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  • May 30, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 169 views

I’m sorry: Six elements to make your apology optimal 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The phrase “I’m sorry” always reminds me of then 15-year-old Brenda Lee and her hit single. (That is, in psychology circles, called a tangential aside.) We haven’t written about apology here for a while now and a new study has just published that lists six elements to make your apology optimal. This post is to […]

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Apology redux: Doing it right (and doing it wrong)
A carefully crafted apology doesn’t mean we think you are sincere
“There will be no apology from ........ Read more »

Lewicki, R., Polin, B., & Lount, R. (2016) An Exploration of the Structure of Effective Apologies. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 9(2), 177-196. DOI: 10.1111/ncmr.12073  

  • May 30, 2016
  • 06:30 AM
  • 163 views

Foreign language syndrome: the Italian who became "French"

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover



A curious case report from Italian neuropsychologists Nicoletta Beschin and colleagues: Compulsive foreign language syndrome: a clinical observation not a mystery

The authors describe a 50 year old Italian man, JC, who turned into a 'caricature' of a Frenchman after a brain injury caused by a vascular anomaly. JC insisted in speaking French at all times, even though his knowledge of the language was rather poor (he had learned it at school, but not practiced it for decades.) What's more, ... Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 05:36 AM
  • 214 views

Compulsive Foreign Language Syndrome: Man Becomes Obsessed With Speaking Fake French

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

You may have seen headlines such as: Florida Man Woke Up In A Motel Room Speaking Only Swedish. Or: Englishman wakes up speaking Welsh after stroke (“Rare brain disorder left English-speaking Alun Morgan only able to communicate in Welsh”). The first case was likely due to a fugue state, a type of dissociative disorder involving loss of personal identity and aimless wandering (Stengel, 1941). The second seems like an unusual example of bilingual aphasia involving loss of the ability to spea........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 03:04 AM
  • 185 views

Organic pollutants and behavioural severity in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study supports the hypothesis that environmental exposure to organic pollutants may play a significant role in the behavioral presentation of autism."Accepting that correlation is not the same as causation, the results published by Andrew Boggess and colleagues [1] (open-access here) make for some blogging fodder today and the idea that serum levels of various compounds headed under the description of organic pollutants (persistent or otherwise) might show some important connecti........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2016
  • 03:30 PM
  • 224 views

Why everyone wants to help the sick -- but not the unemployed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research explains why healthcare costs are running out of control, while costs to unemployment protection are kept in line. The answer is found deep in our psychology, where powerful intuitions lead us to view illness as the result of bad luck and worthy of help.

... Read more »

  • May 28, 2016
  • 03:45 PM
  • 242 views

Schizophrenia: The brain has the ability to rescue itself

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of scientists have shown that the brains of patients with schizophrenia have the capacity to reorganize and fight the illness. This is the first time that imaging data has been used to show that our brains may have the ability to reverse the effects of schizophrenia.

... Read more »

  • May 28, 2016
  • 09:34 AM
  • 281 views

A Recurring Sickness: Pathological Déjà Vu

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover



Have you read this sentence before? Perhaps it feels strangely familiar? The experience of déjà vu is a common one, but in rare cases, it can become a disorder. In a fascinating new Cortex paper, French psychologists Julie Bertrand and colleagues discuss the phenomenon of pathological déjà vu.



Bertrand et al. present an English translation of what is probably the first description of the condition, published in 1896 in French by the psychiatrist Francois-Léon Arnaud (1858-1927).

Ar... Read more »

Bertrand JM, Martinon LM, Souchay C, & Moulin CJ. (2016) History repeating itself: Arnaud's case of pathological déjà vu. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 27188828  

  • May 28, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 226 views

Urban neighbourhood, food and risk of psychosis?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's another research mash-up today as I bring to your attention two papers talking about potential correlates associated with psychosis and/or psychotic symptoms.First up are the findings reported by Joanne Newbury and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who observed that urban residency and certain factors associated with urban residency might link into a higher risk of childhood psychotic symptoms. A second paper by Tomasz Pawełczyk and colleagues [2] provides some further food for thought and........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2016
  • 03:40 PM
  • 274 views

How the brain makes -- and breaks -- a habit

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Not all habits are bad. Some are even necessary. It's a good thing, for example, that we can find our way home on "autopilot" or wash our hands without having to ponder every step. But inability to switch from acting habitually to acting in a deliberate way can underlie addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders.

... Read more »

Christina M. Gremel,, Jessica H. Chancey,, Brady K. Atwood,, Guoxiang Luo,, Rachael Neve,, Charu Ramakrishnan,, Karl Deisseroth,, David M. Lovinger, & Rui M. Costa. (2016) Endocannabinoid Modulation of Orbitostriatal Circuits Gates Habit Formation. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.043

  • May 27, 2016
  • 12:10 PM
  • 249 views

Enhance the Salience of Relevant Variables

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Performing the discrete mode of presentation test strongly enhances the salience of the relevant variable, perimeter, and somewhat decreases that of area. This enhancement supports appropriate solution strategies that lead to improved performance. This effect is robust and transfers to continuous mode of presentation for at least 10 days. In line with this conclusion, a student who performed the continuous test after the discrete one commented that, “It [continuous] was harder this time bu........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2016
  • 05:21 AM
  • 103 views

Psychologists have devised a test for measuring one-year-olds' creativity

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The study found that creative parents tended to have creative toddlersA team of psychologists in England say they've developed a reliable way to measure divergent thinking in one-year-old infants. Divergent thinking is a form of creativity that involves uncovering new ideas or ways of doing things. The finding published in Child Development opens up the possibility of exploring the early factors that lead one infant to be more creative than another, and potentially intervening to help foster cre........ Read more »

Hoicka, E., Mowat, R., Kirkwood, J., Kerr, T., Carberry, M., & Bijvoet-van den Berg, S. (2016) One-Year-Olds Think Creatively, Just Like Their Parents. Child Development. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12531  

  • May 27, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 237 views

Wandering and autism continued... yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I know that I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record on the topic of wandering (elopement) and autism on this blog (see here and see here and see here) but I am yet again going to briefly talk about peer-reviewed research in this area simply because it's just too damned important not to.This time around the results from Catherine Rice and colleagues [1] are the source of my musings and the conclusion that: "wandering among children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regard........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 106 views

Inattention, nose shapes, sexism and climate change 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We often do these combination posts when we do not want to devote an entire post to a single article but think the information is worth sharing (or simply too odd not to share). So read on and be a scintillating (or perhaps simply odd) conversationalist. Smartphone alerts increase both inattention and hyperactivity This is […]

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Eyewitnes........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2016
  • 05:10 AM
  • 116 views

It's easy to implant false childhood memories, right? Wrong, says a new review

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

During the 1990s, groundbreaking work by psychologists demonstrated that human memory is flexible and vulnerable and that it’s very easy for people to experience “false memories” that feel real, but which are actually a fiction. One major implication of this was in the evaluation of adults’ accounts of how they’d been abused in childhood. In a recent journal editorial, for instance, one of the pioneers of false memory research argued that the same techniques used by therapists to recov........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 213 views

CRISPR-Cas9 and autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

If you feel brave enough, today I will direct your reading attention to the paper by Michael Williams and colleagues [1] detailing the application of a particularly important genome editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9 [2] to autism-related science.Titled: "A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons" the Williams paper probably won't win any awards for plain English but don't be fooled about just how important this pape........ Read more »

Williams MR, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Getz SA, Skelton PD, Lee J, Rizzuto CP, Geller JS, Li M, & Luikart BW. (2016) A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons. Scientific reports, 25611. PMID: 27161796  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 306 views

Humiliation from stares are worse than tiny seats for obese air travelers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Feelings of shame and humiliation bother obese air passengers more than tight seat belts and tiny seats, according to a study published by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. Participants interviewed for the study recounted the typical challenges they encounter while boarding, in-flight and deplaning.

... Read more »

Yaniv Poria, & Jeremy Beal. (2016) An Exploratory Study about Obese People’s Flight Experience . Journal of travel research. info:/10.1177/0047287516643416

  • May 25, 2016
  • 04:43 AM
  • 221 views

Minimalist, anonymous rooms are probably not a good place to do teamwork

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

According to the philosophy of "lean space management", a minimalist workspace shorn of clutter is distraction-free and ideal for productivity. But this philosophy turns out to have slim empirical foundations, and as promoting a sense of identity at work, including personalising the work space, generally leads to better outcomes, there’s reason to expect richer, characterful workplaces to be more beneficial. A new article in the Journal of Personnel Psychology builds on this past work, showing........ Read more »

Greenaway, K., Thai, H., Haslam, S., & Murphy, S. (2016) Spaces That Signal Identity Improve Workplace Productivity. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 15(1), 35-43. DOI: 10.1027/1866-5888/a000148  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 02:52 AM
  • 187 views

The persistence of self-injury in relation to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 12:32 PM
  • 210 views

The James Earl Jones (or Barry White) Effect now applies to women too! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Almost five years ago, we wrote about research saying men with deep voices were more persuasive. Science has moved forward though and now, women can also be more persuasive when using a deeper voice. Some call it a “sultry voice”. New work tells us your voice doesn’t have be a deep and resonant baritone to […]

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Who has the deepest voice amongst the Republican  candidates for President?
Feel the power of that deep and resonant voice!
Here’s why that movie wasn’t ........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 11:59 AM
  • 246 views

A critical comment on “Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility”

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Psychological science is surprisingly difficult to replicate (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). Researchers are desperate to find out why. A new study in the prestigious journal PNAS (Van Bavel et al., 2016) claims unknown contextual factors of psychological phenomena (“hidden moderators”) are to blame. The more an effect is sensitive to unknown contextual factors, the less […]... Read more »

Dreber, A., Pfeiffer, T., Almenberg, J., Isaksson, S., Wilson, B., Chen, Y., Nosek, B., & Johannesson, M. (2015) Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(50), 15343-15347. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516179112  

Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (2016) Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility. PNAS. info:/

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