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  • April 23, 2015
  • 08:40 AM
  • 236 views

And I Keep Hitting Re-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat

by Sarah Deffit in The 'Scope

Why do we do the things we do? Knowing the science behind bad habits may help you to break them. ... Read more »

Graybiel AM. (2008) Habits, rituals, and the evaluative brain. Annual review of neuroscience, 359-87. PMID: 18558860  

Quinn JM, Pascoe A, Wood W, & Neal DT. (2010) Can't control yourself? Monitor those bad habits. Personality , 36(4), 499-511. PMID: 20363904  

Yin HH, & Knowlton BJ. (2006) The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 7(6), 464-76. PMID: 16715055  

  • April 23, 2015
  • 07:28 AM
  • 199 views

Men and boys with older sisters are less competitive

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

One of the longest-debated and most studied issues in psychology is whether and how our personalities are affected by our birth order and the sex of our siblings. A problem with much previous research is that it's depended on people self-reporting their own personality, or on siblings or parents providing the personality ratings. These ratings are prone to subjectivity and skewed by people's expectations about how, say, a younger sibling ought to behave.A new study focused on one particular find........ Read more »

Okudaira, H., Kinari, Y., Mizutani, N., Ohtake, F., & Kawaguchi, A. (2015) Older sisters and younger brothers: The impact of siblings on preference for competition. Personality and Individual Differences, 81-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.037  

  • April 23, 2015
  • 01:46 AM
  • 239 views

Does maternal asthma 'prime' for offspring neurodevelopmental disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Jared Schwartzer and colleagues [1] (open-access) including a couple of familiar names on the authorship list (Charity Onore and Paul Ashwood) caught my attention recently. Based on mouse studies and the artificial induction of maternal allergy/asthma in pregnant mice, researchers reported that: "Activation of the maternal immune system with an allergy/asthma insult significantly perturbed developmental growth and species-typical behaviors in offspring." Further that the........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • 66 views

Memory Hack: Manipulating the Brain’s Memory Cache

by knowingneurons in Knowing Neurons

Imagine having a memory that haunts you, sneaks into your daily thoughts and turns over on itself in your dreams.  Escape seems impossible.  Now imagine you are injected with a virus that blocks the expression of a certain protein known to reactivate memories.  With minimal side effects and the small chance of erasing or altering … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 09:54 AM
  • 148 views

Psychologists study burglars' expertise

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Their actions are criminal and they cause untold misery, but repeat burglars are skilled at what they do and in that sense they are experts. By studying this expertise we can learn to better secure our properties against the threat of theft, and detectives can learn to spot the signature trail of an experienced robber.Most previous research in this area has relied on interviews with burglars about their strategies: a limited approach. A new study is more compelling. Claire Nee and her team recru........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 263 views

Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Help Adolescents with Psychiatric Problems?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study finds that a dog might be just what the doctor ordered.Can animal-assisted therapy can help adolescents who are in hospital because of an acute psychiatric crisis? A new randomized controlled trial investigates. The study, conducted by M.C. Stefanini et al (University of Florence) randomly allocated patients to either an animal-assisted therapy intervention or no intervention. Both groups continued to receive psychiatric treatment as usual, and those treating them did not know w........ Read more »

Kamioka, H., Okada, S., Tsutani, K., Park, H., Okuizumi, H., Handa, S., Oshio, T., Park, S., Kitayuguchi, J., Abe, T.... (2014) Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22(2), 371-390. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.016  

  • April 22, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 197 views

Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Recently we blogged about an emerging demographic subgroup: the lumbersexual. After reading the flurry of mainstream media articles about this group, here is how we described them: “As far as we can tell, the lumbersexual is an urban male (typically White and heterosexual) who dresses like a lumberjack even though he is far from a […]

Related posts:
Wait! Could that be a  lumbersexual in your venire panel?
The Millennials (aka ‘Gen Y’): On tattoos, TMI, tolerance and technology
T........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 04:39 AM
  • 189 views

MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this large sample of privately insured children with older siblings, receipt of the MMR [measles-mumps-rubella] vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Anjali Jain and colleagues [1] (open-access) based on........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2015
  • 06:08 PM
  • 195 views

Is Synesthesia A Brain Disorder?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a provocative review paper just published, French neuroscientists Jean-Michel Hupé and Michel Dojat question the assumption that synesthesia is a neurological disorder.



In synesthesia, certain sensory stimuli involuntarily trigger other sensations. For example, in one common form of synesthesia, known as 'grapheme-color', certain letters are perceived as allied with, certain colors. In other cases, musical notes are associated with colors, or smells.

The cause of synesthesia is obsc... Read more »

  • April 21, 2015
  • 05:12 AM
  • 151 views

Optimism and pessimism are separate systems influenced by different genes

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"... the optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose,” Kahlil Gibran.Optimists enjoy better health, more success, more happiness, and longer lives, than pessimists. No surprise, then, that psychologists are taking an increasing interest in our outlook on life. An unresolved issue is whether optimism and pessimism are two ends of the same spectrum, or if they're separate. If the traits are separate, then in principle, some people cou........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 199 views

Jessica Biesiekierski on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's not often that I dedicate a blog post to a specific individual and their views and opinions on a particular topic. Today however, I'm doing just that to provide you with a link to the paper from Jessica Biesiekierski on the topic of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) [1] (open-access).The reason? Well, aside from being one of the primary protagonists in the research topic of gluten-related ills outside of the autoimmune condition known as coeliac (celiac) disease (itself the to........ Read more »

Biesiekierski, J., & Iven, J. (2015) Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: piecing the puzzle together. United European Gastroenterology Journal, 3(2), 160-165. DOI: 10.1177/2050640615578388  

  • April 20, 2015
  • 09:45 AM
  • 220 views

Aphasia factors vs. subtypes

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

One of the interesting things (to me anyway) that came out of our recent factor analysis project (Mirman et al., 2015, in press; see Part 1 and Part 2) is a way of reconsidering aphasia types in terms of psycholinguistic factors rather than the traditional clinical aphasia subtypes. The traditional aphasia subtyping approach is to use a diagnostic test like the Western Aphasia Battery or the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination to assign an individual with aphasia to one of several subtype cate........ Read more »

Mirman, D., Chen, Q., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Faseyitan, O.K., Coslett, H.B., & Schwartz, M.F. (2015) Neural Organization of Spoken Language Revealed by Lesion-Symptom Mapping. Nature Communications, 6(6762), 1-9. info:/

  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 224 views

Tics are common in adults with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post comes from a quote included in the paper by Ursula Kahl and colleagues [1] based on their study of the "phenomenology and characteristics" of tics in adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with a small control group of adults with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS). A tic by the way, is a "sudden, fast, repeated movement or sound."This is not the first time that tics have been examined with the autism spectrum in mind. The paper from C........ Read more »

Kahl, U., Schunke, O., Schöttle, D., David, N., Brandt, V., Bäumer, T., Roessner, V., Münchau, A., & Ganos, C. (2015) Tic Phenomenology and Tic Awareness in Adults With Autism. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice. DOI: 10.1002/mdc3.12154  

  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:47 AM
  • 124 views

Autistic children's sensory experiences, in their own words

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Children diagnosed with autism often have distinctive sensory experiences, such as being ultra sensitive to noise, or finding enjoyment in repeated, unusual sensory stimulation. However, much of what we know about these experiences comes from the testimony of parents, researchers and clinicians. Now Anne Kirby and her colleagues have published the first report of autistic children's sensory experiences, based on these children's own accounts. As the authors say, "children's voices are still rare........ Read more »

  • April 19, 2015
  • 05:29 PM
  • 246 views

Accepting pain – or are we measuring something else?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Acceptance is defined in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as “a willingness to remain in contact with and to actively experience particular private experiences (Hayes, Jacobson, Follette, Dougher, 1994) (eds): Acceptance and Change: Content and Context in Psychotherapy. Reno, Context Press, 1994), and from this Lance McCracken and colleagues developed the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire. This measure has two dimensions: willingness to experience pain and engaging in values-dir........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2015
  • 02:14 PM
  • 228 views

Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to “Sit still and concentrate!” But new research shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks.... Read more »

  • April 18, 2015
  • 05:22 AM
  • 226 views

Autistic traits in adult-onset psychiatric disorders?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"To conclude, the presentation of ALTs [autistic-like traits/symptoms] at the sub-threshold or threshold level may be closely associated with BPD [bipolar disorder] and SZ [schizophrenia]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Junko Matsuo and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on their analysis of nearly 300 adults aged between 25-59 years including those diagnosed with "MDD [major depressive disorder], n=125; bipolar disorder, n=56; schizophrenia,&n........ Read more »

Matsuo J, Kamio Y, Takahashi H, Ota M, Teraishi T, Hori H, Nagashima A, Takei R, Higuchi T, Motohashi N.... (2015) Autistic-Like Traits in Adult Patients with Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia. PloS one, 10(4). PMID: 25838109  

  • April 17, 2015
  • 07:47 PM
  • 228 views

Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many years of research have shown that for students from lower-income families, standardized test scores and other measures of academic success tend to lag behind those of wealthier students. Well now a new study offers another dimension to this so-called “achievement gap”After imaging the brains of high- and low-income students, they found that the higher-income students had thicker brain cortex in areas associated with visual perception and knowledge accumulation.... Read more »

Allyson Mackey et al. (2015) Students’ Family Income Linked With Brain Anatomy, Academic Achievement. Psychological Science. info:/

  • April 17, 2015
  • 10:03 AM
  • 250 views

Mapping the language system: Part 2

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

This is the second of a multi-part post about a pair of papers that just came out (Mirman et al., 2015, in press). Part 1 was about the behavioral data: we started with 17 behavioral measures from 99 participants with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. Using factor analysis, we reduced those 17 measures to 4 underlying factors: Semantic Recognition, Speech Production, Speech Recognition, and Semantic Errors. For each of these factors, we then used voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (........ Read more »

Hickok G. (2012) Computational neuroanatomy of speech production. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(2), 135-145. PMID: 22218206  

Hickok, Gregory S, & Poeppel, David. (2007) The cortical organization of speech processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8(May), 393-402. info:/

Zhang Y., Kimberg D.Y., Coslett H.B., Schwartz M.F., & Wang Z. (2014) Multivariate lesion-symptom mapping using support vector regression. Human Brain Mapping, 35(12), 5861-5876. PMID: 25044213  

  • April 17, 2015
  • 08:06 AM
  • 110 views

Psychology students are seduced by superfluous neuroscience

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It seems as though neuroscience is particularly popular and seductive. Not only is the discipline enjoying some eye-spinningly massive new grants, there are also ever more brain-branded products (like brain games and brain drinks), there are new disciplines like neuroleadership, and there's a growing obsession about the brain among many journalists, many of whom invoke brain science in odd contexts (check out "The neuroscience of ISIS" for a recent example).This atmosphere has led to a near-cons........ Read more »

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