2021

A psychological perspective on vicarious embarrassment and shame in the context of cringe humor

Abstract Cringe humor combines the seemingly opposite emotional experiences of amusement and embarrassment due to others’ transgressions of norms. Psychological theories and empirical studies on these emotional reactions in response to others’ transgressions of social norms have mostly focused on embarrassment and shame. Here, we build on this literature, aiming to present a novel perspective …

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Editorial: The Different Faces of Sickness

Editorial on the Research Topic: The Different Faces of Sickness   Sickness not only includes symptoms that classically define an infection (e.g., fever, nausea, headache), but also comes along with profound neurobehavioral consequences for the infected individual. These include anhedonia, anorexia, pain, lethargy, fatigue, sleepiness, and social withdrawal, and are collectively called “sickness behavior” (1). …

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Reduced frontal cortical tracking of conflict between self-beneficial versus prosocial motives in Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Abstract Abstract Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) entails severe impairments in interpersonal functioning that are likely driven by self-beneficial and exploitative behavior. Here, we investigate the underlying motivational and neural mechanisms of prosocial decision-making by experimentally manipulating motivational conflict between self- beneficial and prosocial incentives. One group of patients diagnosed with NPD and a group of …

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Self-beneficial belief updating as a coping mechanism for stress-induced negative affect

Abstract Being confronted with social-evaluative stress elicits a physiological and a psychological stress response. This calls for regulatory processes to manage negative affect and maintain self-related optimistic beliefs. The aim of the current study was to investigate the affect-regulating potential of self-related updating of ability beliefs after exposure to social-evaluative stress, in comparison to non-social …

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Perceived Risk of Infection Linked to Changes in Comfort in Social Situations From Before to During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Background: Social lives have significantly changed since social distancing measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to investigate how our appraisal of social situations changed during the pandemic. Methods: In two online surveys, conducted in October 2019 and April 2020, 58 participants rated their personal level of …

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Randomized clinical trial shows no substantial modulation of empathy-related neural activation by intranasal oxytocin in autism

Background: Social lives have significantly changed since social distancing measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to investigate how our appraisal of social situations changed during the pandemic. Methods: In two online surveys, conducted in October 2019 and April 2020, 58 participants rated their personal level of …

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The influence of anger on empathy and theory of mind

Social cognition allows humans to understand and predict other people’s behavior by inferring or sharing their emotions, intentions and beliefs. Few studies have investigated the impact of one’s own emotional state on understanding others. Here, we tested the effect of being in an angry state on empathy and theory of mind (ToM). In a between-groups …

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The neuroscience of social feelings: mechanisms of adaptive social functioning

Abstract Social feelings have conceptual and empirical connections with affect and emotion. In this review, we discuss how they relate to cognition, emotion, behavior and well-being. We examne the functional neuroanatomy and neurobiology of social feelings and their role in adaptive social functioning. Existing neuroscience literature is reviewed to identify concepts, methods and challenges that …

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No support for oxytocin modulation of reward-related brain function in autism: evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Abstract Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulties in social communication and interaction, which have been related to atypical neural processing of rewards, especially in the social domain. Since intranasal oxytocin has been shown to modulate activation of the brain’s reward circuit, oxytocin could be a useful tool to ameliorate the processing of social …

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Association of stress-related limbic activity and baseline interleukin-6 plasma levels in healthy adults

Abstract Several studies suggest a link between acute changes in inflammatory parameters due to an endotoxin or (psychological) stressor and the brain’s stress response. The extent to which basal circulating levels of inflammatory markers are associated with the brain’s stress response has been hardly investigated so far. In the present study, plasma levels of the …

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