Journal: Cognitive processing
Humour processing is a complex information-processing task that is dependent on cognitive and emotional aspects which presumably influence frame-shifting and conceptual blending, mental operations that underlie humour processing. The aim of the current study was to find distinctive groups of subjects with respect to black humour processing, intellectual capacities, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. A total of 156 adults rated black humour cartoons and conducted measurements of verbal and nonverbal intelligence, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. Cluster analysis yields three groups comprising following properties: (1) moderate black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence; low mood disturbance and moderate aggressiveness; (2) low black humour preference and moderate comprehension; average nonverbal and verbal intelligence, high mood disturbance and high aggressiveness; and (3) high black humour preference and high comprehension; high nonverbal and verbal intelligence; no mood disturbance and low aggressiveness. Age and gender do not differ significantly, differences in education level can be found. Black humour preference and comprehension are positively associated with higher verbal and nonverbal intelligence as well as higher levels of education. Emotional instability and higher aggressiveness apparently lead to decreased levels of pleasure when dealing with black humour. These results support the hypothesis that humour processing involves cognitive as well as affective components and suggest that these variables influence the execution of frame-shifting and conceptual blending in the course of humour processing.
Two sets of brain areas are repeatedly reported in neuroimaging studies on social cognition: the Mirror Neuron System and the Mentalizing System. The Mirror System is involved in goal understanding and has been associated with several emotional and cognitive functions central to social interaction, ranging from empathy to gestural communication and imitation. The Mentalizing System is recruited in tasks requiring cognitive processes such as self-reference and understanding of other’s intentions. Although theoretical accounts for an interaction between the two systems have been proposed, little is known about their synergy during social exchanges. In order to explore this question, we have recorded brain activity by means of functional MRI during live social exchanges based on reciprocal imitation of hand gestures. Here, we investigate, using the method of psychophysiological interaction, the changes in functional connectivity of the Mirror System due to the conditions of interest (being imitated, imitating) compared with passive observation of hand gestures. We report a strong coupling between the Mirror System and the Mentalizing System during the imitative exchanges. Our findings suggest a complementary role of the two networks during social encounters. The Mirror System would engage in the preparation of own actions and the simulation of other's actions, while the Mentalizing System would engage in the anticipation of the other’s intention and thus would participate to the co-regulation of reciprocal actions. Beyond a specific effect of imitation, the design used offers the opportunity to tackle the role of role-switching in an interpersonal account of social cognition.
In this paper, we propose a cognitive semantic approach to represent part-whole relations. We base our proposal on the theory of conceptual spaces, focusing on prototypical structures in part-whole relations. Prototypical structures are not accounted for in traditional mereological formalisms. In our account, parts and wholes are represented in distinct conceptual spaces; parts are joined to form wholes in a structure space. The structure space allows systematic similarity judgments between wholes, taking into consideration shared parts and their configurations. A point in the structure space denotes a particular part structure; regions in the space represent different general types of part structures. We argue that the structural space can represent prototype effects: structural types are formed around typical arrangements of parts. We also show how structure space captures the variations in part structure of a given concept across different domains. In addition, we discuss how some taxonomies of part-whole relations can be understood within our framework.
Training in mindfulness skills has been shown to increase autobiographical memory specificity. The aim of this study was to examine whether there is also an association between individual differences in trait mindfulness and memory specificity using a non-clinical student sample (N = 70). Also examined were the relationships between other memory characteristics and trait mindfulness, self-reported depression and rumination. Participants wrote about 12 autobiographical memories, which were recalled in response to emotion word cues in a minimal instruction version of the Autobiographical Memory Test, rated each memory for seven characteristics, and completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, and the Ruminative Responses Scale. Higher rumination scores were associated with more reliving and more intense emotion during recall. Depression scores were not associated with any memory variables. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with lower memory specificity and with more intense and more positive emotion during recall. Thus, trait mindfulness is associated with memory specificity, but the association is opposite to that found in mindfulness training studies. It is suggested that this difference may be due to an influence of trait mindfulness on memory encoding as well as retrieval processes and an influence on the mode of self-awareness that leads to a greater focus on momentary rather than narrative self-reference.