The role of the prefrontal cortex in social orientation construction: A pilot study

The role of the prefrontal cortex in social orientation construction: A pilot study

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

The restoring and maximising of well-being in individuals disadvantaged or traumatised by physical, neurological, psychological or social causes therefore becomes a significant issue for all professionals whether in life, social or information sciences. This poster presents a review of the literature to establish a prima facie case for investigating the role of the prefrontal cortex in predetermining outcomes of the with medicalised social orientation impairments such as autism, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, ADHD, as well as problems relating to occupation health and substance misuse. The characteristics of the pre-frontal cortex are identified from a number of journals and then these terms cross references with those impairments. Anseries of equations are presented on how one might look at representing differences in the pre-frontal cortex by using a post-cognitivist psychology paradigm to represent the psycho-analytical concepts of ‘phantasies’ in a manner that allows for use in questionnaire, statistical analysis, and information system adaptation.

Full Text

The role of the prefrontal cortex in social orientation construction: A pilot study

Summary of Conclusions

  • It is emotional dysfunction in the brain that causes most people to be autistic and not them having ‘autism’
  • Someone becomes autistic through a sub-optimal prefrontal cortex which affects working memory, among other factors.
  • A prefrontal cortex can become sub-optimal through lack of brain function to handle social and emotional stressors, such as might be caused by brain injuries such as hippocampal sclerosis
  • It can also become sub-optimal through traumatic abuse, including allergic reactions to vaccines, sex abuse, traumatic birth.
  • Finally, a sub-optimal pre-frontal cortex can come about through genetic mutations in it.
  • The degree of impairment in the prefrontal cortex can be measured through simple alpha and beta brain imaging tools

References

Bishop, J. (2011). The role of the prefrontal cortex in social orientation construction: A pilot study. Poster presented to the British Psychological Society’s Sustainable Well-Being Conference. Glyndwr University, Wrexham, 10 September 2011. Available online at: http://www.jonathanbishop.com/Library/Documents/EN/docBPSSWPoster.pdf

The Role of Augmented E-Learning Systems for Enhancing Pro-Social Behaviour in Socially Impaired Individuals

The Role of Augmented E-Learning Systems for Enhancing Pro-Social Behaviour in Socially Impaired Individuals

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

E-learning systems generally rely on good visual and cognitive abilities, making them suitable for individuals with good levels of intelligence in these areas. A group of such individuals are those with non-systemising impairments (NSIs), such as people with autism spectrum conditions (ASCs). These individuals could benefit greatly from technology that allows them to use their abilities to overcome their impairments in social and emotional functioning in order to develop pro-social behaviours. Existing systems such as PARLE and MindReading are discussed, and a new one, the Visual Ontological Imitation System (VOIS), is proposed and discussed. This chapter details an investigation into the acceptability of these systems by those working in social work and advocacy. The study found that VOIS would be well received, although dependency on assistive technology and its impact on how others view NSIs still need to be addressed by society and its institutions.

References

Bishop, J. (2011). The Role of Augmented E-Learning Systems for Enhancing Pro-Social Behaviour in Socially Impaired Individuals. In Lau Bee Theng (Ed.) Assistive and Augmentive Communication for the Disabled: Intelligent Technologies for Communication, Learning and Teaching. New York: IGI Global.

Glamorgan graduate nominated for award

A University of Glamorgan graduate has been nominated for an award for using mobile phones to teach people with autism and social phobia. Jonathan Bishop, of Heol-y-Parc, Efail Isaf, has been nominated for the New Statesman Bright Sparks award in the special educational needs category. The award will go to the product or project that best removes the barriers to achievement faced by people with special educational needs.

Mr Bishop’s entry uses mobile phones to teach the meaning of emotions and common phrases individuals with autism and social phobia while they are participating in social situations.

Dr Mike Reddy, of the University of Glamorgan, who supervised the project said that the system, named PARLE, could be effective at helping people with autism take part in social situations. He said: “What is deeply significant about this work is that it would serve to be inclusive, rather than attaching social stigma to participation in a social situation because of the innovative use of mobile phones.”

Research on the system carried out at the University of Glamorgan has already been published in an international journal, but as Mr Bishop explains, more is necessary to determine the system’s usefulness. “We were only able to test a small part of the system two years ago, but new research methodologies mean we can now get a complete picture of how people benefit from the system.” Mr Bishop is looking for volunteers to take part in the new study. If you have a form of autism such as Asperger Syndrome, any type of social phobia or are someone interested in learning more about emotions you can get in touch via Mr Bishop’s web site at http://www.jonathanbishop.org.uk/parle.

How to ask for a cup of tea

Communication is innate for most of us. For some, however, help is required to convey messages that others express with ease. Educators and innovators are finding ways to provide this help using the latest information and communications technology.

At a school in Gloucestershire, special needs teachers are employing software to aid their students, many of whom have dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome.

The teachers use multisensory products such as Texthelp and Wordshark to reinforce letters, sounds and spelling. One student writes best by typing out all her ideas first, without punctuation or capitalisation. Texthelp then reads back what she has written, allowing her to add the punctuation separately. She is thus able to compose an essay in a way that works best for her. Working with pen and paper would be more time consuming.

At TreeHouse School in London, which specialises in teaching children with autism, Dr Neil Martin and members of the behavioural analysis team use simple computer graphs to track progress. Throughout the day, teachers record each child’s response to a different activity or lesson. At the end of the day, information is inputted and the data graphed to show how the child is doing. Currently the programme is used in two of the school’s classes, but Martin plans to expand the programme by using pocket PCs to collect data.

Communication needs are also being served by new technology outside the classroom. Councillor Jonathan Bishop is developing a programme to help people with communication problems to understand others. People with, for example, Asperger’s often interpret what others say literally. Telling someone with Asperger’s, “I’d die for a cup of tea”, is understood as “I would die for a cup of tea”, not “I would like a cup of tea”, Bishop explains.

Called the Portable Affect Recognition Learning Environment (Parle), Bishop’s programme uses a mobile phone to interpret the facial expression and tone of whomever a person with a communication need is speaking to. By holding it up to someone’s face, the mobile phone can scan the facial expression and take into account what is being said, then interpret this for the user. So “I would die for a cup of tea” comes out as “I would like a cup of tea”. Bishop has tested a prototype and discovered that the users with Asperger’s found this early version useful.

All of these uses of technology could lead to a more inclusive society. They also show that there are many people answering the call to improve communications for us all.

Technology needs to become more socially acceptable

Jonathan believes that technology has the potential to increase social interactions and should become more acceptable in the workplace.

The findings by the University of Surrey that using mobile technology such as PDAs and mobile phones in meetings can raise work stress should cause concern.

The finding that only 11 per cent of respondents felt it appropriate to break off and use a mobile phone when talking to someone else at work strikes a blow at the possibility of using mobile technology to help people with social impairments such as autism communicate in social situations.

The PARLE System, which uses mobile phones to translate idioms and phrases and display the results on the screen requires the cooperation of those the person with the social impairment is talking to, and these negative attitudes towards this technology means that acceptance of the social model of disability could be a long way off.

The finding that 88 percent believed it was not appropriate to use an electronic device for note-taking in meetings will further make life difficult for people with disabilities such as dyslexia and some forms of autism, who require technology to overcome the effects of their impairment.

The fact that younger respondents found the use of IT less unacceptable is encouraging, suggesting that the workplace of the future in which the Net Generation are the major players will be one where tolerance and respect for one
another is commonplace.

IT Offers Aid for Social Phobics

Research at the University of Glamorgan could soon help sufferers of autism and social phobia take part in social situations that they usually find difficult and confusing.

The research has investigated using internet-compatible mobile phones to educate socially impaired individuals about what is being said to them during a conversation, so that they do not misinterpret its context or feel anxious about what someone is thinking about them.

Although the technology is still in its infancy, preliminary findings have shown that individuals with autism find it helps them understand the meaning behind common expressions, which they often interpret literally.

Postgraduate student Jonathan Bishop, who led the study, said the technology, which uses 3G mobile handsets, works by read-ing the facial expressions and tone of voice of the person being spoken to, and lets the person using the system know what they are feeling, something people with autism and social phobia sometimes find difficult to do.

The research is pending publication in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and is available for download at http://www.jonathanbishop.com/research

New technology offers hope for autism and social phobia

Research at the University of Glamorgan could soon help sufferers of autism and social phobia take part in social situations they usually find difficult and confusing.
The research investigated using Internet-compatible mobile phones to educate socially-impaired people about what is being said to them during a conversation so that they do not misinterpret its context. Although the technology is still in its infancy, preliminary findings have shown that individuals with autism find using the system helps them understand the meaning behind common expressions, when they often interpret literally.
Postgraduate student Jonathan Bishop, of Efail Isaf, who has led the study, said: “This is an exciting development in assistive technology and could offer a solution to the half-a-million socially-impaired people in Britain who find social environments challenging and stressful.”
The technology, which uses 3G mobile handsets, works by reading the facial expressions and tone of voice of the person being spoken to and lets the person using the system know what they are feeling – something people with autism and social phobia sometimes find difficult.
But Mr Bishop stresses that the technology should not be seen as the answer to the problems of socially impaired individuals, and more support needs to be offered to them to prevent social exclusion.
“This system is not the complete solution to the problems of socially-impaired individuals,” he said. “Communities and government bodies still need to work close together to ensure people with social difficulties can play an active role in society and achieve their full potential”.
Autism Awareness Week runs from Sunday, May 11, to Sunday, May 18, and is promoted by the National Autistic Society.

The Internet for educating indviduals with social impairments

The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Social impairments materialise in a number of forms, from developmental disabilities such as autistic spectrum disorder, to psychiatric conditions such as social phobia. The individuals diagnosed with these problems find it difficult to deal with social situations through either the inability to perform in these situations or the fear of not being able to do so. The study investigated the social and practical implications of using Mobile Internet technology to deliver information relating to a social situation in real-time to participants with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (n = 10) and General Social Phobia (n = 3) diagnosed using DSM-IV. The participants used the agent on their mobile phone to convert phrases they found offensive or confusing into more concise and understandable definitions. Analysing their attitudes found that the technology enables socially impaired individuals to learn the meaning of emotions and understand more about how they communicate with their peers. However, the study concludes that governmental organisations, education providers and society as a whole need to adopt a cohesive approach to communication to ensure socially impaired individuals are fully included in society

Full Text

The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments

Reference

J. Bishop (2003). The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19(4), pp. 546-556. Available online at: http://www.jonathanbishop.com/Library/Documents/EN/docCS4S06Paper.pdf