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  • May 10, 2015
  • 03:16 PM
  • 118 views

Surprise! More sex does not mean more happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Countless research and self-help books claim that having more sex will lead to increased happiness, based on the common finding that those having more sex are also happier. However, there are many reasons why one might observe this positive relationship between sex and happiness. Being happy in the first place, for example, might lead someone to have more sex (what researchers call ‘reverse causality’), or being healthy might result in being both happier and having more sex.... Read more »

Loewenstein, G., Krishnamurti, T., Kopsic, J., & McDonald, D. (2015) Does Increased Sexual Frequency Enhance Happiness?. Journal of Economic Behavior . DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.04.021  

  • May 9, 2015
  • 03:58 PM
  • 146 views

What would Optimus Prime do? A business leadership model

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

According to new research, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the impact of Saturday morning cartoons. The research examines how fantasy-based stories, in particular the popular 1980s cartoon series The Transformers, can shape children’s perceptions of what behaviors are associated with effective leadership. It also could provide a basis for workplace-training programs.... Read more »

Peter D Harms, & Seth M. Spain. (2015) Children’s Stories as a Foundation for Leadership Schemas: More Than Meets the Eye. ReserachGate. info:/ResearchGate

  • May 9, 2015
  • 05:27 AM
  • 155 views

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings in severe autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of neuroradiologic abnormalities in low-functioning autistic children compared to Intellectual Quotient and age-matched nonsyndromic children, using the same set of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences."Accepting that the term 'low-functioning autism' is not one that I would personally use (indeed I'm not exactly enamoured by the term 'high-functioning' either), the results of the study by Alessandra Erbetta and colleagues [1] are b........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 04:32 PM
  • 147 views

(More) bad news for Vets: PTSD linked to accelerated aging

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Before PTSD had a name there was shellshock. It was mysterious and much like today, not everyone showed symptoms and for the most part, it was written off. In recent years however, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning home. While this has opened the door for better care for people suffering from PTSD, it has also lead to some startling revelations about the extent of damage. New researc........ Read more »

Lohr, J., Palmer, B., Eidt, C., Aailaboyina, S., Mausbach, B., Wolkowitz, O., Thorp, S., & Jeste, D. (2015) Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Associated with Premature Senescence? A Review of the Literature. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.04.001  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 02:23 PM
  • 99 views

Do interviewers really make a hiring decision in the first four minutes?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

There's an urban myth that interviewers make their hiring decisions within the first four minutes of an interview and spend the remaining time seeking information to bolster that gut judgment. The evidence for this is extremely limited and probably originates with a 1954 doctoral thesis. Now Rachel Frieder and her colleagues have conducted a field study involving hundreds of real interviews and they say that claims about snap decisions in interviews are exaggerated.The researchers collected thei........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 12:08 PM
  • 108 views

Story envy: When we borrow other people's personal anecdotes

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In the study, men admitted "borrowing" other people's stories more than womenAdmit it, have you ever told a cracking story to your friends but failed to include the crucial (but perhaps boring) caveat that the amusing events actually happened to someone else? A new survey of hundreds of US undergrads finds that borrowing personal memories in this way is common place.Alan Brown and his colleagues found that nearly half of the 447 undergrads they sampled admitted to having told someone else's pers........ Read more »

Brown, A., Croft Caderao, K., Fields, L., & Marsh, E. (2015) Borrowing Personal Memories. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3130  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 12:07 PM
  • 76 views

A new questionnaire measures people's "no mobile phone phobia" or nomophobia

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Do you get intensely anxious when your mobile phone runs out of battery or you don't know where it is? If so, researchers in the US believe you could be showing signs of a distinctly modern malaise: "nomophobia", or "no mobile phone phobia".To galvanise more research into the phenomenon, Caglar Yildirim and Ana-Paula Correia have developed a 20-item nomophobia questionnaire. The pair began by interviewing nine undergrads (five women) who were identified as being heavily dependent on their smartp........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 134 views

The distraction effect: “No, no, not your left side, the patient’s left  side…”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I grew up in a family where multiple siblings got confused about which way was right and which way was left. When I began to drive, I would make a capital R in the air with my right index finger to be sure I was turning the right way. Unbeknownst to me, my siblings had […]

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McKinley, J, Dempster, M, & Gormley, GJ. (2015) ‘Sorry, I meant the patient’s left side’: Impact of distraction on left-right discrimination. . Medical Education, 427-435. info:/

  • May 8, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 173 views

MoBa does prenatal antidepressant use and offspring anxiety

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

MoBa, otherwise known as the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, has found it's way onto this blog a few times over the years. If it's not to do with results concerning prenatal paracetamol (acetaminophen) exposure and possible offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes (see here), it's about confirming that bowel issues are indeed over-represented in cases of autism (see here) and lots more besides.We can now add the results from Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen and colleagues [1] (open-access) t........ Read more »

Brandlistuen, R., Ystrom, E., Eberhard-Gran, M., Nulman, I., Koren, G., & Nordeng, H. (2015) Behavioural effects of fetal antidepressant exposure in a Norwegian cohort of discordant siblings. International Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv030  

  • May 7, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 204 views

Parent training vs parent education for disruptive behaviour in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that historically I've never been a great fan of the words 'parent training' when applied to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). For me, the idea that parents of children with autism need 'training' to parent their child with autism always seemed a little condescending with overtones harking back to the bad old days of 'blame the mother' [1].My attitude to the idea of parent training has however softened in recent years on the back of some peer-reviewed evidence suggesting t........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 10:06 PM
  • 204 views

Limitations of the consensus: How widely-accepted hypotheses can sometimes hinder understanding

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

To those who believe strongly in the scientific method, it really is the only approach to understanding the relationship between two events or variables that allows us to make assertions about such relationships with any confidence. Due to the inherent flaws in human reasoning, our non-scientific conclusions are frequently riddled with bias, misunderstanding, and misattribution. Thus, it seems there is little that can be trusted if it hasn't been scientifically verified.The scientific method, ho........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 03:26 PM
  • 193 views

Researchers find new clues in treating chronic pain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A chemical in the brain typically associated with cognition, movement and reward-motivation behavior — among others — may also play a role in promoting chronic pain, according to new research. The chemical, dopamine, sets the stage for many important brain functions, but the mechanisms that cause it to contribute to chronic pain are less well understood.... Read more »

Kim, J., Tillu, D., Quinn, T., Mejia, G., Shy, A., Asiedu, M., Murad, E., Schumann, A., Totsch, S., Sorge, R.... (2015) Spinal Dopaminergic Projections Control the Transition to Pathological Pain Plasticity via a D1/D5-Mediated Mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(16), 6307-6317. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3481-14.2015  

  • May 6, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 155 views

Loss of a Dog: The Importance of Social Support

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research finds that losing a pet dog is a stressful life event.Sooner or later, all pet owners have to face the realization that the lives of our animals are far too short. Grieving for a lost pet is further complicated by some people who fail to understand what a pet means. Comments like, “It was just a dog” can be very hurtful. A new study by Lilian Tzivian (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) et al investigates the psychological effects of pet loss. The study compared 103 dog owners w........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 04:40 AM
  • 152 views

Features of dyspraxia in childhood epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) or dyspraxia is a condition affecting 'planning of movements and coordination'. No-one really knows exactly how and why DCD comes about but various risk factors are associated with the condition (see here) including the possibility of acquired problems through head injury or a stroke for example.I was recently interested to read the paper published by Colin Reilly and colleagues [1] and their findings that: "Parent-reported symptoms of DCD are very ........ Read more »

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG. (2015) Features of developmental coordination disorder in active childhood epilepsy: a population-based study. Developmental medicine and child neurology. PMID: 25882788  

  • May 5, 2015
  • 02:36 PM
  • 183 views

Mind reading: Researchers observe moment a mind is changed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers studying how the brain makes decisions have, for the first time, recorded the moment-by-moment fluctuations in brain signals that occur when a monkey making free choices has a change of mind. The findings result from experiments led by electrical engineering Professor Krishna Shenoy, whose Stanford lab focuses on movement control and neural prostheses – such as artificial arms – controlled by the user’s brain.... Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 10:14 AM
  • 93 views

Mindful eating makes smaller portions more satisfying

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Have you ever been to an exclusive restaurant that serves tiny portions and found that, in spite of the paltry servings, you felt satisfied afterwards and the food seemed unusually tasty? If so, you might have engaged in what psychologists call "savouring" behaviours. Charles Areni and Iain Black have studied savouring under laboratory conditions, and they've found that when we're given smaller portions than normal, we eat differently – more slowly, more mindfully, and we feel more satiated as........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 06:14 AM
  • 172 views

Tylenol Doesn't Really Blunt Your Emotions

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

A new study has found that the pain reliever TYLENOL® (acetaminophen) not only dampens negative emotions, it blunts positive emotions too. Or does it?Durso and colleagues (2015) reckoned that if acetaminophen can lessen the sting of psychological pain (Dewall et al., 2010; Randles et al., 2013) – which is doubtful in my view – then it might also lessen reactivity to positive stimuli. Evidence in favor of their hypothesis would support differential susceptibility, the notion that the same ........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 04:25 AM
  • 196 views

Childhood cat ownership and risk of later life schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'I' before the 'E' except after 'C'."Is childhood cat ownership a risk factor for schizophrenia later in life?"That was the rather peculiar question posed and partially answered in the paper by Fuller Torrey and colleagues [1]. They concluded that "cat ownership in childhood is significantly more common in families in which the child later becomes seriously mentally ill."For those new to this topic, it might sound rather strange that cat ownership in childhood might elevate the risk of mental il........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 10:08 AM
  • 55 views

Man with Restored Sight Provides New Insight into How Vision Develops

by amikulak in Daily Observations

California man Mike May made international headlines in 2000 when his sight was restored by a pioneering stem cell procedure after 40 years of blindness. A study published three years […]... Read more »

Huber, E., Webster, J., Brewer, A., MacLeod, D., Wandell, B., Boynton, G., Wade, A., & Fine, I. (2015) A Lack of Experience-Dependent Plasticity After More Than a Decade of Recovered Sight. Psychological Science, 26(4), 393-401. DOI: 10.1177/0956797614563957  

  • May 4, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 123 views

Will a superhero pose increase your testosterone and cortisol?  

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about power poses before and the work being done by Amy Cuddy and her colleagues on how they increase both self-confidence and hormones like testosterone and cortisol. The research has become so widely known it was even featured on the Grey’s Anatomy television show recently with two surgeons striking a superhero pose prior […]

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