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  • June 8, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 409 views

Canine Science is Better than Common Sense

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We need canine science because common sense can lead us astray.Recently I wrote about why science matters to our dogs and cats, based on findings from Dr. Paige Jarreau’s research that suggests science blogs (like this one) may contribute to readers having a better knowledge of science.I thought of this again recently because a comment I often see from readers – on any kind of science story on the internet – is "don’t we know this already? Isn’t it just common sense?"I understand the c........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 274 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: “This is really about morality” 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a research finding that some might call a “silver bullet” for litigation advocacy. We are always looking for nuggets of wisdom in research findings and this is one we think makes a lot of sense for use in court. These researchers wanted to see if people could “be induced to view their own attitudes […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: “Hey, look over here for a second!” 
Simple Jury Persuasion: You lookin’........ Read more »

Luttrell, A., Petty, R., Briñol, P., & Wagner, B. (2016) Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.04.003  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 04:44 AM
  • 184 views

You laugh differently with friends than you do with strangers (and listeners can tell the difference)

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Lucy FoulkesThe amount and type of laughter between two people can potentially tell us much more than that they are sharing a joke. For example, friends laugh more than strangers, and shared laughter can be an indicator of sexual interest between a couple. But as onlookers, how well can we use the sound of laughter to make these kinds of inferences? A new study in PNAS is the first to investigate this and it turns out, regardless of our culture or where we live, we are pretty go........ Read more »

Bryant, G., Fessler, D., Fusaroli, R., Clint, E., Aarøe, L., Apicella, C., Petersen, M., Bickham, S., Bolyanatz, A., Chavez, B.... (2016) Detecting affiliation in colaughter across 24 societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4682-4687. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1524993113  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:48 AM
  • 222 views

10,000 hours debunked again? In elite sport, amount of practice does not explain who performs best

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In elite sport, what distinguishes the best from the also rans? A new meta-analysis in Perspectives on Psychological Science looks at all the relevant data to see whether the most important factor is an athlete's amount of accumulated "deliberate practice" – that is, practice that's designed, through feedback and other methods, to improve performance. In fact, the new analysis shows that differences in amount of practice do not explain performance levels among elite athletes. At sub-........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 304 views

Stressed medial students and Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings indicate that the daily consumption of probiotics such as LcS [Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota] preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and may relieve stress-associated responses of abdominal dysfunction in healthy subjects exposed to stressful situations."So said the findings reported by Akito Kato-Kataoka and colleagues [1] who following the use of a "double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" method were able to potentially offer "healthy medical students undert........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 278 views

Interest in romantic relationships is high in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's official: "the vast majority of high-functioning adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are interested in romantic relationships." Yes, the scientific findings reported by Sandra Strunz and colleagues [1] have said as much.Sorry to be so sarcastic about them but coming from a place where the words 'the bleedin' obvious' are commonly used, I couldn't believe that in 2016 anyone would genuinely believe otherwise. Yes, I know the autism awareness et al message still has some........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 01:06 AM
  • 398 views

Advil Increases Social Pain (if you're male)

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Headache, Guillaume DELEBARRE (Guigui-Lille)A recent neuroessay in the New York Times asked, Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?What’s crazy about the pain of a broken heart is that your body perceives it as physical pain.No it does not. Do you feel heartbroken every time you stub your toe?Well... I guess the social pain = physical pain isomorphism is a one way street. Anyway, the author continued:In research published in 2010, scientists found that acetaminophen can reduce physical and neur........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 240 views

Acetaminophen: Or why you have to read more than the  headlines when it comes to research

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

John Oliver recently took on mass media coverage of scientific findings on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. The result is a searing video mocking the distortions and misinterpretations (and even flat-out lies) about research findings as presented in mass media. Since his episode aired (a link to the video is at the end of […]

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  • June 6, 2016
  • 06:04 AM
  • 230 views

How depression affects couples – in their own words

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Depression has been called a "we-disease" because when the dark clouds arrive, it's not just the depressed person who is affected, but all those close to them. A new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationship explored these spillover effects in the context of romantic couples, where one or both individuals have a diagnosis of clinical depression. The US study broke new ground by asking both partners in each couple to provide their perspective on how depression had affected their re........ Read more »

Sharabi, L., Delaney, A., & Knobloch, L. (2015) In their own words: How clinical depression affects romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33(4), 421-448. DOI: 10.1177/0265407515578820  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 286 views

Many NCAA Clinicians Fail to Screen Mental Health

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Only 39% of respondents from NCAA institutions indicated that they had a written mental health screening plan. There is a wide variability between mental health screening practices among NCAA institutions.... Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 272 views

C-reactive protein "may be a causal risk factor for schizophrenia"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although the public perception of science is that researchers go around 'proving' or 'disproving' that A leads to B or X causes Y, it is still surprisingly rare to see the word 'causal' in many areas of peer-reviewed research. Aside from the fact that science generally works around the concept of 'probability' - producing data pertinent to discussions on whether something is more or less likely to be true/false - most science is not so forthright in its conclusions. Certainly science covering th........ Read more »

Inoshita M, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Umehara H, Nakataki M, Ikeda M, Maruyama S, Yamamori H, Kanazawa T.... (2016) A significant causal association between C-reactive protein levels and schizophrenia. Scientific reports, 26105. PMID: 27193331  

  • June 4, 2016
  • 07:40 PM
  • 285 views

Trauma research must be Open Access

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

We recently examined how global and how open the literature on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is.

Not so global, and not so open.

Only 13% of the publications of 2012 regarded samples in low- or middle-income countries and 58% were behind a paywall.

It worries me that practicing psychologists can’t access the latest research on therapy effectiveness...
... Read more »

  • June 4, 2016
  • 03:40 AM
  • 274 views

Antibiotic brain part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Mouse study finds link between gut bacteria and neurogenesis" went the press release accompanying the paper by Luisa Möhle and colleagues [1] (open-access). Describing the results of a mouse study - that's MOUSE study - researchers reported that "treatment of adult mice with antibiotics decreases hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention."The antibiotic mix used on study mice was quite an aggressive one: "ampicillin plus sulbactam (1.5 g/l; Pfizer), vancomycin (500 mg/l; Cell Pharm), ........ Read more »

Luisa Möhle, Daniele Mattei, Markus M. Heimesaat, Stefan Bereswill, André Fischer, Marie Alutis, Timothy French, Dolores Hambardzumyan, Polly Matzinger, Ildiko R. Dunay.... (2016) Ly6Chi Monocytes Provide a Link between Antibiotic-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Cell Reports. info:/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.074

  • June 3, 2016
  • 01:42 PM
  • 296 views

The Myth of the Optimism Bias?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are humans natural, irrational optimists? According to many psychologists, humans show a fundamental optimism bias, a tendency to underestimate our chances of suffering negative events. It's said that when thinking about harmful events, such as contracting cancer, most people believe that their risk is lower than that of 'the average person'. So, on average, people rate themselves as safer than the average. Moreover, people are also said to show biased belief updating. Faced with evidence that t........ Read more »

Punit Shah, Adam J. L. Harris, Geoffrey Bird, Caroline Catmur, & Ulrike Hahn. (2016) A Pessimistic View of Optimistic Belief Updating. Cognitive Psychology. info:/

  • June 3, 2016
  • 06:51 AM
  • 273 views

When do girls and boys start preferring gender-stereotypical toys?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Do boys prefer playing with trucks and balls, while girls prefer dolls, because they are socialised from an early age to play this way, or do their play habits reflect innate differences in interests between the sexes? In a world where there are major gender imbalances in participation in science, sport, politics and other areas, this is a controversial question. Evidence for very early sex differences in toy interests could arguably support the idea that the sexes are directed down different ca........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2016
  • 04:56 AM
  • 269 views

The effects of acute exercise on ME/CFS/SEID meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Accepting that the science recipe that is a meta-analysis is only as good as the research ingredients that go into it, I was interested to see the results published by Bryan Loy and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "preliminary evidence indicates that acute exercise increases fatigue in people with ME/CFS/SEID more than in control groups, but effects were heterogeneous between studies."ME - myalgic encephalomyelitis - and CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - are conditions that I'm interested........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2016
  • 11:45 PM
  • 454 views

Systemic change, effective altruism and philanthropy

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

The topics of effective altruism and social (in)justice have weighed heavy on my mind for several years. I’ve even touched on the latter occasionally on TheEGG, but usually in specific domains closer to my expertise, such as in my post on the ethics of big data. Recently, I started reading more thoroughly about effective altruism. […]... Read more »

Falk, A., & Szech, N. (2013) Morals and Markets. Science, 340(6133), 707-711. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231566  

  • June 2, 2016
  • 08:39 AM
  • 236 views

People who work for non-profit organisations are happier with their jobs and life in general

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Working for a commercial organisation, especially in a senior position, there may be more scope for bigger pay cheques, performance bonuses and a company car, but a new study in the Journal of Economic Psychology finds that British people who work for not-for-profit organisations, including charities and social enterprises (also known as the third sector), are the real winners. Controlling for the influence of other relevant personal factors such as marital status and education, workers at non-p........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2016
  • 04:14 AM
  • 262 views

Neonatal pain 'causing' autism? I'm not so sure...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I wasn't actually going to talk about the paper by Jin Hwan Lee and colleagues [1] on this blog and the suggestion that: "severe inflammatory pain in neonates and persistent inflammatory reactions may predispose premature infants to development delays and psychiatric disorders including ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." I changed my mind however when a piece appeared on-line titled: 'New Autism Dispute: Is Circumcision a Factor?' with mention of 'ritual circumcision and autism' being ma........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 06:50 PM
  • 374 views

You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (if the Dog Is a Parrot)

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Like Snapchat abstainers or reluctant Slack users, adult parrots have a hard time learning new tricks. Older birds stay set in their ways while young birds innovate and try new things. Researchers say that's just as it should be—even if it means the grownups miss out on a treat now and then.

Young animals might be better at creative problem-solving because they're fearless and like to explore. On the other hand (or paw, or claw), older animals might do better because they have more knowle... Read more »

Loepelt, J., Shaw, R., & Burns, K. (2016) Can you teach an old parrot new tricks? Cognitive development in wild kaka ( ) . Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1832), 20153056. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.3056  

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