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  • May 20, 2015
  • 04:50 AM
  • 105 views

Poverty shapes how children think about themselves

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"The Culture of Poverty”, published in 1966 (pdf), was hugely influential, persuading many policy makers that children from low-income families are destined for lives of “criminality, joblessness, and poverty” because they exist in enclaves characterised by dysfunctional beliefs and practices. Thankfully, this fatalistic view has since been largely refuted and attention has turned to ways to help poor children, including giving them access to books, good teachers and stable environments.No........ Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 154 views

Severe obesity pre-pregnancy and offspring developmental outcome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children whose mothers were severely obese before pregnancy had increased risk for adverse developmental outcomes."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Heejoo Jo and colleagues [1] based on results derived from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II) "a US nationally distributed longitudinal study of maternal health and infant health and feeding practices." Said data included information on "maternal prepregnancy BMI [body mass index] and child psychosocia........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2015
  • 04:21 PM
  • 142 views

Suicide and skin color, or how being black is killing you

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The great racial divide, despite all the evidence showing that racism, hate and frankly plain stupidity is alive and well, there are people who cannot accept it. This probably will not change anything for those people, but for the first time a new study shows that while suicide rates in children younger than 12 have remained steady for the past 20 years, there are significantly higher suicide rates among black children.... Read more »

Bridge, J., Asti, L., Horowitz, L., Greenhouse, J., Fontanella, C., Sheftall, A., Kelleher, K., & Campo, J. (2015) Suicide Trends Among Elementary School–Aged Children in the United States From 1993 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0465  

  • May 19, 2015
  • 12:30 PM
  • 117 views

When did we start using information theory in neuroscience?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

This question came up in journal club a little while ago. The hypothesis that neurons in the brain are attempting to maximize their information about the world is a powerful one. Although usually attributed to Horace Barlow, the idea arose almost … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dimitrov, A., Lazar, A., & Victor, J. (2011) Information theory in neuroscience. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 30(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1007/s10827-011-0314-3  

MacKay, D., & McCulloch, W. (1952) The limiting information capacity of a neuronal link. The Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics, 14(2), 127-135. DOI: 10.1007/BF02477711  

von Neumann. (1956) Probabilistic logics and the synthesis of reliable organisms from unreliable components. Automata Studies. info:/

  • May 19, 2015
  • 05:53 AM
  • 105 views

A preliminary taxonomy of the voices inside your head

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists are taking an increasing interest in the way we all speak to ourselves in our heads. Unpleasant, uncontrollable inner voices can be a feature of mental illness, but private self-talk is a mundane part of most healthy people's consciousness.When we talk to ourselves in our heads in this way, it's common for there to be a kind of dialogue. Consider how "You" might say to yourself that you want to stop working, but then a voice in your head takes a different stance and urges you to co........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2015
  • 04:50 AM
  • 148 views

Social anxiety affecting autism intervention outcome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil" according to one definition. In other descriptions, words such as 'worry' and 'dread' are used (see here) describing how beyond the typical feelings of apprehension about a new situation for example, anxiety can turn into something altogether more serious and life-disrupting for some.There are various types of anxiety disorder (see here) to consider, but for the purposes of this post I'm going to focus on social anxiety disorder in the context of........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2015
  • 03:31 PM
  • 136 views

Girls suck at science, and other depressing stereotypes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Netherlands had the strongest stereotypes associating science with men more than women, according to a new Northwestern University study that included data from nearly 350,000 people in 66 nations. These stereotypes are prevalent across the world — even in nations such as Argentina and Bulgaria where women are roughly half of science majors in colleges and universities and employed researchers, according to the study, the largest ever of its kind.... Read more »

David I. Miller, Alice H. Eagly, & Marcia C. Linn. (2015) Women's Representation in Science Predicts National Gender-Science Stereotypes: Evidence From 66 Nations. Journal of Educational Psychology. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000005

  • May 18, 2015
  • 11:57 AM
  • 207 views

Free will inside the Nazi death camps

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The sign "Arbeit macht Frei" means "Work liberates".Free will is a controversial topic in psychology, thanks in part to studies suggesting that the brain activity associated with making decisions comes before the conscious feeling of making a choice. Other research claims that when people are exposed to arguments against free will, this makes them more prone to cheat. While intriguing, such insights are arguably somewhat removed from ev........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2015
  • 07:34 AM
  • 194 views

Does Everyone Want to Attend University?

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

There was an op-ed in the New York Times the other week that detailed some of the economic inequality in the US. It used academic data to discuss how poorly Americans estimate the level of social mobility. It’s certainly worth reading, but … Continue reading →... Read more »

Kraus, M., & Tan, J. (2015) Americans overestimate social class mobility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 101-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.005  

  • May 18, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 166 views

Does the Millennial know that tattoo might be a business  faux pas?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about tattoos here and this writeup is going to be a little different from most of our posts. Rather than spending time on the research findings, we want to cite some of the more unusual and surprising findings the author reviews as a prelude to her results. So, to be brief, […]

Related posts:
Do you see that juror’s tattoo?
The new bumper sticker? Tattoos in the courtroom
“Glasses can’t hide neck tattoos”


... Read more »

Foltz, KA. (2015) The Millennial’s perception of tattoos: Self expression or business faux pas? . College Student Journal. info:/

  • May 18, 2015
  • 05:04 AM
  • 153 views

Pregnancy vitamin D levels and offspring ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Higher maternal circulating levels of 25(OH)D3 in pregnancy are associated with lower risk of developing ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]-like symptoms in childhood."Eva Morales and colleagues [1] came to that conclusion in their study - prospective study - looking at how estimated pregnancy vitamin D levels might have impacted on teacher-assessed ADHD-like symptoms in offspring when aged between 4 and 5 years old. Based on participants involved in the INMA project look........ Read more »

Morales E, Julvez J, Torrent M, Ballester F, Rodríguez-Bernal CL, Andiarena A, Vegas O, Castilla AM, Rodriguez-Dehli C, Tardón A.... (2015) Vitamin D in Pregnancy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-like Symptoms in Childhood. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). PMID: 25867115  

  • May 17, 2015
  • 02:48 PM
  • 178 views

Which is most valuable: Gold, cocaine or rhino horn?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many of the world’s largest herbivores — including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas — are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists.... Read more »

Ripple, W., Newsome, T., Wolf, C., Dirzo, R., Everatt, K., Galetti, M., Hayward, M., Kerley, G., Levi, T., Lindsey, P.... (2015) Collapse of the world's largest herbivores. Science Advances, 1(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400103  

  • May 16, 2015
  • 01:22 PM
  • 216 views

The relationship between CEO greed and company performance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies which all suggest that CEO greed is bad for business.But how do you define greed? Are compassionate CEOs better for business? How do you know if the leader is doing more harm than good? And can anybody rein in the I-Me-Mine type leader anyway?... Read more »

  • May 16, 2015
  • 03:57 AM
  • 196 views

Poverty affects autism ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief post for you today to bring to your attention the paper by Eirini Flouri and colleagues [1] who suggested that although socio-economic disadvantage (SED) was probably not a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when comorbid, "it was associated with elevated emotional problems among children with ASD + ADHD."Based on data derived from "209 children with ASD who took part in the UK's Millennium Cohort Study", an initia........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 11:36 AM
  • 182 views

Which Baby Animals Look Cute? It May Be No Accident

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Sure, there are faces only a mother could love. And then there are faces no mother loves, because they belong to animals that fend for themselves from birth. The babies we find cutest—no matter what species they are—may have evolved to look that way because they need a parent's attention. That means even a crocodile can tug on our heartstrings.

Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian zoologist, proposed in the mid-20th century that human infants are cute for a reason. He said evolution has created ad........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 10:46 AM
  • 123 views

Companies are more successful when their employees feel young for their age

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you want a dynamic workforce, seek not the young, but the young at heart. That’s the message of a new study that surveyed over 15,000 employees from 107 companies to determine how subjective age influences workplace performance.Past research has made the case that employee age is important to workplace performance, with younger workers more likely to make breakthrough contributions – but the evidence is patchy, suggesting there is more to the story. The proposed cause for the youth advant........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 123 views

Black victims of violent crimes aren’t treated any better by the system than Black defendants …

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

In December of last year, we wrote about investigative case files in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of the findings in the analysis of those investigative files was this: Overall, say the researchers, cases with White female victims resulted in the highest number of case file pages (i.e., the most investigative work) and the most severe sentences. […]

Related posts:
Are you a murdered white female? Here is some small comfort!
Does your capital client “look deathworthy”?
Just because I t........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 05:42 AM
  • 137 views

Autism's environmental exposome (part 2)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Back in June 2012, I posted an entry on this blog titled: 'Autism's environmental exposome: fish and pharmaceuticals' covering some work by Michael Thomas & Rebecca Klaper [1] (open-access). In it, authors suggested that unmetabolized psychoactive pharmaceuticals (UPPs) - residues from certain medicines - present in drinking (or in the case of this work, swimming) water may "induce autism-like gene expression patterns in fish."The UPPs in question were "FLX [fluoxetine], VNX [........ Read more »

Gaurav Kaushik, Michael A Thomas, & Ken A Aho. (2015) Psychoactive pharmaceuticals as environmental contaminants may disrupt highly inter-connected nodes in an Autism-associated protein-protein interaction network. BMC Bioinformatics. info:other/

  • May 14, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 219 views

Darwin Can Dance! The Evolution Of Pop Music

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Just like biological organisms, music evolves - and where there is evolution, there is science. Researchers analyzing pop music charts have identified the greatest musical revolution in recent times. What do you think it was? Elvis, British Invasion, Disco, Synth-pop, Heavy Metal, Hip-hop, Grunge, or Punk?... Read more »

  • May 14, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 153 views

Anxiety and depression linked to functional bowel issues: lessons for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Pablo Picasso (1905) @ WikipediaIMFAR (International Meeting For Autism Research) 2015 kicks off in earnest today (see here) so in order to keep tabs on the various discussions over the web (#IMFAR2015) alongside the usual workload I'm offering a relatively short blog entry.The paper served up today is by Maria Ines Pinto-Sánchez and colleagues [1] who reported that: "The prevalence of both anxiety and depression is influenced by gender, presence of organic diseases, and FGIDs [f........ Read more »

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