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Culturele apartheid in leergangen Nederlands als vreemde taal

  • Raemdonck, Anne Van
This article looks at the way culture is represented in 3 commonly used course books of Dutch as a foreign language. According to the author, everyday culture of the regions where Dutch is spoken, is presented from a nationalistic point of view, i.e. it is limited to either cultural, historical and social aspects of The Netherlands or cultural, historical and social aspects of the Flemish Community in Belgium. The existence of the other region or country where the same language is spoken is not only ignored but at times even portrayed wrongfully which has its logically negative effect upon the students" interpretation and can lead to prejudice and the teachers using those course books.
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Early indices of deviance detection in humans and animal models.

  • Grimm S
  • Escera C
  • Nelken I
Detecting unexpected stimuli in the environment is a critical function of the auditory system. Responses to unexpected "deviant" sounds are enhanced compared to responses to expected stimuli. At the human scalp, deviance detection is reflected in the mismatch negativity (MMN) and in an enhancement of the middle-latency response (MLR). Single neurons often respond more strongly to a stimulus when rare than when common, a phenomenon termed stimulus-specific adaptation (SSA). Here we compare stimulus-specific adaptation with scalp-recorded deviance-related responses. We conclude that early markers of deviance detection in the time range of the MLR could be a direct correlate of cortical SSA. Both occur at an early level of cortical activation, both are robust findings with low-probability stimuli, and both show properties of genuine deviance detection. Their causal relation with the later scalp-recorded MMN is a key question in this field.
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Phase re-setting of gamma neural oscillations during novelty processing in an appetitive context.

  • Domínguez-Borràs J
  • Garcia-Garcia M
  • Escera C
Based on the previous study where phase-synchronization (PS) of gamma-band responses (GBRs) proved a reliable cerebral correlate of involuntary attention and its enhancement under threat, we measured gamma-PS elicited by novel sounds from human electroencephalogram (EEG) scalp-recordings when participants responded to visual stimuli displaying either highly motivational or neutral sceneries. We then tested the modulatory effect of the emotional conditions on auditory responses. Novel distractor sounds did not affect behavioural accuracy on subjects' visual task performance in neutral context but markedly decreased hit rate in the appetitive one. Similarly, gamma-PS to novel sounds remained intact in neutral context, whereas it showed an increase, within the 35-Hz sub-range, in the appetitive context. These results suggest that a context of processing positive emotional stimuli results into an enhanced processing of task-irrelevant novel auditory events, and, furthermore, that gamma-PS is tuned under conditions that could promote long-term survival.
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Ultrafast tracking of sound location changes as revealed by human auditory evoked potentials.

  • Grimm S
  • Recasens M
  • Althen H
  • Escera C
The rapid discrimination of auditory location information enables grouping and selectively attending to specific sound sources. The typical indicator of auditory change detection is the mismatch negativity (MMN) occurring at a latency of about 100-250 ms. However, recent studies have revealed the existence of earlier markers of frequency deviance detection in the middle-latency response (MLR). Here, we measured the MLR and MMN to changes in sound location. Clicks were presented in either the left or right hemifields during oddball (rare 30°-shifts in location), reversed oddball, and control (sounds occurring equiprobably from five locations) conditions. Clicks at deviant locations elicited an MMN and an enhanced Na component of the MLR peaking at 20 ms compared to clicks at standard or control locations. Whereas MMN was not significantly lateralized, the Na effect showed a contralateral dominance. These findings indicate that, also for sound location changes, early detection processes exist upstream of MMN.
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A risk variant for alcoholism in the NMDA receptor affects amygdala activity during fear conditioning in humans.

  • Cacciaglia R
  • Nees F
  • Pohlack ST
  • Ruttorf M
  • Winkelmann T
  • Witt SH
  • Nieratschker V
  • Rietschel M
  • Flor H
People at high risk for alcoholism show deficits in aversive learning, as indicated by impaired electrodermal responses during fear conditioning, a basic form of associative learning that depends on the amygdala. A positive family history of alcohol dependence has also been related to decreased amygdala responses during emotional processing. In the present study we report reduced amygdala activity during the acquisition of conditioned fear in healthy carriers of a risk variant for alcoholism (rs2072450) in the NR2A subunit-containing N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor. These results indicate that rs2072450 might confer risk for alcohol dependence through deficient fear acquisition indexed by a diminished amygdala response during aversive learning, and provide a neural basis for a weak behavioral inhibition previously documented in individuals at high risk for alcohol dependence. Carriers of the risk variant additionally exhibit dampened insula activation, a finding that further strengthens our data, given the importance of this brain region in fear conditioning.
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Mathematical anxiety effects on simple arithmetic processing efficiency: an event-related potential study.

  • Suárez-Pellicioni M
  • Nunez M
  • Colomé A
This study uses event-related brain potentials to investigate the difficulties that high math anxious individuals face when processing dramatically incorrect solutions to simple arithmetical problems. To this end, thirteen high math-anxious (HMA) and thirteen low math-anxious (LMA) individuals were presented with simple addition problems in a verification task. The proposed solution could be correct, incorrect but very close to the correct one (small-split), or dramatically incorrect (large-split). The two groups did not differ in mathematical ability or trait anxiety. We reproduced previous results for flawed scores suggesting HMA difficulties in processing large-split solutions. Moreover, large-split solutions elicited a late positive component (P600/P3b) which was more enhanced and delayed in the HMA group. Our study proposes that the pattern of flawed scores found by previous studies (and that we replicate) has to do with HMA individuals'difficulties in inhibiting an extended processing of irrelevant information (large-split solutions).
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Less precise representation of numerical magnitude in high math-anxious individuals: an ERP study of the size and distance effects.

  • Nunez M
  • Suárez-Pellicioni M
Numerical comparison tasks are widely used to study the mental representation of numerical magnitude. In study, event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded while 26 high math-anxious (HMA) and 27 low math-anxious (LMA) individuals were presented with pairs of single-digit Arabic numbers and were asked to decide which one had the larger numerical magnitude. The size of the numbers and the distance between them were manipulated in order to study the size and the distance effects. The results showed that both distance and size effects were larger for the HMA group. As for ERPs, results showed that the ERP distance effect had larger amplitude for both the size and distance effects in the HMA group than among their LMA counterparts. Since this component has been taken as a marker of the processing of numerical magnitude, this result suggests that HMA individuals have a less precise representation of numerical magnitude.
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Phasic boosting of auditory perception by visual emotion.

  • Selinger L
  • Domínguez-Borràs J
  • Escera C
Emotionally negative stimuli boost perceptual processes. There is little known, however, about the timing of this modulation. The present study aims at elucidating the phasic effects of, emotional processing on auditory processing within subsequent time-windows of visual emotional, processing in humans. We recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) while participants responded to a, discrimination task of faces with neutral or fearful expressions. A brief complex tone, which subjects, were instructed to ignore, was displayed concomitantly, but with different asynchronies respective to, the image onset. Analyses of the N1 auditory event-related potential (ERP) revealed enhanced brain, responses in presence of fearful faces. Importantly, this effect occurred at picture-tone asynchronies of, 100 and 150ms, but not when these were displayed simultaneously, or at 50ms or 200ms asynchrony. These results confirm the existence of a fast-operating crossmodal effect of visual emotion on auditory, processing, suggesting a phasic variation according to the time-course of emotional processing.
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Drug-induced lipotoxicity: lipodystrophy associated with HIV-1 infection and antiretroviral treatment.

  • Villarroya F
  • Domingo P
  • Giralt M
A subset of HIV-1-infected patients undergoing antiretroviral treatment develops a lipodystrophy syndrome. It is characterized by loss of peripheral subcutaneous adipose tissue (face, limbs, buttocks), visceral fat accumulation, and, in some cases, lipomatosis, especially in the dorsocervical area. In addition, these patients show metabolic alterations reminiscent of the metabolic syndrome, particularly dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. These alterations lead to enhanced cardiovascular risk in patients and favor the development of diabetes. Although a complex combination of HIV-1 infection and drug treatment-related events triggers the syndrome, lipotoxicity appears to contribute to the development of the syndrome. Active lipolysis in subcutaneous fat, combined with impaired fat storage capacity in the subcutaneous depot, drive ectopic deposition of lipids, either in the visceral depot or in nonadipose sites. Both hepatic steatosis and increased lipid content in skeletal muscle take place and surely contribute to systemic metabolic alterations, especially insulin resistance. Pancreatic function may also be affected by the exposure to high levels of fatty acids; together with direct effects of antiretroviral drugs, this may contribute to impaired insulin release and a prodiabetic state in the patients. Addressing lipotoxicity as a pathogenic actor in the lipodystrophy syndrome should be considered in strategies for treating and/or preventing the morphological alterations and systemic metabolic disturbances associated with lipodystrophy.
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