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  • June 13, 2014
  • 11:54 AM

Fembot Flies Reveal What Males Find Attractive

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

A word of advice to female fruit flies looking for a mate: it’s not hard to catch the eye of a male Drosophila. He’ll chase after almost anything that moves. Really—including a metal cube dabbed with pheromones. That may be embarrassing for the male, but it also shows scientists how a tiny-brained animal weighs information when […]The post Fembot Flies Reveal What Males Find Attractive appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • June 12, 2014
  • 12:00 PM

Everyday sadism and squishing bugs revisited

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

The karmic retribution for my recent exploration of whether willingness to kill bugs reflects “everyday sadism” is, apparently, a near-midnight discovery of the largest cockroach i have ever seen, running laps around my living room ceiling, and quite willing to remind me that, oh yeah, cockroaches can fly. As I texted my sister (note to self: potential blog entry on our instinct for human contact when afraid, and whether electronic devices facilitate that), I was torn between a deep ........ Read more »

Buckels EE, Jones DN, & Paulhus DL. (2013) Behavioral confirmation of everyday sadism. Psychological science, 24(11), 2201-9. PMID: 24022650  

  • June 12, 2014
  • 10:25 AM

A small proportion of the population are responsible for the vast majority of lies

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Obviously some people lie more often than others. What's surprising is new research showing that the spread of lying propensity through the population is uneven. There is a large majority of "everyday liars", and a small minority of "prolific liars".A few years ago Kim Serota and his colleagues put a figure on this. They surveyed a thousand US citizens and found that five per cent of the sample were responsible for 50 per cent of all lies told. Now Serota's group have analysed data from nearly 3........ Read more »

  • June 12, 2014
  • 07:50 AM

Got milk [opioid peptides]?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Bovine and human casein-derived opioid peptides increased genome-wide DNA methylation in the transcription start site region with a potency order similar to their inhibition of cysteine uptake".Those were the findings from the paper by Malav Trivedi and colleagues [1] (open-access) including Richard Deth on the authorship team. I was really interested to read this paper having met Malav and Dick a few months back and listened very attentively to some potentially important investigations on-goin........ Read more »

Trivedi, M., Shah, J., Al-Mughairy, S., Hodgson, N., Simms, B., Trooskens, G., Van Criekinge, W., & Deth, R. (2014) Food-derived opioid peptides inhibit cysteine uptake with redox and epigenetic consequences. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.05.004  

  • June 11, 2014
  • 11:47 AM

Do Dogs Get that Eureka! Feeling?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Does successful problem solving make dogs happy?Photo: Mackland / ShutterstockNew research by Ragen McGowan et al (University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden) investigates whether dogs enjoy the experience of solving a problem in order to obtain a reward, or if it is just the reward itself that makes them happy.Rather unusually, the idea came from a study that found cattle who completed a task to earn a reward seemed to be happier than those who just received the reward. The design of McG........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2014
  • 10:22 AM

Why did we evolve the ability to think about our own thoughts?

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Thinking about "the stuff of thought" sounds self-absorbed and irrelevant for our survival, but an opinion piece in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science says otherwise. Far from navel-gazing, this kind of thinking is what helps groups of people coordinate actions and pull off feats that would be impossible alone.The article points out that the sharing of information between cognitive processes is not uniquely human. Consider the way information is drawn from a field of visual neurons and calc........ Read more »

Nicholas Shea, Annika Boldt, Dan Bang, Nick Yeung, Cecilia Heyes, & Chris D. Frith. (2014) Supra-personal cognitive control and metacognition. Trends in Cognitive Science. DOI: Supra-personal cognitive control and metacognition  

  • June 11, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

Facebook as a conduit for misinformation and racism

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We first saw this article on Eye on Psych blog and thought it interesting for our use as well. The Eye on Psych blog had previously focused on the assumption that not being on Facebook makes you somehow unsavory (because, after all, everyone should be on Facebook!). The study we are going to describe today […]

Related posts:
Facebook Graph Searches: What Can You Discover?
The hypercorrection effect: Correcting misinformation and false beliefs
How upset do we need to be about racism?

........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2014
  • 03:40 PM

How burnt-out students could be skewing psychology research

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

It's well known that psychology research relies too heavily on student volunteers. So many findings are assumed to apply to people in general, when they could be a quirk unique to undergrads. Now Michael Nicholls and his colleagues have drawn attention to another problem with relying on student participants - those who volunteer late in their university term or semester lack motivation and tend to perform worse than those who volunteer early.A little background about student research participant........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2014
  • 06:34 AM

The bean counters of autism (part 2)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Consider this post an update to my previous discussions on the economics of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) published a few years back (see here). The interest in 'what autism costs' from a monetary point of view has been rekindled following quite a bit of media discussion on the study by Ariane Buescher and colleagues [1] including a piece posted on the BBC website and a write-up in the Guardian newspaper with quite a sensational headline: Study says cost of autism more than cancer, s........ Read more »

Ariane V. S. Buescher, Zuleyha Cidav, Martin Knapp, & David S. Mandell. (2014) Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United Kingdom and the United States. JAMA Pediatrics. info:/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.210

  • June 9, 2014
  • 11:46 PM

Bouba and Kiki, among other stuff

by John DiPrete in EmbodiCog

Mental recitation of a mantra offers the same emotional resonance as the spoken pronunciation, regardless of the language. Sounds and shapes in mantras and visual images engage in brain interactions that seem to echo the cross-stitching effects of synesthesia. A listing of the most popular mantras used in Transcendental Meditation are included to illustrate this idea.... Read more »

V.S. Ramachandran. (2001) Synaesthesia -- A window into perception, thought and language. Journal of Consciousness Studies. info:/

  • June 9, 2014
  • 09:21 PM

Images to Reduce Pain

by John DiPrete in EmbodiCog

Images found to reduce pain in chronic sufferers. 10 selected pictures fit the criteria of pain reduction. Each image opens in a new window. Test them to see if their effects are real.... Read more »

  • June 9, 2014
  • 08:31 PM

History of neuroscience: Paul Broca

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Pierre Paul Broca

In April of 1861, a 51-year old man was transferred to Paul Broca's surgical ward in a hospital in France. The man, whose name was Leborgne, had epilepsy but was near death due to an uncontrolled infection and the resultant gangrene. There was something curious about Leborgne, however: he had extreme difficulty speaking voluntarily. In fact, one of the only sounds he was able to make--unless antagonized, which could prompt him to curse--wa........ Read more »

Finger, S. (2004) Paul Broca (1824?1880). Journal of Neurology, 251(6). DOI: 10.1007/s00415-004-0456-6  

  • June 9, 2014
  • 05:15 PM

Tracking Conscious Perception in Real-Time With fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What if it were possible to measure your conscious experience, in real time, using a brain scanner? Neuroscientists Christoph Reichert and colleagues report that they have done just this, using fMRI – although in a limited fashion. Their research has just been published in Frontiers in Neuroscience: Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception […]The post Tracking Conscious Perception in Real-Time With fMRI? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Reichert C, Fendrich R, Bernarding J, Tempelmann C, Hinrichs H, & Rieger JW. (2014) Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception using real-time fMRI. Frontiers in neuroscience, 116. PMID: 24904260  

  • June 9, 2014
  • 03:37 PM

Meditate to increase your gray matter

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

Most of my previous explorations of how meditation changes the brain have been based on what’s called functional MRI, which look at the activity in the brain in a given scenario: how meditators’ brain activity when they’re resting is different from non-meditators, or how deciding to be altruistic is correlated with more activity in regions like the inferior parietal junction. These changes are usually assumed to go hand-in-hand with actual physical changes to the structure of t........ Read more »

Hölzel, B., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. (2011) Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006  

  • June 9, 2014
  • 10:58 AM

When the going gets tough, supervisors pick on their weaker staff

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

A crisis changes everything. Friends are gone, and survivors must adapt to a new, dangerous environment. In the aftermath, predators circle to exploit the weak and vulnerable. According to new research, this not only describes the red tooth and claw of nature, it also applies to the workplace. Pedro Neves at the New University of Lisbon provides evidence that following an organisational downsize, employees are more likely to receive abuse from their supervisors.Neves was guided by displaced aggr........ Read more »

  • June 9, 2014
  • 04:42 AM

Autoantibodies and autism again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Autoantibodies - that is, antibodies directed at the body itself - are no stranger to autism research. I've talked about various types of autoantibody being detected in elevated levels in certain groups and cases of autism (see here for example). The paper by Gehan Mostafa and colleagues [1] adds to the roll call with their findings: "The seropositivity of anti ds-DNA and/or ANA [antinuclear antibodies] in autistic children was 42%".Charge ! @ Wikipedia Before progressin........ Read more »

Mostafa, G., El-Sherif, D., & Al-Ayadhi, L. (2014) Systemic auto-antibodies in children with autism. Journal of Neuroimmunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2014.04.011  

  • June 8, 2014
  • 06:11 PM

Discussions in chronic pain management

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Amongst the arguments around interdisciplinary programmes are discussions about how long or intense a programme should be (the “dose”), the content and what is or isn’t necessary within them, and personnel or who should or shouldn’t be involved. I thought I’d take a little look at some of these arguments.... Read more »

  • June 8, 2014
  • 03:22 AM

Homocysteine, gut permeability and MMP-9?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A speculative post this one, on the paper by Hao Ding and colleagues [1] (open-access here) looking at how, in a rodent model of colitis, homocysteine (the big 'H') might play some part in aggravating "inflammatory damage" potentially through promotion of some of the matrix metalloproteinases, MMP-2 and MMP-9. The words: "Hcy [homocysteine] can increase intestinal permeability" added to the interest.If you're used to reading about autism research on this blog, you might be wondering why on ........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2014
  • 01:22 AM

What the pug is going on?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,thanks for that awesome list of canine-related citizen science projects that anyone can sink their teeth into. I have a question for you: What do you see when a pug comes into your field of vision?I'm asking you because (at the risk of inciting wrath of many) - honestly? I'm really bamboozled by some pedigree breeds and their popularity with so many people. How I feelI'm not hating on pugs or pedigree dogs, and I don't mean any offence to people who hold their love o........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2014
  • 10:22 PM

How a Californian sea lion made my day

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

How a Californian sea lion made my day...... Read more »

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