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
Kunert, R. (2016) Internal conceptual replications do not increase independent replication success. Psychonomic Bulletin . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-016-1030-9
Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716
Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (2016) Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility. PNAS. info:/
The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues  recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »
Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/
The results could help explain some of the many injuriesincurred by firefighters each yearYour brain has a representation of where your body extends in space. It's how you know whether you can fit through a doorway or not, among other things. This representation – the "body schema" as some scientists call it – is flexible. For example if you're using a grabbing tool or swinging a tennis raquet, your sense of how far you can reach is updated accordingly. But there are limits to the accuracy a........ Read more »
Petrucci, M., Horn, G., Rosengren, K., & Hsiao-Wecksler, E. (2016) Inaccuracy of Affordance Judgments for Firefighters Wearing Personal Protective Equipment. Ecological Psychology, 28(2), 108-126. DOI: 10.1080/10407413.2016.1163987
In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.
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Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741
Pop quiz: hands up — how many of you think positive stereotypes are OK? I suspect that for many of you, your first reaction may have been, “well, yeah, they’re positive, right?” I can totally empathize with that shortcut, but … Continue reading →... Read more »
I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »
Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18
Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.
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Ren, Z., Pribiag, H., Jefferson, S., Shorey, M., Fuchs, T., Stellwagen, D., & Luscher, B. (2016) Bidirectional Homeostatic Regulation of a Depression-Related Brain State by Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidergic Deficits and Ketamine Treatment. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.02.009
Sometimes reading a flawed argument triggers my rage, I really do get angry, a phenomenon that invariably surprises and amuses me. What follows is my attempt to use my anger in a constructive way, it may include elements of a…Read more ›... Read more »
It came as no surprise to me that the systematic review and meta-analysis article by Jerome Sarris and colleagues  found what it did in relation to the use of [certain] adjunctive (add-on) nutraceuticals alongside antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms: some of them might actually be clinically useful.With no medical or clinical advice given or intended, the authors report that "adjunctive use of SAMe, methylfolate, omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants" might be something to con........ Read more »
Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Fava M, Berk M, & Ng CH. (2016) Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. The American journal of psychiatry. PMID: 27113121
In a recent paper (Ten Cate et al., 2016) we review the available experimental evidence for the perception of regularity and rhythms by birds, like the ability to distinguish regular from irregular stimuli over tempo transformations and report data from new experiments. ... Read more »
van der Aa, J., Honing, H., & ten Cate, C. (2015) The perception of regularity in an isochronous stimulus in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and humans. Behavioural Processes, 37-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2015.02.018
ten Cate, C., Spierings, M., Hubert, J., & Honing, H. (2016) Can Birds Perceive Rhythmic Patterns? A Review and Experiments on a Songbird and a Parrot Species. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00730
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
It’s tough to see the same old themes come up over and over again but—here we go again… Women who react emotionally are seen as less intelligent, but if they react in a “measured and manly way” they are thought not trustworthy. In other words, you can’t win for losing. “Men were rated as both […]
Here’s why that movie wasn’t called ’12 Angry Women’
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
Female bosses can lower a man’s pay & prest........ Read more »
Hess, U, David, S, & Hareli S. (2016) Emotional restraint is good for men only: The influence of emotional restraint on perceptions of confidence. Emotion. info:/
Pick up any introductory psychology textbook and under the "developmental" chapter you're bound to find a description of "groundbreaking" research into newborn babies' imitation skills. The work, conducted in the 1970s, will typically be shown alongside black and white images of a man sticking his tongue out at a baby, and the tiny baby duly sticking out her tongue in response.The research was revolutionary because it appeared to show that humans are born with the power to imitate – a skill cr........ Read more »
Oostenbroek, J., Suddendorf, T., Nielsen, M., Redshaw, J., Kennedy-Costantini, S., Davis, J., Clark, S., & Slaughter, V. (2016) Comprehensive Longitudinal Study Challenges the Existence of Neonatal Imitation in Humans. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.047
I very much want to stress the point that 'no medical or clinical advice is given or intended' on this blog before proceeding further with discussions based on the commentary paper by Richard Balon & Michelle Riba titled: 'Should Women of Childbearing Potential Be Prescribed Valproate?' .Valproate, as in preparations like sodium valproate, has been a particular talking point in recent years as a consequence of something of an emerging body of peer-reviewed science suggesting that its use ........ Read more »
Balon R, & Riba M. (2016) Should women of childbearing potential be prescribed valproate? a call to action. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 77(4), 525-6. PMID: 27137420
A new PNAS paper casts doubt on an influential theory of memory.
The reconsolidation hypothesis holds that when a memory is recalled, its molecular trace in the brain becomes plastic, meaning that the memory has to be consolidated or ‘saved’ all over again in order for it to persist. In other words, remembering makes a memory vulnerable to being modified or erased. Reconsolidation has generated lots of research interest and even speculation that blocking reconsolidation could be used as a t........ Read more »
Hardwicke TE, Taqi M, & Shanks DR. (2016) Postretrieval new learning does not reliably induce human memory updating via reconsolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(19), 5206-11. PMID: 27114514
The paper by Remmelt Schür and colleagues  provides some (brief) blogging fodder today and the observation that following a "systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 1 H-MRS studies" brain GABA levels were found to be significantly lower in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than compared to control (not autism) populations.GABA - gamma-Aminobutyric acid - has been something of interest for quite a few years in autism research circles (see here). It's particular role ........ Read more »
Schür RR, Draisma LW, Wijnen JP, Boks MP, Koevoets MG, Joëls M, Klomp DW, Kahn RS, & Vinkers CH. (2016) Brain GABA levels across psychiatric disorders: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 1 H-MRS studies. Human brain mapping. PMID: 27145016
No matter how smart and funny you think you are, those you follow on Twitter really do have a larger following than you. And the same holds true for Facebook. But there is no reason to feel badly about any of this. According to the research, it is all due to the inherently hierarchical nature of social media networks, where, in the social hierarchy of connections, people mostly either follow up or across; they rarely follow down.
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Momeni, N., & Rabbat, M. (2016) Qualities and Inequalities in Online Social Networks through the Lens of the Generalized Friendship Paradox. PLOS ONE, 11(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143633
Left: Belgian physician Dr. Wim Distelmans, a cancer specialist, professor in palliative care and the president of the Belgian federal euthanasia commission. Right: Generic acetaminophen.What (or who) is an “Empathy Killer“? An Angel of Death Kevorkian-type who helps terminal patients with ALS or cancer put an end their excruciating pain? This is a very selfless act that shows extreme empathy for the suffering of others.Or is an “Empathy Killer” a medication that dulls your numerical rat........ Read more »
Mischkowski, D., Crocker, J., & Way, B. (2016) From Painkiller to Empathy Killer: Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) Reduces Empathy for Pain. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsw057
By guest blogger Richard StephensA few years ago the New Yorker ran a social media campaign asking what word should be deleted from the English language. Nominations ranged from the political (Obama) to the superfluous (actually) and from the expression of hyperbole (awesome) to an outdated word for trousers (slacks). Intriguingly, the most popular suggestion – the so-called “runaway un-favourite” – might surprise a few people and especially those who enjoy baking. Psychologist Paul H. T........ Read more »
Thibodeau, P. (2016) A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds. PLOS ONE, 11(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153686
"Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders cluster among siblings of probands with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom line presented in the paper by Elina Jokiranta-Olkoniemi and colleagues  who extracted data from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (FIPS-A). FIPS-A has been mentioned previously on this blog (see here) but this time around the aim was to look not at the various risk factors potentially associated........ Read more »
Jokiranta-Olkoniemi, E., Cheslack-Postava, K., Sucksdorff, D., Suominen, A., Gyllenberg, D., Chudal, R., Leivonen, S., Gissler, M., Brown, A., & Sourander, A. (2016) Risk of Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Among Siblings of Probands With Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0495
"The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] was significantly increased among children of two immigrant parents... and children of an immigrant father."So said the findings published by Venla Lehti and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this authorship group (see here) on how immigration might, for various reasons, bring about an increased or decreased risk of certain behavioural and/or psychiatric outcomes. This time a........ Read more »
Lehti V, Chudal R, Suominen A, Gissler M, & Sourander A. (2016) Association between immigrant background and ADHD: a nationwide population-based case-control study. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27133554
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