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  • January 8, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 55 views

“Ctrl S” Gives You Permission to Forget

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

Pressing Ctrl-S is a reflex for me, born in the heyday of the Blue Screen of Death and activated every few sentences of text, or every few words in the case of some of my more laborious college term papers. Though it’s far less necessary with today’s more stable technology, I still consider it a an action to bring about peace of mind…and, perhaps, to clear the mind as well.... Read more »

  • January 8, 2015
  • 04:56 AM
  • 130 views

Cheating bosses stain the reputation of their organisations and their junior staff

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling (left) and his attorney leave the courthouse in 2006When high-ranking members of an organisation break the rules, it's not just their own reputation on the line. New research from Stanford University shows that the stain of transgression sends its fingers out to every organisational member.In a series of online studies, Takuya Sawaoka and Benoît Monin presented participants with information about a hypothetical company employee involved in unethical activity such ........ Read more »

Sawaoka, T., & Monin, B. (2014) Moral Suspicion Trickles Down. Social Psychological and Personality Science. DOI: 10.1177/1948550614555027  

  • January 8, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 159 views

Abdominal discomfort syndrome in a subset of ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The findings show that ADS [abdominal discomfort syndrome] is a characteristic of a subset of patients with ME/CFS [Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and that increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut) is associated with ADS symptoms."Right there. God does not build in straight lines.So said the study by Michael Maes and colleagues [1] looking at both gastrointestinal (GI) symptom presentation in diagnosed cases of ME/CFS and "the IgA and IgM responses dire........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 11:49 AM
  • 183 views

Some people think they know themselves well, but do they really?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some people will tell you that they have a clear sense of who they are, and that their sense of self is stable over time. Psychologists refer to this as having high "self-concept clarity". In a new study, Jean Guerrettaz and Robert Arkin shine a spotlight on these self-proclaimed self-knowers. The researchers find that their confidence is often fragile, and that somewhat paradoxically, it is people confident in their sense of self whose self-esteem is most undermined by challenging questions abo........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 161 views

Does It Matter What Age You Neuter Your Kitten?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates whether age of neutering affects feline behaviour – and looks at punishment and other variables too.Photo: NCAimages / ShutterstockThere are so many cats without homes that some shelters neuter kittens early, at 8 – 12 weeks old, so they are neutered prior to adoption. This is the only way they can guarantee that a kitten will be neutered. Normally, cats are neutered at 6 – 8 months old. Kittens, like puppies, have a sensitive period that is an important soci........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 04:55 AM
  • 159 views

Inflaming inflammation and autism: linking microglial activation and neuronal activity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It has been quite a few weeks since the publication of the paper by Simone Gupta and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about "observations [that] provide pathways and candidate genes that highlight the interplay between innate immunity and neuronal activity in the aetiology of autism."I'm a wrecker. I wreck things, professionally. I mean.At the time of publication in early December (2014), there was quite a bit of media interest in the findings as per reports such as this one and th........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 01:16 PM
  • 173 views

Lots of selfies may suggest you’re a narcissist

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Well I’ve got some bad news to all you selfie fanatics out there, a new study showed that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy. The study looked exclusively at men, however the men out there should have no fear, there is a follow up study being done with women as well.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 10:05 AM
  • 160 views

Stiff Masks Block Emotional Memories

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



A good poker face may help you win a Hold 'Em tournament, but it won't do your memory any favors. Our faces naturally flinch into emotional expressions that match what we're seeing or hearing. These quick expressions, in addition to giving away our pocket aces, seem to help us recall things later. Using stiff cosmetic masks, scientists showed that it also works the other way: if we can't move our faces, emotional memories are harder to hang onto.

We may not realize when our facial muscle........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 05:11 AM
  • 148 views

Could violent video games make people more moral in the real world?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Video games allow players to indulge in simulated behaviours that in the real world would be highly antisocial or unethical, and many people are concerned how this might spill over from the screen to the street. A new study, however, suggests that such activities can elicit a moral response in players, reinforcing the potential of the medium as a means of civic development.In the study developed by Matthew Grizzard and colleagues, players of a first-person shooter game reported higher levels of ........ Read more »

Grizzard, M., Tamborini, R., Lewis, R., Wang, L., & Prabhu, S. (2014) Being Bad in a Video Game Can Make Us Morally Sensitive. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(8), 499-504. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0658  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 04:40 AM
  • 143 views

Olanzapine, gut bacteria and weight gain in mice

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results collectively provide strong evidence for a mechanism underlying olanzapine-induced weight gain in mouse and a hypothesis for clinical translation in human patients."That was the summary statement derived from data published by Andrew Morgan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at how some of those trillions of wee beasties which colonise humans and animals (the microbiome) may very well influence response to medicines... at least in mice. The authors' specific focus on on........ Read more »

Morgan AP, Crowley JJ, Nonneman RJ, Quackenbush CR, Miller CN, Ryan AK, Bogue MA, Paredes SH, Yourstone S, Carroll IM.... (2014) The Antipsychotic Olanzapine Interacts with the Gut Microbiome to Cause Weight Gain in Mouse. PloS one, 9(12). PMID: 25506936  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 233 views

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct individuals because the content of dreams depends on our personal experiences. This is why dream researchers have developed standardized dream questionnaires in which common thematic elements are grouped together. These questionnaires can be translated into various languages and used........ Read more »

Nielsen, T., Zadra, A., Simard, V., Saucier, S., Stenstrom, P., Smith, C., & Kuiken, D. (2003) The Typical Dreams of Canadian University Students. Dreaming, 13(4), 211-235. DOI: 10.1023/B:DREM.0000003144.40929.0b  

Schredl M, Ciric P, Götz S, & Wittmann L. (2004) Typical dreams: stability and gender differences. The Journal of psychology, 138(6), 485-94. PMID: 15612605  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 02:32 PM
  • 233 views

Journal Club: Halfsider: a bizarre half-male half-female bird

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: A “halfsider” -- half male and half female bird -- has been mentioned in the news over the holidays. More properly known as bilateral gynandromorphs or tetragametic chimæras, these unusual birds are actually two genetically distinct individuals -- twins -- fused into one being. But what is it like to be such an individual? A recently published paper shares observations of the behaviour and social life of one such individual living in the wild.... Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 50 views

Counting breaths to measure mindfulness

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

One of the greatest challenges to the scientific study of mindfulness is finding a way to objectively measure how mindful someone is. Only with a clear, unbiased measure we can we feel confident in when and why a person’s mindfulness changes, and what greater levels of mindfulness can mean for us. But mindfulness is a mental process, invisible to anyone outside our heads and sometimes even to ourselves. So how can we truly know whether someone is mindful, or has benefited from training to ........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 173 views

“Who are these people who understand this brain science thing?”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

If you think neurolaw and neuroscience are everywhere–and don’t find it particularly challenging to talk about brain science, apparently you are living in a very rarified environment. It’s hard to believe but evidently, most people do not think the exploding field of brain science is fascinating! Instead, when they think of brain science they think […]

Related posts:
What do those jurors really know about science and technology?
A new question for the jury: Did my brain implant........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 06:02 AM
  • 112 views

British first-time fathers describe their experiences of separation and helplessness

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Ante-natal classes only serve to increase fathers' feelings of separation from their pregnant partners, according to a series of in-depth interviews with ten White British fathers.Anja Wittkowski and her colleagues interviewed the men to help increase our understanding of what it's like for men to become a father for the first time - a neglected area of research. All the participants, aged 27 to 47, were married to their partners, they were middle-class, employed, and the pregnancies were all pl........ Read more »

Kowlessar, O., Fox, J., & Wittkowski, A. (2014) First-time fathers’ experiences of parenting during the first year. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 1-11. DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2014.971404  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 04:27 AM
  • 161 views

Systematic reviews and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

There were a few reasons why I wanted to bring the commentary from Sven Bölte [1] on the topic of systematic reviews and autism research to your attention. One particular sentence included in the text stuck out for me: "... systematic reviews do not always tell the whole truth either" reflective of how we perhaps should always be a little cautious in the way we interpret science even when faced with the platinum standard that is the systematic review (with or without meta-analysi........ Read more »

  • January 3, 2015
  • 02:00 PM
  • 191 views

Not everyone sees health decline from obesity, but why is that?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The news isn’t shy in reporting the effects of being obese, high blood pressure, and diabetes (just to name a few). However, new research demonstrates that obesity does not always go hand in hand with metabolic changes in the body that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Determining how and why may help reduce or eliminate the health risks in other people dealing with obesity.... Read more »

Fabbrini E, Yoshino J, Yoshino M, Magkos F, Tiemann Luecking C, Samovski D, Fraterrigo G, Okunade AL, Patterson BW, & Klein S. (2015) Metabolically normal obese people are protected from adverse effects following weight gain. The Journal of clinical investigation. PMID: 25555214  

  • January 3, 2015
  • 05:17 AM
  • 185 views

Anti-epileptic meds and pediatric serum vitamin D levels

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

No, I am not becoming obsessed with the sunshine vitamin/hormone despite us being only a few days into 2015 and this being my second post on vitamin D. It's just the way that the research posts fall; although regular readers will probably have noticed I do enjoy reading the various research on all-things vitamin D.There has been an awakening...The research fodder for today's post is the paper by Yun-Jin Lee and colleagues [1] who measured 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels (in serum) for quit........ Read more »

  • January 2, 2015
  • 06:43 AM
  • 85 views

Psychologists explore a new reason why quitting smoking is so difficult

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When a cigarette smoker attempts to quit, not only do they crave their usual nicotine hit, they also experience an unpleasant inability to enjoy other pleasures in life - a state known as "anhedonia".Jessica Cook and her colleagues studied over a thousand smokers enrolled on a quitting programme in the US. The participants (mostly White, 58.3 per cent were female) were placed on a range of nicotine replacement therapies or they were given placebo. The participants also kept an evening diary from........ Read more »

Cook, J., Piper, M., Leventhal, A., Schlam, T., Fiore, M., & Baker, T. (2014) Anhedonia as a Component of the Tobacco Withdrawal Syndrome. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/abn0000016  

  • January 2, 2015
  • 03:19 AM
  • 190 views

Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hello again and a very warm welcome back to Questioning Answers in 2015. The year, according to a popular sequel, we were all supposed to be benefiting from hoverboards and wearing self-drying clothes. It didn't quite work out like that (although there are still 52 weeks left for such dreams to come to fruition).When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie.We start the new blogging year with a few comments on a rather interesting, if disappointing, set of results pu........ Read more »

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