Meditation practices can actually change the activity in our brain and the very action of your genes, in a matter of weeks. The start is the focused brain state we can achieve with meditative practices; the end is a change the structure of our neurons. But what is the “miracle” in between? Clearly, something must be going on in the neurons, the building blocks of the brain. But what is changing, and what causes it to change?... Read more »
Posner MI, Tang YY, & Lynch G. (2014) Mechanisms of white matter change induced by meditation training. Frontiers in Psychology, 1220. PMID: 25386155
Imagine a politician from your party is in trouble for alleged misdemeanours. He's been assessed by an expert who says he likely has early-stage Alzheimer's. If this diagnosis is correct, your politician will have to resign, and he'll be replaced by a candidate from an opposing party.This was the scenario presented to participants in a new study by Geoffrey Munro and Cynthia Munro. A vital twist was that half of the 106 student participants read a version of the story in which the dementia exper........ Read more »
Munro, G., & Munro, C. (2014) “Soft” Versus “Hard” Psychological Science: Biased Evaluations of Scientific Evidence That Threatens or Supports a Strongly Held Political Identity. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36(6), 533-543. DOI: 10.1080/01973533.2014.960080
It’s hard to believe we have not blogged about this scale before, but as it happens, we’ve discussed several research articles where the scale was used but never actually described the scale itself. The Witness Credibility Scale was developed by Stan Brodsky and his then-students at the University of Alabama. If you don’t recognize his […]
Smiling and credibility: Is it different for male and female witnesses at trial?
The Islamophobia Scale: Measuring our fear of Mu........ Read more »
Brodsky SL, Griffin MP, & Cramer RJ. (2010) The Witness Credibility Scale: an outcome measure for expert witness research. Behavioral sciences , 28(6), 892-907. PMID: 20077497
The paper by T. Peter Stein and colleagues  suggesting an "association" between BPA (Bisphenol-A) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was always bound to create some interest. Reporting results based on the analysis of urine samples from a group of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n=46) compared to controls (n=52), authors concluded that: "there is an association between BPA and ASD." Association... note that word.C'mon. Let's go see how much we're going for on eBayBP........ Read more »
Stein, T., Schluter, M., Steer, R., Guo, L., & Ming, X. (2015) Bisphenol A Exposure in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Research. DOI: 10.1002/aur.1444
On Wednesday we covered Mia Cobb’s new paper on working dogs and canine performance science. Mia's research has the potential to have a big impact on the lives of working dogs. She kindly agreed to talk to us about working dogs, animal welfare, and her new puppy Rudy.How can we improve the training of working dogs?One of the key things that would help to improve the success rates of trainee working dogs would be wider recognition of the sum of all the parts that make a successful working dog. ........ Read more »
Cobb, M., Branson, N., McGreevy, P., Lill, A., & Bennett, P. (2015) The advent of canine performance science: Offering a sustainable future for working dogs. Behavioural Processes, 96-104. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.10.012
by Alexander Yartsev in Evolutionary Games Group
For me personally it has always been a struggle, reading through all the philosophical and religious literature I have a long standing interest in, to verbalize my intuitive concept of morals in any satisfactory way. Luckily for me, once I’ve started reading up on modern psychology and neuroscience, I found out that there are empirical […]... Read more »
Avram, M., Gutyrchik, E., Bao, Y., Pöppel, E., Reiser, M., & Blautzik, J. (2013) Neurofunctional correlates of esthetic and moral judgments. Neuroscience Letters, 128-32. PMID: 23262080
Fancy some weekend reading? Well, you could do a lot worse than having a gander through the paper by Jane Naviaux and colleagues  (open-access) discussing the results of a whole host of analyses following the use of the antipurinergic agent suramin on a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.Overprotective mother, forbidden road trip...Regular readers might remember some previous discussions about suramin - a pharmaceutic designed to treat African sleeping sickness - and autism which hav........ Read more »
Jane C Naviaux, Lin Wang, Kefeng Li, A Taylor Bright, William A Alaynick, Kenneth R Williams, Susan B Powell, & Robert K Naviaux. (2015) Antipurinergic therapy corrects the autism-like features in the fragile X (Fmr1 knockout) mouse model. Molecular Autism. info:/1186/2040-2392-6-1
Studies of stress and its effects on health have typically focused on the worries of an individual: money, love, health, work. When we turn our attention on relationship stress, the focus is generally on your typical couple. However, new research studies how minority stress -- which results from being stigmatized and disadvantaged in society -- affects same-sex couples' stress levels and overall health.... Read more »
LeBlanc, A., Frost, D., & Wight, R. (2015) Minority Stress and Stress Proliferation Among Same-Sex and Other Marginalized Couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(1), 40-59. DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12160
You watch with envy as your long-time colleague gets yet another performance bonus - something you've strived for but never obtained. Not long after, you see him trip over in the office in front of everyone. Do you find this situation pleasingly amusing? In other words, do you experience schadenfreude?According to an international team of research psychologists, your answer will likely depend on the specific kind of envy you feel toward your colleague. Niels van de Ven and his co-workers say the........ Read more »
There is a genetic basis to the food that we enjoy eating. Some people – which I call strange people – think cilantro has a strange, soapy taste at least partially because of a particular polymorphism in a odor receptor gene (OR6A2). The question … Continue reading →... Read more »
Perry, G., Kistler, L., Kelaita, M., & Sams, A. (2015) Insights into hominin phenotypic and dietary evolution from ancient DNA sequence data. Journal of Human Evolution. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.10.018
Introverts have received a lot of positive press in recent years thanks to the run-away success of Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Cain tells us these are people who like their own space, but also happen to be empathic and sensitive and deep-thinkers. A new paper on peer appraisals by team-members bucks this hug-an-introvert trend.Amir Erez and his co-authors report that introverts tend to give especially low performance ratings to their team-mates who are extravert and over-be........ Read more »
Erez, A., Schilpzand, P., Leavitt, K., Woolum, A., & Judge, T. (2014) Inherently Relational: Interactions Between Peers' and Individuals' Personalities Impact Reward Giving and Appraisal of Individual Performance. Academy of Management Journal. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2011.0214
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
We know attractive people are often preferred by everyone, but here is some heartening news if you were not genetically gifted with high cheekbones and dimples. When you are a leader, you get more attractive! At least to members of the group you lead. For outsiders, not so much. In other words, beauty is not […]
Republicans prefer ‘Republican-looking’ political candidates
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
“Reactions vary along traditional partis........ Read more »
Kniffin, KM, Wansink, B, Griskevicius, V, & Wilson, DS. (2014) Beauty is in the in-group of the beholder: Intergroup differences in the perceived attractiveness of leaders. The Leadership Quarterly, 1143-1153. info:/
"Findings confirm the heterogeneous nature of developmental trajectories in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." That was the bottom line of the study by Peter Szatmari and colleagues  (open-access) tracking the developmental trajectory - autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning - for a sample of "421 newly diagnosed preschool children with ASD 2 to 4 years old." Some accompanying media for the study can be found here.The Szatmari paper is open-access so it doesn't need any gr........ Read more »
Szatmari, P., Georgiades, S., Duku, E., Bennett, T., Bryson, S., Fombonne, E., Mirenda, P., Roberts, W., Smith, I., Vaillancourt, T.... (2015) Developmental Trajectories of Symptom Severity and Adaptive Functioning in an Inception Cohort of Preschool Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2463
Growing with time and becoming old is a common phenomenon. Every person grows older with time, but some people may have the wish to grow old faster. So, this article is for those people. On the contrary, if you want to feel young and good, do the opposite as mentioned in this article.
Think that you are old
It has been found that self-perceived age is strongly related to cardiovascular health. It is important to think that you are older. Researchers have found that older people, who think th........ Read more »
It’s more socially acceptable to talk about mental illness, which is important since the number of people who have it — or should we say, are getting treatment for mental illness — has steadily increased over the years. While it still may be taboo to talk about, mental illness is a very real thing needing very real treatment, however new research now shows that texting may be a more suitable treatment aid for those with mental illness than mobile applications.... Read more »
Campbell, B., Caine, K., Connelly, K., Doub, T., & Bragg, A. (2014) Cell phone ownership and use among mental health outpatients in the USA. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 19(2), 367-378. DOI: 10.1007/s00779-014-0822-z
It feels like the government moves at a snails pace sometimes, it takes forever for any change to come about and even then it is typically not even “change.” This couldn’t be more evident than during the political gridlock that led to the 2013 US federal government shutdown, the leading voices for compromise were the handful of female U.S. senators — only 20 percent of the overall legislative body.... Read more »
Miller, P., & Conover, P. (2014) Why partisan warriors don't listen: the gendered dynamics of intergroup anxiety and partisan conflict. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2014.992795
Alex Malarkey, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” has admitted that his story was, um, malarkey. Consequently, the book has been pulled and the million or so people who purchased it are feeling as deflated as a New England Patriots football. But others claim to have visited Heaven. My latest article on THE SCOPE discusses the research behind these experiences. Is it really Heaven or a hallucination?... Read more »
Thonnard, M., Charland-Verville, V., Brédart, S., Dehon, H., Ledoux, D., Laureys, S., & Vanhaudenhuyse, A. (2013) Characteristics of Near-Death Experiences Memories as Compared to Real and Imagined Events Memories. PLoS ONE, 8(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057620
Borjigin, J., Lee, U., Liu, T., Pal, D., Huff, S., Klarr, D., Sloboda, J., Hernandez, J., Wang, M., & Mashour, G. (2013) Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(35), 14432-14437. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308285110
Blanke, O. (2005) The Out-of-Body Experience: Disturbed Self-Processing at the Temporo-Parietal Junction. The Neuroscientist, 11(1), 16-24. DOI: 10.1177/1073858404270885
I was not surprised to read the findings of the paper from Marie Moore Channell and colleagues  (open-access) who "identified patterns of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptomatology, measured by the SRS [Social Responsiveness Scale], in individuals with DS [Down syndrome] who do not have comorbid ASD."You're not going Turbo, are you?Harking back to the paper by Georgina Warner and colleagues  discussed not-so-long-ago on this blog (see here), the idea that variou........ Read more »
Marie Moore Channell, B Allyson Phillips, Susan J Loveall, Frances A Conners, Paige M Bussanich, & Laura Grofer Klinger. (2015) Patterns of autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome without comorbid autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. info:/10.1186/1866-1955-7-5
When scientists disagree about something, what often happens is that the two sides of the argument form separate communities, with scientists collaborating with others on their "team" while avoiding working with their "opponents". But is there a better way?
A paper just published today presents the results of an experiment that was conducted as an 'adversarial collaboration'. This is where some researchers sit down with some members of the "other side" and agree upon a plan for a study to... Read more »
Matzke D, Nieuwenhuis S, van Rijn H, Slagter HA, van der Molen MW, & Wagenmakers EJ. (2015) The effect of horizontal eye movements on free recall: A preregistered adversarial collaboration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(1). PMID: 25621378
If so, we can certainly suggest a few to be disregarded! We don’t write about most of the articles we consider for this blog (the reject pile grows taller every day). And when we do write about questionable pieces we let you know if we think it’s a little ridiculous or if it’s a prospective […]
Mock Jury Research: How do we make it more useful?
Red, redux: Men won’t pay attention to Tammy in red
It’s 2014: Where are all the female subjects in surgical research? ........ Read more »
DeRight, J., & Jorgensen, R. (2014) I Just Want My Research Credit: Frequency of Suboptimal Effort in a Non-Clinical Healthy Undergraduate Sample. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 1-17. DOI: 10.1080/13854046.2014.989267
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