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  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:58 AM

Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Do you feel in charge of your own learning? Do you learn well with good teachers and bad? Or even if there isn’t one at all? With the wealth of information available today, you have more opportunity than ever to know nearly anything that is known. You can go out and learn virtually anything you […]
Check out Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Earliest Memories of Pets

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do our earliest childhood memories of pets influence our attitudes to animals?  Think back to your first memory of a pet, whether it was your own or someone else’s. Is it a happy memory, or a sad one? Were you interacting with the animal, or just watching? And is it possible that early memories like this influence your attitudes as an adult?This question was posed by Philip Marshall(Texas Tech University) et al, who compared earliest memories of a pet, a friend and an automobile. 223........ Read more »

Marshall, P.D., Ireland, M.E., & Dalton, A.A. (2015) Earliest memories of pets predict adult attitudes: phenomenological, structural and textual analyses. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 3(1), 28-51. info:/

  • April 15, 2015
  • 03:31 AM

Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children "born in 19........ Read more »

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K., & Getahun, D. (2015) Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring. JAMA, 313(14), 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707  

  • April 14, 2015
  • 04:08 AM

Immune signature in ME/CFS detected in cerebrospinal fluid

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The research tag-team that is Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin are fairly frequently mentioned on this blog. If it's not to do with their studies in autism research (see here for a recent mention) it is with their ground-breaking work looking at chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in mind (see here for example).Indeed their latest paper [1] extends some recent findings (see here) on immune involvement in relation to CFS/ME [2] with a focus on examinations in cerebrospinal flu........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2015
  • 03:37 PM

The placebome: Where genetics and the placebo effect meet

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Placebos have helped to ease symptoms of illness for centuries and have been a fundamental component of clinical research to test new drug therapies for more than 70 years. But why some people respond to placebos and others do not remains under debate.... Read more »

Kathryn T. Hall et al. (2015) Genetics and the placebo effect: the placebome. Trends in Molecular Medicine. info:/10.1016/j.molmed.2015.02.009

  • April 13, 2015
  • 06:43 AM

Let there be light: how light can affect our mood

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

If you're looking for an indication of how intricately human physiology is tied to the environment our species evolved in, you need look no further than our circadian clock. For, the internal environment of our body is regulated by 24-hour cycles that closely mirror the time it takes for the earth to rotate once on its axis. Moreover, these cycles are shaped by changes in the external environment (e.g. fluctuating levels of daylight) associated with that rotation. Indeed, this 24-hour cycle regu........ Read more »

LeGates, T., Fernandez, D., & Hattar, S. (2014) Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(7), 443-454. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3743  

  • April 13, 2015
  • 05:09 AM

Psychologists can influence people's moral choices by tracking their gaze

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Where we look betrays what we're thinking. For instance, given a choice between two snacks, people spend longer looking at the alternative that they ultimately choose. A new study digs deeper into this process and asks: is gaze direction also related to moral choices, and does it actually influence those choices?Twenty students donned an eye tracker and made a series of moral judgments. On each trial, the students heard a statement over headphones (e.g. "murder is sometimes justifiable") and the........ Read more »

Pärnamets, P., Johansson, P., Hall, L., Balkenius, C., Spivey, M., & Richardson, D. (2015) Biasing moral decisions by exploiting the dynamics of eye gaze. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201415250. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1415250112  

  • April 13, 2015
  • 01:38 AM

Interoception and body awareness in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body" [1].This was an important concept detailed in the paper by Lisa Fiene and Charlotte Brownlow [2] with autism in mind. Looking at how adults diagnosed with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) "interpret elements of the interoceptive sense, which includes thirst, hunger, temperature, satiety" researchers questioned those on the spectrum (n=74) and asymptomatic controls (n=228) with "self-reported perceptions of body awareness........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2015
  • 11:31 AM

Brain Sarcasm Centre "Totally Found"

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new study published in the journal Neurocase made headlines this week. Headlines like: "Sarcasm Center Found In Brain's White Matter". The paper reports that damage to a particular white matter pathway in the brain, the right sagittal stratum, is associated with difficulty in perceiving a sarcastic tone of voice.

The authors,  studied 24 patients who had suffered white matter damage after a stroke. In some cases, the lesions included the sagittal stratum in the right hemisphere, and... Read more »

Davis CL, Oishi K, Faria AV, Hsu J, Gomez Y, Mori S, & Hillis AE. (2015) White matter tracts critical for recognition of sarcasm. Neurocase, 1-8. PMID: 25805326  

  • April 10, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Pitfalls of the prevaricator 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Typically we write about newly published research here at The Jury Room. But one of our favorite blogs (Mind Hacks) wrote about this article and then we went to read the actual article and discovered it was authored by some of our favorite researchers. To top it all off, it’s about liars and deception. So […]

Related posts:
Lie with impunity and without detection
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
“You know who else lies?” she screeches. “LAWYERS lie!”

... Read more »

Chance Z, Norton MI, Gino F, & Ariely D. (2011) Temporal view of the costs and benefits of self-deception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 15655-9. PMID: 21383150  

  • April 10, 2015
  • 05:48 AM

More ophthalmic findings in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Ophthalmic pathology was noted in 26.9 % of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], of which 22 % had significant refractive errors and 8.6 % had strabismus."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Emrah Utku Kabatas and colleagues [1] based on the premise that: "Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) frequently have ophthalmologic disorders"; that is, issues with the anatomy and function of the eyes.We've been here before. I'll take you back to the post that I wr........ Read more »

Kabatas EU, Ozer PA, Ertugrul GT, Kurtul BE, Bodur S, & Alan BE. (2015) Initial Ophthalmic Findings in Turkish Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25800865  

  • April 10, 2015
  • 12:05 AM

Athletes, Alcohol Abuse, and Violence- Is There a Connection?

by Adam Rosen and Robert Dill in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Participating in athletics isn’t a risk factor for violence outside of competition. However, sports participants with alcohol use problems are more likely to later be violent than those without alcohol use problems.... Read more »

  • April 9, 2015
  • 03:06 PM

Do you have the genes of a rapist?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rape, it’s so taboo that victims are sometimes shamed for “letting” it happening. It’s a dirty word, no one likes the word rape so we come up with other names for it — sexual assault for example. Well new research shows that close relatives of men convicted of sexual offences commit similar offences themselves more frequently than comparison subjects. The study suggests that this is due to genetic factors rather than shared family environment. The study includes all men convicted of se........ Read more »

Langstrom, N., Babchishin, K., Fazel, S., Lichtenstein, P., & Frisell, T. (2015) Sexual offending runs in families: A 37-year nationwide study. International Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv029  

  • April 9, 2015
  • 08:00 AM

Think you need a lucky mascot? It could be a sign you're looking at a challenge the wrong way

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Cross your fingers, touch wood, and don’t forget the rabbit’s foot. What leads people to put faith in such habits? Research from Boston and Tulane universities suggests our goals have a big influence. Luck is the last thing on our minds when we’re concerned with learning. But when we’re focused on external goals such as scoring a high exam grade, superstitious thinking intrudes.Being superstitious is about invoking some force beyond ourselves to make the other horse stumble, help our gue........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2015
  • 03:31 AM

Effects of prenatal organophosphate pesticide exposure on a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Pesticides and autism is a topic previously covered on this blog (see here for example). The idea that some of the various preparations that we use to control the pests which have an ability to blight our crops or cause serious health issues could be linked to an increased risk of autism is an area likely to invoke some divisions within elements of the autism and wider scientific community.Part of the problem with the available evidence suggesting a link between autism and pesticide exposure is ........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Why Do People Relinquish Large Dogs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

When someone gives up a large dog to a shelter, what are the usual reasons?Research by Emily Weiss (ASPCA) et al looks at why people relinquish large dogs – and whether there are interventions that could have helped the animal stay in its home. The results show that people issues, rather than dog issues, are given as the main reason. They also highlight that owners have many good things to say about their dog, even as it is relinquished.In the US, large dogs are at a greater risk of euthanasia........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Hipsters, SnapChat, Beer Goggles, and Pain 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here is another post detailing things you simply must be aware of but to which we don’t wish to devote an entire post. These might be seen as water-cooler topics or simply things that make you a much more interesting conversationalist. Or something like that. Why hipsters all look the same (it’s just math) You […]

Related posts:
“Blacks just don’t feel pain like White people do”
Which jurors most “feel” your client’s pain?
The new issue of The Jury Expert is available no........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 01:34 AM

Cleanrooms and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Scott Faber and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post and the idea that a cleanroom sleeping environment might impact on some important issues accompanying at least some autism.Just in case you hadn't come across the concept of a cleanroom, the concept is that a space is provided where various systems are put in place to control environmental pollutants such as dust, microbes and various chemical emissions. More readily associated with the construction of microch........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2015
  • 03:55 AM

After laughing, people are more willing to share personal details about themselves

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

As a theatrical improviser, I’ve experienced workshops and shows where, after initial horseplay, people who hardly know each other share intimate autobiographical details, sometimes on a brightly lit stage. Where does this striking willingness to be vulnerable arrive from? New research suggests that part of the answer may be that the act of laughter encourages personal disclosure: we chuckle out our secrets.At the start of Alan Gray’s study, groups of four participants watched a video to inf........ Read more »

  • April 6, 2015
  • 05:54 PM

It’s all hype: Few commercial weight-loss programs are effective

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In a bid to help physicians guide obese and overweight patients who want to try a commercial weight-loss program, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed 4,200 studies for solid evidence of their effectiveness but concluded only a few dozen of the studies met the scientific gold standard of reliability.... Read more »

Kimberly A. Gudzune, MD, MPH, Ruchi S. Doshi, BA, Ambereen K. Mehta, MD, MPH, Zoobia W. Chaudhry, MD, David K. Jacobs, BA, Rachit M. Vakil, BS, Clare J. Lee, MD, Sara N. Bleich, PhD, & Jeanne M. Clark, MD, MPH. (2015) Efficacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: An Updated Systematic Review. Annals of Internal Medicine. info:/10.7326/M14-2238

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