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When (and How) Is Theory of Mind Useful? Evidence from Life-Span Research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451012 Year: Pages: 182 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-101-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM) or mentalization is the ability to understand and foresee the behavior referring to one’s own and others’ mental states (Premack & Woodruff, 1978; Wimmer & Perner, 1983). This capacity, which is considered the most representative mechanism of social cognition, is a multifaceted set of competences liable to influence – and be influenced by – a manifold of psychosocial aspects. Studies on typical and atypical/clinical development during life showed that ToM is frequently delayed (e.g. in deafness) or impaired in many clinical conditions (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease) and, on the other hand, may not be unequivocally a positive experience. It is therefore possible to consider the existence of multiple kinds of Theory of Mind. In fact, ToM may vary along a quantitative and a qualitative continuum. As for the quantitative dimension, the continuum is constituted by the fluctuation between high and low levels of ToM ability in different clinical conditions. Along this continuum, impairment can mean “not enough” ToM (for example in Autism Spectrum Disorder) as well as “too much” ToM (for example in Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder). The qualitative dimension – highly interrelated with the quantitative one - regards the shift between adaptive (e.g. prosocial, nice ToM) vs. unadaptive (e.g. antisocial, nasty ToM) mental states content. The issue is discussed in light of recent evidence from outstanding researchers working on typical and atypical/clinical populations along the life-span. Findings from the fields of psychology, neuropsychology and neuroscience enrich the research topic argumentation.

Keywords

Theory of Mind --- typical --- clinical --- neural --- life-span

Work-Life Balance: Essential or Ephemeral?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452545 Year: Pages: 75 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-254-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Pediatrics
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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Burn-out and suicide rates among physicians and scientists in academic medicine are at an all-time high and jeopardize the future of our entire profession. In the last 4 years alone, burn-out rates among physicians have increased by 25%. In a recent 2017 Medscape publication, burn-out rates in Critical Care physicians ranked in 9th place and Pediatricians ranked 13th among 27 subspecialties. Astonishingly, over 50% of the participants reported burn-out symptoms, with clear race and gender disparities. While men generally report higher burn-out rates than women, it is important to emphasize that response rates from women in these surveys were notoriously low and may not represent the complete picture. These numbers are even more dismal for tenured academic faculty at research-extensive universities. In this group, emotional exhaustion (i.e. high burn-out) is reported at 35% with a clear association with age and lower burn-out levels in the older tenured faculty. While no gender or racial/ethnic differences were found in this particular group, higher levels of burn-out were identified in individuals with financial responsibilities beyond a spouse and child. While it is comforting to note the increasing public interest and research activities in this field, successful approaches to ameliorate the burden and consequences of physician burn-out are still inadequately developed. Academic centers increasingly offer some type of work-life balance program to their employees but, unfortunately, these programs are frequently adopted from corporate business models and remain largely ineffective in the academic environment. It should be evident to most administrators that the stressors of academic clinicians and scientists substantially differ from those of corporate employees. Based on these observations and over 75 years of combined experience in academic medicine amongst the three editors of this Research Topic, we collected 26 manuscripts from 22 authors at different career stages and different genders, ethnicities, marital status and subspecialties to identify and stratify common and specific stressors and therapeutic approaches to ameliorate burn-out and achieve work-life balance in academic medicine. We are confident that each reader will identify with at least one, if not several, of the authors’ opinions, experiences and approaches to attain greater work-life balance and thereby avoid the consequences of burn-out in modern academic medicine.

Keywords

work-life balance --- stress --- Suicide --- academic --- physician --- Career --- Family --- lifestyle --- Health --- Well-being

The Development of Animal Personality

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451517 Year: Pages: 105 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-151-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Ecology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Although the topic of animal personality has recently generated much interest, the role of development is little understood. This collection of papers deals with the development of animal personality. Topics include the roles of genetic effects, maternal effects, social partners, predation and parasitism risk, and environmental complexity in the development of personality, the effects of personality on survival, and the development of collective personality and movement as a driver of personality development. The organisms covered include insects, spiders, fishes, and birds. This volume illustrates the diversity of approaches that have shed light on the development of animal personality in the past several years.

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