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  • February 7, 2014
  • 10:05 AM

A Dog Can’t Teach a Dog New Tricks (But It Can Teach a Wolf)

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

In a dirt-floored room in Austria, a puppy sniffed and pawed at a wooden box with a treat inside. It circled the box over and over, unable to find a way in. Finally it sat at the feet of a nearby human and looked up at her appealingly, swishing its tail. The woman stared at […]The post A Dog Can’t Teach a Dog New Tricks (But It Can Teach a Wolf) appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • February 7, 2014
  • 04:49 AM

Anti-brain antibodies and behavioural profiles of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Anti-brain antibodies have been quite a recurrent theme in autism research circles over the past few years. I've covered research in this area a few times on this blog; primarily from the perspective of an intriguing bank of work looking at how the presence of circulating maternal auto-antibodies to foetal brain protein might heighten the risk of offspring autism (see here). If I also mention the words 'MAR autism' you can get a flavour as to how far this research has come, as well as the potent........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2014
  • 09:30 AM

Is Age-Related Mental Decline Not As Bad As We Think?

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

It’s well-supported in psychology that fluid intelligence (i.e. a person’s ability to solve unique, unfamiliar problems or remember large amounts of unfamiliar information, or otherwise flex their mental muscles) decreases with age.  There are several theories as to why – perhaps our brains become less efficient over time as our neurons age, or perhaps we […]Related articles from NeoAcademic:Can You Trust Self-Help Mental Health Information from the Internet?Inappropriat........ Read more »

Ramscar, M., Hendrix, P., Shaoul, C., Milin, P., & Baayen, H. (2014) The myth of cognitive decline: Non-linear dynamics of lifelong learning. Topics in Cognitive Science, 5-42. info:/10.1111/tops.12078

  • February 5, 2014
  • 08:51 AM

Journal Club: Half-siders: A tale of two birdies

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Chimæras have been in the news a lot recently. Also known as "halfsiders" or tetragametic chimæras, these unusual birds are actually two genetically distinct individuals -- twins -- fused into one being. This piece investigates how this biological accident occurs.... Read more »

Zhao D., McBride D., Nandi S., McQueen H. A., McGrew M. J., Hocking P. M., Lewis P. D., Sang H. M., & Clinton M. (2010) Somatic sex identity is cell autonomous in the chicken. Nature, 464(7286), 237-242. DOI: 10.1038/nature08852  

Agate R. J., Grisham W., Wade J., Mann S., Wingfield J., Schanen C., Palotie A., & Arnold A. P. (2003) Neural, not gonadal, origin of brain sex differences in a gynandromorphic finch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(8), 4873-4878. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0636925100  

Macklin Madge Thurlow. (1923) A description of material from a gynandromorph fowl. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 38(3), 355-375. DOI: 10.1002/jez.1400380302  

  • February 5, 2014
  • 08:30 AM

Is Caring for Animals Good for Young People's Social Development?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study finds that young people who have pets are more connected to their communities than those who don't.Photo: Jasmin Awad / ShutterstockThe study, by Megan Mueller (Tufts University), is published in the journal Applied Developmental Science. It is based on a survey of 567 young people in the US aged between 18 and 26, and was part of a wider longitudinal study called the 4-H study. The questionnaire asked whether or not participants owned an animal, how often they were responsible ........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2014
  • 05:15 AM

At Night People Are More Likely To Lie and Cheat

by Eva de Lozanne in United Academics

people who are normally expected to behave morally, become less likely to do so as the day progresses. The happenings and activities of a normal day exhaust the capacity for self-control, thus making it harder to resist immoral behavior.... Read more »

  • February 5, 2014
  • 05:02 AM

Autism and obstacles to medical diagnosis and treatment

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post reflects the title of the paper by Marcia Datlow Smith and colleagues* which was given to me by Natasa (many thanks) a few days back. The paper is from 2012 so I don't think we can consider this a post about new research. Nevertheless the subject matter of the paper is potentially very important: "describing individuals with autism whose catastrophic illnesses were misdiagnosed due, at least partially, to their autism".@ WikipediaIt is indeed a pity that the Smith paper is........ Read more »

Marcia Datlow Smith, Patrick J. Graveline, & Jared Brian Smith. (2012) Autism and Obstacles to Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. Focus Autism Other Dev Disabl . DOI: 10.1177/1088357612450049  

  • February 4, 2014
  • 11:45 PM

Phenotypic plasticity, learning, and evolution

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Learning and evolution are eerily similar, yet different. This tension fuels my interest in understanding how they interact. In the context of social learning, we can think of learning and evolution as different dynamics. For individual learning, however, it is harder to find a difference. On the one hand, this has led learning experts like […]... Read more »

  • February 4, 2014
  • 11:10 PM

Meditation Mitigates Effects of Cognitive Biases

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

There have been thousands of scholarly articles written about the myriad benefits of meditation, but the one I came across recently was one of the first that confirmed one of my previously held beliefs: meditation helps you make better decisions. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 4, 2014
  • 09:48 PM

Setting a Target Weight: An Arbitrary Exercise?

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Achieving a healthy weight is a major goal of anorexia nervosa treatment. Indeed, a healthy weight is often seen as a prerequisite for psychological recovery. The fact that weight restoration is a crucial component of recovery is uncontroversial, the problem arises when it comes to determining what constitutes a healthy weight. How are ideal, optimal, or goal weights set? And who gets to decide?
Despite its recognized importance, there’s surprisingly little consensus on how target w........ Read more »

  • February 4, 2014
  • 06:50 AM

Stereotypical dogs: repetitive and pointless?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

"I'm a labrador" does not = "I'm hungry" (source)Hey Julie,it's great to get an updated view of what's on the canine science cards for you in 2014 - looks like we're both going to be keeping busy - and wouldn't have it any other way!I can't believe we're already into February, to be honest. There are so many great new publications coming out, it's quite exciting to be able to share them with you here! You know I'm always thinking about the welfare of kennelled dogs (because PhD!) and I noticed a........ Read more »

  • February 4, 2014
  • 04:33 AM

Just because you're tone deaf doesn't mean you aren't musical

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists estimate that around 4 per cent of the population have a specific impairment affecting their processing of pitch. Tone deafness, or "amusia" to use its technical name, runs in families and it often goes hand in hand with an inability to sing and to recognise and enjoy melodies. No wonder that people with amusia are usually thought of as not being musical.However, in a new paper Jessica Phillips-Silver and her colleagues argue that the musical deficits associated with amusia may hav........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2014
  • 12:00 PM

Don’t Remember Your Baby Days? Blame New Neurons!

by knowingneurons in Knowing Neurons

Think back to when you were two years old.  Think HARD.  Anything? If you’re like most people, you’re probably drawing a blank.  Across cultures, adults can’t seem to recall any […]... Read more »

Josselyn S. A., & Frankland P. W. (2012) Infantile amnesia: A neurogenic hypothesis. Learning , 19(9), 423-433. DOI: 10.1101/lm.021311.110  

Sahay Amar, Scobie Kimberly N., Hill Alexis S., O'Carroll Colin M., Kheirbek Mazen A., Burghardt Nesha S., Fenton André A., Dranovsky Alex, & Hen René. (2011) Increasing adult hippocampal neurogenesis is sufficient to improve pattern separation. Nature, 472(7344), 466-470. DOI: 10.1038/nature09817  

  • February 3, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: The Red Sneakers Effect

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

All those dress for success formulas apparently forgot something important. Nonconformity can be a good thing when thoughtfully applied. However, if observers think you are unaware that your behavior or attire is not conforming–then you’re just a weirdo. Harvard researchers call this the “red sneakers effect” and here’s how it works.  Many of us think […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: The innuendo effect
Simple Jury Persuasion: The “turban effect”
Simple Jury P........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2014
  • 05:24 AM

Smoking, Nicotine Addiction, and why it's Hard to Kick the Habit!

by Robb Hollis in Antisense Science

So we all know smoking is bad for us – we were told when we were kids, and even the packets have warning messages and gruesome pictures to try and help us kick the habit! So why do people still smoke?


As most of you will already know, it’s the nicotine in cigarettes that is the primary cause of smoking addiction. The nicotine is absorbed when cigarette smoke is inhaled and goes on to affect normal body functions, as well as mood and cognition – this is becaus........ Read more »

Grunberg NE. (2007) A neurobiological basis for nicotine withdrawal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(46), 17901-2. PMID: 17989218  

George O, Ghozland S, Azar MR, Cottone P, Zorrilla EP, Parsons LH, O'Dell LE, Richardson HN, & Koob GF. (2007) CRF-CRF1 system activation mediates withdrawal-induced increases in nicotine self-administration in nicotine-dependent rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(43), 17198-203. PMID: 17921249  

  • February 3, 2014
  • 04:57 AM

You still can't tickle yourself, even if you swap bodies with another person

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

From Van Doorn et al, 2014.You wouldn't believe the amount of ink spilled by neuroscientists and psychologists attempting to explain the simple fact that we can't tickle ourselves. A popular, long-standing theory posits that the self-tickle failure occurs because of the way that the brain cancels out sensations caused by its own movements. To do this, so the theory states, the brain uses the motor command underlying a given action to make a prediction of the likely sensory consequences of that a........ Read more »

Van Doorn G, Hohwy J, & Symmons M. (2014) Can you tickle yourself if you swap bodies with someone else?. Consciousness and cognition, 1-11. PMID: 24270589  

  • February 3, 2014
  • 04:37 AM

Plasma leptin levels and autism: a growing consistency?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Increased levels of leptin in cases of autism was a primary finding described in the paper by Rodrigues and colleagues [1] as part of their analysis of the adipokines, the cell signalling molecules secreted by fat (adipose tissue) (see this paper by Trayhurn and colleagues [2] for quite a good overview). Not for the first time I might add, that elevations in levels of leptin have been talked about with autism in mind [3]. Indeed if you want even more evidence o........ Read more »

Rodrigues D.H, Rocha N.P, Sousa L.F.C, Barbosa I.G, Kummer A, & Teixeira A.L. (2013) Changes in Adipokine Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neuropsychobiology. info:/

  • February 2, 2014
  • 03:24 PM

The Influence of Gratitude Intervention on Children's Positive Affect

by John Wayland in Psych Radar

Positive Affect (PA) can be defined as a set of characteristics such as confidence, self-efficacy, pro-social behaviour and optimism that serve to encourage an individual to engage with their environment and pursue their goals (Lyubomirsky, King and Diener 2005).Froh, Kashdan, Ozimkowski and Miller (2009) maintain that people with low PA require more positive experiences to match the level of PA experienced by people who are generally happier. According to Froh et al. (2009) cultivation of grati........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2014
  • 09:14 PM

DDT and Alzheimer's disease risk

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Dichlordiphenyltrichloroethane, also known as DDT, emerged during World War II as something of a miracle chemical. The war had left cities across Europe devastated and struggling to cope with (among other things) poor sanitation, which created a fertile environment for the spread of disease. When Allied forces entered Naples soon after the Germans retreated, they discovered a typhus epidemic that was killing 25% of those infected; the number of infected was into the thousands. The Germans, befor........ Read more »

Richardson JR, Roy A, Shalat SL, von Stein RT, Hossain MM, Buckley B, Gearing M, Levey AI, & German DC. (2014) Elevated Serum Pesticide Levels and Risk for Alzheimer Disease. JAMA neurology. PMID: 24473795  

  • February 1, 2014
  • 10:00 AM

The Benefits Of Increasing Arrogance Of Modern Youth

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

One theme that keeps coming back in this discussion about modern youth with their smartphones, is their self esteem. Look at all the selfies and the self-centered tweets they send out into the world. Especially the older generations agree: this can’t be healthy.... Read more »

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