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  • October 7, 2015
  • 11:30 PM

Social Class Differences in Mental Health: Do Parenting Style and Friendship Play a Role?

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

It is now well-established that social class is positively related to mental health. However, researchers remain unclear about the specific processes that underlie the relation between social class and depression. In some recent research, we investigated the potential roles of parenting style and friendship in explaining the relationship between social class and mental health.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 06:19 PM

Parents influence children’s play of violent video games

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who are more anxious and emotional can impact the amount of violent video games their children play, according to new consumer research from Iowa State University. Russell Laczniak, a professor of marketing and the John and Connie Stafford Professor in Business, says given the harmful effects of violent video games, he and his colleagues wanted to better understand how parents influence children’s behavior.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

The Labrador Lifestyle

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A survey of Labrador Retriever owners tells us what they eat, how often they exercise, and where they sleep.A survey of over 4000 people with Labrador Retrievers provides a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the average Lab. 68% of the dogs were pets, 6% working dogs, and of the remainder the largest group of people did not say (a quarter of overall responses).  Black Labradors were the most common (49%), followed by yellow (27%) and chocolate (21%), with other colours including fox ........ Read more »

Pugh, C., Bronsvoort, B., Handel, I., Summers, K., & Clements, D. (2015) Dogslife: A cohort study of Labrador Retrievers in the UK. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.06.020  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 04:30 AM

On glyphosate and autism (without scaremongering)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Glyphosate use and autism rates - should I blog about it?Well, after some deliberation I decided it was a topic worthy of an entry. There is some peer-reviewed science discussions behind it and, as per other areas of controversy on the autism research landscape, the idea that 'science is about debate' (why else does everyone keep going on about open-access and transparency) should always prevail.I'm assuming most people have heard of the organophosphonate (that's phosphonate not p........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 01:51 PM

American placebo – An increase in the placebo response, but only in America?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study finds that rising placebo responses may play a part in the increasingly high failure rate for clinical trials of drugs designed to control chronic pain caused by nerve damage. Surprisingly, however, the analysis of clinical trials conducted since 1990 found that the increase in placebo responses occurred only in trials conducted wholly in the U.S.; trials conducted in Europe or Asia showed no changes in placebo responses over that period.... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 05:36 AM

The psychology of realising that you need psychological help

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Of the many people with mental health problems who would likely benefit from psychological help, only a fraction actually find themselves face to face with a clinical psychologist or other kind of psychotherapist. There are of course practical reasons for this, including demand outstripping supply, but in many cases it also has to do with the perspective of the person who has the psychological difficulties. For example, a European survey published in 2009 found that of nearly 9000 people wh........ Read more »

Elliott, K., Westmacott, R., Hunsley, J., Rumstein-McKean, O., & Best, M. (2015) The Process of Seeking Psychotherapy and Its Impact on Therapy Expectations and Experiences. Clinical Psychology , 22(5), 399-408. DOI: 10.1002/cpp.1900  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 04:37 AM

Prenatal hormone involvement in autism risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Gayle Windham and colleagues [1] caught my eye recently and their observations based on the examination of mid-pregnancy serum hormone and protein markers for some 2500 mothers of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with 600,000 controls.Detailing results based on: "Second trimester levels of unconjugated estriol (uE3), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP)", researchers reported that their results........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 06:48 PM

Gut bacteria population, diversity linked to anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine found that people with anorexia nervosa have very different microbial communities residing inside their guts compared to healthy individuals and that this bacterial imbalance is associated with some of the psychological symptoms related to the eating disorder.... Read more »

Kleiman, S., Watson, H., Bulik-Sullivan, E., Huh, E., Tarantino, L., Bulik, C., & Carroll, I. (2015) The Intestinal Microbiota in Acute Anorexia Nervosa and During Renourishment. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000247  

  • October 5, 2015
  • 08:29 AM

How do popular kids behave in a cooperative task with a classmate?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Popular girls showed more skilful leadership than others, popular boys showed less. In classrooms around the world, there's an unwritten hierarchy, with most of the kids knowing each other's standing in terms of popularity. Past psychology research has looked into the ways that children and teens attain this status, including the ability to influence their peers, either in skilful, sensitive ways or through coercion and manipulation. A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Chil........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Is there an effective strategy that reduces a conspiracy  theorist’s intense beliefs?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

According to new research with a large sample from all across the United States, the answer is yes! If you have read this blog for long, you know we love a good conspiracy theorist and use their idiosyncratic associations in pretrial research to plug holes in case narratives. The researchers briefly review the past literature […]

Related posts:
Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty
Would you get sucked in to conspiracy theories?
Think conspiracy theorists live on ........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 02:34 AM

The ASQ-3 and autism screening: has the UK already started?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?' was the research question posed and partially answered in the paper by Sarah Hardy and colleagues [1] recently.Drawing on data from a very healthy sized cohort (~2800 toddlers) who were "screened with the ASQ-3 [Ages and Stages Questionnaire] and M-CHAT-R across 20 pediatric sites" in the United States, researchers suggested that there may be more to see when it comes to the use of ASQ-3 and the complicated topic of ........ Read more »

Hardy S, Haisley L, Manning C, & Fein D. (2015) Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 36(7), 536-43. PMID: 26348972  

  • October 4, 2015
  • 01:39 PM

Brain networking: behind the cognitive control of thoughts

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The human brain does not come with an operating manual. However, a group of scientists have developed a way to convert structural brain imaging techniques into “wiring diagrams” of connections between brain regions. Three researchers from UCSB’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences — Michael Miller, Scott Grafton and Matt Cieslak — used the structure of neural networks to reveal the fundamental rules that govern which parts of the brain are most able to exert cognitive control ........ Read more »

Gu, S., Pasqualetti, F., Cieslak, M., Telesford, Q., Yu, A., Kahn, A., Medaglia, J., Vettel, J., Miller, M., Grafton, S.... (2015) Controllability of structural brain networks. Nature Communications, 8414. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9414  

  • October 3, 2015
  • 03:39 AM

One more time... the interpregnancy interval and risk of offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children born after an IPI [interpregnancy interval] of <12 months or ≥72 months had a 2- to 3-fold increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk compared with children born after an interval of 36 to 47 months."So said the study results published by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues [1] looking at the increasingly interesting area of the autism research landscape: the interpregnancy interval (the time from the birth of an index child to the next conception/pregnancy of........ Read more »

Zerbo, O., Yoshida, C., Gunderson, E., Dorward, K., & Croen, L. (2015) Interpregnancy Interval and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. PEDIATRICS. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-1099  

  • October 2, 2015
  • 12:35 PM

Poop on a Stick Tests Penguins' Sense of Smell

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Who doesn't enjoy waking to a pleasant smell wafting past? Unfortunately for them, the penguins in a recent study woke up not to pancakes frying nearby, but to less appetizing aromas—for example, feces on a stick. But scientists promise the experiment taught them valuable lessons about a penguin's capabilities. Besides, they let the birds go right back to sleep.

"Research into the sense of smell in birds has a bit of a dubious history," says Gregory Cunningham, a biologist at St. John F........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2015
  • 05:12 AM

How jurors can be misled by emotional testimony and gruesome photos

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

As a juror in a criminal trial, you are meant to make a judgment of the defendant's guilt or innocence based on the evidence and arguments presented before you. In many trials, however, alongside the facts of the case, material and statements are allowed that don't in themselves speak to the culpability of the defendant. In a murder trial, for instance, a parent may take the stand and describe how their life has been destroyed by the loss of their child (the victim in the case). Similarly, the p........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2015
  • 04:41 AM

Toddlers have an instinct for fairness and generosity

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Anecdotally, anyone who's spent time around toddlers knows that they mostly don't like sharing their toys. Together with research showing that toddlers, like adults, get pretty attached to their things and are reluctant to give them up, this has led to a popular belief that toddlers are selfish by nature.But a team of developmental psychologists led by Julia Ulber has published new evidence in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology that paints a more heart-warming picture. These psychologi........ Read more »

Ulber, J., Hamann, K., & Tomasello, M. (2015) How 18- and 24-month-old peers divide resources among themselves. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 228-244. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.07.009  

  • October 2, 2015
  • 02:37 AM

ADHD primes for psychosis and/or schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

My efforts turn once again to Taiwan today and the results reported by Yu-Chiau Shyu and colleagues [1] that: "Compared to the control group, the ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] group showed significantly increased risk of developing any psychotic disorder... and schizophrenia."As per the multitude of other instances where Taiwan is mentioned as a research powerhouse, the source data for the Shyu findings was the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database&n........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2015
  • 02:41 PM

Coincidence or conspiracy? Studies investigate conspiracist thinking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In pop culture, conspiracy believers — like FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X Files or professor Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code — tend to reject the notion of coincidence or chance; even the most random-seeming events are thought to result from some sort of intention or design. And researchers have suggested that such a bias against randomness may explain real-world conspiracy beliefs. But new research from psychological scientists shows no evidence for a link between conspiracist thinking ........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2015
  • 04:35 AM

Immune endophenotypes in paediatric autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm serving up the paper by Milo Careaga and colleagues [1] for your blogging delight, who concluded that: "Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] may be phenotypically characterized based upon their immune profile." Further that there may be: "several possible immune subphenotypes within the ASD population that correlate with more severe behavioral impairments."With many thanks to Natasa for the paper, participants - 50 boys with a median age of 3.2 years diagnosed wi........ Read more »

Milo Careaga, Sally Rogers, Robin L. Hansen, David G. Amaral, Judy Van de Water, & Paul Ashwood. (2015) Immune endophenotypes in children with autism spectrum disorder. Biological Psychiatry. info:/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.036

  • September 30, 2015
  • 10:09 PM

Scientists identify key receptor as potential target for treatment of autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered a significant–and potentially treatable–relationship between a chemical that helps transmit signals in the brain and genetic mutations present in a subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The new research findings focus on the role that the neurotransmitter serotonin plays in the development of social behavior.... Read more »

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