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  • October 28, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: The “feelings-as-information” theory 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know this theory from painful and frustrating first-hand experiences. You present evidence and the jury ‘hears’ something else and bases their decisions on what they believe you said (or meant) rather than on the evidence as presented. While you (and we) know this happens over and over again, this week we finally ran across […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: Winning Minds and Touching Hearts
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make Your Expert Optimally Persuasive
Simple Jury Persua........ Read more »

Schwarz, N. In P. Van Lange, A. Kruglanski, . (2012) Feelings-as-information theory. Handbook of theories of social psychology., 289-308. DOI: 10.4135/9781446249215.n15  

  • October 28, 2015
  • 04:32 AM

Autism symptoms in children with ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity] had more ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms than non-ADHD controls."So said the findings from Jessica Leigh Green and colleagues [1] following their investigation of over 300 6-10 year olds looking at the prevalence of autistic symptoms "in a community-based sample of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and non-ADHD controls." Conners 3 and the DISC-IV represented the analytical starting poin........ Read more »

Green JL, Rinehart N, Anderson V, Nicholson JM, Jongeling B, & Sciberras E. (2015) Autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children with ADHD: A community-based study. Research in developmental disabilities, 175-184. PMID: 26433184  

  • October 27, 2015
  • 01:23 PM

First brain scan study to feature THAT dress

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Figure and caption from Schlaffke et al., 2015.Earlier this year a dress nearly broke the internet. A photo of the striped frock (which is actually blue and black) was posted on Tumblr and it quickly became apparent that it looked very different to different people, spawning furious arguments and lively scientific commentary.Specifically, people disagreed vehemently over whether it was white and gold (that's my perception) or blue and black. Now, writing in the journal Cortex, researchers i........ Read more »

Schlaffke, L., Golisch, A., Haag, L., Lenz, M., Heba, S., Lissek, S., Schmidt-Wilcke, T., Eysel, U., & Tegenthoff, M. (2015) The brain's dress code: How The Dress allows to decode the neuronal pathway of an optical illusion. Cortex, 271-275. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.08.017  

  • October 27, 2015
  • 04:04 AM

Gut bacteria profiles in children with autism and asymptomatic siblings

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Joshua Son and colleagues [1] (open-access here) made for some interesting reading recently and various findings including: "no significant difference in macronutrient intake between ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and NT [neurotypical] siblings", "no significant difference in ASD severity scores between ASD children with and without FGID [functional gastrointestinal disorders]" and "No significant difference in diversity or overall microbial composition" whe........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2015
  • 08:06 AM

The surprising truth about which personality traits do and don't correlate with computer programming skills

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

What do Lisbeth Salander, Chloe O'Brien and Elliot Alderson have in common? They are all expert computer programmers or hackers, and (like most fictional portrayals of people with their skills), they're all, well, rather odd and socially awkward. In other words, they all conform to the commonly held stereotype of the IT guy (or girl) – which must be one of the most stereotyped occupations in the world – as good with machines and programming code, but lousy with people and emotions......... Read more »

  • October 26, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Is it possible that jurors will be misled by emotional  testimony and gruesome photos? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Reviewing gruesome photographs and listening to emotional testimony about terrible injuries is something we do routinely. When we need to test their impact in our pretrial research, sometimes mock jurors (and occasionally trial jurors as well) are given the option of not looking at the photographs. They are put in an envelope, the envelope is […]

Related posts:
Teary testimony from children is more credible
Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty
Eyewitness testimon........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2015
  • 04:09 AM

Transcendental meditation for autism: some case reports

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I can appreciate that some people might have looked at the title of this post and rolled their eyes. When I first came across the paper by David Black & Norman Rosenthal [1] (open-access) I too felt a slight 'woo' like tingling given my unfamiliarity with transcendental meditation (TM) either personally or professionally. A bit of background reading and a reminder of some song lyrics - "sometimes truth is stranger than fiction" - and I decided that this is peer-reviewed science that per........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2015
  • 04:00 AM

Sticks and stones (1): How names work & why they hurt

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

Boiling a frog In 1781, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, a civil servant, political writer and historian in what was then Prussia published a two volume work entitled Über die Bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden (“On the Civic Improvement of Jews”). In it, von Dohm laid out the case for emancipation for a people systematically denied the […]... Read more »

Fryer, R., & Levitt, S. (2004) The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119(3), 767-805. DOI: 10.1162/0033553041502180  

Nunley, J.M., Pugh, A., Romero, N., & Seals, R.A. (2014) An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field. Auburn Economics Working Paper Series. info:/

Zajonc, R. (1968) Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2), 1-27. DOI: 10.1037/h0025848  

  • October 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

A Conversation with Carri Westgarth

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Carri Westgarth and Francine Watkins new paper explores the perspectives of victims of dog bites. The results give important new insights into dog bite prevention. Carri kindly agreed to answer questions about her research on dog bites, dog walking, and puppies, and her own companion animals. How did you get interested in studying dog bite prevention?Carri as a child; Top photo: Carri with her dogs Jasmyn andBen, and her friend's dogs Alfie and ZephyrMy mum might say it started as a toddler........ Read more »

  • October 24, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

The science behind real life zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. We are all familiar (if you are horror fans, or at least not living on an Amish compound) with the classic zombie. But did you know that we aren’t the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn’t a science fiction movie, this is science fact!... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 24, 2015
  • 03:19 AM

Theatre-based intervention for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players."So said Bill (to his friends) Shakespeare in the comedy 'As You Like It'. Personally, I think William Shakespeare was spot on with that comment, and how we all spend our lives 'acting' out various roles; fine tuning our performance depending on the context and environment we find ourselves in.With acting and the theatre specifically in mind, I'm talking today about the paper from Blythe Corbett and colleagues [1] reporting ........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2015
  • 10:33 PM

Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the ‘bible’ of psychiatry – diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist. A large-scale quantitative study coordinated at KU Leuven, Belgium, now shows that some symptoms play a much bigger role than others in driving depression, and that the symptoms listed in DSM may not be the most useful ones.... Read more »

  • October 23, 2015
  • 10:25 AM

The Witches In The Rye

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Can the Salem Witches of 1692 be explained by a fungus?... Read more »

Caporael LR. (1976) Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?. Science (New York, N.Y.), 192(4234), 21-6. PMID: 769159  

  • October 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

How to make lies appear to be truthful and other things you need to know

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We often read articles that don’t have enough content to make us want to devote an entire blog post to them but that seem useful or intriguing or just plain fun. Here’s a few more of those tidbits. “Illusory truth” and the repeated  falsehood Back in 2009, we wrote a post called I never knew […]

Related posts:
Expecting honesty and getting lies—when are you most able to tell it’s a lie?  
“Classical music will protect you from Alzheimer’s” and  other lies on the inte........ Read more »

Fazio LK, Brashier NM, Payne BK, & Marsh EJ. (2015) Knowledge does not protect against illusory truth. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 144(5), 993-1002. PMID: 26301795  

  • October 23, 2015
  • 06:09 AM

The man who saw a stranger in the mirror

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The man was diagnosed with Capgras syndromeMirrors easily call forth the uncanny: the vampire that casts no reflection; the figure who seems to appear in your periphery. Overtired or in an odd mood, I sometimes find myself scrutinising my own reflection, momentarily toying with the idea that it’s something independent, alive in its mirror space. So I was fascinated to read a short account published in the journal Neurocase of a 78-year-old man, referred to as Mr B to protect his privacy, ........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2015
  • 04:51 AM

People prefer food that comes in sexist packaging

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Putting unhealthy food in macho masculine packaging, or healthy food in feminine-themed packaging, makes it taste nicer, and people are willing to pay more for it. That's according to a new study published in Social Psychology which finds that, at least in the US, cultural beliefs about gender and food are so entrenched that people actually prefer food that's packaged in an apparently sexist way.While there is in fact some evidence that men on average do prefer naughtier dinn........ Read more »

Zhu, L., Brescoll, V., Newman, G., & Uhlmann, E. (2015) Macho Nachos. Social Psychology, 46(4), 182-196. DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000226  

  • October 23, 2015
  • 02:46 AM

Of vaccines and monkeys

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin:"These data indicate that administration of TCVs [thimerosal-containing vaccines] and/or the MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] vaccine to rhesus macaques does not result in neuropathological abnormalities, or aberrant behaviors, like those observed in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the findings reported by Bharathi Gadad and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) and their study providing "a comprehensive analysis of the influence of TC........ Read more »

Gadad BS, Li W, Yazdani U, Grady S, Johnson T, Hammond J, Gunn H, Curtis B, English C, Yutuc V.... (2015) Administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines to infant rhesus macaques does not result in autism-like behavior or neuropathology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26417083  

  • October 22, 2015
  • 11:48 AM

Fungal infection is likely the cause of Alzheimer’s disease

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Fungal infections are related to the Alzheimer’s disease and can be among the important causes of this disorder.

Published in:

Scientific Reports

Study Further:

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of older ages in which memory, thought, and speech of the patient are impaired. This disease finally results in complete helplessness. In a recent study, scientists have found that fungal infections occur in the brains of patients of Alzheimer’s disease.

In ........ Read more »

Pisa, D., Alonso, R., Rábano, A., Rodal, I., & Carrasco, L. (2015) Different Brain Regions are Infected with Fungi in Alzheimer’s Disease. Scientific Reports, 15015. DOI: 10.1038/srep15015  

  • October 22, 2015
  • 02:44 AM

Maths problem solving ability and autism: as varied as the label itself

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm bringing the paper by Tasha Oswald and colleagues [1] to the blogging table today and a reiteration of the important idea that within the vast heterogeneity that surrounds the presentation of autism (or even the autisms) so too there is quite a lot of variability in the presentation of strengths and weaknesses; indeed, not so dissimilar to life in general.Mathematics problem-solving was the specific area that Oswald et al have zoomed in on, with the aim of assessing: "the relative proportion........ Read more »

Oswald TM, Beck JS, Iosif AM, McCauley JB, Gilhooly LJ, Matter JC, & Solomon M. (2015) Clinical and Cognitive Characteristics Associated with Mathematics Problem Solving in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26418313  

  • October 21, 2015
  • 03:04 PM

Life is different for people who think in metaphors

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some people are literal minded – they think in black and white whereas others colour their worlds with metaphor. A new paper published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports on the first standardised measure of this difference, and it shows that having a proclivity for metaphors has real consequences, affecting how people respond to the world around them and even how they interact with others.A metaphor uses a concrete concept, often sensory (e.g. "light") or loca........ Read more »

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