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 »
DeWall, C., Gillath, O., Pressman, S., Black, L., Bartz, J., Moskovitz, J., & Stetler, D. (2014) When the Love Hormone Leads to Violence: Oxytocin Increases Intimate Partner Violence Inclinations Among High Trait Aggressive People. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(6), 691-697. DOI: 10.1177/1948550613516876
The findings from Jai Eun Choi and colleagues  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
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 »
Kumar, S., Hultman, R., Hughes, D., Michel, N., Katz, B., & Dzirasa, K. (2014) Prefrontal cortex reactivity underlies trait vulnerability to chronic social defeat stress. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5537
(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 »
Cockburn, J., Collins, A., & Frank, M. (2014) A Reinforcement Learning Mechanism Responsible for the Valuation of Free Choice. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.06.035
“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 »
Grace, A., Kemp, N., Martin, F., & Parrila, R. (2013) Undergraduates' attitudes to text messaging language use and intrusions of textisms into formal writing. New Media . DOI: 10.1177/1461444813516832
Thompson, C., Gray, K., & Kim, H. (2014) How social are social media technologies (SMTs)? A linguistic analysis of university students' experiences of using SMTs for learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 31-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2013.12.001
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 »
Rice WR, Friberg U, & Gavrilets S. (2012) Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development. The Quarterly review of biology, 87(4), 343-68. PMID: 23397798
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 »
Harris, C., Barnier, A., Sutton, J., & Keil, P. (2014) Couples as socially distributed cognitive systems: Remembering in everyday social and material contexts. Memory Studies, 7(3), 285-297. DOI: 10.1177/1750698014530619
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  continues my interest in all-things related to prenatal VPA exposure and the reported effects on some offspring (........ Read more »
Ahn Y, Narous M, Tobias R, Rho JM, & Mychasiuk R. (2014) The Ketogenic Diet Modifies Social and Metabolic Alterations Identified in the Prenatal Valproic Acid Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Developmental neuroscience. PMID: 25011527
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 »
Bleck, J., DeBate, R., & Olivardia, R. (2014) The Comorbidity of ADHD and Eating Disorders in a Nationally Representative Sample. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services . DOI: 10.1007/s11414-014-9422-y
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 »
Lilienfeld, S., Ritschel, L., Lynn, S., Cautin, R., & Latzman, R. (2014) Why Ineffective Psychotherapies Appear to Work: A Taxonomy of Causes of Spurious Therapeutic Effectiveness. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(4), 355-387. DOI: 10.1177/1745691614535216
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
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 »
Weber, E. (2006) Experience-Based and Description-Based Perceptions of Long-Term Risk: Why Global Warming does not Scare us (Yet). Climatic Change, 77(1-2), 103-120. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-006-9060-3
Li, Y., Johnson, E., & Zaval, L. (2011) Local Warming: Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming. Psychological Science, 22(4), 454-459. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611400913
Five of the coolest news stories from the past week... Read more »
Koubeissi, M., Bartolomei, F., Beltagy, A., & Picard, F. (2014) Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness. Epilepsy , 32-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.05.027
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 »
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 »
Capestany, B., & Harris, L. (2014) Disgust and biological descriptions bias logical reasoning during legal decision-making. Social Neuroscience, 9(3), 265-277. DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2014.892531
Vasquez, E., Loughnan, S., Gootjes-Dreesbach, E., & Weger, U. (2014) The animal in you: Animalistic descriptions of a violent crime increase punishment of perpetrator. Aggressive Behavior, 40(4), 337-344. DOI: 10.1002/ab.21525
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. […]
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
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 »
Marr, J., & Cable, D. (2013) Do Interviewers Sell Themselves Short? The Effects of Selling Orientation on Interviewers' Judgments. Academy of Management Journal, 57(3), 624-651. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2011.0504
"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  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
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 »
Spuij M, Prinzie P, Dekovic M, van den Bout J, & Boelen PA. (2013) The effectiveness of Grief-Help, a cognitive behavioural treatment for prolonged grief in children: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 395. PMID: 24252587
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 »
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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