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  • March 11, 2016
  • 04:29 AM

Introducing MARA: The Mobile Autism Risk Assessment

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I just had to post an entry about the latest Duda/Wall combo paper [1] continuing their machine learning voyage through autism screening and assessment (see here) culminating in an important end-point: the MARA - Mobile Autism Risk Assessment.So, what is the MARA? Well, we are told it is: "a new, electronically administered, 7-question autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screen to triage those at highest risk for ASD."What seven questions?"1. How well does your child understand spoken language, based........ Read more »

Duda, M., Daniels, J., & Wall, D. (2016) Clinical Evaluation of a Novel and Mobile Autism Risk Assessment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2718-4  

  • March 11, 2016
  • 02:04 AM

Science shows part of brain having an important role in violence

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Violence and aggression is found to be related to a component of hypothalamus in the brain.

Published in:

Nature Neuroscience

Study Further:

In a number of experiments performed by researchers at New York University, researchers found that premeditated violence – bullying, stalking, and possibly sexual aggression – in mice model (and probably in human beings) develops in a particular area of the brain known as the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial hypo........ Read more »

Falkner, A., Grosenick, L., Davidson, T., Deisseroth, K., & Lin, D. (2016) Hypothalamic control of male aggression-seeking behavior. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.4264  

  • March 10, 2016
  • 09:20 PM

Use of prayer by African-Americans can help explain why they are more sensitive to pain

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

African-Americans are more sensitive to pain than Caucasian (white) Americans. That’s been shown in comparisons of much pain is experienced in illnesses such as AIDS and arthritis, after surgery, and in conditions such as lower back pain. It’s also been shown experimentally, when volunteers undergo painful experiences (like holding your hand in ice-cold water) and report [Read More...]... Read more »

  • March 10, 2016
  • 08:50 AM

Date of birth has a connection to ADHD

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Birth date of a child could play an important role in determining the chances of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Published in:

The Journal of Pediatrics

Study Further:

In a recent study, researchers from Taiwan considered 378881 subjects in the age range of 4 to 17 years during the study period from September 1, 1997 to August 31, 2011. Those subjects in the study were enrolled from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Dat........ Read more »

  • March 10, 2016
  • 05:26 AM

How often does psychotherapy make people feel worse?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We hear a lot about the unwelcome side-effects of psychiatric drugs, but not so much about the fact that therapy can also leave people feeling worse than they did already. Data is thin on the ground, but best estimates suggest that between 5 to 10 per cent of therapy clients experience a worsening of their symptoms. Now a study in The British Journal of Psychiatry has provided further evidence, from the clients' perspective, about the prevalence of harmful therapy outcomes, with around 1 in........ Read more »

Crawford, M., Thana, L., Farquharson, L., Palmer, L., Hancock, E., Bassett, P., Clarke, J., & Parry, G. (2016) Patient experience of negative effects of psychological treatment: results of a national survey. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 208(3), 260-265. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.162628  

  • March 10, 2016
  • 02:55 AM

Omega-3 fatty acids, 'antibiotic exposure-induced gut microbiota dysbiosis' and obesity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Kaliannan and colleagues [1] provide food for thought today and the suggestion that in mice at least: "elevated tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce body weight gain and the severity of insulin resistance, fatty liver, and dyslipidemia resulting from early-life exposure to azithromycin (AZT)."Azithromycin is an antibiotic quite commonly used for treating a number of bacterial infections. The idea that antibiotic use, and specifically the effects........ Read more »

  • March 9, 2016
  • 02:00 PM

Children's Experiences of Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

24% of children whose mothers experience domestic violence also see threats to or abuse of companion animals, research shows.Every year in the US, 1 in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence, according to a national survey. Research by Shelby McDonald(Virginia Commonwealth University) et al finds many also witness abuse of pets in the home, potentially adding to the impacts on their behaviour and mental health.The researchers interviewed children age 7 – 12 whose mothers had ........ Read more »

  • March 9, 2016
  • 05:12 AM

How trustworthy is the data that psychologists collect online?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The internet has changed the way that many psychologists collect their data. It's now cheap and easy to recruit hundreds of people to complete questionnaires and tests online, for example through Amazon's Mechanical Turk website. This is a good thing in terms of reducing the dependence on student samples, but there are concerns about the quality of data collected through websites. For example, how do researchers know that the participants have read the questions properly or that they weren't wat........ Read more »

Ramsey, S., Thompson, K., McKenzie, M., & Rosenbaum, A. (2016) Psychological research in the internet age: The quality of web-based data. Computers in Human Behavior, 354-360. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.049  

  • March 9, 2016
  • 02:39 AM

Blood lead levels and 'autistic behaviors in school-age children'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Lead (Pb) has been in the news quite a lot recently. The Flint water crisis (see here for some background) has brought back into stark view why science has pretty conclusive labelled lead as "a neurotoxin with no physiological functions in the human body, the ideal concentration of which in the blood is zero" [1].I've talked about lead and behaviour quite a bit on this blog (see here and see here for example). The crux of the combined peer-reviewed research looking at lead and children is that t........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2016
  • 07:39 AM

Does being in a bad mood affect your mental performance?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We've all had days when we got out of the wrong side of the bed and the world looked greyer than usual. This daily variation in mood is a potential problem for psychologists who want to use tests to compare people's mental ability – competing job candidates, for example. Mood, like tiredness and motivation, could be another factor that leads some people to perform below par, by their own standards, thus distorting the test results. Indeed, there's some evidence that being in a bad mood is dist........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2016
  • 02:38 AM

What does age do to the presentation of psychiatric comorbidity in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"As expected, adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] experienced more psychological symptoms and distress compared to a typically developing comparison group." But: "lifetime diagnoses for any psychiatric disorder were less often present in older than in younger adults with ASD, suggesting reduced psychopathology in late adulthood, a pattern that has been commonly observed in large typical aging studies."Those were some of the findings reported by Anne Lever & Hilde Geurts........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2016
  • 05:10 AM

This one physiological measure has a surprisingly strong link with men's and women's propensity for violence

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Richard StephensI have a professional interest in the naughty. In my recent book Black Sheep The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad I explored in a light hearted fashion the psychology around the upsides of various antisocial behaviours – things like swearing, drinking, affairs and untidiness to name a few. However, this post is about physical violence, a much more serious form of bad behaviour for which I see no upside at all.Thankfully there is some fascinating psychology into the........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2016
  • 02:53 AM

Patients with psychiatric disorders who request euthanasia (continued)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Once again the uncomfortable topic of euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) is covered on this blog (see here for the last entry) as I discuss the findings reported by Scott Kim and colleagues [1] who reported on the "characteristics of patients receiving EAS for psychiatric conditions and how the practice is regulated in the Netherlands."Accompanied by some media interest (see here), the Kim paper provides an important overview of the: "Clinical and social characteristics of patients, physician........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2016
  • 09:45 PM

Can cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia also treat fatigue, pain, and mood symptoms in individuals with traumatic brain injury?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Hi All! I haven't updated in a quite a while because work as a rehabilitation psychologist has taken up most of my time. However, I was able to get a paper published recently in the journal NeuroRehabilitation. It was based on work done during my postdoc. The aim was to investigate whether cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia would treat not only insomnia, but fatigue, pain, and mood in individuals with traumatic brain injury. It was a small case study, but I included a lot of rich detail f........ Read more »

  • March 5, 2016
  • 05:30 PM

Retrieval Practice Effective for Young Students

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

These results are about as straightforward as they come in the social sciences. In an article published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers report the results of three experiments which show that the benefits of retrieval practice (practice with retrieving items from memory) extends to children as much as to adults.... Read more »

Jeffrey D. Karpicke, Janell R. Blunt, & Megan A. Smith. (2016) Retrieval-Based Learning: Positive Effects of Retrieval Practice in Elementary School Children. Frontiers in Psychology, 2-28. info:/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00350

  • March 5, 2016
  • 04:21 PM

Brain connectivity reveals your hidden motivations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To understand human behaviors, it is crucial to understand the motives behind them. So far, there was no direct way to identify motives. Simply observing behavior or eliciting explanations from individuals for their actions will not give reliable results as motives are considered to be private and people can be unwilling to unveil - or even be unaware of - their own motives.

... Read more »

Hein G, Morishima Y, Leiberg S, Sul S, & Fehr E. (2016) The brain's functional network architecture reveals human motives. Science, 351(6277), 1074-8. PMID: 26941317  

  • March 5, 2016
  • 11:15 AM

Een aap met maatgevoel? [Dutch]

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Hieronder een videoimpressie van de Diesrede uitgesproken tijdens de 384ste Dies Natalis van de Universiteit van Amsterdam met de titel ‘Een aap met maatgevoel’. In die lezing beschrijf ik wat muzikaliteit is of kan zijn, maar ook in hoeverre we muzikaliteit delen met andere dieren, om er zo achter te komen of muzikaliteit een biologische basis heeft. Lang niet alle wetenschappers zijn het daar over eens.... Read more »

  • March 5, 2016
  • 03:17 AM

On the question of suicide risk and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Emmert Roberts and colleagues [1] (open-access) forms the basis of today's post and the finding that: "There was no significant difference in age-standardised and sex-standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) for all-cause mortality... or cancer-specific mortality in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome when compared with the general population in England and Wales." This is good news indeed bearing in mind how much a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis........ Read more »

  • March 4, 2016
  • 09:30 AM

Refugees in Europe: A Crisis?

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

Over 1 million people arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. And since the conflict in Syria continues, this influx will not halt.

It is the biggest refugee crisis since World War II according to the UNHCR. The journey by sea is dangerous, the circumstances in refugee camps and asylum seeker centers are far from ideal – to say the least – and tensions between host countries make it difficult to find constructive solutions.
... Read more »

  • March 4, 2016
  • 07:02 AM

Punctuation is important in text messages! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Not life and death important like commas can be, but if you do not make a point of ending your text reply with a period you may be misinterpreted. Just last week we blogged about the sarcasm emoticon and now we are blogging about periods? It’s true. Punctuation can not only save lives, it apparently […]

Related posts:
“I know I shouldn’t text from the toilet,  but….”
Be careful what you text!
News You Can Use (like how Pepsi knows there was no mouse in your Mountain Dew)

... Read more »

Gunraj, D., Drumm-Hewitt, A., Dashow, E., Upadhyay, S., & Klin, C. (2016) Texting insincerely: The role of the period in text messaging. Computers in Human Behavior, 1067-1075. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.003  

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