Humans, like all social animals, have a fundamental need for contact with others. This deeply ingrained instinct helps us to survive; it’s much easier to find food, shelter, and other necessities with a group than alone. Deprived of human contact, most people become lonely and emotionally distressed.
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Matthews GA, Nieh EH, Vander Weele CM, Halbert SA, Pradhan RV, Yosafat AS, Glober GF, Izadmehr EM, Thomas RE, Lacy GD.... (2016) Dorsal Raphe Dopamine Neurons Represent the Experience of Social Isolation. Cell, 164(4), 617-631. PMID: 26871628
Psych students tend to score highly in neuroticism and openness to experienceWhen I was at university it seemed fairly obvious that students studying the same academic subject often had similar personalities. The geography students were far more interested in partying than studying, the English lit undergrads always so nice and friendly, while my fellow psych students seemed quirkier and more eccentric than others. Of course these are highly subjective over-generalisations on my part, probably r........ Read more »
Vedel, A. (2016) Big Five personality group differences across academic majors: A systematic review. Personality and Individual Differences, 1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.011
I won't keep you too long today as I bring the paper by Adam Young and colleagues  (open-access available here) to your attention and some discussions around the concept of inflammation and autism. To quote: "An emerging focus of research into the aetiology of ASC [autism spectrum condition] has suggested neuroinflammation as one candidate underlying [the] biological model."Including one Simon Baron-Cohen on the authorship list, I have to say that I was impressed to see this quite c........ Read more »
Young AM, Chakrabarti B, Roberts D, Lai MC, Suckling J, & Baron-Cohen S. (2016) From molecules to neural morphology: understanding neuroinflammation in autism spectrum condition. Molecular autism, 9. PMID: 26793298
Whatever the ins and outs behind the tragic shootings at Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, it seems safe to assume that the heated and inflammatory rhetoric that has characterised the debate around abortion in the USA has played a major role. A couple of weeks ago, Planned Parenthood innocently asked Twitter users for one word [Read More...]... Read more »
Ritter, R., Preston, J., Salomon, E., & Relihan-Johnson, D. (2015) Imagine no religion: Heretical disgust, anger and the symbolic purity of mind. Cognition and Emotion, 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2015.1030334
I'll admit to being pretty fascinated by the Branched Chain α-Keto acid Dehydrogenase Kinase (BCKDK) gene. As per previous blog entries about this gene (see here and see here) and the important biological step it plays in the metabolism of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), at least one 'form' of autism might be particularly sensitive to issues with it . I take it you've heard of the idea that the autisms (plural) might be a better description of autism? If you haven't, here is a p........ Read more »
Oyarzabal A, Bravo-Alonso I, Sánchez-Aragó M, Rejas MT, Merinero B, García-Cazorla A, Artuch R, Ugarte M, & Rodríguez-Pombo P. (2016) Mitochondrial response to the BCKDK-deficiency: Some clues to understand the positive dietary response in this form of autism. Biochimica et biophysica acta. PMID: 26809120
Compared with Whites, Black Americans have high levels of an important stress hormone called cortisol circulating in their bloodstream. No-one really knows why this is, but the differences remain even after you take into account social and psychological factors. It seems likely that simply being black exposes you to a cumulative effect of increased lifetime [Read More...]... Read more »
Assari, S., Moghani Lankarani, M., Malekahmadi, M., Caldwell, C., & Zimmerman, M. (2015) Baseline Religion Involvement Predicts Subsequent Salivary Cortisol Levels Among Male But not Female Black Youth. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 13(4). DOI: 10.5812/ijem.31790
Those first informal minutes really do matterAs a fan of fair job assessment, I’m bugged by the freeform chatter that kicks off most interviews – it allows influential first impressions to be formed in a yak about the traffic or some other trivial topic that has nothing to with the job. It’s true that interview structures have become more standardised over the years, but a new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests these developments aren’t enough to counter the effect of ea........ Read more »
Swider, B., Barrick, M., & Harris, T. (2016) Initial Impressions: What They Are, What They Are Not, and How They Influence Structured Interview Outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/apl0000077
"CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] affected 1.9% of 16-year-olds in a UK birth cohort and was positively associated with higher family adversity. Gender was a risk factor at age 16 years but not at age 13 years or in 16-year-olds without high levels of depressive symptoms."So said the findings reported by Simon Collin and colleagues  which also gained some media interest as per an entry on the BBC news website for example (see here). Based on data generated by the Children of the ........ Read more »
The age at which an adolescent begins using marijuana may affect typical brain development, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. In a paper recently published, scientists describe how marijuana use, and the age at which use is initiated, may adversely alter brain structures that underlie higher order thinking.
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Filbey, F., McQueeny, T., DeWitt, S., & Mishra, V. (2015) Preliminary findings demonstrating latent effects of early adolescent marijuana use onset on cortical architecture. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 16-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2015.10.001
Between the rise of 3D movies and virtual reality, more and more people are getting a chance to don goofy glasses or headsets and experience media in three dimensions. And many of those people are discovering something about themselves: 3D makes them ill. Sitting in the theater or on their own couch, they get a sensation like motion sickness. They might feel nausea, dizziness, or disorientation.
A new study suggests that these symptoms aren't weakness on the part of the viewer. People who... Read more »
Allen, B., Hanley, T., Rokers, B., & Green, C. (2016) Visual 3D motion acuity predicts discomfort in 3D stereoscopic environments. Entertainment Computing, 1-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.entcom.2016.01.001
Album artwork for Dion McGregor Dreams AgainThe "most extensive sleep talker ever recorded", according to a new article in Imagination, Cognition and Personality, is the late American songwriter Dion McGregor. McGregor's unusual sleeping behaviour – one commentator said he "sounds as if he were channeling Truman Capote on acid: flirtatious, slushy, disconnected from reality ..." – first became public in the 1960s when McGregor shared a New York apartment with a posse of o........ Read more »
Barrett, D., Grayson, M., Oh, A., & Sogolow, Z. (2015) A Content Analysis of Dion McGregor's Sleep-Talking Episodes. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 35(1), 72-83. DOI: 10.1177/0276236615574495
Two papers provide some blogging fodder today. The first is from Agnieszka Rynkiewicz and colleagues  (open-access available here) who introduces a concept that many people with an interest in autism might have considered: a 'female camouflage effect' in autism. The second paper is by C Ellie Wilson and colleagues  and continues the idea that sex/gender differences present in autism might have some important implications for diagnostic evaluation.Both these papers entertain ........ Read more »
Rynkiewicz, A., Schuller, B., Marchi, E., Piana, S., Camurri, A., Lassalle, A., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2016) An investigation of the ‘female camouflage effect’ in autism using a computerized ADOS-2 and a test of sex/gender differences. Molecular Autism, 7(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-016-0073-0
Wilson CE, Murphy CM, McAlonan G, Robertson DM, Spain D, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, Deeley PQ, Gillan N, Ohlsen JC.... (2016) Does sex influence the diagnostic evaluation of autism spectrum disorder in adults?. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 26802113
Human and animal movements generate slight neural signals from their brain cells. These signals obtained using a neural interface are essential for realizing brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Such neural recording systems using wires to connect the implanted device to an external device can cause infections through the opening in the skull. One method of solving this issue is to develop a wireless neural interface that is fully implantable on the brain.
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Okabe, K., Jeewan, H., Yamagiwa, S., Kawano, T., Ishida, M., & Akita, I. (2015) Co-Design Method and Wafer-Level Packaging Technique of Thin-Film Flexible Antenna and Silicon CMOS Rectifier Chips for Wireless-Powered Neural Interface Systems. Sensors, 15(12), 31821-31832. DOI: 10.3390/s151229885
In a new paper I, together with Roel Willems and Peter Hagoort, show that music and language are tightly coupled in the brain. Get the gist in a 180 second youtube clip and then try out what my participants did. The task my participants had to do might sound very abstract to you, so let […]... Read more »
Kunert R, & Slevc LR. (2015) A Commentary on: "Neural overlap in processing music and speech". Frontiers in human neuroscience, 330. PMID: 26089792
Kunert, R., Willems, R., & Hagoort, P. (2016) Language influences music harmony perception: effects of shared syntactic integration resources beyond attention. Royal Society Open Science, 3(2), 150685. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150685
The longest autobiographical narratives were produced by men talking to women Prior research has found that women elaborate more than men when talking about their autobiographical memories, going into more detail, mentioning more emotions and providing more interpretation. One problem with this research, though, is that it hasn't paid much attention to who is listening or whether the memories are spoken or written.This is unfortunate because findings like these can fuel overly sim........ Read more »
Grysman, A., & Denney, A. (2016) Gender, experimenter gender and medium of report influence the content of autobiographical memory report. Memory, 1-14. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1133829
Babies have an unusual ability to see those things and differences in pictures that are not visible to adults.
In a study conducted by researchers from Japan, it has been reported that infants under 5 months of age have an ability to detect changes in pictures or images that are not visible to adults. However, this ability disappears rapidly, and infants in the age range of 5 months to 6 months are unable to detect image dif........ Read more »
I have to thank Dr Malav Trivedi for bringing my attention to some recent findings reported by Yiting Zhang and colleagues (including Malav)  (open-access) suggesting that: "levels of vitamin B12, especially its MeCbl [methylcobalamin] form, decrease with age in frontal cortex of control human subjects."Further, researchers reported: "abnormally lower total Cbl [cobalamin] and MeCbl levels in subjects with autism and schizophrenia, as compared to age-matched cont........ Read more »
Zhang Y, Hodgson NW, Trivedi MS, Abdolmaleky HM, Fournier M, Cuenod M, Do KQ, & Deth RC. (2016) Decreased Brain Levels of Vitamin B12 in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia. PloS one, 11(1). PMID: 26799654
One of the most thorough investigations into referee bias has found that they tend to award harsher foul punishments to the away team. The new results, published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, suggest that experienced referees are just as prone to this bias as their less experienced colleagues.Andrés Picazo-Tadeo and his team analysed data from 2,651 matches played in the First Division of La Liga, the Spanish Football League between the 2002/3 and 2009/10 season........ Read more »
Picazo-Tadeo, A., González-Gómez, F., & Guardiola, J. (2016) Does the crowd matter in refereeing decisions? Evidence from Spanish soccer. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/1612197X.2015.1126852
Decreased or disturbed sleep can result in poor performance of students in school.
Journal of Sleep Research
In a study, researchers from Norway (and their collaborators) worked on the affect of sleep duration and its pattern on the academic performance of adolescents in the age range of 16 years to 19 years. Researchers surveyed 7798 adolescents, of whom 53.5% were girls. In the survey, researchers asked them about sleep duration, its effi........ Read more »
Hysing, M., Harvey, A., Linton, S., Askeland, K., & Sivertsen, B. (2016) Sleep and academic performance in later adolescence: results from a large population-based study. Journal of Sleep Research. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12373
The title of this quite brief post refers to an important finding detailed by Derek Nord and colleagues  who, when analysing data from the "2008–09 National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey", concluded that there were some important inequalities when it came to employment rates for those diagnosed on the autism spectrum.Employment rates and work opportunities for people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a hot topic at the moment. The Nord findings build upon report af........ Read more »
Nord, D., Stancliffe, R., Nye-Lengerman, K., & Hewitt, A. (2016) Employment in the community for people with and without autism: A comparative analysis. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 11-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2015.12.013
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