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  • August 6, 2014
  • 04:40 AM
  • 81 views

Welcome to the weird world of weight illusions

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Normally bigger objects weigh more; breaking this rule provokes illusory perceptionsVisual illusions are useful to psychologists because, by tricking the brain, they provide clues about how it works. The same is true for weight illusions, it's just that they're far less well known. Now Gavin Buckingham at Heriot-Watt University has published a handy review of weight illusions, and he explores some of the thinking about their likely causes.Among the most studied is known as the "size-weight illus........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2014
  • 04:39 AM
  • 188 views

Gastrointestinal response to A1 vs A2 milk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to talk about the findings from Ho and colleagues [1] today, and in particular their observation of: "differences in gastrointestinal responses in some adult humans consuming milk containing beta-casein of either the A1 or the A2 beta-casein type". If you're wondering why such a paper finds it's way on to a blog predominantly about autism research, well stay with me on this rather long blogging entry...Start your engines... @ Wikipedia Before progressing, I am going to put a sor........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2014
  • 02:27 AM
  • 206 views

Does AA work for young people?

by DJMac in Recovery Review

Evidence has accumulated over the last couple of decades of the association between attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and improved drinking outcomes, including abstinence. AA is sometimes seen as an organisation that is better suited to older drinkers seeking sobriety than to folk under thirty, though there are in fact young people’s meetings in various large [...]
The post Does AA work for young people? appeared first on Recovery Review.
... Read more »

  • August 5, 2014
  • 05:29 AM
  • 288 views

Play music and you’ll see more

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

  Check out the video. It is a short demonstration of the so-called attentional blink. Whenever you try to spot the two letters in the rapid sequence you’ll miss the second one. This effect is so robust that generations of Psychology undergraduates learned about it. And then came music and changed everything. Test your own […]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2014
  • 04:25 AM
  • 87 views

Why was Darth Vader so evil? Blame his lack of parental care, say psychologists

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Image: wikipediaWhy was Darth Vader such a bad dude? According to a team of psychologists led by Peter Jonason, it's down to his lack of parental care: the fact he was separated from his mother at age 9, and his father's absence. The researchers believe such circumstances can catalyse the emergence of the Dark Triad of personality traits: Machiavellianism, Narcissism and Psychopathy. These traits are usually seen as negative, but Jonason and his colleagues believe they may be an adaptive respons........ Read more »

Jonason, P., Lyons, M., & Bethell, E. (2014) The making of Darth Vader: Parent–child care and the Dark Triad. Personality and Individual Differences, 30-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.10.006  

  • August 5, 2014
  • 04:05 AM
  • 154 views

Bipolar disorder is frequent in adult Asperger syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"BD [bipolar disorder] in AS [Asperger syndrome] patients is frequent, usually it onsets during adolescence and is often characterized by atypical presentation, making its correct identification particularly difficult".Maybe I'm better suited as a brunette? @ WikipediaThat was the primary finding reported by Vannucchi and colleagues [1] based on their systematic review of the relevant peer-reviewed research literature in this area. They found that the prevalence of BD ranged ........ Read more »

Vannucchi G, Masi G, Toni C, Dell׳Osso L, Erfurth A, & Perugi G. (2014) Bipolar disorder in adults with Asperger׳s Syndrome: A systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 151-160. PMID: 25046741  

  • August 4, 2014
  • 02:03 PM
  • 42 views

Nature Helps

by Rodney Steadman in Gravity's Pull

Exposure to scenes of natural beauty increases prosocial behaviours.... Read more »

Zhang, J., Piff, P., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Keltner, D. (2014) An occasion for unselfing: Beautiful nature leads to prosociality. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 61-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.11.008  

  • August 4, 2014
  • 01:10 PM
  • 17 views

Typical Items Facilitate Fear Learning, Atypical Items Don’t

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Have you ever recoiled at something because it reminds you of something else that you’re genuinely afraid of?  Research indicates that people have a propensity to generalize their fear — […]... Read more »

  • August 4, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 180 views

“Everyday liars” and “Prolific liars”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The American Bar Association is seeking nominations until August 8, 2014 to help it decide on the Top 100 law blogs (“Blawgs”). We have been in the ABA Top 100 for the past 4 years and would like to make it 5! If you like this blog, please nominate us (it’s fast and free) here. THANKS! […]

Related posts:
Do great liars know how to tell if you’re lying to them? (Yes, they do!)
Outsmarting liars (five decades of research)
We know liars when we see ‘em


... Read more »

  • August 4, 2014
  • 06:06 AM
  • 174 views

The iPhone Effect - when mobile devices intrude on our face-to-face encounters

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

You've probably experienced this. You're in the middle of telling your friend a story when his eyes flick across to his phone. Perhaps he even picks it up, checks the screen. "Sorry, go on," he says. But your flow is interrupted. And you know his mind is at least half elsewhere.Shalini Misra and her team approached 100 pairs of people (109 women; average age 33) in cafes across Washington DC and neighbouring districts. They asked them to chat for ten minutes at a table in the cafe about a trivia........ Read more »

  • August 3, 2014
  • 04:11 PM
  • 213 views

The Alondra Oubré Academic Fraud Exposed

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

Two respected authors, Alondra Oubré and Massimo Pigliucci, are implicated in the academic fraud of taking false information from Wikipedia and falsely attributing it to a research database in order to fulminate against the conclusions of Nicholas Wade’s book, A Troublesome Inheritance, and the science of the warrior gene, monoamine oxidase A.... Read more »

Alia-Klein N, Goldstein RZ, Tomasi D, Woicik PA, Moeller SJ, Williams B, Craig IW, Telang F, Biegon A, Wang GJ.... (2009) Neural mechanisms of anger regulation as a function of genetic risk for violence. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 9(3), 385-96. PMID: 19485616  

Buckholtz JW, Callicott JH, Kolachana B, Hariri AR, Goldberg TE, Genderson M, Egan MF, Mattay VS, Weinberger DR, & Meyer-Lindenberg A. (2008) Genetic variation in MAOA modulates ventromedial prefrontal circuitry mediating individual differences in human personality. Molecular psychiatry, 13(3), 313-24. PMID: 17519928  

Cerasa A, Cherubini A, Quattrone A, Gioia MC, Magariello A, Muglia M, Manna I, Assogna F, Caltagirone C, & Spalletta G. (2010) Morphological correlates of MAO A VNTR polymorphism: new evidence from cortical thickness measurement. Behavioural brain research, 211(1), 118-24. PMID: 20303364  

Fergusson DM, Boden JM, Horwood LJ, Miller A, & Kennedy MA. (2012) Moderating role of the MAOA genotype in antisocial behaviour. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 200(2), 116-23. PMID: 22297589  

Gilad Y, Rosenberg S, Przeworski M, Lancet D, & Skorecki K. (2002) Evidence for positive selection and population structure at the human MAO-A gene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99(2), 862-7. PMID: 11805333  

Huang YY, Cate SP, Battistuzzi C, Oquendo MA, Brent D, & Mann JJ. (2004) An association between a functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase a gene promoter, impulsive traits and early abuse experiences. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 29(8), 1498-505. PMID: 15150530  

Koen L, Kinnear C, Corfield V, Emsley R, Jordaan E, Keyter N, Moolman-Smook J, Stein D, & Niehaus D. (2004) Violence in male patients with schizophrenia: risk markers in a South African population. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38(4), 254-259. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1614.2004.01338.x  

Kunugi H, Ishida S, Kato T, Tatsumi M, Sakai T, Hattori M, Hirose T, & Nanko S. (1999) A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of monoamine oxidase-A gene and mood disorders. Molecular psychiatry, 4(4), 393-5. PMID: 10483059  

Lei H, Zhang X, Di X, Rao H, Ming Q, Zhang J, Guo X, Jiang Y, Gao Y, Yi J.... (2014) A Functional Polymorphism of the MAOA Gene Modulates Spontaneous Brain Activity in Pons. BioMed research international, 243280. PMID: 24971323  

Philibert RA, Gunter TD, Beach SR, Brody GH, & Madan A. (2008) MAOA methylation is associated with nicotine and alcohol dependence in women. American journal of medical genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric genetics : the official publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, 147B(5), 565-70. PMID: 18454435  

Williams RB, Marchuk DA, Gadde KM, Barefoot JC, Grichnik K, Helms MJ, Kuhn CM, Lewis JG, Schanberg SM, Stafford-Smith M.... (2003) Serotonin-related gene polymorphisms and central nervous system serotonin function. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(3), 533-41. PMID: 12629534  

Wong CC, Caspi A, Williams B, Craig IW, Houts R, Ambler A, Moffitt TE, & Mill J. (2010) A longitudinal study of epigenetic variation in twins. Epigenetics : official journal of the DNA Methylation Society, 5(6), 516-26. PMID: 20505345  

Yu YW, Tsai SJ, Hong CJ, Chen TJ, Chen MC, & Yang CW. (2005) Association study of a monoamine oxidase a gene promoter polymorphism with major depressive disorder and antidepressant response. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 30(9), 1719-23. PMID: 15956990  

  • August 2, 2014
  • 04:51 PM
  • 193 views

Parental Age and the Rise of Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

It has been documented that there has been a rise in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States, and that a large cause of this is due to redefinition of the disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition (DSM-V) and an increased familiarization among psychiatrists and psychologists; but there is an unexplained portion of the increase. Studies have shown that parental age, namely maternal age can confer a higher risk for ASD. With the rise of paren........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 215 views

The Friday Five for 8/1/2014

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Five of the coolest science news stories of the week! Friends & DNA, Alzheimer’s, a satanic gecko, fist bumps, and political brains... Read more »

Christakis, N., & Fowler, J. (2014) Friendship and natural selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(Supplement_3), 10796-10801. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1400825111  

  • August 1, 2014
  • 05:25 AM
  • 187 views

Psychologists investigate a major, ignored reason for our lack of sleep - bedtime procrastination

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Short term, lack of sleep scrambles our mental functioning. Long term, the health consequences can be dire. What's stopping us from getting enough?For many, adequate sleep is elusive because of sleep disorders, including varieties of insomnia. For others there are practical challenges - baby care or night shifts, for example. A new study focuses on another major, yet strangely overlooked, reason - bedtime procrastination. You want to go to bed early. You know you need to get to bed. And yet you ........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2014
  • 03:46 AM
  • 169 views

Restricted and repetitive behaviours disappeared? More optimal outcome and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm bringing to your attention the paper by Eva Troyb and colleagues [1] and the quite dramatic assertion: "Reports of current behavior indicated that RRB's [restricted and repetitive behaviors] had almost totally disappeared in the OO [optimal outcomes] group". RRBs just in case you might not know include quite an array of behaviours, some of which might not be considered 'disabling' such as the presence of certain circumscribed interests. Others, such as an insistence........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2014
  • 07:18 PM
  • 326 views

Serious Restrictive Eating Disorders Occur at Any Weight

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


Although the words “anorexia nervosa” typically conjure up images of emaciated bodies, eating disorders characterized by dietary restriction or weight loss can — and do — occur at any weight. However, precisely because anorexia nervosa is associated with underweight, doctors are less likely to identify eating disorders among individuals who are in the so-called “normal” or above normal weight range, even if they have........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2014
  • 07:10 PM
  • 228 views

Twitter Psychosis as a Cultural Artifact

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The creation of the category “Twitter Psychosis" tells us more about the culture of contemporary psychiatry than it does about the purported dangers of social media overuse. Can Twitter really “cause” psychotic symptoms in predisposed individuals? Or is Twitter merely the latest technical innovation that influences “the form, origin and content of delusional beliefs” (Bell et al., 2005)? Twitter as the new telephone tower, radio waves, microchip implant or personal TV show, if you wil........ Read more »

Kalbitzer J, Mell T, Bermpohl F, Rapp MA, & Heinz A. (2014) Twitter Psychosis: A Rare Variation or a Distinct Syndrome?. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 202(8), 623. PMID: 25075647  

  • July 31, 2014
  • 08:10 AM
  • 178 views

Tough Talking Apes

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

The new Planet of the Apes movie has talking apes! In the old Charleton Heston versions, the apes had thousands of years to evolve speech capabilities, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes place only 10 years after their escape from the lab. Anatomical differences between human and ape hyoid position, rib musculature and tongue show us why speech is not possible for Cesar and his friends. In addition, new research points out the importance of the foxp2 protein for speech and auditory functio........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2014
  • 05:31 AM
  • 160 views

The voices heard by people with schizophrenia are friendlier in India and Africa, than in the US

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When a patient with schizophrenia hears voices in their head, is the experience shaped by the culture they live in? Tanya Luhrmann and her colleagues investigated by interviewing twenty people diagnosed with schizophrenia living in San Mateo, California; twenty in Accra, Ghana; and twenty others in Chennai India. There were similarities across cultures, including descriptions of good and bad voices, but also striking differences.In San Mateo the interviewees talked about their condition as a bra........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2014
  • 04:18 AM
  • 142 views

Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) IV and autism: supporting opioid-excess?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Serum levels of dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) IV were found to be lower in children with autism compared to asymptomatic controls according to the study by Shahid Bashira & Laila AL-Ayadhi [1]. Based on analysis by ELISA, researchers concluded that "alterations in the plasma level of DPP IV play a role in the pathophysiology of autism".A sailor went to sea, sea, sea... @ Wikipedia Anyone who has followed the autism research scene for any length of time might have already heard ab........ Read more »

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