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  • June 13, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 289 views

Maladaptive daydreaming: The next legal defense theory? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Remember Walter Mitty? He was a fictional character who escaped his dull day-to-day existence by constructing elaborate daydreams wherein he was the hero rather than a wallflower. Well, apparently Walter was not so unusual. There are people who spend as much as 60% of their time lost in daydreams. These are people who realize their […]

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  • June 13, 2016
  • 02:34 AM
  • 226 views

A gluten-free diet, gastrointestinal issues and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Given my own research interest in the use of specific dietary modifications as possible intervention tools for some aspects of some autism (see here) I was more than interested to read the results published by Faezeh Ghalichi and colleagues [1] following their randomised-controlled trial of a gluten-free diet (GFD) including some 80 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).As part of an area of much discussion, debate and also heated argument down the years, the author........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2016
  • 03:51 AM
  • 222 views

On biological markers and "subphenotypes" of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to keep you today. Just long enough to draw your attention to the paper by Jones and colleagues [1] regarding "ongoing efforts toward identification of early biological markers specific to subphenotypes of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."The potential biomarkers in question this time around were the cytokines/chemokines - those various signalling molecules that seem to have more than a few connections to important processes like inflammation - and how their profile ("mid-gestat........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2016
  • 02:14 PM
  • 195 views

It can be a good thing for a therapist and client to disagree about the client's problems

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Rapport between a client and therapist is important for therapy to be successful, and part of that is agreeing about the aims of the exercise. You’d think this would include the therapist and client agreeing about the specific nature of the client’s psychological problems. In fact, a new study in Psychotherapy Research finds disagreement isn't harmful to therapy and can even be beneficial.Rolf Holmqvist and his colleagues recruited 846 therapy clients as they started a course of therapy at a........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 282 views

Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis "mimicking an autistic regression"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis is not something that I ever envisaged talking about so much on this blog primarily concerned with autism research. Describing an often severe form of encephalitis where the body mounts an immune response against self ("the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor"), this condition is more readily associated with the symptoms of psychosis than anything specifically autism-related.But yet again (see here and see here) I'm talking about peer-reviewed research suggestin........ Read more »

Hacohen Y, Wright S, Gadian J, Vincent A, Lim M, Wassmer E, & Lin JP. (2016) N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antibodies encephalitis mimicking an autistic regression. Developmental medicine and child neurology. PMID: 27255282  

  • June 9, 2016
  • 05:36 AM
  • 154 views

Parents who think failure is harmful to learning have children who think ability is fixed

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Children respond better to learning setbacks when they believe that ability and intelligence are malleable – that is, when they have what psychologists call a "growth mindset" rather than a "fixed mindset". This immediately raises the question of how to cultivate a growth mindset in children.So far, there's been a lot of attention on how to praise children (it's better to focus on their effort and strategies rather than their ability), but not much else. Surprisingly, parents' mindsets (growth........ Read more »

  • June 9, 2016
  • 02:50 AM
  • 225 views

Prenatal nicotine exposure and offspring schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Another reason why pregnant women shouldn’t smoke: schizophrenia" went one media headline reporting on the findings by Solja Niemelä and colleagues [1] who concluded that their results were the "most definitive evidence to date that smoking during pregnancy is associated with schizophrenia."Analysing data from nearly 1000 people identified with schizophrenia whose information, and that of their mothers, were held in one of two databases - the Finnish Prenatal Study of Schizophrenia........ Read more »

Niemelä, S., Sourander, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., McKeague, I., Cheslack-Postava, K., & Brown, A. (2016) Prenatal Nicotine Exposure and Risk of Schizophrenia Among Offspring in a National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15060800  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 04:08 PM
  • 373 views

Air pollution affects young people's psychiatric health

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Smog has been a part of modern life since the industrial revolution, unfortunately all that pollution isn't just hurting the environment -- but come on, you saw this coming... right? New research from Sweden indicates that dispensed medication for psychiatric diagnosis can be related to air pollution concentrations. More and more studies show that the brain and human cognitive development are affected by pollution.

... Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 11:17 AM
  • 283 views

Dolphins Cooperate by Talking It Out

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



How do you know when animals are working together? Just because two animals got something done jointly doesn't mean they cooperated. They might have succeeded by dumb luck, or trial and error. Scientists who study animal minds, though, would really like to know when cooperation happens on purpose—and how animal partners manage to communicate with each other.

Studies in capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees hinted that the primates coordinated their actions by glancing at each other. (But this ........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 306 views

Canine Science is Better than Common Sense

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We need canine science because common sense can lead us astray.Recently I wrote about why science matters to our dogs and cats, based on findings from Dr. Paige Jarreau’s research that suggests science blogs (like this one) may contribute to readers having a better knowledge of science.I thought of this again recently because a comment I often see from readers – on any kind of science story on the internet – is "don’t we know this already? Isn’t it just common sense?"I understand the c........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 232 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: “This is really about morality” 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a research finding that some might call a “silver bullet” for litigation advocacy. We are always looking for nuggets of wisdom in research findings and this is one we think makes a lot of sense for use in court. These researchers wanted to see if people could “be induced to view their own attitudes […]

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Luttrell, A., Petty, R., Briñol, P., & Wagner, B. (2016) Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.04.003  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 04:44 AM
  • 146 views

You laugh differently with friends than you do with strangers (and listeners can tell the difference)

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Lucy FoulkesThe amount and type of laughter between two people can potentially tell us much more than that they are sharing a joke. For example, friends laugh more than strangers, and shared laughter can be an indicator of sexual interest between a couple. But as onlookers, how well can we use the sound of laughter to make these kinds of inferences? A new study in PNAS is the first to investigate this and it turns out, regardless of our culture or where we live, we are pretty go........ Read more »

Bryant, G., Fessler, D., Fusaroli, R., Clint, E., Aarøe, L., Apicella, C., Petersen, M., Bickham, S., Bolyanatz, A., Chavez, B.... (2016) Detecting affiliation in colaughter across 24 societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4682-4687. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1524993113  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:48 AM
  • 164 views

10,000 hours debunked again? In elite sport, amount of practice does not explain who performs best

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In elite sport, what distinguishes the best from the also rans? A new meta-analysis in Perspectives on Psychological Science looks at all the relevant data to see whether the most important factor is an athlete's amount of accumulated "deliberate practice" – that is, practice that's designed, through feedback and other methods, to improve performance. In fact, the new analysis shows that differences in amount of practice do not explain performance levels among elite athletes. At sub-........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 233 views

Stressed medial students and Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings indicate that the daily consumption of probiotics such as LcS [Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota] preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and may relieve stress-associated responses of abdominal dysfunction in healthy subjects exposed to stressful situations."So said the findings reported by Akito Kato-Kataoka and colleagues [1] who following the use of a "double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" method were able to potentially offer "healthy medical students undert........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 239 views

Interest in romantic relationships is high in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's official: "the vast majority of high-functioning adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are interested in romantic relationships." Yes, the scientific findings reported by Sandra Strunz and colleagues [1] have said as much.Sorry to be so sarcastic about them but coming from a place where the words 'the bleedin' obvious' are commonly used, I couldn't believe that in 2016 anyone would genuinely believe otherwise. Yes, I know the autism awareness et al message still has some........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 01:06 AM
  • 313 views

Advil Increases Social Pain (if you're male)

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Headache, Guillaume DELEBARRE (Guigui-Lille)A recent neuroessay in the New York Times asked, Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?What’s crazy about the pain of a broken heart is that your body perceives it as physical pain.No it does not. Do you feel heartbroken every time you stub your toe?Well... I guess the social pain = physical pain isomorphism is a one way street. Anyway, the author continued:In research published in 2010, scientists found that acetaminophen can reduce physical and neur........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 184 views

Acetaminophen: Or why you have to read more than the  headlines when it comes to research

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

John Oliver recently took on mass media coverage of scientific findings on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. The result is a searing video mocking the distortions and misinterpretations (and even flat-out lies) about research findings as presented in mass media. Since his episode aired (a link to the video is at the end of […]

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  • June 6, 2016
  • 06:04 AM
  • 160 views

How depression affects couples – in their own words

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Depression has been called a "we-disease" because when the dark clouds arrive, it's not just the depressed person who is affected, but all those close to them. A new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationship explored these spillover effects in the context of romantic couples, where one or both individuals have a diagnosis of clinical depression. The US study broke new ground by asking both partners in each couple to provide their perspective on how depression had affected their re........ Read more »

Sharabi, L., Delaney, A., & Knobloch, L. (2015) In their own words: How clinical depression affects romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33(4), 421-448. DOI: 10.1177/0265407515578820  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 244 views

Many NCAA Clinicians Fail to Screen Mental Health

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Only 39% of respondents from NCAA institutions indicated that they had a written mental health screening plan. There is a wide variability between mental health screening practices among NCAA institutions.... Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 242 views

C-reactive protein "may be a causal risk factor for schizophrenia"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although the public perception of science is that researchers go around 'proving' or 'disproving' that A leads to B or X causes Y, it is still surprisingly rare to see the word 'causal' in many areas of peer-reviewed research. Aside from the fact that science generally works around the concept of 'probability' - producing data pertinent to discussions on whether something is more or less likely to be true/false - most science is not so forthright in its conclusions. Certainly science covering th........ Read more »

Inoshita M, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Umehara H, Nakataki M, Ikeda M, Maruyama S, Yamamori H, Kanazawa T.... (2016) A significant causal association between C-reactive protein levels and schizophrenia. Scientific reports, 26105. PMID: 27193331  

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