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  • January 13, 2016
  • 04:14 AM

What's it like to be an autistic person at work?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Better detection rates for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) mean the chances of having a colleague with the diagnosis, or being diagnosed yourself, have never been so high. But what’s it like to be "working while ASD"? A new paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests the age when a person is diagnosed is key. Those diagnosed later in life are less likely to fully identify with the label of autism and with the ASD community more broadly, shaping their attitudes and feelings abo........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 11:39 PM

We Don't Trust People Who Withhold Personal Information

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

You're creating a profile for an online dating site when you come to a question you're not sure you want to answer—say, "Do you smoke?" You might be more comfortable leaving it blank than sharing the truth with all your potential dates. But a series of experiments says that we tend to judge people harshly when they withhold personal information. Even someone who shares an unpleasant truth is more appealing, trustworthy, and hirable than someone who'd rather not say.

Harvard Business ........ Read more »

John, L., Barasz, K., & Norton, M. (2016) Hiding personal information reveals the worst. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201516868. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516868113  

  • January 12, 2016
  • 03:08 PM

Improving your toddler’s memory skills has long-term benefits

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.
... Read more »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 05:15 AM

Children born via IVF might be developmentally advantaged compared with their peers

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of children born via IVF and other fertility treatments (in 2011 in the UK, 17,041 babies were born via IVF). While this has undoubtedly brought immeasurable happiness to many families, medical experts have raised concerns that the steps involved in IVF – such as the direct implantation of embryos into the mother's uterus, and in some cases the injection of an individual sperm cell into the egg – may bypass some biological filtering proces........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 04:46 AM

Change the voice towards happy tone and listen it to feel happy

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Listening to your own voice in different emotional tones and features can change your mood accordingly.

Published in:


Study Further:

In a study, researchers worked with some people. They asked the people to read a short story written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Researchers then changed the pitch of the voice along with some other features such as sadness, happiness, and fearfulness (in voice). They then allowed the people to listen to their modified voices........ Read more »

Aucouturier, J., Johansson, P., Hall, L., Segnini, R., Mercadié, L., & Watanabe, K. (2016) Covert digital manipulation of vocal emotion alter speakers’ emotional states in a congruent direction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201506552. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1506552113  

  • January 12, 2016
  • 02:50 AM

Pregnancy paracetamol use and the 'hyperactive behavioral phenotype' of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Prenatal use of acetaminophen was associated with an increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] accompanied by hyperkinetic symptoms..., but not with other ASD cases."I was rather interested to read that conclusion presented in the study by Zeyan Liew and colleagues [1] talking about how acetaminophen (or paracetamol as it is known here in Blighty) use during pregnancy might have some rather important connections to offspring outcomes specifically with autism and hyperkinetic symptoms ........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 05:11 PM

Kids in atheist families are more altruistic! The study is sound, but what does it mean?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

You may have seen the buzz around a recent study which found that kids in atheist families are more altruistic than kids in religious families. Like any study that reinforces preconceptions of a vocal group, it was social media gold dust. I want to take a critical look at it and some of the objections [Read More...]... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 03:23 PM

Stereotype means girls should expect poorer physics grades

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 10:33 AM

How to evaluate an argument like a trained scientist

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

From the pontifications of the politician on the nightly news, to the latest tabloid health scare, we're constantly bombarded by other people's arguments – their attempts to make a particular claim based on some kind of evidence. How best to evaluate all these assertions and counter-assertions? Some insights come from a new study in the journal Thinking and Reasoning that's compared the argument evaluation strategies of scientists (advanced doctoral students and post-docs in psychology) with t........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 06:35 AM

Depression reduces the chances of reaching good cardiovascular health

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

High level of depression is an important barrier to achieve best cardiovascular health.

Published in:

Scientific Reports

Study Further:

Cardiovascular problems are among the important causes of mortality throughout the world, that’s why researchers are working on the cardiovascular disorders and causes behind them. Some of the important causes or factors behind cardiovascular disorders are blood pressure, smoking (especially in men), and lipids. Some other risk f........ Read more »

Gaye, B., Prugger, C., Perier, M., Thomas, F., Plichart, M., Guibout, C., Lemogne, C., Pannier, B., Boutouyrie, P., Jouven, X.... (2016) High level of depressive symptoms as a barrier to reach an ideal cardiovascular health. The Paris Prospective Study III. Scientific Reports, 18951. DOI: 10.1038/srep18951  

  • January 11, 2016
  • 02:48 AM

Fish oils for schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hot on the heels of the peer-reviewed research-based suggestion that fish oil supplementation (high in omega-3 PUFAs) might have some rather important effects pertinent to the transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder for 'young people with an at-risk mental state' (see here), are the results from Tomasz Pawełczyk and colleagues [1].This time around it was a randomised, placebo-controlled trial "of either 2.2 g/day of n-3 PUFA, or olive oil placebo, with regard to symptom severity in firs........ Read more »

  • January 10, 2016
  • 02:37 PM

Put the cellphone away! Fragmented baby care can affect brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2016
  • 02:09 PM

Sources of Error: Epiphenomenalism (part 1)

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

Epiphenomenalism is one idea I’ve struggled with for a long time: to my eyes, it doesn’t make any sense. But more importantly, when applied to philosophy of mind, it seems to me that epiphenomenalism does a great deal of damage.…Read more ›... Read more »

Swinburne, Richard. (2011) Could anyone justifiably believe epiphenomenalism?. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 18(3-4), 196-216. info:/

  • January 9, 2016
  • 02:36 PM

Feeling sick? It’s evolution’s way of telling you to stay home

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When you have a fever, your nose is stuffed and your headache is spreading to your toes, your body is telling you to stay home in bed. Feeling sick is an evolutionary adaptation according to a hypothesis put forward by Prof. Guy Shakhar of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department and Dr. Keren Shakhar of the Psychology Department of the College of Management Academic Studies.... Read more »

  • January 9, 2016
  • 05:21 AM

Serum folate levels in schizophrenia meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "In conclusion, the present meta-analysis found that folate deficiency is associated to SZ [schizophrenia], and subgroups which did not reach enough statistical power need further investigation in the future."That was the research bottom line discussed in the paper by Dan Wang and colleagues [1] on a topic that has been of some interest to this blog down the years (see here and see here for example). Folate (folic acid if you will) is a pretty vital nutrient that, among other thing........ Read more »

  • January 8, 2016
  • 07:47 AM

Opioid Drugs for Mental Anguish: Basic Research and Clinical Trials

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The prescription opioid crisis of overdosing and overprescribing has reached epic proportions, according to the North American media. Just last week, we learned that 91% of patients who survive opioid overdose are prescribed more opioids! The CDC calls it an epidemic, and notes there's been “a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers and heroin.” A recent paper in the Annual Review of Public Health labels it a “public health crisis” and proposes “int........ Read more »

  • January 8, 2016
  • 04:43 AM

Diners order more food and drink from larger waiters and waitresses

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists have already identified a multitude of factors – besides actually how hungry we are – that influence the amount we choose to eat, from the size of the portion, to the company we're dining with. To this list, we can now add the weight of our waiter or waitress. According to new field research in the journal Environment and Behaviour, when people are served by an overweight person, they are more likely to order desert, and they tend to consume more alcoholic drinks.The finding le........ Read more »

  • January 8, 2016
  • 02:46 AM

Sleep apnoea and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Sleep apnoea defined as "a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing" is not natural fodder for this blog. When however it is mentioned in the context of autism as it was in the paper by Ikuko Hirata and colleagues [1] it becomes a little more relevant; more so when one realises that sleep issues and autism might actually be quite an important topic (see here).Hirata et al describe the assessment of sleep problems in "965 commu........ Read more »

Hirata, I., Mohri, I., Kato-Nishimura, K., Tachibana, M., Kuwada, A., Kagitani-Shimono, K., Ohno, Y., Ozono, K., & Taniike, M. (2016) Sleep problems are more frequent and associated with problematic behaviors in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 86-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2015.11.002  

  • January 7, 2016
  • 10:23 AM

Follow your heart – Having an unanswered calling in life is worse than having no calling at all

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

As you return to work after the holidays, do you have a sense that this isn’t the place you’re meant to be; that somewhere out there is a calling as yet unanswered? If so, you better do something about it, according to new research published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour. Having an unanswered calling leads to poorer life outcomes than having no calling at all, and it could even harm your health.We already know that people who follow an occupational calling have better life outcomes ........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 08:22 AM

How and when to send sarcastic emails and texts, according to science

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you want someone to realise you're beingsarcastic, add a winking emoticon. A big problem with being sarcastic in your texts or emails, of course, is that you can't use tone of voice or a cheeky smile to ensure your recipient realises that you're not being literal. Help is at hand from a new study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology that compared the effectiveness of different forms of punctuation and emoticons at helping to convey text-based sarcasm. The study also a........ Read more »

Filik, R., Țurcan, A., Thompson, D., Harvey, N., Davies, H., & Turner, A. (2015) Sarcasm and emoticons: Comprehension and emotional impact. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-17. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1106566  

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