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  • December 1, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 252 views

Toddler language and autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not going to keep you too long today as I introduce the paper by DeWayne Lazenby and colleagues [1] and some rather interesting data on whether early language use might help predict those toddlers who are at subsequent risk of being diagnosed on the autism spectrum.Based on the prospective analysis of over 300 infants - "some of whom were at high risk for developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" - authors went about analysing various aspects of language using among other things, ........ Read more »

Lazenby DC, Sideridis GD, Huntington N, Prante M, Dale PS, Curtin S, Henkel L, Iverson JM, Carver L, Dobkins K.... (2015) Language Differences at 12 Months in Infants Who Develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26476738  

  • November 30, 2015
  • 04:00 AM
  • 141 views

The secret to a conflict-proof relationship? Feeling like your partner understands you

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A relationship under strain can be helped by a dose of understanding. In itself, this is no new insight, and it makes sense that understanding your partner and looking for mutual solutions is healthier than looking to win the argument or change them. But new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that quite aside from any practical value of understanding, simply feeling understood can nullify conflict’s impact – or even allow it to improve relationshi........ Read more »

  • November 30, 2015
  • 02:47 AM
  • 216 views

Health service use, autism and preventative medicine

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Appreciating that the title of this post potentially offers the opportunity to write a long (very long) post, today I'm specifically focusing on two papers. The first by Janet Cummings and colleagues [1] discussing health service use "among youth with and without an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" concluded that yes, young people with autism were more likely to experience health service use than not-autism control populations. Importantly however, was the suggestion that this group were "less li........ Read more »

Cummings JR, Lynch FL, Rust KC, Coleman KJ, Madden JM, Owen-Smith AA, Yau VM, Qian Y, Pearson KA, Crawford PM.... (2015) Health Services Utilization Among Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26547921  

  • November 29, 2015
  • 11:45 PM
  • 292 views

Diversity and persistence of group tags under replicator dynamics

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Everyday I walk to the Stabile Research Building to drink espresso and sit in my cozy — although oversaturated with screens — office. Oh, and to chat about research with great people like Arturo Araujo, David Basanta, Jill Gallaher, Jacob Scott, Robert Vander Velde and other Moffitters. This walk to the office takes about 30 […]... Read more »

Jansson, F. (2015) What games support the evolution of an ingroup bias?. Journal of theoretical biology, 100-10. PMID: 25794651  

  • November 29, 2015
  • 03:06 PM
  • 218 views

Mental health risk for new dads

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have found anxiety around the arrival of a new baby is just as common as postnatal depression, and the risks for men are nearly as high as for women. Mental health researcher Dr Liana Leach reviewed 43 separate studies and found anxiety before and after a child arrives is just as prevalent as depression, affecting around one in ten men, around half the rate for women.... Read more »

  • November 28, 2015
  • 02:54 AM
  • 246 views

Acetylcysteine and autism: another case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to spend too long on the findings reported by Danielle Stutzman & Julie Dopheide [1] talking about how: "Treatment with acetylcysteine improved ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms, including irritability and aggression, in a teenage patient" but it is a blog-worthy paper.Describing the experiences of a "7-year-old Hispanic male with ASD and intellectual disability" who was hospitalised due to some rather 'challenging behaviours', the authors noted how the addi........ Read more »

Stutzman D, & Dopheide J. (2015) Acetylcysteine for treatment of autism spectrum disorder symptoms. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 72(22), 1956-9. PMID: 26541950  

  • November 27, 2015
  • 10:45 PM
  • 277 views

A Treatise on the Physics and Psychology of Heavy Metal Music

by Amiya Sarkar in Physiology physics woven fine

A rather panoramic view of the heavy metal arena encompassing various aspects of science and psychology. ... Read more »

Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, & Itai Cohen. (2013) Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.228701. arXiv: 1302.1886v1

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:06 AM
  • 227 views

Premature mortality and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Premature mortality was markedly increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] owing to a multitude of medical conditions."So said the study by Tatja Hirvikoski and colleagues [1] and findings that although making uncomfortable reading, highlight how we have some way to go when it comes to addressing important health inequalities as and when a label of autism or ASD is given.Drawing on Swedish data including over 27,000 people diagnosed with an ASD between 1987 and 2009 compared against........ Read more »

Hirvikoski T, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Boman M, Larsson H, Lichtenstein P, & Bölte S. (2015) Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 26541693  

  • November 26, 2015
  • 05:31 AM
  • 254 views

Does it matter if pain medication is branded or not?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Around the world many health services are moving towards generic (non-branded) medicines as a way to reduce costs. Where does psychology come into this? Well, we know that, thanks to the placebo effect, people's expectations about a treatment can influence the effects that treatment has on them. We also know, thanks to research conducted over the last decade, that people expect branded medicines to be more effective and to have fewer side effects than their generic counterparts. A new study in H........ Read more »

  • November 26, 2015
  • 04:59 AM
  • 235 views

The continued rise of autism research metabolomics

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

For anyone that has followed this blog down the years you'll probably have noticed that I'm quite a big fan of the inclusion of the science of metabolomics on to the autism research menu (see here for example).Looking at the myriad of chemical footprints left behind by an almost incomprehensible number of cellular processes, metabolomics offers some real promise to autism in terms of teasing apart phenotypes and as a valuable partner to other -omics sciences in ascertaining the relevance or not ........ Read more »

Dieme B, Mavel S, Blasco H, Tripi G, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Malvy J, Bocca C, Andres CR, Nadal-Desbarats L, & Emond P. (2015) Metabolomics study of urine in autism spectrum disorders using a multiplatform analytical methodology. Journal of proteome research. PMID: 26538324  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 213 views

Will your genetic defense for that violent crime backfire? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The growing body of research on genetic variations and their relation to crime may leave you uncertain about how to best defend your client charged with a violent crime. Do you encourage jurors to support an insanity defense by using a genetic defense or does that route backfire and leave jurors seeing your client as […]

Related posts:
Teaching people about neuroscience can make them softer on crime!
The “Nerd Defense”: Redux
Automatism and the Ambien Defense


... Read more »

  • November 25, 2015
  • 04:41 AM
  • 213 views

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the media: a few thoughts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Are you on the autistic spectrum? Take the test" read a recent media headline.Commenting on the findings reported by Emily Ruzich and colleagues [1], the headline is followed by some pretty bizarre text about how the study "has confirmed that men are more likely to be autistic than women."I have to take some exception to this sentence, as I quote from the Ruzich findings: "In a sample of nearly half a million individuals, we found a moderate effect of sex on AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotie........ Read more »

  • November 25, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 197 views

Are extraverts or introverts more cooperative? It depends on the situation

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Our achievements as a species owe a debt to our willingness to cooperate. But we all vary in how we solve the social dilemma – whether in any given situation we choose to favour self-interest or cooperation. This issue has long fascinated researchers, who delight in testing people’s choices in hypothetical setups involving prisoners’ loyalty to each other or the sharing of community resources. But these setups have struggled to give us a clear picture of how personality tips people one way........ Read more »

Schroeder, K., Nettle, D., & McElreath, R. (2015) Interactions between personality and institutions in cooperative behaviour in humans. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1683), 20150011. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0011  

  • November 24, 2015
  • 06:41 AM
  • 157 views

Why do people find some nonsense words like "finglam" funnier than others like "sersice"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Calm down, it's not that funny! When you're trying to understand a complex phenomenon, a sensible approach is to pare things back as far as possible. For a new study, published recently in the Journal of Memory and Language, psychologists have applied that very principle to test a popular theory of humour.The theory states that, fundamentally, we are most often amused when we are surprised by, and then resolve, an apparent incongruity: a word that didn't mean what we originally thought........ Read more »

  • November 24, 2015
  • 06:04 AM
  • 226 views

Pinocchio and Captain Hook: Suffering from Tinnitus?

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

You might be wondering what Pinocchio and Captain Hook have in common. Well, they are both from children’s stories, they both have prosthetics, they have issues with being honest, and they both experience interesting maritime adventures. But there is something else too: they are both annoyed by a continuous ticking sound that follows them everywhere. For Pinocchio it is Jiminy Cricket who bothers him while for Hook the crocodile is ticking merrily away. I can hear you saying: “So? Wh........ Read more »

  • November 24, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 155 views

Embrace your bad moods and they may not take such a toll on you

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"Being upset is a warmer, close-up feeling, not a chilly distant feeling like laughing at people" from Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes LastGenerally speaking, being in a bad mood isn't just no fun, it also isn't good for you – people who feel negative emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness a lot of the time tend to have poorer social lives and suffer worse physical health in the long run, suggesting that dark moods take a toll. But a new study published in Emotion shows how this i........ Read more »

  • November 24, 2015
  • 04:33 AM
  • 248 views

Secondary conditions impacting on obesity stats in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Decision makers, clinicians, and researchers developing interventions for children with ASDs [autism spectrum disorders] should consider how secondary conditions may impact obesity and related activities."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Kathryn Corvey and colleagues [1] looking to: "examine obesity, overweight, physical activity, and sedentary behavior among children and youth with and without ASD using nationally representative data and controlling for secondary ........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2015
  • 07:00 PM
  • 282 views

Dopamine measurements reveal insights into how we learn

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have reported measurements of dopamine release with unprecedented temporal precision in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. The measurements, collected during brain surgery as the conscious patients played an investment game, demonstrate how rapid dopamine release encodes information crucial for human choice.... Read more »

Kenneth T. Kishida, Ignacio Saez, Terry Lohrenz, Mark R. Witcher, Adrian W. Laxton, Stephen B. Tatter, Jason P. White, Thomas L. Ellis, Paul E. M. Phillips, & P. Read Montague. (2015) Subsecond dopamine fluctuations in human striatum encode superposed error signals about actual and counterfactual reward. Proceedings of the natural sciences academy of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1513619112

  • November 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 256 views

Guilt-proneness and the ability to recognize the emotions of  others

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Three years ago we wrote about the goodness of fit for the guilt-prone with the presiding juror position. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, there were a number of reasons supporting them in that role. And today, new research gives us another reason the guilt-prone may be more skilled at leadership—they are more able to identify […]

Related posts:
The GASP scale: A new measure of guilt and shame proneness
Should you want guilt-prone leaders for that jury?
Do we want convicted felons to........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2015
  • 05:06 AM
  • 138 views

On some issues, liberals are more dogmatic than conservatives

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In the liberal worldview, conservatives are notoriously narrow-minded – and for years we’ve had the science to prove it. Meta-analyses published in 2003 and 2010 of dozens of studies using different measures revealed a consensus on "the rigidity of the right" – that is, people who hold more right-wing views tend to be more close-minded. Case closed? Or should we be open to other perspectives, such as the one offered in a new article published recently in Political Psychology. Produced by a........ Read more »

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