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  • June 27, 2015
  • 02:17 PM
  • 210 views

Natural wilderness areas need buffer zones to protect from human development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite heavy development, the U.S. still has millions of acres of pristine wild lands. Coveted for their beauty, these wilderness areas draw innumerable outdoor enthusiasts eager for a taste of primitive nature. But University of Georgia researchers say these federally protected nature areas have a problem: Their boundaries have become prime real estate.... Read more »

Lauren K. Ward, & Gary T. Green. (2015) Wilderness Zoning: Applying an Adapted Biosphere Reserve Model to Wilderness Areas. Illuminare. info:/http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/illuminare/article/view/13341

  • June 27, 2015
  • 08:18 AM
  • 187 views

Probiotics, schizophrenia and inflammation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I was initially pretty interested to read the paper by Jakub Tomasik and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) discussing results examining the "possible immunomodulatory effects of probiotic supplementation in chronic schizophrenia patients."Interested because not only was this a partnership paper including Robert Yolken and Faith Dickerson on the authorship list (names who have appeared a few times on this blog) but also because of the subject matter extending som........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 07:06 AM
  • 79 views

Is dyslexia associated with exceptional visual-spatial abilities?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Image: Jose.Stuefer / FlickrChildren and adults with dyslexia have reading skills that are weak relative to their overall intelligence. That's why it is often referred to as "specific learning disability". But what if such a profile also tended to be associated with exceptional strengths in other areas, such as visual skills? That's certainly what some experts have proposed, for example based on the observation that people with dyslexia are over-represented in fields that involve visual-spatial ........ Read more »

Duranovic, M., Dedeic, M., & Gavrić, M. (2014) Dyslexia and Visual-Spatial Talents. Current Psychology, 34(2), 207-222. DOI: 10.1007/s12144-014-9252-3  

  • June 26, 2015
  • 07:03 AM
  • 101 views

Here's a technique that helps self-critical people build confidence from a taste of success

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The directed abstraction technique acts a springboard,allowing the timid to gain confidence from initial successLast week Kathleen finally put aside her fears about public speaking to give a presentation… and it went pretty well! But when you caught her at lunch today and asked if she wanted future opportunities to present, you found she was as pessimistic about her ability as ever.This story reflects an unfortunate truth: people with low self-belief are liable to hold onto negative assumption........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 173 views

Early sex differences are not autism-specific

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post mirrors the title of the paper published by Daniel Messinger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) that reported on "younger sibling sex differences and proband sex differences on the odds of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in a large sample of prospectively followed high-risk siblings."Researchers found that alongside "a three-to-one male:female odds ratio in ASD recurrence... the emergence of ASD symptoms in high-risk siblings—both with and without eventual AS........ Read more »

Messinger DS, Young GS, Webb SJ, Ozonoff S, Bryson SE, Carter A, Carver L, Charman T, Chawarska K, Curtin S.... (2015) Early sex differences are not autism-specific: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) study. Molecular autism, 32. PMID: 26045943  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 12:53 PM
  • 208 views

Commenters exposed to prejudiced comments more likely to display prejudice themselves

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Comment sections on websites continue to be an environment for trolls to spew racist opinions. The impact of these hateful words shouldn’t have an impact on how one views the news or others, but that may not be the case. A recent study found exposure to prejudiced online comments can increase people’s own prejudice, and increase the likelihood that they leave prejudiced comments themselves.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 12:43 PM
  • 235 views

The Long Shadow of Nazi Indoctrination: Persistence of Anti-Semitism in Germany

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Voigtländer and Voth examined the results of the large General Social Survey for Germany (ALLBUS) in which several thousand Germans were asked about their values and beliefs. The survey took place in 1996 and 2006, and the researchers combined the results of both surveys with a total of 5,300 participants from 264 German towns and cities. The researchers were specifically interested in anti-Semitic attitudes and focused on three survey questions specifically related to anti-Semitism. Survey........ Read more »

Voigtländer N, & Voth HJ. (2015) Nazi indoctrination and anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26080394  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 04:47 AM
  • 157 views

Stalking and 'unexpected subthreshold autism spectrum'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I deliberated for quite a while as to whether or not I should write this post on the back of the findings reported by Liliana Dell’Osso and colleagues [1] detailing the experiences of a "25-year-old man with a diagnosis of delusional disorder, erotomanic type" who was hospitalised when presenting with psychotic symptoms "in the framework of a repeated stalking behavior towards his ex girlfriend." Said man was assessed for "adult autism spectrum symptoms" via the Ritvo Autism and Aspe........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 02:05 PM
  • 181 views

Oh, to have Dr. Facebook on call!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If it were up to Internet-savvy Americans, more of them would be emailing or sending Facebook messages to their doctors to chat about their health. That’s the result of a national survey led by Joy Lee of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 166 views

Going for a Song? The Price of Pet Birds

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The price of birds for sale in pet stores in Taiwan sheds light on legal (and illegal) trade, with consequences for native wildlife. Taiwan is an interesting place to study birds. Songbirds are kept for singing competitions, and there is a tradition of taking caged birds out for a walk (‘bird walking’). As in other Asian countries, birds and other animals are set free in order to make merit (prayer release), potentially adding significantly to the numbers of alien birds living wild. The........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 76 views

New research challenges the idea that willpower is a "limited resource"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A popular psychological theory says that your willpower isa "limited resource" like the fuel in your car, but is it wrong?When we use willpower to concentrate or to resist temptation, does it leave us depleted so that we have less self-control left over to tackle new challenges? This is a question fundamental to our understanding of human nature and yet a newly published investigation reveals that psychologists are in open disagreement as to the answer.The idea that willpower is a limited resour........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 175 views

Infant sleep duration a risk factor for autism spectrum behaviours in girls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

To quote from the study results published by Janet Saenz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here): "less sleep duration in infant girls across a period of 5 days was predictive of higher ASD [autism spectrum disorder] scores on the BITSEA [Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment] in toddlerhood."Based on a sample of 47 children - 29 males and 18 females - researchers initially studied sleep patterns for participants at 3-4 months of age using actigrap........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2015
  • 02:50 PM
  • 195 views

Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Consciousness — the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions — is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by an SF State researcher.... Read more »

Morsella, E., Godwin, C., Jantz, T., Krieger, S., & Gazzaley, A. (2015) Homing in on Consciousness in the Nervous System: An Action-Based Synthesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-106. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X15000643  

  • June 23, 2015
  • 01:40 PM
  • 194 views

Justice system chips away at women’s rights

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Arrests of women increased dramatically in the past two decades, while domestic abuse laws meant to protect female victims have put many behind bars for defending themselves, a new paper argues. These trends suggest evidence, at least in the justice system, of a “war on women” — a term coined during the 2012 election that refers to attempts to limit women’s rights.... Read more »

  • June 23, 2015
  • 07:16 AM
  • 66 views

The curious psychology of verbal mimicry

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A surprising result: In the study, open-minded participantswere especially likely to adopt their partner's speech-rate When deep in conversation, I sometimes catch myself mimicking my companion; mirroring their body language, echoing their speech. Research suggests there are likely even more of these moments to which I’m oblivious. Luckily, mimicry is a useful habit: for instance, we prefer conversation partners whose speech rates mimic our own to those whose speech is jarringly different........ Read more »

Kurzius, E. (2015) The Extraverted Chameleon. Journal of Individual Differences, 36(2), 80-86. DOI: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000159  

  • June 23, 2015
  • 05:01 AM
  • 186 views

Toxoplasma seropositivity and pediatric cognitive functions

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief post for you today as I keep a promise made in a previous entry to cover the paper by Angelico Mendy and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Toxoplasma seropositivity may be associated with reading and memory impairments in school-aged children."Based on the analysis of over 1700 children/young adults aged 12-16 years old "who participated to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey" researchers examined the possibility of a relationship between various psychometri........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 04:06 PM
  • 199 views

Manning up: men may overcompensate when their masculinity is threatened

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

From the old Charles Atlas ads showing a scrawny male having sand kicked in his face to sitcom clichés of henpecked husbands, men have long faced pressure to live up to ideals of masculinity. Societal norms dictating that men should be masculine are powerful. And new research finds that men who believe they fall short of those ideals might be prompted to reassert their masculinity in small but significant ways.... Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 07:27 AM
  • 68 views

Expert philosophers are just as irrational as the rest of us

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Dan JonesIf you want to improve your tennis swing, learn how to repair your car, or master the piano, you’re likely to seek the help of an expert tutor. Similarly, many people who want to sharpen up their critical thinking skills turn to one of the many books written by philosophers to help lay people identify and avoid the biases and failures of logic that cause us to be, in the words of psychologist Dan Ariely, "predictably irrational".But what if philosophers are just as su........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 202 views

First world relationship termination problems: Facebook  “creeping” your ex

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You’ve likely run across the statistics on Facebook being the cause of many divorces or relationship failures as unhappy individuals reunite with past loves lost. There is also of course, often heartbreak as online loves turn out to be not quite who you thought. Now Facebook is also implicated in prolonging the unhappiness after a […]

Related posts:
Facebook Graph Searches: What Can You Discover?
Facebook as a conduit for misinformation and racism
Is there a relationship between age a........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 02:54 AM
  • 186 views

Office workers of the world stand up!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "for those occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours)."That was the recommendation made in the consensus statement published by John Buckley and colleagues [1] aiming to: "provide guidance for employers and staff working in office environments to........ Read more »

John P Buckley, Alan Hedge, Thomas Yates, Robert J Copeland, Michael Loosemore, Mark Hamer, Gavin Bradley, & David W Dunstan. (2015) The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. British Journal of Sports Medicine. info:/10.1136/bjsports-2015-094618

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