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  • June 4, 2014
  • 08:45 AM

How Does Your Facebook News Feed Affect You?

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Researchers at Facebook, Inc., the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Cornell University teamed up to study whether manipulating the News Feeds of Facebook users would affect the emotional content of the users' status updates or postings. They recently published their findings in the PNAS paper "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks" and suggest that they have found evidence of an "emotional contagion", i.e. t........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 08:30 AM

Is Cruelty to Animals in Childhood a Predictor of Later Criminal Behaviour?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Does cruelty to animals as a child predict interpersonal violence in adulthood?Photo: Rita Kochmarjova / ShutterstockNew research by Kelly Knight, Colter Ellis and Sara Simmons (Sam Houston State University) investigates how many children are cruel to animals and whether it persists through generations. The study is especially valuable because it uses a sample that is representative of the US population and tracks families over the years.There are two main theories about childhood cruelty to ani........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 08:04 AM

The world shifts to the right when you're sleepy

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When you're drowsy, new research shows that what's happening on your left often sounds to you as though it's happening on your right. Perhaps that's why it can be so tricky to land a punch on the alarm clock in the morning!Corinne Bareham and her team asked 26 healthy volunteers (17 women; all right-handers) to relax in a comfortable reclining chair, to close their eyes, and listen to a series of tones. The tones occurred either on the left or right side of space, some further from the centre th........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 06:39 AM

Using speech fillers such as "I mean" and "you know" is a sign of conscientiousness

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Few people are capable of speaking spontaneously without, er, you know, pausing and using filler words every now and again. However, we all differ in the extent to which we do this, and now a study by US researchers has examined how use of filler words varies according to age, gender and personality.Charlyn Laserna and her colleagues used recordings of everyday speech collected from hundreds of participants in earlier studies performed between 2003 and 2013. They specifically looked at utterance........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 04:27 AM

Vitamin D and depression / depressive symptoms

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I promise you that I'm not getting too obsessed with the sunshine vitamin/hormone that is vitamin D despite chatter about it appearing with growing frequency on this blog. It's just that nearly every day now one or more of my research alerts seems to turn up some new study suggesting that we really should be looking at vitamin D with greater assiduity with regards to a whole range of issues. By saying that I would also reiterate the timeless classic: correlation does not equal causation jus........ Read more »

Anglin RE, Samaan Z, Walter SD, & McDonald SD. (2013) Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 100-7. PMID: 23377209  

  • June 3, 2014
  • 07:37 AM

Sharing Our Sorrow Via Facebook

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid ("Shared sorrow is half the sorrow") is a popular German proverb which refers to the importance of sharing bad news and troubling experiences with others. The therapeutic process of sharing takes on many different forms: we may take comfort in the fact that others have experienced similar forms of sorrow, we are often reassured by the empathy and encouragement we receive from friends, and even the mere process of narrating the details of what is troubling........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2014
  • 07:03 AM

Elevated amniotic fluid steroid hormones and autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results provide the first direct evidence of elevated fetal steroidogenic activity in autism". Such were the sentiments of the paper by Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at amniotic fluid samples for the presence of various sex steroid levels: Progesterone, 17α-Hydroxy-progesterone, Androstenedione, Testosterone and Cortisol. Most compounds are found in the Δ4 pathway. Suffice to say that the media kinda liked the press release for this study (see here) and the ........ Read more »

Baron-Cohen, S., Auyeung, B., Nørgaard-Pedersen, B., Hougaard, D., Abdallah, M., Melgaard, L., Cohen, A., Chakrabarti, B., Ruta, L., & Lombardo, M. (2014) Elevated fetal steroidogenic activity in autism. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.48  

  • June 2, 2014
  • 11:48 PM

Blasphemous art and attitudes towards censorship: Examining an apparent double standard

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

Blasphemous artworks highlight the tension between support for free speech and the desire not to offend. A recent study on attitudes towards censorship highlights a double standard among non-religious people when it comes to offending Muslims versus Christians, that may be indicative of a wider social problem in current Western society. ... Read more »

  • June 2, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

Meditation alters your brain's default settings

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

One of the more recent discoveries of neuroscience is that when you stare into space, gather wool, daydream, or otherwise let your mind wander, the “default-mode network” of your brain starts to rev up into high gear. This network has quite naturally captured the fancy of meditation researchers: meditation is a practice of being mindfully present, with little if any mind wandering. So if meditators succeed in suppressing mind wandering, what does that mean they have done to the defau........ Read more »

Brewer JA, Worhunsky PD, Gray JR, Tang YY, Weber J, & Kober H. (2011) Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(50), 20254-9. PMID: 22114193  

  • June 2, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about women and leadership before. While some new research shows female leaders handle stress more effectively than male leaders, we’re not going to write about that one today. Instead, here is a report on a study showing some other good news: women are no longer punished for behaving assertively in a leadership role! […]

Related posts:
This is what a good leader does not look like
Everyday racism at work: Hope for African American Women?
“It was ‘a man’s work’........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2014
  • 04:55 AM

What should autism research focus upon?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post comes from the paper by Elizabeth Pellicano and colleagues [1] who sought views from various stakeholders on "whether the pattern of current UK autism research funding maps on to the concerns of the autism community". This peer-reviewed article I think also ties into the 'Future Made Together' document (download here) produced by the authors.S..T...RRRIIIKKKEEE... @ Wikipedia Because this is supposed to be a blog about autism research, I thought it important to p........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2014
  • 03:25 PM

In Science We Trust

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure, I could do a poll right now, how many of you are science fans? I figure if you are reading my blog then the answer is most [if not […]... Read more »

  • May 31, 2014
  • 10:06 AM

Ostracism, A Stressful and Aversive Part of Everday Life

by Dan DeFoe in Psycholawlogy

Ostracizers ignore and exclude others. Their victims have all sorts of negative reactions to this social rejection, which generally threatens the target’s sense of worth and existence. Ostracism victims’ hurt ranges from increased sadness and anger to decreased feelings of belonging, control, self-esteem, and meaningful existence.
Researchers recently explored those powerful effects of this [...]
The post Ostracism, A Stressful and Aversive Part of Everday Life appeared first on Psyc........ Read more »

Nezlek, J., Wesselmann, E., Wheeler, L., & Williams, K. (2012) Ostracism in everyday life. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 16(2), 91-104. DOI: 10.1037/a0028029  

  • May 31, 2014
  • 03:40 AM

Cytomegalovirus and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm talking on the topic of cytomegalovirus infection and autism following the paper by Sakamoto and colleagues [1] and their conclusion on: "the involvement of congenital CMV [cytomegalovirus] infection in a portion of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]".Do you mind?  @ Wikipedia Cytomegalovirus (CMV) belongs to a family of viruses called herpesviruses which includes chicken pox and shingles. It is a pretty common virus insofar as an estim........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2014
  • 05:40 PM

Should Doctors ‘Google’ Their Patients?

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Beware of what you share. Employers now routinely utilize internet search engines or social network searches to obtain information about job applicants. A survey of 2,184 hiring managers and human resource professionals conducted by the online employment website revealed that 39% use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of the group who used social networks to evaluate job applicants, 43% found content on a social networking site that caused them to not hire a ca........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2014
  • 09:07 AM

At The Right Hand of Sleep

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

When we’re drowsy, and on the point of falling asleep, our awareness of the outside world tends to dim. But a fascinating new paper reports that, for most people, it’s the left side of the world that dims the most. The study comes from neuroscientists Corinna Bareham and colleagues from the Cognition and Brain Sciences […]The post At The Right Hand of Sleep appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • May 30, 2014
  • 04:39 AM

Mental Illness Is More Deadly Than Tobacco

by Patricia Pedro in United Academics

Researchers from the University of Oxford performed a meta-review based on clinical studies of mental illness. These included mental health problems, substance and alcohol abuse, dementia, autistic spectrum disorders, learning disability and childhood behavioural disorders. They found that most of these reduce life expectancy with 7 to 24 years, whereas heavy smoking reduces life expectancy with 8 to 10 years.... Read more »

Chesney E, Goodwin GM, Fazel S. (2014) Risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta-review. World Psychiatry . info:/

  • May 29, 2014
  • 09:51 PM

The neurobiological origins of pedophilia

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Although many within the scientific community believe that pedophilia has its origins in the brain, the neurobiological underpinnings of the disorder are still very unclear. It is hoped, however, that technologies that allow for the observation of brain activity in real-time, like positron-emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), will provide us with more information about potential abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles (for more abou........ Read more »

Ponseti, J., Granert, O., van Eimeren, T., Jansen, O., Wolff, S., Beier, K., Deuschl, G., Bosinski, H., & Siebner, H. (2014) Human face processing is tuned to sexual age preferences. Biology Letters, 10(5), 20140200-20140200. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0200  

  • May 29, 2014
  • 12:30 PM

Not quite ready to call squishing bugs “sadism”

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

I admit, I have sometimes wondered what leads people into the career euphemistically we might euphemistically call “pest control” or more realistically declare “extermination”. I have been greatly relieved that people have chosen such career paths and are so available to handle wasp nests in my attic, and unable to fathom why anyone would opt to spend their time getting up close and personal with stinging insects, snakes, and who knows what else, even if only briefly. Des........ Read more »

Buckels EE, Jones DN, & Paulhus DL. (2013) Behavioral confirmation of everyday sadism. Psychological science, 24(11), 2201-9. PMID: 24022650  

  • May 29, 2014
  • 07:59 AM

How You Probably Discriminate and Don’t Even Know It

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

Are you a part of a group at work, school, or recreationally? Well, then you’ve probably discriminated without even knowing it. A recent theoretical review of the literature concluded “ingroup favouritism is more potent than outgroup hostility” when it comes to discrimination in the … Continue reading →... Read more »

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