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  • January 5, 2015
  • 03:02 PM

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct individuals because the content of dreams depends on our personal experiences. This is why dream researchers have developed standardized dream questionnaires in which common thematic elements are grouped together. These questionnaires can be translated into various languages and used........ Read more »

Nielsen, T., Zadra, A., Simard, V., Saucier, S., Stenstrom, P., Smith, C., & Kuiken, D. (2003) The Typical Dreams of Canadian University Students. Dreaming, 13(4), 211-235. DOI: 10.1023/B:DREM.0000003144.40929.0b  

Schredl M, Ciric P, Götz S, & Wittmann L. (2004) Typical dreams: stability and gender differences. The Journal of psychology, 138(6), 485-94. PMID: 15612605  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 02:32 PM

Journal Club: Halfsider: a bizarre half-male half-female bird

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: A “halfsider” -- half male and half female bird -- has been mentioned in the news over the holidays. More properly known as bilateral gynandromorphs or tetragametic chimæras, these unusual birds are actually two genetically distinct individuals -- twins -- fused into one being. But what is it like to be such an individual? A recently published paper shares observations of the behaviour and social life of one such individual living in the wild.... Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

Counting breaths to measure mindfulness

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

One of the greatest challenges to the scientific study of mindfulness is finding a way to objectively measure how mindful someone is. Only with a clear, unbiased measure we can we feel confident in when and why a person’s mindfulness changes, and what greater levels of mindfulness can mean for us. But mindfulness is a mental process, invisible to anyone outside our heads and sometimes even to ourselves. So how can we truly know whether someone is mindful, or has benefited from training to ........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

“Who are these people who understand this brain science thing?”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

If you think neurolaw and neuroscience are everywhere–and don’t find it particularly challenging to talk about brain science, apparently you are living in a very rarified environment. It’s hard to believe but evidently, most people do not think the exploding field of brain science is fascinating! Instead, when they think of brain science they think […]

Related posts:
What do those jurors really know about science and technology?
A new question for the jury: Did my brain implant........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2015
  • 06:02 AM

British first-time fathers describe their experiences of separation and helplessness

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Ante-natal classes only serve to increase fathers' feelings of separation from their pregnant partners, according to a series of in-depth interviews with ten White British fathers.Anja Wittkowski and her colleagues interviewed the men to help increase our understanding of what it's like for men to become a father for the first time - a neglected area of research. All the participants, aged 27 to 47, were married to their partners, they were middle-class, employed, and the pregnancies were all pl........ Read more »

Kowlessar, O., Fox, J., & Wittkowski, A. (2014) First-time fathers’ experiences of parenting during the first year. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 1-11. DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2014.971404  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 04:27 AM

Systematic reviews and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

There were a few reasons why I wanted to bring the commentary from Sven Bölte [1] on the topic of systematic reviews and autism research to your attention. One particular sentence included in the text stuck out for me: "... systematic reviews do not always tell the whole truth either" reflective of how we perhaps should always be a little cautious in the way we interpret science even when faced with the platinum standard that is the systematic review (with or without meta-analysi........ Read more »

  • January 3, 2015
  • 02:00 PM

Not everyone sees health decline from obesity, but why is that?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The news isn’t shy in reporting the effects of being obese, high blood pressure, and diabetes (just to name a few). However, new research demonstrates that obesity does not always go hand in hand with metabolic changes in the body that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Determining how and why may help reduce or eliminate the health risks in other people dealing with obesity.... Read more »

Fabbrini E, Yoshino J, Yoshino M, Magkos F, Tiemann Luecking C, Samovski D, Fraterrigo G, Okunade AL, Patterson BW, & Klein S. (2015) Metabolically normal obese people are protected from adverse effects following weight gain. The Journal of clinical investigation. PMID: 25555214  

  • January 3, 2015
  • 05:17 AM

Anti-epileptic meds and pediatric serum vitamin D levels

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

No, I am not becoming obsessed with the sunshine vitamin/hormone despite us being only a few days into 2015 and this being my second post on vitamin D. It's just the way that the research posts fall; although regular readers will probably have noticed I do enjoy reading the various research on all-things vitamin D.There has been an awakening...The research fodder for today's post is the paper by Yun-Jin Lee and colleagues [1] who measured 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels (in serum) for quit........ Read more »

  • January 2, 2015
  • 06:43 AM

Psychologists explore a new reason why quitting smoking is so difficult

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When a cigarette smoker attempts to quit, not only do they crave their usual nicotine hit, they also experience an unpleasant inability to enjoy other pleasures in life - a state known as "anhedonia".Jessica Cook and her colleagues studied over a thousand smokers enrolled on a quitting programme in the US. The participants (mostly White, 58.3 per cent were female) were placed on a range of nicotine replacement therapies or they were given placebo. The participants also kept an evening diary from........ Read more »

Cook, J., Piper, M., Leventhal, A., Schlam, T., Fiore, M., & Baker, T. (2014) Anhedonia as a Component of the Tobacco Withdrawal Syndrome. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/abn0000016  

  • January 2, 2015
  • 03:19 AM

Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hello again and a very warm welcome back to Questioning Answers in 2015. The year, according to a popular sequel, we were all supposed to be benefiting from hoverboards and wearing self-drying clothes. It didn't quite work out like that (although there are still 52 weeks left for such dreams to come to fruition).When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie.We start the new blogging year with a few comments on a rather interesting, if disappointing, set of results pu........ Read more »

  • January 1, 2015
  • 11:56 AM

Why are unfalsifiable beliefs so attractive?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Recently, Dr. John Wentworth, professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argued that regardless of future advances, science will likely never discover whether the supernatural exists. He said,”almost always, our research raises more questions than it answers, therefore the question of God’s existence just isn’t scientifically testable.” If you are religious, how does [Read More...]... Read more »

  • January 1, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

For your new year’s resolution, get more grit

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

Once again, the thoughts of the nation are turning toward New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthy, save money. Statistically speaking, about a third of people are going to slip up on those resolutions before the end of the month (and anecdotally speaking, I will be one of them). So once again, the psychologist’s mind turns to the question of what qualities help people succeed at what they set out to do.... Read more »

Duckworth, A., & Gross, J. (2014) Self-Control and Grit: Related but Separable Determinants of Success. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(5), 319-325. DOI: 10.1177/0963721414541462  

  • December 31, 2014
  • 01:48 PM

A surprising discovery about fast food portion sizes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Since the noticeable expansion of most of the worlds waistlines, people have come to lay the blame (amongst other things) almost squarely on fast food and ever increasing portion sizes. While the world and it’s leaders are dealing with this mysterious problem by trying to help push fast food chains in the direction of change, it might be surprising to know that according to new research, fast food portion sizes have changed little since 1996.... Read more »

Urban LE, Roberts SB, Fierstein JL, Gary CE and Lichtenstein AH. (2014) Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Energy, Sodium, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat Content in the United States, 1996-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease . info:/

Urban LE, Roberts SB, Fierstein JL, Gary CE, Lichtenstein AH,. (2014) Sodium, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat Content Per 1,000 Kilocalories: Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurants, United States, 2000-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease . info:/

  • December 31, 2014
  • 08:00 AM

It May Be A New Year, But It’s The Same Old Brain

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Habit formation is the key to keeping New Years resolutions. The brain has complex mechanisms for learning habits, but more importantly, the brain actually inhibits the changing of habits. Evolution says – if it hasn’t killed you yet, it’s a habit worth keeping – not so great for bad habits that kill you slowly.... Read more »

Wang, L., Li, F., Wang, D., Xie, K., Wang, D., Shen, X., & Tsien, J. (2011) NMDA Receptors in Dopaminergic Neurons Are Crucial for Habit Learning. Neuron, 72(6), 1055-1066. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.019  

Wang, W., Dever, D., Lowe, J., Storey, G., Bhansali, A., Eck, E., Nitulescu, I., Weimer, J., & Bamford, N. (2012) Regulation of prefrontal excitatory neurotransmission by dopamine in the nucleus accumbens core. The Journal of Physiology, 590(16), 3743-3769. DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.235200  

  • December 30, 2014
  • 11:00 PM

Education-Ish Research

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Veteran education researcher Deborah Ball (along with co-author Francesca Forzani) provide some measure of validation for many educators' frustrations, disappointments, and disaffections with education research. In a paper titled "What Makes Education Research 'Educational'?" published in December 2007, Ball and Forzani point to education research's tendency to focus on "phenomena related to education," rather than "inside educational transactions&quo........ Read more »

  • December 30, 2014
  • 10:46 AM

Text Coherence and Self-Explanation

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

The authors of the paper (full text) I will discuss here, Ainsworth and Burcham, follow the lead of many researchers, including Danielle McNamara (2001) (full text), in conceiving of text coherence as "the extent to which the relationships between the ideas in a text are explicit." In addition to this conceptualization, the authors also adopt guidelines from McNamara, et al. (1996) to improve the coherence of the text used in their experiment—a text about the human circulatory system. ... Read more »

Ainsworth, S., & Burcham, S. (2007) The impact of text coherence on learning by self- explanation. Learning and Instruction, 17(3), 286-303. info:doi /10.1016/j.learninstruc.2007.02.004

  • December 30, 2014
  • 04:42 AM

2014 autism research review on Questioning Answers

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I like warm hugs...Time flies doesn't it? And here we are yet again at the end of another research year and a time to reflect on the blogging highlights of 2014 on Questioning Answers. Once again the question is: are we any further forward when it comes to the autism spectrum, it's aetiology, nature and improving quality of life for those on the spectrum?Once again, I'm going to be optimistic and say 'yes' in some respects we are, as autism research continues at a pace. The caveat being tha........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2014
  • 11:00 PM

Inference Calls in Text

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Britton and Gülgöz (1991) conducted a study to test whether removing "inference calls" from text would improve retention of the material. Inference calls are locations in text that demand inference from the reader. One simple example from the text used in the study is below:... Read more »

  • December 29, 2014
  • 01:11 PM

Smartphone Apps for the Treatment of Eating Disorders

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

As of January 2014, over 50% of adults in the United States own a smartphone; unsurprisingly, there has been a growth in the number of mobile applications (apps) aimed at providing health care services for various mental (and physical) health problems, including eating disorders. The purpose of mobile health technologies is to utilize the functionality of smartphones to deliver a wide range of health services, including providing psychoeducation, treatment services and/or recovery support.
... Read more »

Juarascio AS, Manasse SM, Goldstein SP, Forman EM, & Butryn ML. (2014) Review of Smartphone Applications for the Treatment of Eating Disorders. European eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association. PMID: 25303148  

  • December 29, 2014
  • 05:48 AM

Very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I started this blogging year (2014) with a post talking about the need for further research consideration for a possible role of inborn errors of metabolism in relation to the presentation of at least some autism (see here). It is therefore timely that I (almost) end this year's blogging odyssey with reference to the paper by Amy Brown and colleagues [1] and their suggestion that although: "VLCAD deficiency does not have a significant impact on cognitive or motor skills" there may still be merit........ Read more »

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