Special section of the third issue of the 6th volume Psychology in Russia: State of the Art presents the papers of the workshop and faculty meeting of the Parmenides Foundation — international scientific community for multi-disciplinary cognitive research building bridges between natural, computer sciences and humanities. The 10th Sino-German Workshop in the Neurosciences and Psychology with 80 participants from 15 countries, held in Hamburg, Germany (1–4 September 2013), was dedicated to the general topic of neglected questions in the field.
Editorial volum #6, 2, 2013 Psychology in Russia: State of the Art
Special Section: “Science in Dialogue” — 10th Sino-German Workshop Selected Papers
Unasked questions and unused answers in psychology.
Contemporary psychology and cognitive neuroscience create many opportunities for studying the brain functions, but also generate numerous challenges. To date, scientists face common conceptual problems which are relevant to almost every research study/ case such as: classification of functions, unified methodological approaches, explanation of the psychological phenomenon etc. The Sino-German Workshop which took place in Hamburg in 2013 aimed to address unasked questions and unused answers, attracting scientists from different countries and different fields of psychology, neuroscience, medicine, history, and philosophy. The present discussion on the 9 unasked questions was initiated by Professor Ernst Poeppel and was held on by Russian participants from various academic institutions.
Neuropsychological characteristics of verbal working memory (memory capacity, permanency,
and different types of memory errors) of 43 healthy subjects of older age were
compared with the anatomical characteristics of their brain structures (volume of the
hippocampi and the caudate nuclei, size of the cingulate-cortex regions of both hemispheres).
The obtained data demonstrate a correlation between the permanency of verbal-
information maintenance and left caudate-nucleus volume and a positive correlation
between associative-memory capacity and left hippocampus volume. A decline in the
number of verbal-memory errors (confabulations) is related to the increased size of the
left anterior cingulate cortex. Furthermore, verbal working-memory capacity and permanency
correlate negatively with the size of the left posterior dorsal cingulate cortex,
whereas the number of fluctuations and word replacements correlate positively with the
increased size of this brain region. We suggest a psychophysiological model of verbalstimulus
maintenance in working memory based on the results of our study and published
magnetic resonance morphometric analysis, working memory, verbal memory, caudate nucleus, cingulate cortex, hippocampus, working-memory model
Peculiarities of brain electric activity in young males and females of different creativity levels.
This article shows that the peculiarities of divergent and convergent thinking in young males
and females of various creativity levels are stipulated by a definite EEG frequency-and-spatial
arrangement. Young males and females of mixed and left lateral arrangement profiles
demonstrate an expressed activity of occipital, central, and temporal areas of both cerebral
hemispheres. In young males and females of right LAP (lateral arrangement profile), connections
are clearly localized in case of solution of both convergent and divergent tasks.
Solution of divergent and convergent tasks may condition certain frequency-and-spatial arrangement
of EEG in young males and females with different levels of academic progress and
a different lateral arrangement profile (LAP).
Automated classification of a human functional state is an important problem, with applications
including stress resistance evaluation, supervision over operators of critical
infrastructure, teaching and phobia therapy. Such classification is particularly efficient
in systems for teaching and phobia therapy that include a virtual reality module, and
provide the capability for dynamic adjustment of task complexity.
In this paper, a method for automated real-time binary classification of human functional
states (calm wakefulness vs. stress) based on discrete wavelet transform of EEG
data is considered. It is shown that an individual tuning stage of the classification algorithm
— a stage that allows the involvement of certain information on individual peculiarities
in the classification, using very short individual learning samples, significantly
increases classification reliability. The experimental study that proved this assertion was
based on a specialized scenario in which individuals solved the task of detecting objects
with given properties in a dynamic set of flying objects.
This article investigates the problem of lightness perception. To clarify the role of depth in
lightness perception two current models—the albedo hypothesis and the coplanar-ratio
hypothesis—are discussed. To compare them the strength of the simultaneous-lightnesscontrast
(SLC) illusion was investigated as a function of three-dimensional (3D) configurations
of the test and background squares. In accordance with both hypotheses the
changes in the depth arrangements of the test and background squares should result in
changes in the illusory effect. However, the reasons for and the directions of these changes
should be different. Five different types of 3D configurations were created in which the
test squares were tilted at different angles to the background squares. A virtual-reality
technique was used to present stereo pairs of different 3D configurations. Thirty-seven
observers took part in the experiment. The method of constant stimuli was used to obtain
psychometric functions. The displacements of these functions for 3D configurations in
comparison with the 2D configuration allowed the estimation of illusion strength. The
analysis of individual values of illusion strength revealed two groups of subjects. For the
first group (38% of all participants) the strength changed insignificantly depending on
the 3D configurations. For the second group (62% of all participants) significant differences
were obtained for those configurations in which the test and background squares
were perceived as differently illuminated. The changes in the SLC illusion strength for the
second group were consistent with predictions made by the albedo hypothesis. Thus, it
seems that the perceived illumination of a surface should be considered the main parameter
for lightness estimations in 3D scenes.
In this paper the authors put polysemy research into the broader context of research into
the mental lexicon, cognitive context conceptual priming, and probabilistic conceptual
modelling. The article adopts a novel approach to the resolution of polysemy and puts it
to an empirical test. The authors argue that priming plays a key role in the activation of
an adequate meaning of a polysemous word. Mental structures, represented by a prime
lexical unit, contain relevant conceptual information on the target word meaning. The
prime triggers a cognitive context that influences the selection process of the target word
This article considers different aspects of the new neuropsychological theory of the social
brain and its relationship to Luria’s and Vygotsky’s understanding of a human as a
social and biological unity. The main functions of social cognition are described. Five
aspects of these functions and five groups of evidence are analyzed: the negative consequences
of brain damage on social behavior and social cognition; the social features
of early-childhood development; the double interaction between brain maturation and
the formation of mental functions; the negative consequences of social neglect on brain
development; and the social and cultural specificity of neuropsychological assessment
methods. The proposed new understanding of the social brain is as the social and cultural
regulator of brain functioning.
neuropsychology, cultural-historical approach, brain functioning, social cognition
Psychophysiological mechanisms of mental stress reactions in patients with “hypertension at work” and patients with essential hypertension: a comparative analysis.
In the study, psychological and physiological features were assessed during an experimentally
designed stressful situation in 85 subjects with hypertension (HTN) in the
workplace, 85 patients with essential HTN, and 82 healthy individuals.
It was showed, that patients with HTN in the experimental situation were characterized
by a complex of physiological and psychological features, which distinguish them
from healthy participants. A reliably greater increase In systolic blood pressure (BP) was
recorded in these patients in comparison with healthy individuals (on average by 14 and
3 mmHg respectively). The aspiration level (AL) of these patients was characterized by a
reliably greater height, inadequacy, and instability; as for nonverbal behavior, it revealed
a reliably greater amount of gestures, and frequent changes in voice tone against similar
features of healthy individuals.
The group of patients with HTN at work, when compared with essential HTN patients,
was characterized by a reliably greater increase of systolic BP (on the average by
16 and 4 mmHg respectively) as a reaction to emotional stress. The systolic BP increase
in this group was revealed in combination with an initially reliably lower catecholamines’
level (CA), a gradual decrease of CA level in urine, and renin and angiotensin-1 in blood
plasma during the experiment. This combination is an indicator of chronic stress and
psychophysiological exhaustion. The patients did not manifest any increase of anxiety
during the experiment; they were characterized, however, by a greater frequency of AL
inadequacy and instability. The behavior of patients with HTN at work during the experiment
was marked by a limited repertory of poses and gestures, but more vigorous
facial expressions, and frequent pitch jumps. Obtained results lead us to confirm that
the repression of emotions comes as a significant pathogenetic factor in the genesis of
psychosomatic syndrome among patients with HTN at work, as opposed to patients with
hypertension at work, essential hypertension, mental stress, state anxiety, psychophysiological mechanisms, aspiration level, emotion regulation, repression of emotions.
Psychology of Perception
Character and temperamental determinants of prosodic parameters of natural speech.
The study was undertaken to find relationships between personality and temperamental
traits (estimated with the help of the Adult Personality Traits Questionnaire by Manolova,
Leonhard and the Russian version of the Structure of Temperament Questionnaire
(STQ) by Rusalov V. & Trofimova I. (2007)) on the one hand, and parameters of intonation
(mean ΔF0, tone span, speech rate, duration of speech and mean duration of
syllables interval) on the other hand. The parameters of intonation were measured on
sample recordings produced by 30 male and female participants. 60 recordings of natural
monologues on proposed topics were obtained in situations of the presence and absence
of a conversation partner. Demostrativity (as a personality trait according to Leonhard’s
typology) was found to significantly affect mean ΔF0, tone span and speech rate in the
presence of an interlocutor. Social Tempo (as a dimension of temperament according
to Rusalov’s model) affects the speech rate. In the absence of an interlocutor, only an
interaction effect of Demonstrativity and Communication Activity on the same group
of vocal parameters was obtained. The presence of an interlocutor proved to be a special
condition for the most explicit appearance of Demonstrativity. Temperamental indices
that describe the Communication realm seem to moderate the appearance of Demonstrativity
in different conditions. Most explicitly, the key feature of people with strong
Demonstrativity is a high speech rate.
In this chapter the author summarises the descriptions of proprioceptive sense from different
perspectives. The importance of proprioceptive sense has been shown in developmental
psychology, in both the earlier and later stages of individuum formation. The
author emphasises in this chapter the role of proprioception as a basis of personality and
the individual differences construct. The importance of assessing behaviour at multiple
levels has been pointed out by experiments of classic and modern researchers that should
include not only verbal tests that would be more important for conscious mental description,
but also techniques that could assess other behavioural characteristics, including
automatic unconscious and pre-reflexive behaviour. The author also describes the effects
of altered proprioception in humans, such as the Pinocchio effect, and other spatial perception
distortions. In this chapter the importance of proprioception in acquiring new
skills (embodied knowledge) as automatic and conditioned reflexive behaviour has also
been highlighted. Finally, the complete picture of the individuum has been presented as
a multi-layered level of a body-mind union approach.
This article describes research on the role of time perspective in a person’s choice of
coping strategies in interpersonal conflicts. The interrelationship between different types
of coping strategies (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) and the orientation of time
perspective are considered. P. G. Zimbardo’s technique, which defines the orientation of
time perspective, and E. Heim’s technique, which is directed at exploring coping strategies,
are used in our research. The sample consisted of 295 participants: 156 women and
139 men, with an average age of 32 years. The research shows that a future orientation is
directly connected with the choice of cognitive and behavioral coping strategies in interpersonal
conflicts, while an orientation to the negative past results in emotional coping
strategies. A person’s orientation to the fatalistic present engenders retreat and avoidance
of conflict resolution, which are nonadaptive behavioral strategies that include few coping
time, time perspective, coping strategies, interpersonal conflict
Work and Organizational Psychology
Determinants of professional distortion development in medical personnel, teachers and psychologists, working in the industrial disaster zone.
This article presents research results regarding the determinants and individual predictors
of professional distortions in the medical personnel, teachers, and psychologists who
were involved in long-term programs of human relief assistance after a catastrophic accident
at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station. The research aim was
to analyze the factors influencing the increase in and the accumulation of occupational
stress in the groups investigated. The stress studied was caused by strong emotional tension
in 3 months of intensive work after the accident. The extraordinary situation served
as a challenge, a kind of “strength test” for individual adaptation, which led to the manifestation
of extreme adaptation options (destructive and constructive forms) and allowed
us to clarify the factors that contributed to their development. The research showed that,
in this situation, psychological (in particular, emotional) resources and individual coping
characteristics played a determinative role in professional adaptation.
This article analyzes the mechanism of stereotyping as exemplified by gender stereotypes
of road users. Gender stereotypes are not only viewed as an a priori image of a percept,
but also examined ‘in action’ — at the very moment of their actualization with road users.
In the paper we have identified the content of road users’ gender stereotypes; analyzed
the behaviour of male and female drivers, pinpointing a number of gender-specific behavioural
features; demonstrated that male and female driving differ from each other in
terms of speed, intensity and roughness; and identified the conditions and mechanisms
underlying the actualization of gender stereotypes. Based on video and audio materials,
we have found that drivers’ gender-specific behavioural features are perceivable to road
users: such features trigger the actualization of gender stereotypes as attributive schemes,
which determine the interaction between road users, while also laying the foundation for
A multi-dimensional model of trust in a small group has been developed and approved.
This model includes two dimensions: trust levels (interpersonal trust, micro-group trust,
group trust, trust between subgroups, trust between subgroups and group) and types of
trust (activity-coping, information-influential and confidentially-protective trust). Each
level of trust is manifested in three types, so there are fifteen varieties of trust. Two corresponding
questionnaires were developed for the study. 347 persons from 32 work groups
participated in the research. It was determined that in a small group there is an asymmetry
of trust levels within the group. In particular, micro-group trust is demonstrated the
most in comparison with other trust levels. There is also an asymmetry in the manifestation
of interpersonal trust in a group structure. This is demonstrated by the fact that in
informal subgroups, in comparison with a group as a whole, interpersonal confidential
and performance trust is the most manifested. In a small group and in informal subgroups
there are relationships between trust levels which have certain regularities.
small group, informal subgroup, trust, trust levels, types of trust.