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  • April 30, 2015
  • 04:27 AM
  • 212 views

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is not increasing in childhood

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post is an excerpt from the paper by Sebastian Lundström and colleagues [1] (open-access) who set out to "compare the annual prevalence of the autism symptom phenotype and of registered diagnoses for autism spectrum disorder during a 10 year period in children" living in Sweden. Based on two datasets - the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden and the Swedish national patient register (NPR) - researchers analysed the records of well over a million ........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 257 views

Psychologists share the three secrets to healthier eating

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You don’t need a crazy diet to lose weight. In fact, your typical fad diet won’t help you keep weight off long term and could be harming your health. If you want to know the secrets of healthier eating, think of the kitchen fruit bowl. A fruit bowl makes fruit more convenient, attractive, and normal to eat than if the same fruit were in the bottom of the refrigerator.... Read more »

  • April 29, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 368 views

Different Dog Breeds, Different Sensitive Period?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A study of three breeds finds differences in the sensitive period, and shows socialization should begin before you even take your puppy home.Puppies have a sensitive period between 3 and 12-14 weeks old in which they must be socialized. This means positive introductions to new people, dogs, places, etc. If not, they will be fearful as adult dogs. A fascinating new study by Mary Morrow (Ohio State University) et al investigates whether this period is the same for three breeds of dog: Cavalier Kin........ Read more »

Morrow, M., Ottobre, J., Ottobre, A., Neville, P., St-Pierre, N., Dreschel, N., & Pate, J. (2015) Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.03.002  

  • April 29, 2015
  • 05:02 AM
  • 145 views

People are overly optimistic about the benefits of optimism

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome." The sentiment articulated here by psychology pioneer William James is currently in vogue, if its preponderance in self-help books, motivational posters, and memes is anything to go by. But are we pinning too much on positive thinking?A research team led by Elizabeth Tenney asked participants to guess how much a given task is affected by optimism, then compared this to how........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2015
  • 04:41 AM
  • 184 views

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) core sets for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is a framework for describing and organising information on functioning and disability. It provides a standard language and a conceptual basis for the definition and measurement of health and disability."That is the US CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - definition of the ICF (from WHO) and how, among other things, the ICF offers a "scientific basis for understanding and studying health an........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2015
  • 02:44 PM
  • 163 views

The adolescent brain on alcohol: Changes last into adulthood

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Repeated alcohol exposure during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, according to a research team at Duke Medicine that used a rodent model as a surrogate for humans. The study provides new insights at the cellular level for how alcohol exposure during adolescence, before the brain is fully developed, can result in cellular and synaptic abnormalities that have enduring, detrimental effects on behavior.... Read more »

Risher, M., Fleming, R., Risher, W., Miller, K., Klein, R., Wills, T., Acheson, S., Moore, S., Wilson, W., Eroglu, C.... (2015) Adolescent Intermittent Alcohol Exposure: Persistence of Structural and Functional Hippocampal Abnormalities into Adulthood. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. DOI: 10.1111/acer.12725  

  • April 28, 2015
  • 09:40 AM
  • 262 views

Murder Your Darling Hypotheses But Do Not Bury Them

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

There is surprisingly little data on how and when scientists reject hypotheses, but John Fugelsang and Kevin Dunbar at Dartmouth conducted a rather unique study "Theory and data interactions of the scientific mind: Evidence from the molecular and the cognitive laboratory" in 2004 in which they researched researchers. They sat in at scientific laboratory meetings of three renowned molecular biology laboratories at carefully recorded how scientists presented their laboratory data and how........ Read more »

Fugelsang, J., Stein, C., Green, A., & Dunbar, K. (2004) Theory and Data Interactions of the Scientific Mind: Evidence From the Molecular and the Cognitive Laboratory. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 58(2), 86-95. DOI: 10.1037/h0085799  

  • April 28, 2015
  • 07:57 AM
  • 139 views

Can feeling lonely make you hungry?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Loneliness is bad for you. Some experts have even likened it to a kind of disease. What's unclear is how being being lonely leads to these adverse effects on our health. A new study looks at one possibility – that loneliness makes people feel hungrier than normal, thus increasing their food intake and putting them at risk of obesity with all its associated health problems.Lisa Jaremka and her colleagues asked 42 women (average age 53) to fast for 12 hours before visiting the psych lab. On arri........ Read more »

Jaremka, L., Fagundes, C., Peng, J., Belury, M., Andridge, R., Malarkey, W., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (2015) Loneliness predicts postprandial ghrelin and hunger in women. Hormones and Behavior, 57-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.01.011  

  • April 28, 2015
  • 04:36 AM
  • 142 views

Melatonin and leaky gut continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Garth Swanson and colleagues [1] reporting findings suggesting that "suppression of melatonin in AD [alcohol use disorder] may promote gut leakiness and endotoxemia" make for the discussion point today.Continuing a theme from previous times on this blog that "melatonin may serve important gastrointestinal barrier functions" [2] and specifically those related to the concept of intestinal permeability and the so-called 'leaky gut' (see here), these are potentially imp........ Read more »

Swanson GR, Gorenz A, Shaikh M, Desai V, Forsyth CB, Fogg L, Burgess HJ, & Keshavarzian A. (2015) Decreased Melatonin Secretion is Associated with Increased Intestinal Permeability and Marker of Endotoxemia in Alcoholics. American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology. PMID: 25907689  

  • April 27, 2015
  • 02:03 PM
  • 185 views

Google searches for ‘n-word’ associated with black mortality

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study. Researchers found that those areas with greater levels of racism, as indexed by the proportion of Google searches containing the “n-word,” had higher mortality rates among Blacks. The study is the first to examine an Internet query-based measure of racism in relation to mortality risk.... Read more »

Chae, D., Clouston, S., Hatzenbuehler, M., Kramer, M., Cooper, H., Wilson, S., Stephens-Davidowitz, S., Gold, R., & Link, B. (2015) Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality. PLOS ONE, 10(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122963  

  • April 27, 2015
  • 07:57 AM
  • 126 views

You can change your personality at will

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Surveys show that most of us wish our personalities were different. Change is certainly possible: people's personalities evolve as they get older (for example, most of us become more friendly but less open-minded), and there's research showing more immediate influences on personality, such as our current mood (we're less extravert when we're sad). And yet, before now, no one has studied whether people can simply choose to change their personality at will.Nathan Hudson and Chris Fraley asked 135 ........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2015
  • 04:36 AM
  • 172 views

When optimal outcome in autism meets ESSENCE

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I recently came across the paper by Martina Barnevik Olsson and colleagues [1] (open-access) and their rather interesting take on the issue of optimal outcome and autism (see here for some background on this concept).Based on the idea that a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might not be as immutable as perhaps once thought (as in 'no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for the condition'), Barnevik Olsson et al reported that loss of the autism/ASD label does not........ Read more »

Barnevik Olsson, M., Westerlund, J., Lundström, S., Giacobini, M., Fernell, E., & Gillberg, C. (2015) “Recovery” from the diagnosis of autism – and then?. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 999. DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S78707  

  • April 26, 2015
  • 11:21 PM
  • 157 views

References to alcohol in UK pop music are on the increase

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"My wine is good to me, it helps me pass the time. And my good old buddy whiskey keeps me warmer than the sunshine," Aloe Blacc – I need a dollar, 2011.Psychologists have documented a striking increase in references to alcohol and heavy drinking in the lyrics of UK chart music. They warn this could mean that attempts to control the direct advertising of alcohol to young people will be in vain, as pop music is effectively spreading a positive message on the drinks companies' behalf.Katheri........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2015
  • 03:14 PM
  • 237 views

Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form opinions on GMOs........ Read more »

Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J., & Van Montagu, M. (2015) Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition. Trends in Plant Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.03.011  

  • April 25, 2015
  • 01:59 PM
  • 182 views

Mental disorders do not predict violence, so please stop

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When Sandy Hook happened, it was so shocking that to this day, some don’t actually believe it happened. Shortly after, something frustrating happened, the shooter was labeled with aspergers. This helped drive the mental health and violence connection to the point that Time came out with an article dispelling that myth. Even now according to new longitudinal study of delinquent youth, most psychiatric disorders – including depression — do not predict future violent behavior. The only except........ Read more »

Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M., & Welty, L. (2015) Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002  

  • April 25, 2015
  • 06:40 AM
  • 167 views

Puppy-Dog Eyes Release Love Hormone

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Gazing between pets and owners releases oxytocin, neurologically strengthening their bond. ... Read more »

Nagasawa, M., Mitsui, S., En, S., Ohtani, N., Ohta, M., Sakuma, Y., Onaka, T., Mogi, K., & Kikusui, T. (2015) Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds. Science, 348(6232), 333-336. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261022  

  • April 25, 2015
  • 05:43 AM
  • 90 views

Rorschach Tests at the Nuremberg Trials

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

After the fall of Nazi Germany, the victorious Allies sought to bring the leaders of the Third Reich to justice in the form of the well-known Nuremberg Trials. Less famous are the attempts by  psychologists to understand the Nazi mind in the form of psychological evaluations of the Nuremberg defendants.



A new paper by Joel E. Dimsdale of the University of California San Diego looks at one of the stranger episodes in the aftermath of WW2 - the use of the Rorschach "Inkblot" Test on Nazi de... Read more »

  • April 25, 2015
  • 03:27 AM
  • 186 views

Kids with autism: a highly [psychotropic] medicated group?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In keeping with international studies this sample of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was a highly medicated group."So said the results of the study reported by Kerry-Ann Louw and colleagues [1] back in 2013 who noted that approximately one quarter of their cohort were currently in receipt of "psychotropic medications". I don't want to linger too much on this topic given that such findings tally with other peer-reviewed reports including those with much larger partici........ Read more »

  • April 24, 2015
  • 09:51 AM
  • 189 views

Marmoset Parents Teach Their Kids Not to Interrupt

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



No one expects a human infant to slide into the world with a good grasp of grammar. Marmosets, another kind of chatty primate, are also poor conversationalists when they're young. But their parents seem to teach them how it's done. Young marmosets learn the cardinal rule of having a conversation: don't interrupt. And if they mess up, their parents give them the silent treatment.

Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) live in large family groups in the forests of Brazil. "Because marmosets ... Read more »

Chow, C., Mitchell, J., & Miller, C. (2015) Vocal turn-taking in a non-human primate is learned during ontogeny. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1807), 20150069-20150069. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0069  

  • April 24, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 207 views

“I know I shouldn’t text from the toilet,  but….”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

People take selfies at funerals and text during sex. Others text while in the shower or while using the toilet (which apparently is not just for newspapers and books any longer). And wherever there are social faux pas’ you can bet academic researchers are not far behind. In fact, today we have research on just […]

Related posts:
Be careful what you text!
Let’s see if you can text him from jail…
When the defendant texts the juror…


... Read more »

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