.
This commentary suggests that the physical substrate of integrated information is dependent on the reference frame used to observe it. Furthermore, it uses a thought experiment – can a neuroscientist, locked in a closed room and connected through Zoom with his grandmother to demonstrate that the consciousness of his grannie is NOT in the PC? – to underline the problems that neglecting reference frames may cause to consciousness research.