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  • July 30, 2014
  • 05:35 AM
  • 171 views

When the cuddle hormone turns nasty - oxytocin linked with violent intentions

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

For many years, the hormone oxytocin was caricatured as the source of all human goodness - trust, altruism, love, and morality. Among the findings that contributed to this picture were the discovery that sniffing oxytocin increases people's trust and generosity in financial games; that it aids face recognition; and that its release is associated with maternal bonding; and with orgasm.However, the picture has grown a lot more complicated of late, with findings showing that oxytocin........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2014
  • 04:52 AM
  • 168 views

Immunological effects from risperidone treatment in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings from Jai Eun Choi and colleagues [1] suggesting that use of the antipsychotic risperidone may impact on levels of certain cytokines - messenger cells of the immune system - in some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) grabbed my attention recently. I've always been pretty interested in the complexity of the immune system when it comes to something like autism (see here) as well as the various examples of how many of the medications used to 'manage' aspects of autis........ Read more »

Choi JE, Widjaja F, Careaga M, Bent S, Ashwood P, & Hendren RL. (2014) Change in Plasma Cytokine Levels During Risperidone Treatment in Children with Autism. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology. PMID: 24828014  

  • July 29, 2014
  • 01:15 PM
  • 188 views

Can’t Handle the Stress? Blame your Brain

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Do you rise to the occasion, or do you fold under the pressure? No matter which side of the fence you’re, you can thank [or blame] your brain. Some people […]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2014
  • 12:32 PM
  • 176 views

Are silly superstitions useful because they are silly?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

(Attention warning: massive speculation ahead.) Auguries often seem made up, useless. Is that why they are useful? Dove figured that the birds must be serving as some kind of ecological indicator. Perhaps they gravitated toward good soil, or smaller trees, or some other useful characteristic of a swidden site. After all, the Kantu’ had been […]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2014
  • 07:35 AM
  • 251 views

Is Twitter Ruining Our Proper English?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

“Hey al im on my way 2wrk but i totes 4got 2bring ur ipod sori il hav 2 bring it nxt tym ur workin. Hav a nice day xo”
Gives you the cramps? Maybe you should read this article.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2014
  • 07:30 AM
  • 175 views

Is homosexuality "natural"?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

In the beginning, there was no sex. That’s because in the beginning, there was no Barry White. A playful look at examples of homosexuality in nature.... Read more »

Van Houdenhove E, Gijs L, T'sjoen G, & Enzlin P. (2014) Asexuality: A Multidimensional Approach. Journal of sex research, 1-10. PMID: 24750031  

  • July 29, 2014
  • 05:30 AM
  • 128 views

Remembering together - How long-term couples develop interconnected memory systems

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Although it might seem a good idea to work with other people to remember important information, the evidence suggests that this typically isn't so. Individual recall is most efficient whereas social remembering comes with drawbacks, tripping up our flow and inhibiting memories. But this evidence mostly comes from asking people to collaborate with a stranger. What happens when you know each other really, really well?Celia Harris and colleagues at Macquarie University recently reviewed their previ........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2014
  • 04:04 AM
  • 176 views

Ketogenic diet and the valproate mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief entry today and yet another blog post that starts with a quote (sorry)... "The offspring exposed to VPA [valproic acid] prenatally demonstrated a significant decrease in the number of play initiations/attacks and this was reversed with the KD [ketogenic diet]".Gloucester Old Spot @ Wikipedia That finding reported in the paper by Ahn and colleagues [1] continues my interest in all-things related to prenatal VPA exposure and the reported effects on some offspring (........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2014
  • 07:55 PM
  • 173 views

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder & Eating Disorders: Is There a Link?

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, is a common childhood disorder. ADHD can often persist into adolescence and adulthood. The prevalence of ADHD is thought to be between 6-7% among children and adolescents and ~5% among adults (Willcutt, 2012).
Increasingly, evidence from multiple studies has pointed to comorbidity between ADHD and eating disorders (EDs). For example, one study found that young females with ADHD we........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2014
  • 09:05 AM
  • 179 views

The mistakes that lead therapists to infer psychotherapy was effective, when it wasn't

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

How well can psychotherapists and their clients judge from personal experience whether therapy has been effective? Not well at all, according to a paper by Scott Lilienfeld and his colleagues. The fear is that this can lead to the continued practice of ineffective, or even harmful, treatments.The authors point out that, like the rest of us, clinicians are subject to four main biases that skew their ability to infer the effectiveness of their psychotherapeutic treatments. This includes the mistak........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2014
  • 04:24 AM
  • 205 views

Prenatal and neonatal blood mercury levels and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Acknowledging that some topics have the ability to furrow brows when it comes to autism research, mercury and autism is becoming something of a frequent talking point on this blog as a function of a whole slew of articles appearing in the peer-reviewed domain. If I were to [very tentatively] summarise the collected literature so far, it would be to say something like:Mosaic of mercury @ Wikipedia (i) there is quite a bit more research to be done on some sources of mercury being 'l........ Read more »

Yau VM, Green PG, Alaimo CP, Yoshida CK, Lutsky M, Windham GC, Delorenze G, Kharrazi M, Grether JK, & Croen LA. (2014) Prenatal and neonatal peripheral blood mercury levels and autism spectrum disorders. Environmental research, 294-303. PMID: 24981828  

  • July 26, 2014
  • 05:59 AM
  • 363 views

Temperatures make our global warming opinions change like the weather

by Andy Extance in Simple Climate

Our experience of current warmth can override our scientific knowledge in driving beliefs about climate change, which is part of the reason we struggle to take the resulting risks seriously, underlines Columbia University’s Elke Weber. ... Read more »

  • July 25, 2014
  • 12:00 PM
  • 275 views

The Friday Five 07/25/14

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Five of the coolest news stories from the past week... Read more »

  • July 25, 2014
  • 11:12 AM
  • 266 views

Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are we selfish? Economists like to say that, to a first approximation, we are. In other words, that we tend to seek to maximize our own rewards, in a more or less rational manner. The trouble is that this theory (at least, a straightforward interpretation of it) doesn’t describe how people behave in many situations. […]The post Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Yamagishi T, Li Y, Takagishi H, Matsumoto Y, & Kiyonari T. (2014) In Search of Homo economicus. Psychological science. PMID: 25037961  

  • July 25, 2014
  • 10:23 AM
  • 208 views

How our judgments about criminals are swayed by disgust, biological explanations and animalistic descriptions

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We expect of our jurors and judges calm, reasoned evaluation of the evidence. Of course we know the reality is rather different - prejudice and emotional reactions will always play their part. Now two new studies add insight into the ways people's legal judgements depart from cool objectivity.Beatrice Capestany and Lasana Harris focused on two main factors - the disgust level of a crime, and whether or not the perpetrators' personality was described in biological terms. Seventeen participants we........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 167 views

Teaching people about neuroscience can make them softer on crime!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The American Bar Association is seeking nominations until August 8, 2014 to help it decide on the Top 100 law blogs (“Blawgs”). We have been in the ABA Top 100 for the past 4 years and would like to make it 5! If you like this blog, please nominate us (it’s fast and free) here. […]

Related posts:
A new issue of The Jury Expert!
Who cares? The crime victim was old anyway!
“I punish you because you harmed him!”


... Read more »

Shariff AF, Greene JD, Karremans JC, Luguri JB, Clark CJ, Schooler JW, Baumeister RF, & Vohs KD. (2014) Free Will and Punishment: A Mechanistic View of Human Nature Reduces Retribution. Psychological science. PMID: 24916083  

  • July 25, 2014
  • 06:44 AM
  • 207 views

Why job interviewers should focus on the candidates, not selling their organisation

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It’s hard to find the best person for the job through an interview. New research uncovers part of the problem: judging a candidate’s calibre becomes trickier when we’re also trying to sell them the benefits of joining the organisation.In an initial study, participants were asked to interview a person (another participant) who was acting as an applicant for a fictional position. Half the interviewers were told their priority was to get a good sense of the applicant, while the rest had to pr........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2014
  • 03:29 AM
  • 258 views

p-cresol and autism: in need of further research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results confirm the elevation of urinary p-cresol in a sizable set of small autistic children and spur interest into biomarker roles for p-cresol and p-cresylsulfate in autism".The peasant dance @ Wikipedia That was the primary conclusion from the paper by Gabriele and colleagues [1] looking at "three components of urinary p-cresol, namely p-cresylsulfate, p-cresylglucuronate and free p-cresol" in samples from 33 participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)........ Read more »

Gabriele S, Sacco R, Cerullo S, Neri C, Urbani A, Tripi G, Malvy J, Barthelemy C, Bonnet-Brihault F, & Persico AM. (2014) Urinary p-cresol is elevated in young French children with autism spectrum disorder: a replication study. Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals, 1-8. PMID: 25010144  

  • July 24, 2014
  • 05:30 PM
  • 210 views

Grief in Children and Adolescents

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

The plane crash in Ukraine brings up many questions related to loss and grief. How will those left behind cope with the devastating event? How can we support them? With regard to how young people cope with bereavement, Dr. Mariken Spuij’s recent articles provide new insights.... Read more »

  • July 24, 2014
  • 04:58 PM
  • 258 views

Why the new paper by Christakis and Fowler on friendship makes me queasy

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

I am a neuroscientist, and as a neuroscientist I have a strange belief that most of who we are comes from our brains. My entire career is based around understanding behavior from this neural level which I feel to be fairly justifiable. So when I see paper looking at the genetics of behavior, I expect to see at […]... Read more »

Christakis NA, & Fowler JH. (2014) Friendship and natural selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(Supplement 3), 10796-10801. PMID: 25024208  

Ripke, S., Neale, B., Corvin, A., Walters, J., Farh, K., Holmans, P., Lee, P., Bulik-Sullivan, B., Collier, D., Huang, H.... (2014) Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci. Nature, 511(7510), 421-427. DOI: 10.1038/nature13595  

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