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  • July 10, 2015
  • 12:14 PM
  • 187 views

The experiences of adults with "selective mutism", in their own words

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some people have a condition that means in most situations, they can't speak. There's nothing wrong with their tongue or vocal chords , and they don't have "aphasia" which is when brain damage affects speech. Yet most of them time, they feel completely unable to speak.In 1934, the term "elective mutism" was coined to describe this condition based on the idea that people fitting the diagnosis were choosing to remain silent. But the favoured term, at least in the UK, has since changed to "selectiv........ Read more »

Aaron S. Walker, & Jane Tobbell. (2015) Lost Voices and Unlived Lives: Exploring Adults’ Experiences of Selective Mutism using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Qualitative Research in Psychology. info:/

  • July 10, 2015
  • 11:47 AM
  • 164 views

Trees Make Canadians Feel Healthier

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



What's a tree worth to you? According to a large study in Toronto, trees may increase both how healthy you feel and how healthy you really are. Having some extra foliage on your block could be as good for your health as a pay raise–or an anti-aging machine.

It's a complicated relationship to figure out, because variables that affect how many trees you see each day could also affect your health. The population of a concrete, inner-city apartment complex may have socioeconomic differen........ Read more »

Kardan, O., Gozdyra, P., Misic, B., Moola, F., Palmer, L., Paus, T., & Berman, M. (2015) Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center. Scientific Reports, 11610. DOI: 10.1038/srep11610  

  • July 10, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 101 views

Can you identify racist jurors by asking if they watch local  TV news?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

So here’s a voir dire fantasy: When race is salient to your case, strike for cause all potential jurors who say they watch their local television news. For what cause? Because they’re more likely to be racist—at least according to today’s research. Local news coverage tends to focus on crime according to the researchers and […]

Related posts:
HDTV Jurors: What do you watch on TV?
How can I convince them this wasn’t racist? Just keep talking…
Non-citizen? Undocumented? Wa........ Read more »

Arendt, F, & Northup, T. (2015) Effects of long-term exposure to news stereotypes on implicit and explicit attitudes. International Journal of Communication,, 732-751. info:/

  • July 10, 2015
  • 05:33 AM
  • 142 views

Vitamin D and cognitive function

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Correlation is not the same as causation' is an important theme in science, demonstrating how one always needs to be a little guarded about making too much of research linking one variable with another from a purely observational point of view.I similarly apply such a principle to the findings reported by Rolf Jorde and colleagues [1] and the suggestion of "an association between serum 25(OH)D and cognition". Serum 25(OH)D levels by the way, refers to the measurement of calcifediol&nb........ Read more »

Jorde R, Mathiesen EB, Rogne S, Wilsgaard T, Kjærgaard M, Grimnes G, & Schirmer H. (2015) Vitamin D and cognitive function: The Tromsø Study. Journal of the neurological sciences. PMID: 26092373  

  • July 9, 2015
  • 03:19 PM
  • 187 views

Study finds violent video games provide quick stress relief, but at a price

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A study authored by two University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students indicates that while playing video games can improve mood, violent games may increase aggressive outcomes. The researchers looked at how video games may be used to manage emotions — specifically, whether playing the games can improve mood.... Read more »

  • July 9, 2015
  • 09:53 AM
  • 176 views

Could Travelling Waves Upset Cognitive Neuroscience?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper published in Cognitive Processes argues that neuroscientists may need to look at brain activity from a new angle, in order to understand neural dynamics.



According to the authors, David Alexander et al. of Leuven in Belgium,
A ubiquitous methodological practice in cognitive neuroscience is to obtain measure of brain activity by analyzing the time course of activity alone, or the spatial topography of activity alone.

This usually results in throwing away most of the data as... Read more »

  • July 9, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 141 views

High risk for autism = shortened telomeres?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to spend too long discussing the paper by Charles Nelson and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "Families of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] who have an infant show shortened telomeres relative to families with no history of ASD" but it is worth blogging about.As per a previous entry on telomeres and autism (see here), telomeres - the biological equivalent of plastic aglets on shoelace tips to prevent fraying - are starting to enter the autism [peer-reviewed........ Read more »

Nelson CA, Varcin KJ, Coman NK, DeVivo I, & Tager-Flusberg H. (2015) Shortened Telomeres in Families With a Propensity to Autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(7), 588-94. PMID: 26088664  

  • July 9, 2015
  • 04:00 AM
  • 135 views

Shining a light on why sensory metaphors are so popular

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A warm welcome to the latest Digest post, dear reader. You won’t find it hard work – my editor made some small changes, eliminating any sour notes to ensure a light read.Did you notice how the metaphor phrases scattered through my previous sentences each relate to a sense – touch, sight, taste? This is common to many popular phrases, and to understand why, a new article draws on a combination of the Google Books dataset and a series of lab experiments. The research reveals that sensory met........ Read more »

Akpinar, E., & Berger, J. (2015) Drivers of cultural success: The case of sensory metaphors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(1), 20-34. DOI: 10.1037/pspa0000025  

  • July 8, 2015
  • 04:57 PM
  • 154 views

Study shows long-term effects of type 2 diabetes on the brain, thinking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In just two years, people with type 2 diabetes experienced negative changes in their ability to regulate blood flow in the brain, which was associated with lower scores on tests of cognition skills and their ability to perform their daily activities, according to a new study.... Read more »

Chen-Chih Chung, MD,, Daniela Pimentel, MD,, Azizah J. Jor'dan, PhD,, Ying Hao, PhD, William Milberg, PhD, & Vera Novak, MD, PhD. (2015) Inflammation-associated declines in cerebral vasoreactivity and cognition in type 2 diabetes. Neurology . info:/10.1212/WNL.0000000000001820

  • July 8, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 189 views

Group discussion (think juror deliberation) improves lie  detection

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Want to see a lively argument? Ask a couple of legal professionals if jurors can detect deception in witnesses or parties— and then slowly back away. It’s a hotly debated topic with some saying “jurors usually get it right” and others pointing to reams of research saying no one is a very good lie detector. […]

Related posts:
Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
“Almost perfect lie/truth detection”: Incentives to lie
Lie with impunity and without detection


... Read more »

Klein N, & Epley N. (2015) Group discussion improves lie detection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS], 112(24), 7460-5. PMID: 26015581  

  • July 8, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 151 views

Six Ways to Entertain Your Dog Indoors

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

When walks are limited, these ideas will help you tire out your dog.Lately my dogs have been getting fewer walks due to unusually hot weather and smoke from forest fires. You can beat the heat by walking in the early morning or late evening, and sometimes there is better air quality just down the road. But there are times when there’s no choice but to limit walks. Then what do you do? These ideas will help you to entertain your dog. Feed Your Dog CreativelyYour dog’s food does not have to ar........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 135 views

Massaging autism (continued)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin:"Tactile-based interventions such as massage therapy were the most promising intervention in reducing behavioral problems."Derived from the systematic review results published by Farahiyah Wan Yunus and colleagues [1] looking at the current collected literature on sensory-based interventions for "children with behavioral problems", researchers zoomed in on massage therapy as perhaps being something requiring further investigation. Said therapy also potentially overlayi........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2015
  • 03:50 PM
  • 181 views

The powerful influence of placebos on the brain

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

The term placebo effect describes an improvement in the condition of a patient after being given a placebo--an inert substance (e.g. sugar pill) the patient expects may hold some benefit for him. The placebo effect has long been recognized as an unavoidable aspect of medical treatment. Physicians before the 1950s often took advantage of this knowledge by giving patients treatments like bread pills or injections of water with the understanding that patients had a tendency to feel better when they........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2015
  • 03:21 PM
  • 182 views

Pupil response predicts depression risk in kids

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most parents don’t want to think about their children as depressed, but that can be a deadly mistake. Short of clinical diagnosis through cost prohibitive therapy, there is no real way to tell if a child is at risk for depression. However, according to new research from Binghamton University , how much a child’s pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years.... Read more »

  • July 7, 2015
  • 08:04 AM
  • 202 views

Just two questions predict how well a pilot will handle an emergency

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Human error is now the leading cause of plane crashes, and one of the principal factors that provokes pilots to make mistakes is stress. Some pilots cope heroically in the face of stress, such as Chesley Sullenberger who steered his plane and passengers to safety, landing on the Hudson river after a double engine failure. Others fare less well, with sometimes fatal results. Knowing in advance how pilots will respond to stressful situations is therefore of paramount of importance to flight safety........ Read more »

Vine, S., Uiga, L., Lavric, A., Moore, L., Tsaneva-Atanasova, K., & Wilson, M. (2014) Individual reactions to stress predict performance during a critical aviation incident. Anxiety, Stress, , 28(4), 467-477. DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2014.986722  

  • July 7, 2015
  • 06:02 AM
  • 156 views

5 Ways To Connect Science And Spirituality

by Pieter Carriere in United Academics

To assess the value of spirituality, this article aims to give a clear, imaginable and humble impression of spirituality research. It describes research of spiritual practices, which are practiced by people of multiple religious affiliations and even by irreligious people.... Read more »

Gothe N, Pontifex MB, Hillman C, & McAuley E. (2013) The acute effects of yoga on executive function. Journal of physical activity , 10(4), 488-95. PMID: 22820158  

Vickhoff, B., Malmgren, H., Åström, R., Nyberg, G., Ekström, S., Engwall, M., Snygg, J., Nilsson, M., & Jörnsten, R. (2013) Music structure determines heart rate variability of singers. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00334  

Friese M, Schweizer L, Arnoux A, Sutter F, & Wänke M. (2014) Personal prayer counteracts self-control depletion. Consciousness and cognition, 90-5. PMID: 25277947  

  • July 7, 2015
  • 05:25 AM
  • 136 views

Sick leave and income levels for parents of children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] living in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006 were more likely to be on sick leave, not in the labor force, or earning low income when compared to parents who did not have a child with ASD and these results remained after adjusting for familial socioeconomic factors and parental psychiatric care."That was the rather grim conclusion reached by Miranda McEvilly and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of families taking........ Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 02:22 PM
  • 175 views

Restraint and confinement still an everyday practice in mental health settings

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Providers of mental-health services still rely on intervention techniques such as physical restraint and confinement to control some psychiatric hospital patients, a practice which can cause harm to both patients and care facilities, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. The study found that almost one in four psychiatric patients in Ontario hospitals are restrained using control interventions, such as chairs that prevent rising, wrist restraints, seclusion rooms or acute con........ Read more »

Mah, T., Hirdes, J., Heckman, G., & Stolee, P. (2015) Use of control interventions in adult in-patient mental health services. Healthcare Management Forum, 28(4), 139-145. DOI: 10.1177/0840470415581230  

  • July 6, 2015
  • 10:00 AM
  • 68 views

Brain Activity of Passengers on Terrifying Flight Sheds Light on Trauma Memory

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Neuroimaging data collected from a group of passengers who thought they were going to die when their plane ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of […]... Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 08:29 AM
  • 244 views

Scientists Predict A Talking Elephant, Szilamandee

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A talking white elephant called Slizamandee could save the world with his wisdom and "teach us with the deepest voice of history", according to an academic paper published today.

The article appeared in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The authors are led by Otto E. Rössler, a biochemist. It's called Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism? Many thanks to Michelle Dawson for bringing it to my attention.



Rössler et al. start ou... Read more »

Rossler, O., Theis, C., Heiter, J., Fleischer, W., & Student, A. (2015) Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism?. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.020  

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