"Another reason why pregnant women shouldn’t smoke: schizophrenia" went one media headline reporting on the findings by Solja Niemelä and colleagues  who concluded that their results were the "most definitive evidence to date that smoking during pregnancy is associated with schizophrenia."Analysing data from nearly 1000 people identified with schizophrenia whose information, and that of their mothers, were held in one of two databases - the Finnish Prenatal Study of Schizophrenia........ Read more »
Niemelä, S., Sourander, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., McKeague, I., Cheslack-Postava, K., & Brown, A. (2016) Prenatal Nicotine Exposure and Risk of Schizophrenia Among Offspring in a National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15060800
Smog has been a part of modern life since the industrial revolution, unfortunately all that pollution isn't just hurting the environment -- but come on, you saw this coming... right? New research from Sweden indicates that dispensed medication for psychiatric diagnosis can be related to air pollution concentrations. More and more studies show that the brain and human cognitive development are affected by pollution.
... Read more »
Oudin, A., Bråbäck, L., Åström, D., Strömgren, M., & Forsberg, B. (2016) Association between neighbourhood air pollution concentrations and dispensed medication for psychiatric disorders in a large longitudinal cohort of Swedish children and adolescents. BMJ Open, 6(6). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010004
How do you know when animals are working together? Just because two animals got something done jointly doesn't mean they cooperated. They might have succeeded by dumb luck, or trial and error. Scientists who study animal minds, though, would really like to know when cooperation happens on purpose—and how animal partners manage to communicate with each other.
Studies in capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees hinted that the primates coordinated their actions by glancing at each other. (But this ........ Read more »
Eskelinen HC, Winship KA, Jones BL, Ames AE, & Kuczaj SA 2nd. (2016) Acoustic behavior associated with cooperative task success in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Animal cognition, 19(4), 789-97. PMID: 27022973
We need canine science because common sense can lead us astray.Recently I wrote about why science matters to our dogs and cats, based on findings from Dr. Paige Jarreau’s research that suggests science blogs (like this one) may contribute to readers having a better knowledge of science.I thought of this again recently because a comment I often see from readers – on any kind of science story on the internet – is "don’t we know this already? Isn’t it just common sense?"I understand the c........ Read more »
Buttelmann, D., & Tomasello, M. (2012) Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food?. Animal Cognition, 16(1), 137-145. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-012-0560-4
Herron, M., Shofer, F., & Reisner, I. (2009) Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 117(1-2), 47-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.12.011
Horowitz, A., Hecht, J., & Dedrick, A. (2013) Smelling more or less: Investigating the olfactory experience of the domestic dog. Learning and Motivation, 44(4), 207-217. DOI: 10.1016/j.lmot.2013.02.002
Howell, T., Toukhsati, S., Conduit, R., & Bennett, P. (2013) The Perceptions of Dog Intelligence and Cognitive Skills (PoDIaCS) Survey. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(6), 418-424. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.05.005
Here’s a research finding that some might call a “silver bullet” for litigation advocacy. We are always looking for nuggets of wisdom in research findings and this is one we think makes a lot of sense for use in court. These researchers wanted to see if people could “be induced to view their own attitudes […]
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make them eat brussel sprouts
Simple Jury Persuasion: “Hey, look over here for a second!”
Simple Jury Persuasion: You lookin’........ Read more »
Luttrell, A., Petty, R., Briñol, P., & Wagner, B. (2016) Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.04.003
By guest blogger Lucy FoulkesThe amount and type of laughter between two people can potentially tell us much more than that they are sharing a joke. For example, friends laugh more than strangers, and shared laughter can be an indicator of sexual interest between a couple. But as onlookers, how well can we use the sound of laughter to make these kinds of inferences? A new study in PNAS is the first to investigate this and it turns out, regardless of our culture or where we live, we are pretty go........ Read more »
Bryant, G., Fessler, D., Fusaroli, R., Clint, E., Aarøe, L., Apicella, C., Petersen, M., Bickham, S., Bolyanatz, A., Chavez, B.... (2016) Detecting affiliation in colaughter across 24 societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4682-4687. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1524993113
In elite sport, what distinguishes the best from the also rans? A new meta-analysis in Perspectives on Psychological Science looks at all the relevant data to see whether the most important factor is an athlete's amount of accumulated "deliberate practice" – that is, practice that's designed, through feedback and other methods, to improve performance. In fact, the new analysis shows that differences in amount of practice do not explain performance levels among elite athletes. At sub-........ Read more »
Macnamara, B., Moreau, D., & Hambrick, D. (2016) The Relationship Between Deliberate Practice and Performance in Sports: A Meta-Analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(3), 333-350. DOI: 10.1177/1745691616635591
"Our findings indicate that the daily consumption of probiotics such as LcS [Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota] preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and may relieve stress-associated responses of abdominal dysfunction in healthy subjects exposed to stressful situations."So said the findings reported by Akito Kato-Kataoka and colleagues  who following the use of a "double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" method were able to potentially offer "healthy medical students undert........ Read more »
Kato-Kataoka A, Nishida K, Takada M, Kawai M, Kikuchi-Hayakawa H, Suda K, Ishikawa H, Gondo Y, Shimizu K, Matsuki T.... (2016) Fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and relieves abdominal dysfunction in healthy medical students exposed to academic stress. Applied and environmental microbiology. PMID: 27208120
It's official: "the vast majority of high-functioning adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are interested in romantic relationships." Yes, the scientific findings reported by Sandra Strunz and colleagues  have said as much.Sorry to be so sarcastic about them but coming from a place where the words 'the bleedin' obvious' are commonly used, I couldn't believe that in 2016 anyone would genuinely believe otherwise. Yes, I know the autism awareness et al message still has some........ Read more »
Strunz S, Schermuck C, Ballerstein S, Ahlers CJ, Dziobek I, & Roepke S. (2016) Romantic Relationships and Relationship Satisfaction Among Adults With Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. Journal of clinical psychology. PMID: 27196958
Headache, Guillaume DELEBARRE (Guigui-Lille)A recent neuroessay in the New York Times asked, Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?What’s crazy about the pain of a broken heart is that your body perceives it as physical pain.No it does not. Do you feel heartbroken every time you stub your toe?Well... I guess the social pain = physical pain isomorphism is a one way street. Anyway, the author continued:In research published in 2010, scientists found that acetaminophen can reduce physical and neur........ Read more »
Butcher, B., & Carmody, J. (2012) Sex differences in analgesic response to ibuprofen are influenced by expectancy: A randomized, crossover, balanced placebo-designed study. European Journal of Pain, 16(7), 1005-1013. DOI: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2011.00104.x
VANGELISTI, A., PENNEBAKER, J., BRODY, N., & GUINN, T. (2014) Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers. Personal Relationships, 21(2), 349-363. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12036
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
John Oliver recently took on mass media coverage of scientific findings on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. The result is a searing video mocking the distortions and misinterpretations (and even flat-out lies) about research findings as presented in mass media. Since his episode aired (a link to the video is at the end of […]
Reports of novel or contradictory health research reduces public trust in science
Top 10 Most Read Posts During 2012!
Pew Research says 15% of Ame........ Read more »
Mischkowski D, Crocker J, & Way BM. (2016) From painkiller to empathy killer: acetaminophen (paracetamol) reduces empathy for pain. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. PMID: 27217114
Depression has been called a "we-disease" because when the dark clouds arrive, it's not just the depressed person who is affected, but all those close to them. A new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationship explored these spillover effects in the context of romantic couples, where one or both individuals have a diagnosis of clinical depression. The US study broke new ground by asking both partners in each couple to provide their perspective on how depression had affected their re........ Read more »
Sharabi, L., Delaney, A., & Knobloch, L. (2015) In their own words: How clinical depression affects romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33(4), 421-448. DOI: 10.1177/0265407515578820
Only 39% of respondents from NCAA institutions indicated that they had a written mental health screening plan. There is a wide variability between mental health screening practices among NCAA institutions.... Read more »
Kroshus E. (2016) Variability in Institutional Screening Practices Related to Collegiate Student-Athlete Mental Health. Journal of Athletic Training. PMID: 27111587
Although the public perception of science is that researchers go around 'proving' or 'disproving' that A leads to B or X causes Y, it is still surprisingly rare to see the word 'causal' in many areas of peer-reviewed research. Aside from the fact that science generally works around the concept of 'probability' - producing data pertinent to discussions on whether something is more or less likely to be true/false - most science is not so forthright in its conclusions. Certainly science covering th........ Read more »
Inoshita M, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Umehara H, Nakataki M, Ikeda M, Maruyama S, Yamamori H, Kanazawa T.... (2016) A significant causal association between C-reactive protein levels and schizophrenia. Scientific reports, 26105. PMID: 27193331
We recently examined how global and how open the literature on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is.
Not so global, and not so open.
Only 13% of the publications of 2012 regarded samples in low- or middle-income countries and 58% were behind a paywall.
It worries me that practicing psychologists can’t access the latest research on therapy effectiveness...
... Read more »
Fodor, K., & et al. (2014) Is traumatic stress research global? A bibliometric analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology. DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.23269
"Mouse study finds link between gut bacteria and neurogenesis" went the press release accompanying the paper by Luisa Möhle and colleagues  (open-access). Describing the results of a mouse study - that's MOUSE study - researchers reported that "treatment of adult mice with antibiotics decreases hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention."The antibiotic mix used on study mice was quite an aggressive one: "ampicillin plus sulbactam (1.5 g/l; Pfizer), vancomycin (500 mg/l; Cell Pharm), ........ Read more »
Luisa Möhle, Daniele Mattei, Markus M. Heimesaat, Stefan Bereswill, André Fischer, Marie Alutis, Timothy French, Dolores Hambardzumyan, Polly Matzinger, Ildiko R. Dunay.... (2016) Ly6Chi Monocytes Provide a Link between Antibiotic-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Cell Reports. info:/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.074
Are humans natural, irrational optimists? According to many psychologists, humans show a fundamental optimism bias, a tendency to underestimate our chances of suffering negative events. It's said that when thinking about harmful events, such as contracting cancer, most people believe that their risk is lower than that of 'the average person'. So, on average, people rate themselves as safer than the average. Moreover, people are also said to show biased belief updating. Faced with evidence that t........ Read more »
Punit Shah, Adam J. L. Harris, Geoffrey Bird, Caroline Catmur, & Ulrike Hahn. (2016) A Pessimistic View of Optimistic Belief Updating. Cognitive Psychology. info:/
Do boys prefer playing with trucks and balls, while girls prefer dolls, because they are socialised from an early age to play this way, or do their play habits reflect innate differences in interests between the sexes? In a world where there are major gender imbalances in participation in science, sport, politics and other areas, this is a controversial question. Evidence for very early sex differences in toy interests could arguably support the idea that the sexes are directed down different ca........ Read more »
Todd, B., Barry, J., & Thommessen, S. (2016) Preferences for ‘Gender-typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months. Infant and Child Development. DOI: 10.1002/icd.1986
Accepting that the science recipe that is a meta-analysis is only as good as the research ingredients that go into it, I was interested to see the results published by Bryan Loy and colleagues  who concluded that: "preliminary evidence indicates that acute exercise increases fatigue in people with ME/CFS/SEID more than in control groups, but effects were heterogeneous between studies."ME - myalgic encephalomyelitis - and CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - are conditions that I'm interested........ Read more »
Loy BD, O'Connor PJ, & Dishman RK. (2016) Effect of Acute Exercise on Fatigue in People with ME/CFS/SEID: A Meta-analysis. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. PMID: 27187093
The topics of effective altruism and social (in)justice have weighed heavy on my mind for several years. I’ve even touched on the latter occasionally on TheEGG, but usually in specific domains closer to my expertise, such as in my post on the ethics of big data. Recently, I started reading more thoroughly about effective altruism. […]... Read more »
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