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  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:41 PM

A supposedly memory-enhancing commercial brain-stimulation device actually impairs memory

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's easy to understand why so many people have been tempted by the futuristic-looking brain stimulation headset. The manufacturers promise their product will increase brain speed and plasticity and improve mental abilities such as working memory. What's more, the device uses a technology that's usually described as "non-invasive" – transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS for short – to send currents apparently safely into your prefrontal cortex.There is ample lab r........ Read more »

Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., Hommel, B., Lindenberger, U., Kühn, S., & Colzato, L. (2015) “Unfocus” on commercial tDCS headset impairs working memory. Experimental Brain Research. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-015-4391-9  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:23 PM

Feeling blue and seeing blue: Sadness may impair color perception

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The world might seem a little grayer than usual when we’re down in the dumps and we often talk about “feeling blue” — new research suggests that the associations we make between emotion and color go beyond mere metaphor. The results of two studies indicate that feeling sadness may actually change how we perceive color. Specifically, researchers found that participants who were induced to feel sad were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow axis than those who were led to ........ Read more »

Thorstenson CA, Pazda AD, & Elliot AJ. (2015) Sadness Impairs Color Perception. Psychological science. PMID: 26307592  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Preparation Makes a Difference to Pets in an Emergency

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

After the Great Earthquake in Japan, preparation was key to evacuating with pets - including training and socialization.When the magnitude 9 earthquake struck Japan in 2011, causing a tsunami and subsequent accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, over 15,000 people were killed. Many people had to evacuate at short notice. In 2012, pet owners from two of the most badly affected areas, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, were asked about whether or not they took their pet and the types of planning t........ Read more »

Heath, S.E., & Linnabary, R.D. (2015) Challenges of managing animals in disasters in the US. Animals, 5(2), 173-192. info:/10.3390/ani5020173#sthash.7n7gGyyg.dpuf

Thompson, K.,, Every, D., Rainbird, S., Cornell, V., Smith, B., & Trigg, J. (2014) No pet or their person left behind: Increasing the disaster resilience of vulnerable groups through animal attachment, activities and networks. Animals , 4(2), 214-240. info:/10.3390/ani4020214

A survey of companion-animal owners affected by the East Japan Great Earthquake in Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, Japan. (2015) Yamazaki, S. Anthrozoos, 28(2). info:/

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:13 AM

Sub-threshold autistic traits and creativity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued by the results reported by Catherine Best and colleagues [1] recently and the suggestion that yet another sweeping generalisation attributed to autism (or at least autistic traits) might turn out to be not as accurate or universal as we might have all been led to believe.Based on the analysis of data from over 300 people who completed an on-line questionnaire (anonymously) measuring autistic traits, researchers reported that creative ideas as measured by a divergent thinking task........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 01:34 PM

Researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers have used brain scans to shed new light on this question. By studying networks of activity in the brain’s frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from task to task predicts people’s cognitive flexibility.... Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 03:30 AM

5 Study Skills to Accelerate Your Learning

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

So much to learn. Will it ever end? Nope. You will be learning for the rest of your life. School is simply a kick starter. No matter what path you take in life after school, learning will be part of it. Yet, the forever journey to develop your talents doesn’t have to be nerve-racking or…
Check out 5 Study Skills to Accelerate Your Learning, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 03:07 AM

Let's talk about sex and autism (reviewed)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review from Nicola Beddows and Rachel Brooks [1] highlighting the important issue of sexual behaviour with autism in mind is brought to your attention today.Trawling through the peer-reviewed literature looking at reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour present in adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors concluded that various behaviours were included and that there were a variety of possible reasons for said behaviours. Indeed they report that: "Despi........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 02:24 PM

Television viewing linked to higher injury risk in hostile people

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with hostile personality traits who watch more television than their peers may be at a greater risk for injury, potentially because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis discovered.... Read more »

Fabio, A., Chen, C., Dearwater, S., Jacobs, D., Erickson, D., Matthews, K., Iribarren, C., Sidney, S., & Pereira, M. (2015) Television viewing and hostile personality trait increase the risk of injuries. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/17457300.2015.1061560  

  • August 31, 2015
  • 10:09 AM

Cow Pies Can Make You Smarter and Less Stressed

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

It seems like everyone is running around buying school supplies and books, registering for classes, and fretting about how hard it is going to be to learn another whole year’s worth of stuff. The secret to success, it turns out, may lie in cow dung.A cow pie. Photo taken by Jeff Vanuga at the USDA available at Wikimedia Commons.Recent research has highlighted the important role that microbes living in animal digestive tracts have on host animals’ health and behavior. This influence of our gu........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Talking about climate change without  knee-jerk responses from listeners

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We recently posted new research on the secret to combatting distrust of science. Now we have more research on how to talk about climate change without setting off automatic and defensive reactions from listeners. Not many of our readers are going to be litigating climate change issues, but the challenge of discussing complex scientific issues […]

Related posts:
How can I convince them this wasn’t racist? Just keep talking…
Eyewitness identification and change blindness
Are conse........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:31 AM

Cats on Treadmills (and the plasticity of biological motion perception)

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Cats on a treadmill. From Treadmill Kittens.It's been an eventful week. The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The 10th Anniversary of Optogenetics (with commentary from the neuroscience community and from the inventors). The Reproducibility Project's efforts to replicate 100 studies in cognitive and social psychology (published in Science). And the passing of the great writer and neurologist, Oliver Sacks. Oh, and Wes Craven just died too...I'm not blogging about any of these events. Many ........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:16 AM

Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation and a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I once again tread carefully in this brief post talking about stem cells and autism on the back of what seems to be some growing research interest in this area (see here).The paper by Hadar Segal-Gavish and colleagues [1] adds to this increasing interest with their efforts detailing what happened to a mouse model of autism (the BTBR mouse) following "intracerebroventricular MSC [mesenchymal stem cells] transplantation."Looking at what happened when MSC transplantation was used, th........ Read more »

Segal-Gavish H, Karvat G, Barak N, Barzilay R, Ganz J, Edry L, Aharony I, Offen D, & Kimchi T. (2015) Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Promotes Neurogenesis and Ameliorates Autism Related Behaviors in BTBR Mice. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26257137  

  • August 30, 2015
  • 06:53 PM

Borderline Personality Linked To Lack of Activity In Empathy Areas of Brain

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Brian W. Haas, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology University of Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Haas: We used a new way to study Borderline Personality … Continue reading →
The post Borderline Personality Linked To Lack of Activity In Empathy Areas of Brain appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Brian W. Haas, Ph.D. (2015) Borderline Personality Linked To Lack of Activity In Empathy Areas of Brain. info:/

  • August 29, 2015
  • 01:48 PM

Confidence in parenting could help break cycle of abuse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To understand how confidence in parenting may predict parenting behaviors in women who were abused as children, psychologists have found that mothers who experienced more types of maltreatment as children are more critical of their ability to parent successfully. Intervention programs for moms at-risk, therefore, should focus on bolstering mothers’ self-confidence–not just teach parenting skills, the researchers said.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2015
  • 05:17 AM

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "The meta-analysis results support an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who were obese during pregnancy. However, further study is warranted to confirm these results."That was the conclusion reached by Ya-Min Li and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed data currently available on how maternal weight might impact on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. Without wishing to blame or stigmatise (this is a blog based on the examination of cold,........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 08:59 AM

This is what happened when psychologists tried to replicate 100 previously published findings

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

While 97 per cent of the original results showed a statistically significanteffect, this was reproduced in only 36 per cent of the replications After some high-profile and at times acrimonious failures to replicate past landmark findings, psychology as a discipline and scientific community has led the way in trying to find out more about why some scientific findings reproduce and others don't, including instituting reporting practices to improve the reliability of future results. Much ........ Read more »

Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science . Science . info:/

  • August 28, 2015
  • 04:05 AM

Autoantibodies not implicated in cases of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary results are a common feature of the autism peer-reviewed research landscape. No sooner does one group publish the next 'big thing' when it comes to the singular term 'autism' than seemingly opposite results follow suit.So it is with the paper under discussion today by Simran Kalra and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded that: "The idea that autoantibodies represent an underlying cause or are biomarkers for autism pathophysiology is not supported by this report."Autoantibodies by ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 06:11 AM

Hiding negative emotions may take more of a toll on your relationship than faking positive ones, especially if you're extravert

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Handling your emotions in a close relationship is often a balancing act. You want to be true to yourself and open with your partner, but there are also times when it seems necessary to exert some emotional control – to hide your frustration, for example, or to feign happiness at their news (perhaps your partner is thrilled about a work trip, which in truth you'd rather they didn't take).A new study, published recently in the Journal of Psychology, is among the first the explore the toll of the........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 03:58 AM

Fish oils preventing psychosis: long-term effects?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first study to show, to the best of our knowledge, that a 12-week intervention with omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] prevented transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder and led to sustained symptomatic and functional improvements in young people with an at-risk mental state for 7 years (median)."So said the quite remarkable findings reported by Paul Amminger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who followed up their previous research study [2] l........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2015
  • 11:09 AM

Summer Reading: The Play Edition

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Our summer reading list is all about play.Why do animals play? In Dog Sense, John Bradshaw writes “In wild animals, play must promote survival; otherwise, evolution would select against it – a young animal that is playing out in the open is much more obvious to a predator than one sleeping in its den. However, the benefits of play do not usually become apparent until months later, when they emerge in the form of better social integration or more sophisticated hunting techniques (to name........ Read more »

Bradshaw, J., Pullen, A., & Rooney, N. (2015) Why do adult dogs ‘play’?. Behavioural Processes, 82-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.09.023  

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