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  • October 11, 2014
  • 04:48 AM
  • 95 views

Yet more air pollution and autism risk research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Air pollution and autism risk. It's a topic which has cropped up a few times on this blog (see here and see here and see here) with the majority of the research (but not all) suggesting that there may be something to see when it comes to such a correlation.Enter then the paper by Amy Kalkbrenner and colleagues [1] to proceedings, and their conclusion: "Our study adds to previous work in California showing a relation between traffic-related air pollution and autism, and adds similar findings in a........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2014
  • 09:22 AM
  • 62 views

How sharing a toilet helps students make more friends

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The built environment shapes our behaviour profoundly - piazzas and park benches promote unplanned encounters between strangers whereas car-friendly streets have the opposite effect, the efficiency of speedy travel promoting "streets as corridors" over "streets as sociable space".What’s true at the level of cities also applies within buildings, including student residences. This has been investigated in the past, one famous example being Leon Festinger’s 1950 study that suggested students fo........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2014
  • 04:50 AM
  • 54 views

Little Albert - one of the most famous research participants in psychology's history, but who was he?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In 1920, in what would become one of the most infamous and controversial studies in psychology, a pair of researchers at Johns Hopkins University taught a little baby boy to fear a white rat. For decades, the true identity and subsequent fate of this poor infant nicknamed "Little Albert" has remained a mystery.But recently this has changed, thanks to the tireless detective work of two independent groups of scholars. Now there are competing proposals for who Little Albert was and what became of h........ Read more »

Richard Griggs. (2015) Psychology's Lost Boy: Will The Real Little Albert Please Stand Up?. Teaching of Psychology. info:/

  • October 10, 2014
  • 04:40 AM
  • 97 views

Vitamin D supplement improves autistic behaviours?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to get too ahead of myself with this post talking about the paper by Feiyong Jia and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded: "Vitamin D supplementation may be effective in ameliorating the autistic behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders [ASDs]".The idea however that issues with vitamin D seemingly present in quite a few cases of ASD [2] (see here too) but not all [3] might actually have more direct consequences for behavioural presentation ........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 09:50 PM
  • 122 views

Fluoridation, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Water

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Most of us have heard the famous line by General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove, "have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?" The conversation thereafter satirically illustrated a fear that grew most prominent starting in the 1940s with the Second Red Scare -- public water fluoridation. Many conspiracy theories about water fluoridation arose during this time, but they all aimed to make the same case: that fluoride in drinking water is bad (sometimes just meaning unethical),........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 09:43 AM
  • 147 views

Dyslexia: trouble reading ‘four’

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Dyslexia affects about every tenth reader. It shows up when trying to read, especially when reading fast. But it is still not fully clear what words dyslexic readers find particularly hard. So, I did some research to find out, and I published the article today. Imagine seeing a new word ‘bour’. How would you pronounce […]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 04:41 AM
  • 102 views

Physical activity and fitness levels and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although at present having to be slightly more cautious following some recent surgery (general anaesthetic is awesome by the way!), I normally consider myself to be quite an active person. Through previous discussions on this blog covering topics on the positive effects of walking (see here) and the physical+ benefits of the martial arts (see here) I'd like to think that there are quite a few ways and means that the population at large can easily increase their daily physical activity levels. Th........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2014
  • 11:45 AM
  • 99 views

The Surprising History of Veterinary Medicine for Dogs and Cats

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And the ‘dangerous’ woman who played a vital role.Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbHWe are used to the idea that veterinarians treat dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals, but it wasn’t always so. Before the automobile, the main role for vets was in the treatment of horses. As the number of horses declined, two British government reports (in 1938 and 1944) suggested vets should specialize in the treatment of farm animals. The change to small animals is often explained as due to incr........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2014
  • 04:34 AM
  • 103 views

Alcohol and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I tread very carefully with this post today looking at some of the peer-reviewed research on the topic of alcohol use (and abuse) and autism without wishing to stigmatise nor generalise.I was brought to this important topic as a result of the recent paper by Tabata and colleagues [1] who discussed three case reports of alcoholism associated with a diagnosis of autism. For each person described in that report, a common theme describing alcohol being used as a means to "reduce anxiety" related to ........ Read more »

Tabata K, Yoshida T, & Naoe J. (2014) Three cases of alcoholism with autism spectrum disorder. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire). PMID: 25221235  

  • October 8, 2014
  • 04:03 AM
  • 45 views

Students learn better when they think they're going to have to teach the material

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Researchers say they've uncovered a simple technique that improves students' memory for passages of text. All that's required is to tell the students that they're going to have to teach the material to someone else.Fifty-six undergrads were split into two groups. One group were told that they had 10 minutes to study a 1500-word passage about fictional depictions of The Charge of The Light Brigade, and that they would be tested on it afterwards. The other group were similarly given 10 minutes to ........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2014
  • 07:21 AM
  • 114 views

Are sweet-toothed people really sweet-natured?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Three years ago psychologists reported that we assume people who like sweet food are also sweet natured. More surprisingly perhaps, Brian Meier and his colleagues also found that the sweet-toothed really do have more agreeable personalities and are more inclined to behave altruistically.How far can we trust these eye-catching results? There is a growing recognition in psychology of the need to attempt replications of past findings. In that spirit, a new paper led by Michael Ashton has attempted ........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2014
  • 05:02 AM
  • 105 views

Infection during pregnancy and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Lee and colleagues [1] forms the starting material for today's blog post looking at hospitalisation for infection during pregnancy as potentially being a risk factor for receipt of a subsequent diagnosis for autism in offspring."Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling"Based on data derived from one of those very useful Scandinavian health registries, authors observed "approximately a 30% increase in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk associated with any inpatient diag........ Read more »

Lee BK, Magnusson C, Gardner RM, Blomström S, Newschaffer CJ, Burstyn I, Karlsson H, & Dalman C. (2014) Maternal hospitalization with infection during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 25218900  

  • October 6, 2014
  • 02:29 PM
  • 107 views

The Biology of Nagging

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

A female pied flycatcher can't feed herself sufficientlywhile she incubates her eggs and newly-hatchedchicks. Photo by Alejandro Cantarero.I have been blessed with the fortune of not just having two healthy and happy babies, but being able to spend much of the spring and summer nurturing them and watching them develop and grow. But it has not been all roses: their smiles beam through the fog of my sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Their tears are met with my own. Our clothes are stained in a ra........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 106 views

Correcting vitamin D levels improves fatigue severity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was interested to read the paper by Satyajeet Roy and colleagues [1] (open-access here) concluding that: "Normalization of vitamin D levels with ergocalciferol therapy significantly improves the severity of... fatigue symptoms". Ergocalciferol by the way, means vitamin D2, which is distinct from cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), the seemingly more desirable form of vitamin D supplementation (see here)."It's beyond my control"The Roy paper is open-access but a few details might be useful:........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 04:34 AM
  • 98 views

Other people can tell whether your partner is cheating on you

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Do humans have an infidelity radar?We can identify a surprising amount of information about each other from the briefest of glimpses - a process that psychologists call thin-slicing. In the latest study in this area, a group led by Nathaniel Lambert have explored whether we can watch a romantic couple interact and tell within minutes whether one of them is a cheat.Fifty-one student participants (35 women) in a relationship answered survey questions about their own infidelities toward their curre........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 03:33 AM
  • 137 views

Old people are immune against the cocktail party effect

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Imagine standing at a cocktail party and somewhere your name gets mentioned. Your attention is immediately grabbed by the sound of your name. It is a classic psychological effect with a new twist: old people are immune. The so-called cocktail party effect has fascinated researchers for a long time. Even though you do not consciously […]... Read more »

Naveh-Benjamin M, Kilb A, Maddox GB, Thomas J, Fine HC, Chen T, & Cowan N. (2014) Older adults do not notice their names: A new twist to a classic attention task. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition. PMID: 24820668  

  • October 5, 2014
  • 09:21 PM
  • 106 views

Serotonin, depression, neurogenesis, and the beauty of science

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

If you asked any self-respecting neuroscientist 25 years ago what causes depression, she would likely have only briefly considered the question before responding that depression is caused by a monoamine deficiency. Specifically, she might have added, in many cases it seems to be caused by low levels of serotonin in the brain. The monoamine hypothesis that she would have been referring to was first formulated in the late 1960s, and at that time was centered primarily around norepinephrine. But in........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2014
  • 04:00 AM
  • 100 views

I’m so easily distr….oooh look! Shiny!

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple way to help people avoid focusing on their pain, allowing them to just watch a TV programme or something, and not be bothered by some painful procedure? This is a dream for those health professionals who have to carry out painful procedures like take blood, drill teeth, change dressings, stretch body parts and so on. It’s also an area of great interest for researchers, because studying how distraction affects our experience of pain shows us ........ Read more »

Schreiber, K., Campbell, C., Martel, M., Greenbaum, S., Wasan, A., Borsook, D., Jamison, R., & Edwards, R. (2014) Distraction Analgesia in Chronic Pain Patients. Anesthesiology, 1. DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000465  

  • October 4, 2014
  • 11:33 AM
  • 46 views

The Underwear Fetish Brain?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a Japanese case report, a man developed a fetish for women’s underwear due to decreased brain blood flow. Here’s how neuropsychiatrists Koji Masuda and colleagues describe the patient: A 24-year-old male patient who was arrested for stealing underwear and referred to our hospital for evaluation. The patient had stolen women’s underwear on multiple […]The post The Underwear Fetish Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Koji Masuda, Yoshinobu Ishitobi, Yoshihiro Tanaka, & Jotao Akiyoshi. (2014) Underwear fetishism induced by bilaterally decreased cerebral bloodflow in the temporo-occipital lobe. BMJ Case Rep. info:/

  • October 4, 2014
  • 04:57 AM
  • 127 views

The gut-brain axis and schizophrenia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A micropost to direct your attention to the recent paper by Katlyn Nemani and colleagues [1] titled: 'Schizophrenia and the gut-brain axis'. Mentioning words like that, I couldn't resist offering a little exposure to this review and opinion piece, drawing on what seems to be some renewed research interest in work started by pioneers such as the late Curt Dohan [2].The usual triad of gastrointestinal (GI) variables - gut barrier, gut bacteria and gut immune function - are mentioned in the article........ Read more »

Nemani, K., Ghomi, R., McCormick, B., & Fan, X. (2014) Schizophrenia and the gut–brain axis. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.08.018  

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