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  • December 12, 2015
  • 05:13 AM
  • 226 views

ADHD in the UK

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to keep you too long today but thought it worthwhile to bring the paper by Adrian Hire and colleagues [1] to your attention and the suggestion that "socioeconomic deprivation" may play a role when it comes to ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).Based on data derived from the "Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)" - a UK based resource "providing anonymised primary care records for public health research since 1987" - researchers set about looking at those children/........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2015
  • 03:39 PM
  • 235 views

To Study OCD, Scientists Get Their (Rubber) Hands Dirty

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



The rubber hand illusion is a classic experiment that reveals how our brains build a sense of our bodies. For the latest twist on the illusion, researchers simulated OCD-like feelings of disgust in subjects by starting with rubber hands and adding fake blood, vomit and feces.

The basic rubber hand experiment is simple to set up. It requires a fake hand, two paintbrushes, a table, and something to use as a little wall. A subject sits with both hands flat on the table, one of them farther o... Read more »

  • December 11, 2015
  • 05:00 AM
  • 147 views

Being fluent at swearing is a sign of healthy verbal ability

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Richard StephensSwearing is an incredibly versatile aspect of language – take the word “fuck” for example. This highly charged word, still offensive to many people, has many uses beyond its literal meaning. This was colourfully demonstrated by linguists Anthony McEnery and Zhonghua Xiao from Lancaster University in the UK in their research on spoken and written English. They observed its use as a general expletive (oh fuck!), a personal insult (you fuck!), a cursing explet........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2015
  • 04:34 AM
  • 229 views

Mental illness and blood-borne viral infections

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"People with serious mental illness are at risk of blood-borne viral infections." But: "Serious mental illness is unlikely to be a sole risk factor and risk of blood-borne viral infection is probably multifactorial."That was the primary conclusions reached in the paper by Elizabeth Hughes and colleagues [1] (open-access) who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available peer-reviewed literature looking at the prevalence of various blood-borne viral infections in people diagnos........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2015
  • 08:36 PM
  • 305 views

LSD changes consciousness by reorganizing human brain networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

LSD is known to cause changes in consciousness, including “ego-dissolution”, or a loss of the sense of self. Despite a detailed knowledge of the action of LSD at specific serotonin receptors, it has not been understood how this these pharmacological effects can translate into such a profound effect on consciousness.... Read more »

Lebedev, A., Lövdén, M., Rosenthal, G., Feilding, A., Nutt, D., & Carhart-Harris, R. (2015) Finding the self by losing the self: Neural correlates of ego-dissolution under psilocybin. Human Brain Mapping, 36(8), 3137-3153. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22833  

  • December 10, 2015
  • 05:06 AM
  • 279 views

Cochrane does methylphenidate for ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Cochrane does' in the title of this post refers to the Cochrane Library and the sterling work that is done by the Cochrane Reviews to analyse the collected peer-reviewed evidence on various aspects of health and wellbeing and provide a sort of 'state of the evidence' address. It's something that has graced this blog before (see here).This time around attention has turned to the paper by Ole Jakob Storebø and colleagues [1] (open-access) who started with the objective to: "assess the benef........ Read more »

Storebø OJ, Ramstad E, Krogh HB, Nilausen TD, Skoog M, Holmskov M, Rosendal S, Groth C, Magnusson FL, Moreira-Maia CR.... (2015) Methylphenidate for children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. PMID: 26599576  

  • December 10, 2015
  • 04:42 AM
  • 143 views

Your life story is made up of transitions and turning points – do you know the difference?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When you take a look back at the year just gone, do you see any times of real change? A turning point, perhaps – or maybe a transition? No, I’m not repeating myself: although many of us, including those who research our autobiographical memories, use them interchangeably, these two kinds of important life events are distinct, and as new research in Applied Cognitive Psychology shows, both have their own role in helping us organise our past.Consider first a time in your life where your circum........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 229 views

Calling All Religious Leaders

by Jenny Ludmer in Rooster's Report

Politicians aren’t exactly the most trusted leaders anymore (gee, I wonder why) and climate scientists are constantly under attack by skeptics. So, who’s left to convince the public to act? Science and religion might make strange bedfellows, but a new study suggests religious leaders are our best hope — let’s just pray they are willing to take on the role.... Read more »

Bain, P., Milfont, T., Kashima, Y., Bilewicz, M., Doron, G., Garðarsdóttir, R., Gouveia, V., Guan, Y., Johansson, L., Pasquali, C.... (2015) Co-benefits of addressing climate change can motivate action around the world. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2814  

  • December 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 323 views

The Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale and how much you really  use your smartphone

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us don’t know how much we rely on smartphone use and this is likely a very important piece of information to help us understand why it’s so very hard for many jurors to stay away from their phones while serving jury duty. While only a small study (29 participants between the ages of […]

Related posts:
The NoMoPhobia Scale (NMP-Q): What  happens when you are without your smartphone
More than half of your potential jurors have  smartphones now
Stop looking at your smartphone........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2015
  • 04:15 AM
  • 116 views

By age four, children are already willing to make sacrifices in the name of group loyalty

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists interested in the way group loyalty develops through childhood have largely focused on young children's preference for other kids who demonstrate loyalty. For example, one study found that four- and five-year-olds rated other children as nicer and more trustworthy if they pledged continued allegiance to their losing team, compared with when they said they wanted to switch to the winning side. Other research has found that children aged five to eight years say they will be loya........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2015
  • 03:03 AM
  • 208 views

Theory of mind and major depressive disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm briefly serving up the paper by Emre Bora & Michael Berk [1] for your daily reading and the results of their meta-analysis stating that: "Theory of mind abilities are impaired during depression."Based on data derived from 18 studies covering over 600 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) and over 500 asymptomatic controls, the Bora/Berk paper suggests that there may be much more to see when it comes to the psychological processes of attributing mental states a........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 03:28 PM
  • 286 views

Self-consciousness: Beyond the looking-glass and what dogs found there

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

That man’s best friend has a conscience is what every owner would be willing to bet, without even thinking about it for a moment. This means that dogs have self-consciousness. But the problem in science is that ideas and assumptions must be demonstrated. It is not enough for someone to have an inkling of something for it to be considered a scientific fact. Self-awareness, or self-consciousness, has been studied mainly by examining the responses of animals and children to their reflection in th........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 12:46 PM
  • 291 views

The Dire State of Science in the Muslim World

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Universities and the scientific infrastructures in Muslim-majority countries need to undergo radical reforms if they want to avoid falling by the wayside in a world characterized by major scientific and technological innovations. This is the conclusion reached by Nidhal Guessoum and Athar Osama in their recent commentary "Institutions: Revive universities of the Muslim world", published in the scientific journal Nature. The physics and astronomy professor Guessoum (American University ........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 202 views

What stops people raising the alarm when a friend heads down the dark path to violent extremism?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A timely study published in Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression has looked into the crucial role played by the friends of would-be terrorists, in preventing their descent into radicalism.Michael Williams and his colleagues began by interviewing over 150 law enforcement professionals, Muslim community leaders, and members of the public of various faiths in Los Angeles and Washington DC about who they thought was best placed to notice and raise concerns about a person who wa........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 04:40 AM
  • 176 views

Scurvy and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Scurvy as a Manifestation of Food Selectivity in Children with Autism" read the title of the paper by Nina Ma and colleagues [1] continuing a topic of some interest to this blog regarding the need for more research and practical focus on nutritional insufficiency and deficiency when it comes to the label of autism (see here for example).As per other occasions when scurvy - a condition linked to a deficiency of vitamin C - has been talked about in the context of autism (see here), the Ma paper c........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2015
  • 04:34 AM
  • 232 views

Camel milk and autism: two humps or three?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a previous post with the cringe-worthy title: 'Camel milk for autism: one hump or two?' (you can see why I could never be a comedian) I talked about some rather intriguing research [1] asking whether, under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions, camel milk could affect various clinical measures of severity when it comes to the label of autism, some autism. The answer was very possibly, yes; with the strong requirement for quite a bit more follow-up research in this area.Lo and behold, y........ Read more »

Al-Ayadhi LY, Halepoto DM, Al-Dress AM, Mitwali Y, & Zainah R. (2015) Behavioral Benefits of Camel Milk in Subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP, 25(11), 819-823. PMID: 26577969  

  • December 7, 2015
  • 04:29 AM
  • 212 views

Are religious people really more prejudiced than non-believers?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The holiday season is a good time to reflect on the question of why, if so many religions are founded on tolerance, highly religious people can act in an intolerant fashion. Finding the cause of this has preoccupied researchers, driven to repeated findings that suggest believers are actually more prejudiced than the non-religious. The leading explanation constructs a picture of the believer as someone possessing a distinctive cocktail of traits that inclines them to judge others harshly: people ........ Read more »

  • December 6, 2015
  • 03:17 PM
  • 200 views

Fibro fog or losing your marbles: the effect of chronic pain on everyday executive functioning

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

There are days when I think I’m losing the plot! When my memory fades, I get distracted by random thin—-ooh! is that a cat?!

We all have brain fades, but people with chronic pain have more of them. Sometimes it’s due to the side effects of medication, and often it’s due to poor sleep, or low mood – but whatever the cause, the problem is that people living with chronic pain can find it very hard to direct their attention to what’s important, or to shift thei........ Read more »

Baker, K., Gibson, S., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Roth, R., & Giummarra, M. (2015) Everyday Executive Functioning in Chronic Pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 1. DOI: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000313  

  • December 5, 2015
  • 09:11 AM
  • 137 views

People low in agreeableness ("jerks") are particularly adept at selling their creative ideas

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

“The normal rules of social engagement, he feels, don’t apply to him,” designer Jonathan Ive on his boss, the late Steve Jobs. (via WIRED).Tales of Steve Jobs' "jerkiness" are legendary. Other iconic creative visionaries have similarly been known for their "difficult" personalities, from Sopranos creator David Chase to Thomas Edison. Anecdotally then, it seems like having what psychologists might call a "disagreeable personality" (i.e. scoring low on the "agreeableness dimension"........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 215 views

Kids need other kids (for social communication skills)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quick post today bringing the findings from Angela Barber and colleagues [1] to your attention and the idea that both young children diagnosed with autism and young children not diagnosed with autism might similarly benefit from peer mediated intervention (PMI). PMI basically means that peers are active agents in the instruction of one or more skills (see here for further information).For the Barber study, 3 pairs of pre-school children (one diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and one n........ Read more »

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