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  • July 4, 2015
  • 05:19 AM
  • 28 views

A viral 'cause' of obesity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I must thank Leah Hardy (@LeahFHardy) for bringing to my attention the paper by Qinglong Shang and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) reporting that: "Ad36 [Human adenovirus 36] infection is associated with an increased risk of obesity development."Based on a meta-analysis of the available research literature examining whether Ad-36 - "a nonenveloped icosahedral virus comprised of double-stranded DNA and is one of 56 serotypes in 7 subgroups of human adenoviruses" - might........ Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 04:37 PM
  • 42 views

REM sleep critical for young brain development; medication interferes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rapid eye movement or REM sleep actively converts waking experiences into lasting memories and abilities in young brains reports a new study. The finding broadens the understanding of children’s sleep needs and calls into question the increasing use of REM-disrupting medications such as stimulants and antidepressants.

... Read more »

Michelle C. Dumoulin Bridi, Sara J. Aton, Julie Seibt, Leslie Renouard, Tammi Coleman1, & Marcos G. Frank. (2015) Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain. Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1500105

  • July 3, 2015
  • 11:47 AM
  • 37 views

Smile at a party and people are more likely to remember seeing your face there

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When you smile at a party, your facial expression is emotionally consistent with the happy context and as a consequence other guests will in future be more likely to remember that they've seen your face before, and where you were when they saw you. That's according to a team of Italian researchers led by Stefania Righi who have explored how memory for a face is affected by the emotion shown on that face and the congruence between that emotional expression and its surrounding context.The research........ Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 09:55 AM
  • 43 views

Evidence for "Unconscious Learning" Questioned

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Can we learn without being aware of what we're learning? Many psychologists say that 'unconscious', or implicit, learning exists.

But in a new paper, London-based psychologists Vadillo, Konstantinidis, and Shanks call the evidence for this into question.



Vadillo et al. focus on one particular example of implicit learning, the contextual cueing paradigm. This involves a series of stimulus patterns, each consisting of a number of "L" shapes and one "T" shape in various orientations. For ... Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 06:02 AM
  • 65 views

5 Tips For Better Sleep

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Adding some ‘worry time’ to your day could work better than pills.... Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 04:56 AM
  • 38 views

Vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really rather happy to see the "preliminary evidence" reported by Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues [1] when it came to examining whether selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants might show linkage to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on data derived from the CHARGE initiative.For quite a while now I've discussed the various peer-reviewed science on the topic of vitamin D deficiency / insufficiency with autism in mind on this blog (see here and see here for example). Specifically, h........ Read more »

Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, Allayee H, Sconberg JL, Schmidt LC, Volk HE, & Tassone F. (2015) Selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism spectrum disorder in the CHARGE Study. Early human development, 91(8), 483-489. PMID: 26073892  

  • July 2, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 36 views

Want Better Group Performance? Try a Standing Meeting

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

In keeping with the theme of “standing” being better for us from earlier this week, I thought I’d tackle another journal article discussing the merits of standing. This time, the research included participants well-beyond the 2nd and 3rd grade, but still used students … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 2, 2015
  • 05:36 AM
  • 25 views

How social anxiety manifests on Facebook

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

For many shy people, online social networking sites have an obvious appeal – a way to socialise without the unpredictable immediacy of a face-to-face encounter. However, a new study finds that people who are socially anxious betray their awkwardness on Facebook, much as they do in the offline world. The researchers Aaron Weidman and Cheri Levinson said their findings could hint at ways for socially anxious people to conceal their nervousness and attract more online friends.Seventy-seven studen........ Read more »

  • July 2, 2015
  • 02:34 AM
  • 46 views

Acute bipolar depression and immune alterations

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Individuals with acute bipolar depression show immune alterations. Some of the alterations are similar to those found in acute mania."That was the bottom line reported by Faith Dickerson and colleagues [1] following their analysis of blood samples provided by "82 individuals with acute bipolar depression, 147 with acute mania, and 280 controls." Looking for the presence of various antibodies to "human herpesviruses, gliadin, Toxoplasma gondii, and endogenous retroviruses as well as for C-reacti........ Read more »

Dickerson F, Katsafanas E, Schweinfurth LA, Savage CL, Stallings C, Origoni A, Khushalani S, Lillehoj E, & Yolken R. (2015) Immune alterations in acute bipolar depression. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. PMID: 26061032  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 02:19 PM
  • 64 views

New epigenetic mechanism revealed in brain cells

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For decades, researchers in the genetics field have theorized that the protein spools around which DNA is wound, histones, remain constant in the brain, never changing after development in the womb. Now, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered that histones are steadily replaced in brain cells throughout life – a process which helps to switch genes on and off.... Read more »

Maze, I., Wenderski, W., Noh, K., Bagot, R., Tzavaras, N., Purushothaman, I., Elsässer, S., Guo, Y., Ionete, C., Hurd, Y.... (2015) Critical Role of Histone Turnover in Neuronal Transcription and Plasticity. Neuron, 87(1), 77-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.014  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 06:24 AM
  • 50 views

Offspring autism risk and advancing parental age (differences)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Parental age at offspring conception/birth in relation to offspring autism risk has been a recurrent theme in autism research circles for quite a few years now. I've covered it more than once on this blog (see here for example) and the various suggestions that advancing parental age in particular, might elevate the risk of offspring autism.Set in this context, the paper by Sven Sandin and colleagues [1] (open-access) (a name not unfamiliar to this blog) adds to the research evidence based on the........ Read more »

Sandin S, Schendel D, Magnusson P, Hultman C, Surén P, Susser E, Grønborg T, Gissler M, Gunnes N, Gross R.... (2015) Autism risk associated with parental age and with increasing difference in age between the parents. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 26055426  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 9 views

What kind of a person volunteers for a free brain scan?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When psychologists scan the brains of a group of people, they usually do so in the hope that the findings will generalise more widely. For example, if they find that there are correlations between localised brain shrinkage and mental performance in a group of healthy older participants, they will usually infer that such correlations apply in healthy older people more generally. But there's an important problem with this logic (one that applies to other fields of psychology): what if the people w........ Read more »

  • July 1, 2015
  • 01:43 AM
  • 71 views

Technologies and Generations

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching. So said a clay tablet inscribed almost 5 thousand years ago. But the world still stands, although we do go through golden and dark ages and societies rise and fall. Technology's golden age is now. or so we hope. How are current generations influenced by it and how will they shape the future world? Even as they age, Baby Boomers embrace emerging technologies such as smartphone........ Read more »

Costanza, D., Badger, J., Fraser, R., Severt, J., & Gade, P. (2012) Generational Differences in Work-Related Attitudes: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Business and Psychology, 27(4), 375-394. DOI: 10.1007/s10869-012-9259-4  

Becton, J., Walker, H., & Jones-Farmer, A. (2014) Generational differences in workplace behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(3), 175-189. DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12208  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 12:05 AM
  • 46 views

The Power of the Mind May not be as Well Utilized as it could be

by Kyle Harris in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Of 1283 survey respondents, only 27% of athletes reported using mental skills such as goal setting, positive self-talk, imagery, and relaxation. Of the 249 respondents who used mental skills 72% reported they felt it helped expedite their recovery process.... Read more »

Arvinen-Barrow M, Clement D, Hamson-Utley JJ, Zakrajsek RA, Lee SM, Kamphoff C, Lintunen T, Hemmings B, & Martin SB. (2015) Athletes' use of mental skills during sport injury rehabilitation. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 24(2), 189-97. PMID: 25996227  

  • June 30, 2015
  • 02:56 PM
  • 55 views

Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Previous studies have shown that men find female faces more attractive when the women are ovulating, but the visual clues that allow this are unclear. Now, new research investigating whether it might be to do with subtle changes in skin colour has shown that women’s faces do increase in redness during ovulation, but the levels of change are just under the detectable range of the human eye.... Read more »

Hannah Rowland, & Robert Burriss. (2015) Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it. PLOS ONE. info:/

  • June 30, 2015
  • 10:43 AM
  • 7 views

What the textbooks don't tell you about psychology's most famous case study

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Image: Photograph by Jack Wilgus ofa daguerreotype of Phineas Gagein the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus.It's a remarkable, mythical tale with lashings of gore – no wonder it's a favourite of psychology students the world over. I'm talking about Phineas Gage, the nineteenth century railway worker who somehow survived the passing of a three-foot long tamping iron through the front of his brain and out the top of his head. What happened to him next?If you turn to many of the leading introd........ Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 05:06 AM
  • 49 views

Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of mouse autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Overall, the manuscript supports the idea that ASD [autism spectrum disorder] results from gene–environment interactions and that in the presence of a genetic predisposition to ASD, diet can make a large difference in the expression of the condition."The manuscript in question was by Antonio Currais and colleagues [1] reporting some rather interesting results based on the 'dangermouse' that is the BTBR mouse model of autism. Researchers from the Salk Inst........ Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 01:51 PM
  • 68 views

The fear you experience playing video games is real, and you enjoy it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With the advent of video games, a frequently asked question has been whether we get as engrossed in them emotionally as we do when we see a scary movie. The answer is yes and many game players enjoy the fear caused by the zombies, disfigured humans and darkness they often encounter, the researchers found.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 04:57 AM
  • 72 views

Fermented foods and social anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Stumbling across a headline that reads: 'Study Finds Decreased Social Anxiety Among Young Adults Who Eat Fermented Foods' was bound to pique my blogging interest. When I eventually tracked down the source paper behind the headline I became more and more intrigued as today I bring to your attention the study findings reported by Matthew Hilimire and colleagues [1].Implementing "a cross-sectional approach to determine whether consumption of fermented foods likely to contain probiotics interac........ Read more »

Hilimire MR, DeVylder JE, & Forestell CA. (2015) Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. Psychiatry research, 228(2), 203-8. PMID: 25998000  

  • June 29, 2015
  • 04:35 AM
  • 4 views

We're more likely to cheat when we think it's our last chance to do so

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Imagine spending your school half-term week with a forgetful relative who always leaves money scattered around the house. Would you pinch any? If so, when, and why? A new paper suggests that we are most likely to “cheat at the end”, and uses a neat method to find out why.A number of theories predict we are likelier to cheat later than earlier. Perhaps we award ourselves moral credits for being good earlier, and later spend them like Catholic indulgences for guilt-free sin. Or maybe the strug........ Read more »

Effron, D., Bryan, C., & Murnighan, J. (2015) Cheating at the End to Avoid Regret. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspa0000026  

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