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  • February 13, 2014
  • 02:11 PM

Creativity in Older Adults: Learning Digital Photography Improves Cognitive Function

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The recent study "The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project" published in the journal Psychological Science by the psychology researcher Denise Park and her colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas is an example of an extremely well-designed study which attempts to tease out the benefits of participating in a structured activity versus receiving formal education and acquiring new skills. The researchers assigned subjects with a mean age ........ Read more »

Park DC, Lodi-Smith J, Drew L, Haber S, Hebrank A, Bischof GN, & Aamodt W. (2014) The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: the synapse project. Psychological science, 25(1), 103-12. PMID: 24214244  

  • February 13, 2014
  • 07:11 AM

Isn’t it time that fad diets went out of fashion?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Channel 4’s Supersize vs Superskinny is back on the telly. The long-running health show, which challenges two ‘extreme eaters’ to swap diets for a week, used to be my TV-watching guilty pleasure. Previous series’ were known for the infamous ‘feeding tube’ – a huge Perspex cylinder into which a week’s worth of food is emptied. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Roberts DC. (2001) Quick weight loss: sorting fad from fact. The Medical journal of Australia, 175(11-12), 637-40. PMID: 11837873  

  • February 13, 2014
  • 06:00 AM

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Overpriced roses and generic greeting cards are flying off the shelves, only to be thrown in the trash in a day or two. Windows, storefronts, even drab office cubicles are […]... Read more »

  • February 13, 2014
  • 05:57 AM

Very old and very cool - recognising a distinct mental strength of the elderly

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

A pair of researchers in Switzerland say there is an attitude common among the very old that is best described as "senior coolness". Based on detailed analysis of in-depth interviews in German with 15 people aged 77 to 101 (average age 86; 12 women), and also reflected in interviews with a further 60 older people, Harm-Peer Zimmermann and Heinrich Grebe describe a commonly held attitude of "comprehensive composure, indeed nonchalance and indifference, towards old age".They argue that this runs c........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2014
  • 04:45 AM

Vitamin-mineral mix for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The BBC quite recently ran with the headline: "Vitamins ‘effective in treating ADHD symptoms’" discussing an interesting paper by Julia Rucklidge and colleagues* reporting results from a controlled trial of a vitamin-mineral mix on 80 adults diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The trial entry can be seen here and NHS Choices have also given the trial the research once-over.Food n' medicine? @ Wikipedia The paper, by someone who is not an u........ Read more »

Julia J. Rucklidge, Chris M. Frampton, Brigette Gorman, & Anna Boggis. (2014) Vitamin-mineral treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry. info:other/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.132126

  • February 12, 2014
  • 07:47 PM

Scientific Approaches to Enriching the Lives of Sanctuary Wolves and Wolf-Dog “Hybrids”

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie and Mia, I wanted to update you on some unique but exciting research that I conducted while working toward my Ph.D. at the University of Florida’s Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab. This particular research focuses on the welfare of wolves and wolf-dog “hybrids” in private sanctuaries.The common use of the term “hybrid” is perhaps the first indication of how poorly we understand these animals. The term “hybrid” is technically inaccurate – as wolves and domestic dogs are ........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2014
  • 04:28 PM

What happens in the brain when you learn a mnemonic?

by Shelly Fan in Neurorexia

This is part of a series exploring the brains behind exceptional memory: to what extent is it natural and learnt? How fast can a complete...... Read more »

Nyberg L, Sandblom J, Jones S, Neely AS, Petersson KM, Ingvar M, & Bäckman L. (2003) Neural correlates of training-related memory improvement in adulthood and aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(23), 13728-33. PMID: 14597711  

  • February 12, 2014
  • 12:45 PM

Three Seconds: Poems, Cubes and the Brain

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Temporal order can be assessed in a rather straightforward experimental manner. Research subjects can be provided sequential auditory clicks, one to each ear. If the clicks are one second apart, nearly all participants can correctly identify whether or not the click in the right ear came before the one in the left ear. It turns out that this holds true even if the clicks are only 100 milliseconds (0.1 seconds) apart. The threshold for being able to correctly assign a temporal order to such brief........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2014
  • 08:30 AM

Dog Training, Animal Welfare, and the Human-Canine Relationship

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Many people are concerned that aversive-based dog training methods can have side-effects. A new study by Stéphanie Deldalle and Florence Gaunet (in press in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior) observes dogs and their humans at training classes using either positive or negative reinforcement. The results support the idea that positive reinforcement is beneficial for the canine-human bond and better for animal welfare.Photo: godrick / ShutterstockThe scientists looked at on-leash walking an........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

The Sensitivity to Mean Intentions (SeMI) Model

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

There are some research models whose names seem silly, or at least named for a Taylor Swift song. Oddly enough, there is a large body of research on those who are “habitually sensitive toward victimization” and it turns out they tend to be uncooperative and immoral in “socially uncertain situations”. Apparently, the suspicion and mistrust […]

Related posts:
Empathy: Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intentions
Shooting the messenger: The intergroup sensitivity ef........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2014
  • 04:03 PM

Environmental toxicants and autism reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "The findings of this review suggest that the etiology of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] may involve, at least in a subset of children, complex interactions between genetic factors and certain environmental toxicants that may act synergistically or in parallel during critical periods of neurodevelopment, in a manner that increases the likelihood of developing ASD".That's the conclusion reached by a huge review paper by Dan Rossignol and colleagues* (open-access). I'm going to say no mor........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2014
  • 03:12 PM

Enduring Sharedom

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The recent study "Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook" conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University monitored the public disclosure (information visible to all) and private disclosure (information visible to Facebook friends) of personal data by more than 5,000 Facebook users during the time period 2005-2011. ... Read more »

Fred Stutzman, Ralph Grossy, & Alessandro Acquistiz. (2012) Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook. Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality. info:/

  • February 11, 2014
  • 03:53 AM

Open a door for a man and you diminish his self-esteem and self-belief

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

How does a man feel if another man opens a door for him? The researchers Megan McCarty and Janice Kelly conducted a field study to find out.Male research assistants waited near two university building entrances and looked out for men and women approaching. On some trials the research assistant went through a door adjacent to the arriving person (so that the person had to open the door for themselves). On other trials, the research assistant leaped into action, held open the door for the approach........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2014
  • 02:49 AM

Is Parapsychology a "Taboo" Subject in Science?

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

An opinion piece recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, endorsed by 90 signatories calls for a more “open-minded” consideration of the subject. What particularly struck me about this piece was the claim that investigation into the subject is not just controversial, but actually “taboo”. Examination of the history of parapsychology indicates that the scientific mainstream has shown considerable open-mindedness towards the subject, and that claims that it ha........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

Which meditation for what benefits?

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

The word “meditation” covers a lot of ground, and I don’t just mean its usefulness as an explanation for why you were staring off into space when your boss walked into your office. My own practice focuses on the traditional (to my mind) focus on the breath, but I know from the mindfulness-based stress reduction course I took in graduate school that there are many other options: walking meditation, body scan, open awareness, loving kindness, and more. And now I find myself wonde........ Read more »

Hutcherson CA, Seppala EM, & Gross JJ. (2008) Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8(5), 720-724. PMID: 18837623  

  • February 10, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

Name that gadget, widget, or otherwise smart device!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The movie Her plays with the idea of Joaquin Phoenix falling in love with a computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). And today’s research article isn’t far off that track but….it’s much more applicable to litigation advocacy. These researchers took on the issue of trust in autonomous driving vehicles (computer-controlled, rather than driver-operated– which […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: Do haters have to hate? It would seem so.
When you wear ........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2014
  • 04:41 AM

Optimal outcome (and autism) by any other name

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In my annual review of all things autism research covered on this blog, the accolade of paper of the year for 2013 went to [drum roll maestro]... that optimal outcome paper by Deborah Fein and colleagues* (see here and here for more information). Detailing the experiences of well-defined group of children previously diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who no longer met the diagnostic criteria, the notions that (a) there may be differences in the developmental trajectories of childre........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2014
  • 04:38 AM

Jailed criminals think they are kinder, more trustworthy and honest than the average member of the public

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Many studies have shown that people tend to exaggerate their own positive characteristics and abilities. A popular example is the finding that most drivers think they are a better-than-average driver. This suggests there are many sub-standard drivers cruising our roads in the belief they are unusually gifted at the wheel. Similar findings apply for literally hundreds of traits, all of which supports the idea of a widespread, self-serving "better-than-average effect".However, sceptics have pointe........ Read more »

Sedikides C, Meek R, Alicke MD, & Taylor S. (2013) Behind bars but above the bar: Prisoners consider themselves more prosocial than non-prisoners. The British journal of social psychology / the British Psychological Society. PMID: 24359153  

  • February 9, 2014
  • 11:25 PM

Forever alone disorder

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Valentines Day is soon upon us. However, quite a few individuals, also known as otakus, could care less. During college I met a some people who you might consider otakus or dorks. They never left their dorm rooms because they were just THAT into their video games. They would play for hours/days, completely disinterested in socializing with real people, partying, attending classes, and sometimes even eating. Although I did not know it at the time, there was a name for this kind of strange "loner"........ Read more »

Ovejero S, Caro-Cañizares I, de León-Martínez V, & Baca-Garcia E. (2013) Prolonged social withdrawal disorder: A hikikomori case in Spain. The International journal of social psychiatry. PMID: 24101742  

  • February 9, 2014
  • 08:21 PM

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (after 23 sessions of Emotionally Focused Therapy)

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Can neuroscience illuminate the nature of human relationships? Or does it primarily serve as a prop to sell self-help books? The neurorelationship cottage industry touts the importance of brain research for understanding romance and commitment. But any knowledge of the brain is completely unnecessary for issuing take-home messages like tips on maintaining a successful marriage.In an analogous fashion, we can ask whether successful psychotherapy depends on having detailed knowledge of the mechan........ Read more »

Coan JA, Schaefer HS, & Davidson RJ. (2006) Lending a hand: social regulation of the neural response to threat. Psychological science, 17(12), 1032-9. PMID: 17201784  

Johnson SM, Moser MB, Beckes L, Smith A, Dalgleish T, Halchuk R, Hasselmo K, Greenman PS, Merali Z, & Coan JA. (2013) Soothing the threatened brain: leveraging contact comfort with emotionally focused therapy. PloS one, 8(11). PMID: 24278126  

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