Image showing the effects of alchohol in Caenorhabditis elegans and..humansCredit: Jon Pierce-Shimomura from The University of Texas, Austin.A couple of days ago, a team of neuroscientists from the University of Texas, Austin announced that they have created a new strain of mutant worms which is impervious to the intoxicating effects of alcohol!To create the alcohol-immune worms, the researchers implanted a modified human alcohol target – a neuronal channel called the BK channel SLO-1 tha........ Read more »
Davis, S., Scott, L., Hu, K., & Pierce-Shimomura, J. (2014) Conserved Single Residue in the BK Potassium Channel Required for Activation by Alcohol and Intoxication in C. elegans. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(29), 9562-9573. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0838-14.2014
A willingness to take risks enhances men's sex appeal. This much we know from past research. What's not clear, is whether this is because of cultural beliefs about traditional gender roles, or if it's an evolutionary hang-over (or perhaps both). John Petraitis and his colleagues have put these two explanations to the test by drawing a distinction between risk-taking behaviours that reflect the challenges faced by our ancestors, and contemporary risks based around modern technology.Over two-hundr........ Read more »
Petraitis, J., Lampman, C., Boeckmann, R., & Falconer, E. (2014) Sex differences in the attractiveness of hunter-gatherer and modern risks. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(6), 442-453. DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12237
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
The American Bar Association is seeking nominations until August 8, 2014 to help it decide on the Top 100 law blogs (“Blawgs”). We have been in the ABA Top 100 for the past 4 years and would like to make it 5! If you like this blog, please nominate us (it’s fast and free) here. THANKS! Doug […]
A pinch of this and a dash of that
A picture is worth a thousand words…
Simple Jury Persuasion: Activate their values
... Read more »
Reading the headline "Study links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia" in a media piece about the study by Joshua Allen and colleagues* (open-access here) made me want to delve a little more into this research. I've talked before about air pollution and autism (see here) on this blog. Although a healthy degree of scepticism is to be expected with any autism correlation, particularly when it comes to something as generalised as air pollution (or pesticide exposure) there is a growing rese........ Read more »
Allen JL, Liu X, Pelkowski S, Palmer B, Conrad K, Oberdörster G, Weston D, Mayer-Pröschel M, & Cory-Slechta DA. (2014) Early Postnatal Exposure to Ultrafine Particulate Matter Air Pollution: Persistent Ventriculomegaly, Neurochemical Disruption, and Glial Activation Preferentially in Male Mice. Environmental health perspectives. PMID: 24901756
A recent study by Karel Kleisner et al. (2013) shows eye colour and facial features have an influence on our perception of trustworthiness.... Read more »
Both attractiveness judgements and mate preferences vary considerably cross-culturally. We investigated whether men’s preference for femininity in women’s faces varies between 28 countries with diverse health conditions by analysing responses of 1972 heterosexual participants. Although men in all countries preferred feminized over masculinized female faces, we found substantial differences between countries in the magnitude of […]... Read more »
Marcinkowska UM, Kozlov MV, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, Dixson BJ, Oana GA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Lyons MT, Onyishi IE.... (2014) Cross-cultural variation in men's preference for sexual dimorphism in women's faces. Biology letters, 10(4), 20130850. PMID: 24789138
It appears that certain personality traits and traumatic early life events are typically associated with binge drinking in teenage years. However, the predictive power of each type of factors by itself (personality or individual history for example) is not absolute. A new study evaluated not only one single factor, but a series of psychological, genetic, and neurological elements for their ability to determine, when combined, current and future alcohol misuse in a large group of youngsters. ... Read more »
Whelan, R., Watts, R., Orr, C., Althoff, R., Artiges, E., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G., Bokde, A., Büchel, C., Carvalho, F.... (2014) Neuropsychosocial profiles of current and future adolescent alcohol misusers. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13402
Participants scored higher on neuroticism & lower on extraversion when they were sadExcept in extreme cases of illness or trauma, we usually expect each other's personalities to remain stable through life. Indeed, central to the definition of personality is that it describes pervasive tendencies in a person's behaviour and ways of relating to the world. However, a new study highlights the reality - your personality is swayed by your current mood, especially when you're feeling down.Jan Quere........ Read more »
Querengässer, J., & Schindler, S. (2014) Sad but true? - How induced emotional states differentially bias self-rated Big Five personality traits. BMC Psychology, 2(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/2050-7283-2-14
"Blood lead concentrations, even at a mean concentration of 6.4 µg/dL, were associated with increased risk of behavioral problems in Chinese preschool children, including internalizing and pervasive developmental problems". That was the conclusion of the study by Jianghong Liu and colleagues  looking at blood lead levels in preschoolers aged 3-5 years resident in Jiangsu province in China. Some associated media accompanying this study can be viewed here including the text: "This re........ Read more »
Liu, J., Liu, X., Wang, W., McCauley, L., Pinto-Martin, J., Wang, Y., Li, L., Yan, C., & Rogan, W. (2014) Blood Lead Concentrations and Children’s Behavioral and Emotional Problems. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.332
Where is it?
Thalamus (in red).
The thalamus is a large, symmetrical (meaning there is one in each hemisphere) structure that makes up most of the mass of the diencephalon. A large number of pathways travel through the thalamus, including all of the sensory pathways other than those devoted to olfaction (smell).What is it and what does it do?The thalamus is often described as a relay station. This is because almost all sensory informati........ Read more »
Sherman, S., & Guillery, R. (2002) The role of the thalamus in the flow of information to the cortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 357(1428), 1695-1708. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2002.1161
We're used to reading about depression as a checklist of symptoms. These lists have their uses, but arguably they miss the human story of what depression truly feels like. Now the psychologists Jonathan Smith and John Rhodes have published their analysis of the first-hand accounts of seven therapy clients, (three women and four men) about what it's like to be depressed for the first time. The participants had an average age of 44, and all had been referred for therapy in London.The first theme t........ Read more »
Smith, J., & Rhodes, J. (2014) Being depleted and being shaken: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiential features of a first episode of depression. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. DOI: 10.1111/papt.12034
A new study follows dogs from neonates to adults to find out if puppy tests predict adult behaviour.Photo: Mikkel Bigandt / ShutterstockLots of people want to know if a puppy’s behaviour will tell you what it will be like as an adult dog. From people choosing a pet dog from a breeder’s litter, to organizations training service, police or military dogs, making the right choice of puppy could really help later on. But there have long been concerns that puppy personality tests don’t necessari........ Read more »
McMillan, F., Serpell, J., Duffy, D., Masaoud, E., & Dohoo, I. (2013) Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 242(10), 1359-1363. info:/
Riemer, S., Müller, C., Virányi, Z., Huber, L., & Range, F. (2014) The Predictive Value of Early Behavioural Assessments in Pet Dogs – A Longitudinal Study from Neonates to Adults. PLoS ONE, 9(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101237
Earlier modern work has shown that men will invest more resources in potential mates when there are a lot of guys and few women around. Basically, the rarer the women in a group, the more effort the men will expend in order to impress them. Now a new study...... Read more »
Hahn AC, Fisher CI, DeBruine LM, & Jones BC. (2014) Sex ratio influences the motivational salience of facial attractiveness. Biology letters, 10(6). PMID: 24919700
It’s always tough to measure something that seems very subjective. Like ostracism. Are you being ostracized (excluded, left out, or shunned) or are you just way too sensitive? Intrepid researchers have pushed forward though and brought us the Workplace Ostracism Scale. Ostracism is very much like incivility which is seen as very hard to objectively […]
Fat bias in the workplace
Would you rather be harassed or ostracized at work?
Who benefits from racism in the workplace........ Read more »
Ferris DL, Brown DJ, Berry JW, & Lian H. (2008) The development and validation of the Workplace Ostracism Scale. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(6), 1348-66. PMID: 19025252
The Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen has started a great initiative which tries nothing less than answer all your questions about language. How does it work? 1) Go to this website: http://www.mpi.nl/q-a/questions-and-answers 2) See whether your question has already been answered 3) If not, scroll to the bottom and ask a question yourself. The answers […]... Read more »
Thibodeau, P., & Boroditsky, L. (2011) Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning. PLoS ONE, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016782
Asaridou, S., & McQueen, J. (2013) Speech and music shape the listening brain: evidence for shared domain-general mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00321
Whilst I am always a little cautious about the use of the word 'biomarker' when applied to a heterogeneous condition like autism, even the autisms, I am nevertheless always intrigued at any reasonable prospect reported in the scientific literature. So it was when I read the paper by Joanna Kałużna-Czaplińska and colleagues  and their assertion that "there is a significant metabolic difference between autistic and non-autistic children" and onwards that "21 metabolites were identified ........ Read more »
Kałużna-Czaplińska J, Zurawicz E, Struck W, & Markuszewski M. (2014) Identification of organic acids as potential biomarkers in the urine of autistic children using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences. PMID: 24565890
Autism and Schizophrenia, at first glance there probably isn’t a whole lot in common other than they are disorders that fall in that lovely book the DCM-5. The brain is […]... Read more »
Chie Shimamoto1,, Tetsuo Ohnishi, Motoko Maekawa, Akiko Watanabe, Hisako Ohba, Ryoichi Arai, Yoshimi Iwayama, Yasuko Hisano, Tomoko Toyota, Manabu Toyoshima.... (2014) Functional characterization of FABP3, 5 and 7 gene variants identified in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder and mouse behavioral studies. Human Molecular Genetics. info:/10.1093/hmg/ddu369
Tim Howard was brilliant in goal for the United States at the 2014 World Cup. Flying all over the place, catching, punching, kicking – he looked like he was protecting his family home from post-apocalyptic cannibals. It was very impressive, but the US went out against Belgium 2-1 in extra time, despite Howard’s 17 saves, the most in a single World Cup game in 50 years. Tim Howard had a great game for the US, heck, a great tournament. So great in fact, that Wikipedia temporarily&nbs........ Read more »
Wilson MR, Wood G, & Vine SJ. (2009) Anxiety, attentional control, and performance impairment in penalty kicks. Journal of sport , 31(6), 761-75. PMID: 20384011
BENJAMIN NOËL and JOHN VAN DER KAMP. (2012) Gaze behaviour during the soccer penalty kick: An investigation of the effects of strategy and anxiety. Int. J. Sport Psychol., 1-20. info:/
New research shows that we can weaken and even undo practised habits by deliberately deciding to forget them.Gesine Dreisbach and Karl-Heinz Bäuml from Regensburg University first instilled new habits in their participants by presenting them with German words and training them over many trials to make the same response to each word - a left-handed key-press for half of them, a right-hand response for the remainder.Later, participants had to categorise the same words by gender, with key-presses ........ Read more »
Hear that voice? What is there more than one? Is this real, or fake? How do you know? That is how schizophrenia works: auditory hallucinations, confusion, inability to tell what […]... Read more »
Teal S. Eich,, Derek Evan Nee,, Catherine Insel,, Chara Malapani,, & Edward E. Smith. (2014) Neural Correlates of Impaired Cognitive Control over Working Memory in Schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry, 76(2). info:/10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.09.032
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