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  • January 22, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 134 views

Experts and autism screening triage

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Whilst hopefully using the word 'triage' in the right way in the title of this post, I want to briefly talk today about the paper by Terisa Gabrielsen and colleagues [1] (full-text version here) and their observation that when it came to "brief but highly focused observations", a group of psychologists (well, two of them) "with toddler and autism expertise" missed over a third of cases of children who required additional examination/screening for autism or autistic traits.I am Meredith........ Read more »

Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker, & Judith Miller. (2015) Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation. Pediatrics. info:/10.1542/peds.2014-1428

  • January 21, 2015
  • 09:36 AM
  • 165 views

Then and now: Beepers versus iPhones  [and separation anxiety]

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Back in the early ‘90s, I had a job that required me to carry a beeper. The constant awareness that I was “on call” was a source of strain and led me to complain I was never really “off duty”. Flash forward to this century and I cannot imagine being without my smart phone. In […]

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  • January 21, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 167 views

Do Dogs Prefer Petting or Praise?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study asks dogs to make the choice. Photo: Felix Rohan / Shutterstock Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Fukuzawa, M., & Hayashi, N. (2013) Comparison of 3 different reinforcements of learning in dogs (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4), 221-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.067  

OKAMOTO, Y., OHTANI, N., UCHIYAMA, H., & OHTA, M. (2009) The Feeding Behavior of Dogs Correlates with their Responses to Commands. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 71(12), 1617-1621. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.001617  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 05:34 AM
  • 140 views

Features of autism in childhood epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, features of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were common in children with epilepsy regardless of cognitive ability."Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstorySo said Colin Reily and colleagues [1] in their paper examining facets of autism in cases of childhood epilepsy. Suggesting also that the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) might be "a useful screening instrument in this population, and combining parent and teacher forms was opt........ Read more »

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG. (2014) Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study. Epilepsy , 86-92. PMID: 25529303  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 72 views

What do confident people say to themselves before giving a speech?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Before you speak to an audience, can you first talk yourself out of feeling nervous? One step towards this strategy is to find out how confident people speak to themselves in their heads (their internal "self-talk"), compared with others who are more anxious.Xiaowei Shi and his colleagues surveyed nearly 200 students on a public speaking course. The researchers approached the students after they'd given two public presentations on the course and were soon to give their third. The students answer........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2015
  • 11:55 PM
  • 165 views

Truthiness of irrelevant detail in explanations from neuroscience to mathematical models

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Truthiness is the truth that comes from the gut, not books. Truthiness is preferring propositions that one wishes to be true over those known to be true. Truthiness is a wonderful commentary on the state of politics and media by a fictional character determined to be the best at feeling the news at us. Truthiness […]... Read more »

Weisberg, D.S., Keil, F.C., Goodstein, J., Rawson, E., & Gray, J.R. (2008) The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(3), 470-7. PMID: 18004955  

  • January 20, 2015
  • 10:34 AM
  • 9 views

Perspective-Tracking Brain Response Could Help Identify Children with Autism

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Using brain imaging to examine neural activity associated with our ability to distinguish the self from others may offer scientists a relatively accurate tool to identify children with autism spectrum […]... Read more »

  • January 20, 2015
  • 09:45 AM
  • 141 views

Misconceptions Never Die. They Just Fade Away.

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

In a post on my precision principle, I made a fairly humdrum observation about a typical elementary-level geometry question:

Why can we so easily figure out the logics that lead to the incorrect answers? It seems like a silly question, but I mean it to be a serious one. At some level, this should be a bizarre ability, shouldn't it? . . . . The answer is that we can easily switch back and forth between different "versions" of the truth.... Read more »

  • January 20, 2015
  • 05:37 AM
  • 65 views

When our beliefs are threatened by facts, we turn to unfalsifiable justifications

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

On being told physics could underminereligious claims, believers said faithwas more about living a moral lifeIt's great to have facts on your side. The fundamentalist is delighted by the archaeological find that tallies with scripture, just as the atheist seizes on the evidence that contradicts it. But when the evidence goes against us, we're less likely to change a belief than to criticise the validity or provenance of the evidence. Now, research suggests that the mere prospect of a factua........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2015
  • 04:56 AM
  • 148 views

Autism and low vitamin D at birth

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Discussions about vitamin D (the 'sunshine' vitamin/hormone) and autism are not unfamiliar to this blog. Just last year (2014) I covered research talking about the possibility of a connection between vitamin D and [some] autism at least three times (see here and see here and see here), possibly more...but in my game, I'm the bad guy, and I live in the garbage.I wouldn't say that I'm an advocate for everything implied by the correlations being made between vitamin D levels and autism given that v........ Read more »

Elisabeth Fernell, Susanne Bejerot, Joakim Westerlund, Carmela Miniscalco, Henry Simila, Darryl Eyles, Christopher Gillberg, & Mats B Humble. (2015) Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study. Molecular Autism. info:/10.1186/2040-2392-6-3

  • January 19, 2015
  • 03:05 PM
  • 175 views

Fear, PTSD, and newly found neural circuits in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh.... Read more »

Penzo MA, Robert V, Tucciarone J, De Bundel D, Wang M, Van Aeist L, Varvas M, Parada LF, Palmiter R, He M, Huang ZJ, Li B. . (2015) The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13978  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 79 views

Positive emotions may reduce racist perception

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

As tempting as it can be to dismiss the fanciful sounding ideas of “the power of a positive attitude”, every now and then a scientific study will show that positive emotions reach into unexpected corners of our brains to tweak our thoughts and actions in small yet significant ways. As one example, simply being joyful or amused may chip away at a cornerstone of racism.... Read more »

Johnson, K. J., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2005) "We all look the same to me": Positive emotions eliminate the own-race bias. Psychological Science, 16(11), 875-881. info:/

  • January 19, 2015
  • 05:32 AM
  • 135 views

Interfering With Traumatic Memories of the Boston Marathon Bombings

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, 2013 killed three people and injured hundreds of others near the finish line of the iconic footrace. The oldest and most prominent marathon in the world, Boston attracts over 20,000 runners and 500,000 spectators. The terrorist act shocked and traumatized and unified the city.What should the survivors do with their traumatic memories of the event? Many with disabling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) receive therapy to lessen the impact of the trauma........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2015
  • 04:28 AM
  • 127 views

Taking care of mum following receipt of an offspring autism diagnosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The commentary by Elizabeth Karp & Alice Kuo [1] recently published in JAMA brought my attention back to the 2014 findings from Emily Feinberg and colleagues [2] (open-access) reporting on: "positive effects of PSE [problem-solving education] in reducing parenting stress and depressive symptoms during the critical postdiagnosis period" - that is, moves to taking care of maternal mental health after a child receives a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).This i........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2015
  • 12:25 AM
  • 164 views

Magic Mushroom Users who get High without Drugs

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

A study comparing peak experiences - what a person considers their most wonderful life experience - in psilocybin users with non-users, found that some users said their most intense peak experience had occurred when they were not under the influence of drugs, even though it involved a profound alteration of consciousness similar to that produced by psilocybin. One possible implication of this study is that psilocybin could have lasting effects on a person’s ability to enter altered states of c........ Read more »

Cummins C, & Lyke J. (2013) Peak experiences of psilocybin users and non-users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 45(2), 189-94. PMID: 23909006  

  • January 17, 2015
  • 05:25 AM
  • 151 views

What can physical activity do for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question posed in the title of this post, I might refer you to the paper by Susanne Ziereis & Petra Jansen [1] who concluded that results of their research study looking at the impact of two 12-week training programs "support the hypothesis that long-term PA [physical activity] has a positive effect on executive functions of children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."That's the funny thing about birthdays, they're kind of an annual thi........ Read more »

  • January 16, 2015
  • 11:08 AM
  • 190 views

Know your brain: Reward system

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the reward system?The term reward system refers to a group of structures that are activated by rewarding or reinforcing stimuli (e.g. addictive drugs). When exposed to a rewarding stimulus, the brain responds by increasing release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and thus the structures associated with the reward system are found along the major dopamine pathways in the brain. The mesolimbic dopamine pathway is thought to play a primary role in the reward system. It connects the ventral........ Read more »

Wise RA. (1998) Drug-activation of brain reward pathways. Drug and alcohol dependence, 51(1-2), 13-22. PMID: 9716927  

  • January 16, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 155 views

Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It is no secret that we are intrigued by conspiracy theorists here at The Jury Room. Not only are they good for entertainment value during pretrial research, they are also very useful to help us plug holes in case narrative that could derail deliberations. When it comes to the actual trial though, conspiracy enthusiasts are […]

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  • January 16, 2015
  • 04:52 AM
  • 177 views

The gut and 15q Duplication Syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results indicate that GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms are common in Dup15q syndrome and may have an atypical presentation."Let's just say I'm Frankenstein's monster. And I'm looking for my creator.That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Elias Shaaya and colleagues [1] following a review of medical records for a small-ish group of participants diagnosed with chromosome 15q duplication syndrome (dup15q syndrome), a genetic condition "involving copy number gains of the ma........ Read more »

Shaaya, E., Pollack, S., Boronat, S., Davis-Cooper, S., Zella, G., & Thibert, R. (2015) Gastrointestinal Problems in 15q Duplication Syndrome. European Journal of Medical Genetics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2014.12.012  

  • January 16, 2015
  • 04:24 AM
  • 64 views

Reverse psychology: How bad managers inspire team camaraderie

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

An unfair, uncaring manager makes for an uncertain working life, one characterised by stress, absenteeism and poor performance. But new research suggests a silver lining: when the boss is unjust, team members come together.A multi-institution collaboration led by Adam Stoverink presented teams of students with an awkward event. The students thought they’d been recruited to solve tasks for a cash prize, but they were left twiddling their thumbs while waiting for an assigned supervisor to show u........ Read more »

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