• Sex hormones play a role in vulnerability to sleep loss on emotion processing tasks

      Lustig, K. A.; Stoakley, E. M.; MacDonald, K. J.; Geniole, S. N.; McCormick, C. M.; Cote, K. A. (Elsevier, 2017-10-06)
      The central aim of this study was to investigate hormones as a predictor of individual vulnerability or resiliency on emotion processing tasks following one night of sleep restriction. The restriction group was instructed to sleep 3 a.m.–7 a.m. (13 men, 13 women in follicular phase, 10 women in luteal phase of menstrual cycle), and a control group slept 11 p.m.–7 a.m. (12 men, 12 follicular women, 12 luteal women). Sleep from home was verified with actigraphy. Saliva samples were collected on the evening prior to restriction, and in the morning and afternoon following restriction, to measure testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone. In the laboratory, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during presentation of images and faces to index neural processing of emotional stimuli. Compared to controls, sleep-restricted participants had a larger amplitude Late Positive Potential (LPP) ERP to positive vs neutral images, reflecting greater motivated attention towards positive stimuli. Sleep-restricted participants were also less accurate categorizing sad faces and exhibited a larger N170 to sad faces, reflecting greater neural reactivity. Sleep-restricted luteal women were less accurate categorizing all images compared to control luteal women, and progesterone was related to several outcomes. Morning testos- terone in men was lower in the sleep-restricted group compared to controls; lower testosterone was associated with lower accuracy to positive images, a greater difference between positive vs neutral LPP amplitude, and lower accuracy to sad and fearful faces. In summary, women higher in progesterone and men lower in testos- terone were more vulnerable to the effects of sleep restriction on emotion processing tasks. This study highlights a role for sex and sex hormones in understanding individual differences in vulnerability to sleep loss.
    • That's my teacher! Children's ability to recognize personally familiar and unfamiliar faces improves with age

      Laurence, Sarah; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Elsevier Ltd, 2016-03)
      Highlights •Tested children’s ability to recognize faces across natural variation in appearance.•4- to 12-year-olds were asked to find all the images of an identity.•Performance was (nearly) perfect by 6years for familiar identities.•Performance improved across the entire age range for unfamiliar identities.•Findings have implications for models of the development of face perception.
    • Transitions in Executive Function: Insights From Developmental Parallels Between Prospective Memory and Cognitive Flexibility

      Mahy, Caitlin; Munakata, Yoko (Wiley, 2015)
      As children develop, they need to remember to carry out their intentions and overcome habits to switch flexibly to new ways of behaving. Developments in these domains—prospective memory and cognitive flexibility—are essential for children to function and predict important outcomes. Prospective memory and cognitive flexibility are similar in the psychological processes proposed to support them (particularly executive functions), in how they are measured, and in the behavioral transitions observed (e.g., dissociations between actions and intentions, and nonlinear developmental trajectories). In this article, we highlight how such parallels can inform debates about the specific executive functions and types of developments that support prospective memory, cognitive flexibility, and related future‐oriented abilities, and can deepen understanding of executive function development more generally.
    • Wide eyes and drooping arms: Adult-like congruency effects emerge early in the development of sensitivity to emotional faces and body postures

      Mondloch, Catherine J.; Horner, Matthew; Mian, Jasmine (Elsevier Inc, 2013-02)
      Adults’ and 8-year-old children’s perception of emotional faces is disrupted when faces are presented in the context of incongruent body postures (e.g., when a sad face is displayed on a fearful body) if the two emotions are highly similar (e.g., sad/fear) but not if they are highly dissimilar (e.g., sad/happy). The current research investigated the emergence of this adult-like pattern. Using a sorting task, we identified the youngest age at which children could accurately sort isolated facial expressions and body postures and then measured whether their accuracy was impaired in the incongruent condition. Among the child participants, 6-year-olds showed congruency effects for sad/fear, but even 4-year-olds did not do so for sad/happy. Early emergence of this adult-like pattern is consistent with the dimensional and emotional seed models of emotion perception, although future research is needed to test the relative validity of these two models. Testing children with emotional faces presented in the context of body postures and background scenes is an important step toward understanding how they perceive emotions on a daily basis.