One of the oft-cited takeaways from the past week is that people are basically awesome. In the midst of unpredictable danger and tragedy, residents (and guests) of the Boston area didn’t hesitate to help their fellow citizens. But what’s troubling about these realizations of human goodness is that they suggest an a priori doubt about [...]... Read more »
Fischer, P., Krueger, J., Greitemeyer, T., Vogrincic, C., Kastenmüller, A., Frey, D., Heene, M., Wicher, M., & Kainbacher, M. (2011) The bystander-effect: A meta-analytic review on bystander intervention in dangerous and non-dangerous emergencies. Psychological Bulletin, 137(4), 517-537. DOI: 10.1037/a0023304
Every Sunday, I'd like to post a review of an interesting peer-reviewed science article. To kick things off I'm picking an old favorite, originally posted in 1964! It is certainly well cited, Google Scholar lists the citation count at 452! Indeed this paper was a "Citation Classic" in Current Contents in 1981. At the time the lead author Robert Bolles, was still living and stated:"I have always believed in the idea that experimenters should look at their animals...the human eyeball is........ Read more »
Physicists are notorious for infecting other disciplines. Sometimes this can be extremely rewarding, but most of the time it is silly. I’ve already featured an example where one of the founders of algorithmic information theory completely missed the point of Darwinism; researchers working in statistical mechanics and information theory seem particularly susceptible to interdisciplinitis. The [...]... Read more »
Wissner-Gross, A.D., & Freer, C.E. (2013) Causal Entropic Forces. Phys. Rev. Lett., 110(16), 168702. info:/10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.168702
It’s not quite clear why human males continue to have facial hair. There are other ways to keep warm, and we’ve lost our hair over most of the rest of our bodies (or they’re at best residual). But facial hair serves another important purpose—determining male attractiveness to females... Read more »
Dixson, B., & Brooks, R. (2013) The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(3), 236-241. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.02.003
Minocycline, the tetracycline antibiotic, is probably not something that most people would traditionally link with autism or conditions presenting with autism-like behaviours. Indeed, the suggestion that antibiotics or antimicrobials if you prefer, may be able to modify either the behaviour or linked biochemistry of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or even influence the onset and expression of ASD is quite frankly a little bit unusual.Minocycline (for chemists) @ Wikipedia But unusual ........ Read more »
Leigh, M., Nguyen, D., Mu, Y., Winarni, T., Schneider, A., Chechi, T., Polussa, J., Doucet, P., Tassone, F., Rivera, S.... (2013) A Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Minocycline in Children and Adolescents with Fragile X Syndrome. Journal of Developmental , 34(3), 147-155. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e318287cd17
When we recognise someone, we integrate information from across their face into a perceptual whole, and do so using a specialised brain region. Recognising other kinds of objects does not engage such specific brain areas, and is achieved in a much more parts-based way.... Read more »
You never used to hear anyone say the word cognition. More and more, it seems to crop up in all kinds of places. I see cognition crop up in newspapers, magazines, and letters from my kid’s school. As someone who makes his living off of cognition, that’s comforting. But what is cognition really about? Is [...]... Read more »
Mayer, R. (2001) What Good is Educational Psychology? The Case of Cognition and Instruction. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 83-88. DOI: 10.1207/S15326985EP3602_3
Miller, G. (2003) The cognitive revolution: a historical perspective. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(3), 141-144. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00029-9
Tom Brady is no stranger to pain (source)
Every Wednesday afternoon, I gather with a bunch of faculty and graduate students at the University of Illinois to discuss a journal article about social psychology, and to eat a snack. This blog post reflects the discussion we had during this week's seminar affectionately called Social Wednesdays and Grub (SWAG).
This week in SWAG we read an article about racial biases
in perceptions of others’ pain. The American medical field has a long his........ Read more »
What do we (not) know about how paracetamol (acetaminophen) works? (Toussaint et al., 2010). . .From the beginning, the focus of the search for paracetamol’s analgesic mechanism has concentrated on the central nervous system. When administered intraventricularly [i.e., directly into the ventricular system of the brain], acetaminophen produces no significant analgesia (115, 132). This finding lead to attempts to inject acetaminophen into the spinal cord (i.t.), which produced marked dos........ Read more »
Toussaint, K., Yang, X., Zielinski, M., Reigle, K., Sacavage, S., Nagar, S., & Raffa, R. (2010) What do we (not) know about how paracetamol (acetaminophen) works?. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 35(6), 617-638. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01143.x
Shakespeare wasn't kidding about the "winter of our discontent." In the colder and darker months, people do more internet searches for mental health terms, from anxiety and ADHD all the way to suicide. Search patterns also promise that like a refreshed browser window, better times are due to arrive soon.
John Ayers, of the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health in San Diego, and other researchers dove into Google Trends to explore whether certain searches vary by season. "Se........ Read more »
Ayers, J., Althouse, B., Allem, J., Rosenquist, J., & Ford, D. (2013) Seasonality in Seeking Mental Health Information on Google. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(5), 520-525. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.01.012
If you’re vulnerable to depression it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have certain unlucky genes or just experienced a traumatic event. What also makes you vulnerable for the mental disorder is the way you think. And even if you don’t yet have this style of thought, you could pick it up from your roommate, a new study suggests.... Read more »
Haeffel, G., & Hames, J. (2013) Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression Can Be Contagious. Clinical Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/2167702613485075
What sales manager wouldn't hire extraverts? They tend to be comfortable in interactions, naturally display enthusiasm and confidence for their own ideas, and can be firm and persistent when they meet with resistance to their agenda. Scrutinise many sales forces and you'll probably spot this reasoning at work.Yet research finds weak and sometimes inconsistent relationships between sales performance and extraversion, with three meta-analyses finding the summed effects to amount to .07 - a non-sig........ Read more »
Grant, A. (2013) Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612463706
T’is the season of finals again, and with it, a surging interest in prescription “smart drugs” (see Fig 1). High school and college students are increasingly turning to ADHD medicine (Ritalin, Adderall) in hopes of enhancing school and test performance. Intuitively this makes sense: drugs that increase energy, attention and concentration should inevitably lead to [...]... Read more »
Lakhan SE, & Kirchgessner A. (2012) Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects. Brain and behavior, 2(5), 661-77. PMID: 23139911
Smith ME, & Farah MJ. (2011) Are prescription stimulants "smart pills"? The epidemiology and cognitive neuroscience of prescription stimulant use by normal healthy individuals. Psychological bulletin, 137(5), 717-41. PMID: 21859174
The Senate’s sad failure to pass any kind of gun control legislation has led to the rehashing of what can now be deemed failed political tactics. Much of the focus has been on the decision of gun control advocates to initially pursue an assault weapons ban: Congressional consideration was also delayed by gun control proponents’ [...]... Read more »
Cialdini, R., & et al, . (1975) Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31(2), 206-215. DOI: 10.1037/h0076284
Feeley, T., Anker, A., & Aloe, A. (2012) The Door-in-the-Face Persuasive Message Strategy: A Meta-Analysis of the First 35 Years. Communication Monographs, 79(3), 316-343. DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2012.697631
Scene from Rabbits by David Lynch“In a nameless city, deluged by a continuous rain, three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.”The latest "elegant and breathtaking"1 paper in Psychological Science presents a rather muddled view of film aesthetics, continental philosophy, surrealism, mortality salience, and stigmatizing attitudes towards sex work (Randles et al., 2013). Oh, and how Tylenol® brand acetaminophen can ease the existential dread evoked by all of these modern horrors.The authors ........ Read more »
Randles, D., Heine, S., & Santos, N. (2013) The Common Pain of Surrealism and Death: Acetaminophen Reduces Compensatory Affirmation Following Meaning Threats. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612464786
Zoë at two weeks
I'm not sure how many of you know this, but on March 19th of this year I became a new daddy. It's hard to describe the meaning of this event and its impact on my life, but here is a useful comparison that might put things into perspective: My dissertation was accepted for publication on the same day that my daughter was born and despite the near month passing, I still haven't filed the publication forms for the paper. Fatherhood changes the way I see the world in........ Read more »
Gettler LT, McDade TW, Feranil AB, & Kuzawa CW. (2011) Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(39), 16194-9. PMID: 21911391
When most people think of bulimia nervosa, they think of binge eating and self-induced vomiting. While that is not incorrect, it is not the full picture either. In the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), there are two subtypes of bulimia nervosa: purging (BN-P) and nonpurging (BN-NP). The difference lies in the types of compensation methods: patients with BN-P engage in self-induced vomiting, or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas whereas patients with BN........ Read more »
van Hoeken, D., Veling, W., Sinke, S., Mitchell, J., & Hoek, H. (2009) The validity and utility of subtyping bulimia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42(7), 595-602. DOI: 10.1002/eat.20724
Judges, jurors, lawyers, and EEO investigators evaluate possible instances of sexual harassment. Their judgments stem from assumptions about whether the complainant experienced unwelcome, severe, and pervasive conduct in a hostile work environment. Psycho-legal researchers identify these persons as “predictors”. Predictors do not directly experience or observe the workplace misconduct. Instead, they gauge the impact [...]The post Predictions About Workplace Sexual Harassment:........ Read more »
Wiener, R., Gervais, S., Allen, J., & Marquez, A. (2012) Eye of the Beholder: Effects of Perspective and Sexual Objectification on Harassment Judgments. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. DOI: 10.1037/a0028497
Young children's instinct for group membership can be exploited to boost their learning performance. That's according to a new study that recalls classic social psychology research conducted in the 1970s. Back then Henri Tajfel showed a darker side to this group mentality. In his "minimal group" studies, schoolboys were divided into two groups based merely on their preference for one of two artists. The arbitrary groups thus formed, the boys showed immediate bias against peers not in thei........ Read more »
Master, A., & Walton, G. (2013) Minimal Groups Increase Young Children's Motivation and Learning on Group-Relevant Tasks. Child Development, 84(2), 737-751. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01867.x
Sure, a company can do its job to create an attractive, pleasurable product for us consumers. But—you guessed it—the store does its own part in tricking us, ensuring that the phrase "you touch it, you buy it" often holds true.... Read more »
James R. Wolf, Hal R. Arkes, & Waleed A. Muhanna. (2008) The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(6), 476-482. info:/
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