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Contents

  1. Rhonda Blair - Meadows School of the Arts - SMU
  2. Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group
  3. Languages, Bodies and Ecologies
  4. The Actor, Image, and Action
  5. The Concept of Mind

Start a Movement today. The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established in at SMU in Dallas, has achieved prominence as one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. Meadows serves the public as a significant cultural center by presenting more than events annually for the Dallas community and surrounding region. Read more about upcoming events and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, "This Week at Meadows". Learn more about how you can Support Meadows and how your gift directly support student scholarships and the Meadows Scholarship Program.


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Stay connected with Meadows. Rhonda Blair has directed and performed in over 70 productions and has created original solo and devised performance work. Her areas of interest include theatre and politics, feminism and theatre, alternative performance, and Anton Chekhov. She directs in the Division of Theatre season. Theatre theory and criticism, directing, Russian theatre , University of Kansas, M.

Theatre, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Blair teaches B. Theatre History II, in which we study major figures, movements, and developments from the Restoration to the present. Nicola Shaughnessy. In a recent study, Guardia et al. On the other hand, Kaly et al. Moreover, these results have some similarities with another recent work by Guardia et al.

But why? Available research is not yet able to answer this question. Here, we suggest two possible causes of this lock: endogenous and exogenous.


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Interestingly, such areas are affected in the early stages of AN Gaudio et al. This possibility is also in line with the dysregulation in the anterior ventral striatal pathway suggested by Kaye et al. A possible exogenous cause is an excessive level of stress. Different researchers recently suggested the influence of interpersonal problems Hartmann et al.

Rhonda Blair - Meadows School of the Arts - SMU

The endogenous cholinergic tone in the dorsal hippocampus decreases with increases in anxiety and is associated with an increase in the serotonergic tone File et al. Further, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated that stress, and in particular chronic stress, can cause hippocampal damage Vyas et al. Specifically, chronic stress produces consistent and reversible changes within the dendritic arbors of CA3 hippocampal neurons Conrad, ; McLaughlin et al. This process disrupts hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis activity, leading to dysregulated glucocorticoid release that, combined with hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction, contributes to impaired spatial memory Conrad, The impossibility of meeting societal standards transforms body dissatisfaction into body shame: the painful social emotion that can result from measuring oneself against a cultural standard and perceiving oneself as being judged and seen as inferior, defective or unattractive in the eyes of others Pinto-Gouveia and Matos, ; Dakanalis et al.

Theoretical accounts of shame hold that this emotion occurs from global attributions of failure Nell and Fredrickson, : failure is attributed to the self e. In fact, feelings of shame are more likely to motivate desire to hide or escape the shame-inducing situation, to sink into the floor and disappear Cavalera and Pepe, The link between body shame and weight-disorder symptomatology has been verified by several authors.

Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group

For example, Burney and Irwin found in a sample of 97 Australian women that shame associated with eating behavior was the strongest predictor of the severity of eating-disorder symptomatology Burney and Irwin, Neumark-Sztainer et al. They report that, 5 years later, the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors increased by six times the risk for binge eating with loss of control, three times the risk for being overweight, and two to five times the risk for extreme weight-control behaviors. A similar result was found by Stice et al.

A variety of studies show that shame experiences are also recorded in autobiographical memory, influencing body image and self-relevant beliefs, inattentional and emotional processing Pinto-Gouveia and Matos, How and Why? Events of the personal history may be remembered using two different viewpoints Robinson and Swanson, ; Rice and Rubin, The observer perspective is associated with a memory image focusing on the remembered self, whereas the field perspective focuses on the surrounding context Frank and Gilovich, Different studies suggest that, if healthy subjects tend to retrieve autobiographical memories in field perspective, many clinical samples preferentially remember personal events using an observer perspective.

For example, Wells and Papageorgiou found that, in recalling anxiety-provoking social situations, individuals with social phobia and agoraphobia are more likely to take an observer perspective whereas control subjects are more likely to take a field perspective. A similar result was obtained by Bergouignan et al.

Commenting these data Eich et al. In agreement with this, Bernstein et al. A functional magnetic resonance imaging study demonstrated a different activation of the neural networks engaged with field versus observer memories for real-world events Eich et al.

Reward Yourself

In other words, observer autobiographical memories have some similarities with the out-of-body experience Blanke et al. Commenting these results Eich et al. For one, the data suggest that adopting an observer perspective is tantamount to a literal disembodiment at the neural level.

This includes an understanding of the memory as a reference point for everyday inferences and for generating expectations, as a turning point in the life story and as a central component of identity Berntsen and Rubin, , As demonstrated by numerous studies, in patients with EDs, the relevance given to the representation of the body included in the shame-inducing negative emotional event produces a priming effect on any body-related experience Goldfein et al.

On one side, the tendency of our perception to be affected by our recurring thoughts produces an attentional bias on body related stimuli. More, the need for distancing him- or herself from a painful reliving motivate the use of a perspective outside our body.

Languages, Bodies and Ecologies

For example, in a recent study Guardia et al. Evaluated spatial orientation constancy and the perception of body orientation in AN patients. They suggest that the poor perception of orientation can be related to lack of awareness of interoceptive signals Guardia et al. This result is in agreement with the study by Pollatos et al.

Their findings showed that interoceptive accuracy, as measured by a heart beat perception task, is reduced in AN patients Pollatos et al. More, Case et al. The authors found that the ability to discriminate weight did not differ between anorectic and control subjects. At the same time, subjects with anorexia showed a reduced SWI compared to controls. In a different study, Blechert et al. Even if the debate about the etiology of EDs is still open, clinical psychology is starting to explain EDs as the outcome of the interaction between cognitive, socio-emotional, and interpersonal elements.

In particular, two influential models—the revised cognitive-interpersonal maintenance model and the transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral theory—identified possible key predisposing and maintaining factors Schmidt and Treasure, ; Fairburn, ; Cooper and Fairburn, ; Treasure and Schmidt, These models, even if very influential and able to provide clear suggestions for therapy, still are not able to answer to two critical questions: why do not all the individuals with either obsessive-compulsive features or with a dysfunctional scheme for self-evaluation develop an ED?

The Actor, Image, and Action

In this paper, we suggested that the path for a meaningful answer requires the integration of these models with the different outcomes of cognitive neuroscience. First, we underlined the critical role of the body in the development of our cognitive systems. In particular, our conceptual system is the result of the interaction of a dual-representation system Galati et al.

Specifically, these bodily representations allow different experiences—minimal selfhood, self location, agency, whole body ownership, objectified self Me and body satisfaction Ideal Me that shape and enhance our bodily self-consciousness. Within this model, individuals are taught to adopt a self-objectified view of themselves as bodies to meet Western cultural ideals of physical appearance and attractiveness Fredrickson and Roberts, ; Daniel and Bridges, Using self-objectification to orient themselves, women use body and appearance as their core basis of self-evaluation, with self-worth contingent on meeting the body shape ideals.

The link between self-objectification and EDs is supported by different studies showing a direct link between ED symptomatology and a self-objectified view of themselves. However, only a small subset of all the women exposed to idealized body models develops EDs. In our culture most women are dissatisfied about their body: one adolescent girl out of two reports body dissatisfaction Makinen et al.


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More, cultural assumptions about weight include the belief that diets offer women relief from dissatisfaction with body size Nell and Fredrickson, Normally, after a successful diet, subjects experience a thinner body and modify their objectified body accordingly e. According to the Allocentric Lock theory, however, subjects with eating disorders are locked into their negative objectified body: its content cannot updated even after a demanding diet and a significant weight loss. The impossibility of meeting societal standards e.

Different studies show that shame experiences are recorded in autobiographical memory, influencing bodily self-consciousness and self-relevant beliefs, inattentional and emotional processing Pinto-Gouveia and Matos, On one side, the tendency of perception to be affected by our recurring thoughts produces an attentional bias on body related stimuli: individuals selectively attend to body stimuli because they represent their greater psychological threat. As demonstrated by Eich et al.

The actors brain Exploring the cognitive neuroscience of free will

If this experience, due to rumination, is repeated many times we can expect two effects: first, the real-time experience of the body is switched off—we are out of our own body; second, the real-time experience of the body is substituted by the contents of the objectified body stored in long-term memory. In sum, they develop some form of EDs. Obviously, Allocentric Lock is still a hypothesis.

The Concept of Mind

So, in this final section, we present several avenues for future research on the Allocentric Lock hypothesis. As discussed before, the hypothesis presented in this paper has multiple components that could be manipulated or assessed to test its validity. The first step to assess the processes presented in it would be to examine the presence of impairments of memory processes in EDs. Different studies suggest both impairment in autobiographical memory and working memory.

For example, AN patients have problems in accessing emotional memories Kova et al. However, further studies should assess the capacity of autobiographical and working memory in processing body-related content, and eventually, should identify the involved neural circuits. Another way to explore the processes presented in the model would be to examine the ability of ED patients in manipulating egocentric and allocentric representations. Here too, even if some studies suggest impairment in this process Smeets et al.

For example, a possible approach is to assess how egocentric and allocentric data interact within the different bodily representations discussed in the paper.

Both Guardia et al. Their data, even if preliminary, suggest that both conscious i. In both studies, AN patients significantly overestimated the size of their real body. Further, in the study by Guardia et al. To more fully test the predictions made by the hypothesis, a further approach is the use of neuroimaging studies to identify and evaluate the neural circuits involved in the bodily experience of patients with EDs. For example, we have seen that the allocentric lock has many similarities with out-of-body experiences.