• Natural Play, Healthy Play: Environmental Determinants of Young Children's Outdoor Physical Activity

      Sachs, Michael L.; Hineline, Philip Neil; Butcher-Poffley, Lois A.; DuCette, Joseph P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      The prevalence of obesity among young children has markedly increased over the past two decades, with more than one-third of American preschoolers now overweight or obese and at risk for lifelong health problems. Physical activity is a recommended obesity prevention strategy, yet preschoolers typically fail to meet recommended daily physical activity guidelines, spending just 15 minutes engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity, compared to six sedentary hours daily. Unstructured play in settings with varied features, such as childcare center playgrounds, potentially plays a significant role in increasing the amount of time preschoolers spend in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The purposes of this study were first, to compare the intensity and type of preschoolers' physical activity across four distinctly different outdoor play settings; second, to identify particular features in each play setting associated with MVPA and sedentary behavior; and, third, to identify, test, and evaluate environmental modifications to increase preschoolers' MVPA in outdoor play settings. Seventeen 3-5 year-old children participated in repeated unstructured play sessions featuring 16 min of play in each of 4 novel settings: a traditional climber, a wooded natural area, a garden, and an adventure, or "loose parts" playground. Interventions to increase physical activity were introduced to the adventure playground during the first two phases, and to all four settings during the third phase. Physical activity intensity was measured using ActiGraph GT3x+ activity monitors and contextual information concerning motor skills was obtained by trained observers using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), adapted to the age and environment of the study. Results show that both play setting design theme and the composition of specific play features within the setting impact the type of motor skills children perform and the amount of MVPA young children accumulate during unstructured play. Findings additionally demonstrate that simple, low-cost modifications to play settings can increase MVPA for targeted subgroups and individual children; outcomes were setting-specific. Study results may be useful to public health and medical workers, parents, educators, playground designers, community planners, and policy makers who focus on increasing preschool children's daily MVPA and decreasing childhood obesity.
    • The Neural Representations of Social Status: An MVPA Study

      Olson, Ingrid R.; Chein, Jason M.; Xie, Hongling; Newcombe, Nora; Weisberg, Robert W.; Karpinski, Andrew (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      Status is a salient social cue, to the extent that it shapes our attention, judgment, and memory for other people, and it guides our social interactions. While prior work has addressed the traits associated with status, as well as its effects on cognition and behavior, research on the neural mechanisms of status perception is still relatively sparse and predominantly focused on neural activity during explicit status judgments. Further, there is no research looking at the involvement of person-processing networks in status perception, or how we embed status information in our representations of others. In the present study I asked whether person-specific representations in ventral face-processing regions (occipital face area (OFA), fusiform face area (FFA)) as well as more anterior regions (anterior temporal lobe (ATL) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)) contain information about a person’s status, and whether regions involved in affective processing and reward (amygdala, ventral striatum) decode status information as well. Participants learned to associate names, career titles, and reputational status information (high versus low ratings) with objects and faces over a two-day training regimen. Object status served as a nonsocial comparison. Trained stimuli were presented in an fMRI experiment, where participants performed a target detection task unrelated to status. MVPA revealed that face and object sensitive regions in the ATLs and lateral OFC decoded face and object status, respectively. These data suggest that regions sensitive to abstract person knowledge and valuation interact during the perception of social status, potentially contributing to the effects of status on social perception.