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  • August 5, 2015
  • 02:03 PM

Clarity of thought, clarity of language

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

  Clarity of language leads to clarity of thought: this is the lesson of apply mathematics and logic to science. But even when we don’t have those tools, we can be careful about the words that we use when describing … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lilienfeld SO, & et al. (2015) Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases . Frontiers in Psychology. info:/

  • August 5, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

De-Stressing with a Puppy for Parents of Children with Autism

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A pet dog can reduce stress for parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study.Research by Hannah Wright et al (University of Lincoln) finds that a family dog reduces stress in the caregivers of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This result is especially striking because it applies to pet dogs rather than specially trained service dogs. But there are caveats, because a dog is not right for all families.The study looked at parents of children with ASD, and c........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 07:36 AM

Why it's so important that team members believe they're on the same page

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

One of the most important characteristics of successful teams is that team members believe in their collective potential – also known as team potency. But what can be done to foster this shared belief? A new study suggests that teams feel more potent when their members believe they share a common vision of how to work and what to achieve.Caroline Aubé and her colleagues surveyed employees at a large Canadian public-sector organisation, including team members and managers. Within 101 teams, me........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 03:29 AM

Gender differences in chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post matches the title of the paper published by Monica Faro and colleagues [1] (open-access here) and some potentially important data on "whether there are gender-related differences in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome], and to define a clinical phenotype in men."Starting with the idea that the prevalence of CFS - a generic term covering a spectrum of conditions characterised by severe and debilitating fatigue among several other things - may have a gender skew towards femal........ Read more »

Faro M, Sàez-Francás N, Castro-Marrero J, Aliste L, Fernández de Sevilla T, & Alegre J. (2015) Gender differences in chronic fatigue syndrome. Reumatologia clinica. PMID: 26190206  

  • August 5, 2015
  • 02:00 AM

The unspeakable in pursuit of the unrepeatable *

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

(* with apologies to Oscar Wilde) Replication is never far from the news in psychology these days. Pick up a newspaper or journal, or browse the blogosphere, and chances are you’ll encounter yet another piece on the importance of repeating experiments. Like those people who dress up in period costume and reenact old battles, researchers […]... Read more »

  • August 4, 2015
  • 05:59 PM

Researchers say they've found a way to combat anti-vaccine attitudes, but is it premature to celebrate?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Simon OxenhamOver recent years, measles has once again become a public health crisis in the western world as a result of growing anti-vaccination movements in the UK and the US. This is an enormous problem because the success of vaccination depends on herd immunity: unless the vast majority of the population is protected, vaccines cannot halt the rapid spread of infectious diseases, leaving vulnerable people at risk, such as those with immune disorders, the elderly and newborn b........ Read more »

Horne, Z., Powell, D., Hummel, J., & Holyoak, K. (2015) Countering antivaccination attitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201504019. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1504019112  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 04:34 PM

Preventing addiction relapse by erasing drug-associated memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Recovering addicts often grapple with the ghosts of their addiction–memories that tempt them to relapse even after rehabilitation and months, or even years, of drug-free living. Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a discovery that brings them closer to a new therapy based on selectively erasing these dangerous and tenacious drug-associated memories.... Read more »

  • August 4, 2015
  • 10:21 AM

Monkeys Try to Hide Illicit Hookups

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Just how much monkey business is there in monkey sex? In groups with alpha males, monkeys lower on the totem pole may have to sneak around to mate. How well they conceal their activities can shed light on the cognitive powers of primates.

Macaques are monkeys that live in troops with complex social hierarchies. High-ranking males may have dibs on mating with all the females in the group. But females give non-alpha males a chance too, and some studies have found that these hookups happen m........ Read more »

Overduin-de Vries, A., Spruijt, B., de Vries, H., & Sterck, E. (2015) Tactical deception to hide sexual behaviour: macaques use distance, not visibility. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69(8), 1333-1342. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-015-1946-5  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 02:53 AM

Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism: research ascendancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Reza Kiani and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) detailing the presence of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis in two people "with autism and intellectual disability presenting with neuropsychiatric symptoms of catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome" caught my eye recently.Having previously talked about anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism in a previous blog post (see here) back in 2013 with the emphasis on a possible link to 'autis........ Read more »

  • August 3, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Combatting distrust of science  

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The art of persuasion is often complex and diverse, but today’s study also shows how it can be simple and elegant. Here’s a surprisingly easy way to diminish the automatic, knee-jerk and distrusting reaction to scientific findings. Tell your listeners about scientific consensus. Today’s researchers call consensus a “gateway belief” that results in the ability […]

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  • August 3, 2015
  • 05:25 AM

The smell of fish boosts our reasoning skills

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The nose is an early warning system, urging us to look closer at what we are planning to put in our mouths. But it’s not just alerting us to questionable food. Past research using economic games has shown that when we’re suspicious of a smell, this emotion can spill into social situations, affecting how trusting we are towards others. Now a new study shows that even without the involvement of other people to trust or distrust, smell can make us suspicious of ideas and concepts – and this a........ Read more »

  • August 3, 2015
  • 02:34 AM

Screening for autism in young children: 6 questions to ask

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Question 1: Does your child ever point with their index finger to ask for something?Question 2: Is your child able to imitate you or your actions, for example if you pull a face?Question 3: Does your child ever use pretend play, for example to talk on a phone or take care of a doll?Question 4: Does your child look at something across a room when you point to it?Question 5: Does your child understand what people say?Question 6: Does your child ever bring an object to you to show you something?The........ Read more »

  • August 2, 2015
  • 01:29 PM

Perfectionism linked to burnout at work, school and sports

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Concerns about perfectionism can sabotage success at work, school or on the playing field, leading to stress, burnout and potential health problems, according to new research. In the first meta-analysis of the relationship between perfectionism and burnout, researchers analyzed the findings from 43 previous studies conducted over the past 20 years. It turns out perfectionism isn’t all bad.... Read more »

  • August 1, 2015
  • 03:16 AM

Methylphenidate: a repairer of the 'oxidative balance' in ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly quick post for you today based on the findings reported by Esra Guney and colleagues [1] who examined whether markers of oxidative stress - an imbalance "between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage" - might be something to look at when it comes to cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).They concluded that, based on a small-ish sample........ Read more »

Guney, E., Cetin, F., Alisik, M., Tunca, H., Tas Torun, Y., Iseri, E., Isik Taner, Y., Cayci, B., & Erel, O. (2015) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Psychiatry Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003  

  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:40 AM

What Happens When People Text on an Obstacle Course

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Exercise scientist Conrad Earnest was dodging some oblivious pedestrians in England when inspiration struck. He was trying to walk down the sidewalk, but all around him people were weaving back and forth as they focused on their smartphone screens. Earnest suggested to two of his students that they study the dangers of texting while walking. Specifically, they could ask whether texters are more likely to trip and fall—perhaps wishful thinking on Earnest's part as he walked among them.

The... Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 07:35 AM

What we've been getting wrong about choosing gifts

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Buying a gift can feel like a test. You want the gift to show how thoughtful you've been, and how you've taken the recipient's interests and personality into account. Yet according to the authors of a new psychology paper, this isn't the optimal approach. You and the recipient will likely feel closer to one another if you buy them a gift that says something about you, not them.Lara Aknin and Lauren Human began by confirming their suspicions: hundreds of people surveyed online said that when buyi........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Workplace rudeness: Death of a thousand cuts 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It makes sense. If someone is rude to you, you might become grumpy and be rude in response, or rude to those who cross your path in the wake of the mistreatment. You may think of this as a small issue but new research shows us that rude behaviors are actually harmful—and, in fact, as […]

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  • July 31, 2015
  • 03:34 AM

Careful now: oral colostrum MAF and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I should perhaps begin this slightly longer than usual post by reiterating my well-trodden caveat on this blog about not giving anything that looks, sounds or smells like medical or clinical advice during my musings. This is a blog [mainly] about peer-reviewed science, nothing more. Added to that, I'm not your Dr Ross and you are not my patient.So... I've been seeing quite a bit about Gc-MAF (Gc Macrophage Activating Factor) in the news recently. The various headlines about autism and Gc-MAF (se........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 07:12 AM

To keep your memories alive, it's better to write a diary in the evening than in the morning

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Jordan Gaines LewisFor over 15 years now, I’ve faithfully kept a diary. Every night, from age 11 until my senior year of university, I snuggled into my bedsheets and rehashed the day’s events before nodding off to sleep. Even though I’m more likely to scribble down my thoughts just once or twice a week nowadays, I’ve found that writing in a diary before bed is a fun way to capture my memories – no matter how frivolous – to enjoy again years down the road.Now a new st........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 04:06 AM

Inflammatory bowel disease and autism: increased prevalence

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin today's post:"Across each population with different kinds of ascertainment, there was a consistent and statistically significant increased prevalence of IBD [inflammatory bowel disease] in patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] than their respective controls and nationally reported rates for pediatric IBD."That was the conclusion reached in the paper published by Finale Doshi-Velez and colleagues [1] including one very notable name on the authorship list, Is........ Read more »

Doshi-Velez F, Avillach P, Palmer N, Bousvaros A, Ge Y, Fox K, Steinberg G, Spettell C, Juster I, & Kohane I. (2015) Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inflammatory bowel diseases. PMID: 26218138  

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