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  • March 29, 2016
  • 03:44 AM
  • 296 views

Mind wide open – brain activity reveals motives behind people’s altruism

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Sofia DelenivWe often want to know what’s driving other people’s actions. Does the politician who visited a refugee camp on the eve of elections truly care for the poverty-stricken? In reality of course, our mind reading skills are pretty limited and something as complex as an apparent act of altruism can disguise a huge diversity of motives. Most of the time, these motives remain entirely private to the individual – a driving force in a black box.For a new paper publ........ Read more »

Hein G, Morishima Y, Leiberg S, Sul S, & Fehr E. (2016) The brain's functional network architecture reveals human motives. Science (New York, N.Y.), 351(6277), 1074-8. PMID: 26941317  

  • March 29, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 264 views

On the use of risperidone and young children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Without trying to scaremonger, it is already well known that certain anti-psychotics potentially indicated for some of the more 'challenging behaviours' associated with conditions like autism for example, carry their own important side-effects. Risperidone, one of the more commonly used medicines, has quite an extensive list of possible side-effects, some of which have been previously mentioned on this blog (see here). Increased appetite and weight gain are some of the more commonly observed sid........ Read more »

Scahill, L., Jeon, S., Boorin, S., McDougle, C., Aman, M., Dziura, J., McCracken, J., Caprio, S., Arnold, L., Nicol, G.... (2016) Weight Gain and Metabolic Consequences of Risperidone in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.02.016  

  • March 28, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 311 views

Inner Reading Voices: “Mine sometimes yell at me…” 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

When doing pretrial research we have occasionally had mock jurors show up who were inebriated or high (yes, even at 7:45am), hostile or disruptive, confused more than the average person or obviously hearing voices or responding to companions no one else could see. Yes. Occasionally people with obviously serious psychiatric disorders make it through the […]

Related posts:
Narcissists and Pronouns: “I”, “me”, “mine” 
What’s that book you’re reading as you wait to be impane........ Read more »

  • March 28, 2016
  • 04:31 AM
  • 300 views

The genetics of self-injurious behaviour accompanying autism? Not quite...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to start by making one thing abundantly clear about today's post: I am not insinuating that self-injurious behaviour (SIB) accompanying autism is solely under genetic (or epigenetic) control.As I've discussed before on this blog, there are potentially many, many reasons why SIB under the umbrella of the so-called 'challenging behaviours' occurs (see here). As and when it does happen, the onus is on those significant others to turn detective before anyone immediately reaches for somethin........ Read more »

Shirley, M., Frelin, L., López, J., Jedlicka, A., Dziedzic, A., Frank-Crawford, M., Silverman, W., Hagopian, L., & Pevsner, J. (2016) Copy Number Variants Associated with 14 Cases of Self-Injurious Behavior. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149646  

  • March 27, 2016
  • 10:24 AM
  • 361 views

Responses to Typos and Personality: "Grammar Nazis" Confirmed?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Do you haet typos? If you spot a grammo (a grammatical error), does your blood boil?

Some people are more offended by these kinds of linguistic errors than others, but why? Ann Arbor psychologists Julie E. Boland and Robin Queen examine this in a new PLOS ONE paper called If You’re House Is Still Available, Send Me an Email: Personality Influences Reactions to Written Errors in Email Messages



The authors recruited 83 volunteers (on MTurk) and asked them to imagine that they'd placed an... Read more »

  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:58 AM
  • 340 views

The 'disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism': where next?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'The disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism spectrum disorders: Time for the next phase in research' went the title of the paper by Roma Vasa and colleagues [1].Disrupted connectivity by the way, refers to the idea that "deficiencies in the way the brain coordinates and synchronizes activity amongst different regions may account for the clinical symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorders]." Picture if you will, the brain as a serious of telephone wires all connecting different parts of........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2016
  • 06:51 PM
  • 448 views

Mental illness, that’s a funny term isn’t it?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In today’s lexicon, the term mental illness is used pretty widely. It can be used to describe someone suffering from depression, to PTSD, to even someone suicidal. In fact, today it is sort of a catch all term for anyone who is involved in a mass shooting here in the US. We are getting off […]... Read more »

Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M., & Welty, L. (2015) Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002  

Su, J., Chen, J., Lippold, K., Monavarfeshani, A., Carrillo, G., Jenkins, R., & Fox, M. (2016) Collagen-derived matricryptins promote inhibitory nerve terminal formation in the developing neocortex. The Journal of Cell Biology, 212(6), 721-736. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201509085  

Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615  

  • March 25, 2016
  • 05:13 AM
  • 340 views

Multiple 'depressions' and multiple trajectories? Sounds very familiar.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a fan of the idea that the categorical labelling system currently used in psychiatric and psychological circles probably isn't fit for purpose these days. Y'know, the idea that compartmentalising people into diagnostic boxes with an overarching title whilst useful for general identity and statistical classification, does little to inform about individual experiences or the important cross-over in presentation between and across different labels. Don't even get me started on how the use of su........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2016
  • 07:23 AM
  • 354 views

Distrust of atheists is "deeply and culturally ingrained" even among atheists

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Just as people throughout history have been subject to prejudice and persecution because of their religious beliefs, recent evidence suggests that atheists today are discriminated against because of their lack of faith. For instance, in a 2012 study, nearly one in two atheists and agnostics reported having experienced discrimination at work, in the family and elsewhere. Another US study that asked respondents to imagine their children marrying people from different social groups found that parti........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2016
  • 04:37 AM
  • 315 views

Sickness and disability benefit and mental illness in the UK

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Mental disorders have become the most common cause of receiving benefits, with the number of claimants rising by 103% from 1995 to 1.1 million in 2014. Claimants with other conditions fell by 35%."The findings reported by Sebastião Viola & Joanna Moncrieff [1] (open-access) provide stark evidence of both how prevalent mental illness is these days, and the financial implications of such illness to both the individual and more generally society.Set within the context of some pretty infl........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2016
  • 06:37 PM
  • 459 views

Road rage and toxoplasmosis: Return of the parasite

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It was a clear case of a false alarm, toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects mice and cats was thought to have an effect on humans. However, after a thorough review of the data it was off the hook, or so we thought. Individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger--road rage, for example--are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to a common parasite than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.

... Read more »

Coccaro, E., Lee, R., Groer, M., Can, A., Coussons-Read, M., & Postolache, T. (2016) Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Relationship With Aggression in Psychiatric Subjects. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 334-341. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14m09621  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 03:00 PM
  • 472 views

Prozac in the Water Makes Fighting Fish More Mellow

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Had Teresa Dzieweczynski chosen to publish her recent findings as an updated children's classic, rather than as a research paper, she could have titled it If You Give a Fish an Antidepressant. The book would probably be less charming than If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. But it would also be, unfortunately, more realistic. Our pharmaceuticals are steadily trickling into the homes of fish and other animals. And—as the hero of the original book could have told us, his house in disarray aft........ Read more »

Dzieweczynski, T., Campbell, B., & Kane, J. (2016) Dose-dependent fluoxetine effects on boldness in male Siamese fighting fish. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(6), 797-804. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.132761  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 342 views

Canine Stress in the Vet's Waiting Room

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Almost 30% of dogs are highly stressed in the waiting room, but owners don’t necessarily know if their dog is stressed or not.Some dogs show signs of stress in the waiting room at the vet, according to a study by Chiara Mariti (University of Pisa) et al, but there are some surprises in the results. 45 healthy dogs and their owners each came for a scheduled appointment at the vet, where they spent 3 minutes in the waiting room. The dogs were videoed while owners completed a questionnaire. Later........ Read more »

Mariti, C., Raspanti, E., Zilocchi, M., Carlone, B., & Gazzano, A. (2015) The assessment of dog welfare in the waiting room of a veterinary clinic. Animal Welfare, 24(3), 299-305. DOI: 10.7120/09627286.24.3.299  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 359 views

Black may be beautiful but apparently black isn’t brilliant and  females are not geniuses 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

At least according to this analysis of more than 14 million college student reviews on RateMyProfessors.com where students post anonymous reviews of their professors. In an open access article available at PLOS ONE, the authors found that students writing reviews on the popular website most often used the words “brilliant” and “genius” to describe male […]

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Who is multiracial? Apparently, it depends on how you ask… 
The “euphemism treadmill”: Is it African-Am........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2016
  • 05:34 AM
  • 328 views

Psychologists helped these ambulance phone operators to answer their calls more efficiently

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When calling an ambulance, every second counts. So when an ambulance service in South Africa wanted to speed up their response time, who did they call? Psychologists, of course.Looking to reduce any obstacles that delayed operators from obtaining key facts from callers, Claire Penn at the University of the Witwatersrand and her colleagues initially expected language issues to be a big tripwire – the officially English-language service was based in South Africa’s Western Cape, where four in f........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2016
  • 03:45 AM
  • 345 views

Antibiotic brain? Cognitive impairment by antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The present study shows that intragastric treatment of mice with an antibiotic mix impairs novel object recognition, but not spatial memory. This behavioral change is associated with a disruption of the microbial community in the colon, distinct alterations of the colonic and circulating metabolite profile and particular changes of neurochemical brain activity."Those were the headlines attached to the paper published by Esther Fröhlich and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who p........ Read more »

Fröhlich EE, Farzi A, Mayerhofer R, Reichmann F, Jačan A, Wagner B, Zinser E, Bordag N, Magnes C, Fröhlich E.... (2016) Cognitive Impairment by Antibiotic-Induced Gut Dysbiosis: Analysis of Gut Microbiota-Brain Communication. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 26923630  

  • March 22, 2016
  • 12:19 PM
  • 306 views

People with schizophrenia-like traits can tickle themselves (whereas most people can't)

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Go ahead, try tickling yourself on your inner forearm or neck. If you're like most people, you'll find it  doesn't work. The sensation would make you shiver or giggle with ticklishness if someone else did it, but when you do it yourself, it no longer has any tickle power.The inability of most people to tickle themselves has been documented by psychologists for a while, and it's thought be due to the fact that the brain creates predictions of the sensory consequences of our own actions, and ........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2016
  • 03:23 AM
  • 321 views

Can mitochondrial disease be mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Very possibly, is the answer to the question that titles this post on how the diagnostic borders between mitochondrial disease and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) might be blurred. I bring to your attention the case report published by Fernando Galán and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) as an example.Detailing the experiences of a 30-year old male who "appeared to meet the CDC-1994/Fukuda criteria for CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome]" and for whom 1 year of "cognitive behavioral th........ Read more »

Galán F, de Lavera I, Cotán D, & Sánchez-Alcázar JA. (2015) Mitochondrial Myopathy in Follow-up of a Patient With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Journal of investigative medicine high impact case reports, 3(3), 2147483647. PMID: 26904705  

  • March 21, 2016
  • 04:46 PM
  • 338 views

Sleep suppresses brain rebalancing

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why humans and other animals sleep is one of the remaining deep mysteries of physiology. One prominent theory in neuroscience is that sleep is when the brain replays memories "offline" to better encode them ("memory consolidation"). A prominent and competing theory is that sleep is important for rebalancing activity in brain networks that have been perturbed during learning while awake.

... Read more »

  • March 21, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 273 views

Does race make a difference in how jurors perceive  battered spouse syndrome cases?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

In a word, yes. But perhaps not in the way you might think. Researchers were interested in seeing if the race of parties involved in battered spouse syndrome case defenses would make a difference in how jurors made decisions about verdicts. The researchers say their study is a contribution to the “scarce literature on the […]

Related posts:
Playing the race card: When it works and why it doesn’t
Is it possible that jurors will be misled by emotional  testimony and gruesome photos? ........ Read more »

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