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  • May 12, 2015
  • 12:13 PM

Help your brain, eat dark chocolate

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Eating dark chocolate can help in increasing attention levels, thereby improving concentration.

Published in:


Study Further:

Chocolate is a food made from roasted ground cacao beans. It is a powerful stimulant that can activate the brain. It is helpful in increasing the attention capabilities, and can also influence blood pressure as it is a vasodilator, i.e. it opens blood vessels and decreases blood pressure.

In a recent research, scientists tried ........ Read more »

Montopoli et al.,. (2015) The Acute Electrocortical and Blood Pressure Effects of Chocolate. NeuroRegulation. info:/

  • May 12, 2015
  • 08:08 AM

Motivated to Fail: When Flunking Becomes an Ambition

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

What is the opposite of being motivated to succeed? Well, it must be lack of motivation. Or not caring. Because surely nobody is motivated to do poorly. Or are they? A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology shows that in fact some students purposefully behave in ways that will lead them to fail. […]
Check out Motivated to Fail: When Flunking Becomes an Ambition, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • May 12, 2015
  • 05:13 AM

Consider congenital cytomegalovirus infection when it comes to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The finding lends some further support for congenital CMV [cytomegalovirus] being one of the many aetiologies underlying autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability."That was the conclusion reached by Mona-Lisa Engman and colleagues [1] from Sweden following their study looking to "evaluate the prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) in a representative sample of children with autism spectrum disorder." Carrying some rather distinguished company as part........ Read more »

Engman ML, Sundin M, Miniscalco C, Westerlund J, Lewensohn-Fuchs I, Gillberg C, & Fernell E. (2015) Prenatal acquired cytomegalovirus infection should be considered in children with autism. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992). PMID: 25900322  

  • May 11, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Is this a new treatment for adult criminal psychopaths? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Criminal psychopaths are a common topic we write about here. They are notoriously difficult to treat, but are so disturbing they make for fascinating study (and hopefully reading). Some say they are not treatable. They are highly likely to reoffend after incarceration and prison is neither a deterrent nor a punishment for many of them. […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
Judges are biased in favor of psychopaths whose “........ Read more »

Konicar L, Veit R, Eisenbarth H, Barth B, Tonin P, Strehl U, & Birbaumer N. (2015) Brain self-regulation in criminal psychopaths. Scientific reports, 9426. PMID: 25800672  

  • May 11, 2015
  • 06:31 AM

Most students struggle to take effective lecture notes. Here are two ways to help them

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Sit in a university lecture and you'll see most students scribbling away taking notes (or tapping away on laptops). Unfortunately, while note-taking ought to be beneficial in principle – by encouraging reflection on, and systematic organisation of, the material – countless studies have found it to have little to no benefit. It's likely this is in part because of the way students take notes. Many simply record verbatim what the lecturer is saying.Now the US psychologists Dung Bui and Mark McD........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2015
  • 04:59 AM

Trends in the diagnosis of autism in Australia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The frequency of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnoses in Australia has increased substantially from previously published estimates."That was one of the conclusions reached in the study by Catherine Bent and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who aimed to "investigate the frequency and age at diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children aged under 7 years living in Australia."Drawing on "de-identified data" extracted from Helping Children with Autism Package (HCWAP)&........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2015
  • 12:05 AM

A Good Night’s Sleep Could Go A Long Way with Neurocognitive Performance

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Athletes who reported sleeping difficulties during preseason neurocognitive testing performed worse on neurocognitive exams after a concussion and reported more symptoms following a concussion compared with those who reported no difficulties sleeping.... Read more »

  • May 10, 2015
  • 03:16 PM

Surprise! More sex does not mean more happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Countless research and self-help books claim that having more sex will lead to increased happiness, based on the common finding that those having more sex are also happier. However, there are many reasons why one might observe this positive relationship between sex and happiness. Being happy in the first place, for example, might lead someone to have more sex (what researchers call ‘reverse causality’), or being healthy might result in being both happier and having more sex.... Read more »

Loewenstein, G., Krishnamurti, T., Kopsic, J., & McDonald, D. (2015) Does Increased Sexual Frequency Enhance Happiness?. Journal of Economic Behavior . DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.04.021  

  • May 9, 2015
  • 03:58 PM

What would Optimus Prime do? A business leadership model

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

According to new research, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the impact of Saturday morning cartoons. The research examines how fantasy-based stories, in particular the popular 1980s cartoon series The Transformers, can shape children’s perceptions of what behaviors are associated with effective leadership. It also could provide a basis for workplace-training programs.... Read more »

Peter D Harms, & Seth M. Spain. (2015) Children’s Stories as a Foundation for Leadership Schemas: More Than Meets the Eye. ReserachGate. info:/ResearchGate

  • May 9, 2015
  • 05:27 AM

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings in severe autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of neuroradiologic abnormalities in low-functioning autistic children compared to Intellectual Quotient and age-matched nonsyndromic children, using the same set of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences."Accepting that the term 'low-functioning autism' is not one that I would personally use (indeed I'm not exactly enamoured by the term 'high-functioning' either), the results of the study by Alessandra Erbetta and colleagues [1] are b........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 04:32 PM

(More) bad news for Vets: PTSD linked to accelerated aging

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Before PTSD had a name there was shellshock. It was mysterious and much like today, not everyone showed symptoms and for the most part, it was written off. In recent years however, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning home. While this has opened the door for better care for people suffering from PTSD, it has also lead to some startling revelations about the extent of damage. New researc........ Read more »

Lohr, J., Palmer, B., Eidt, C., Aailaboyina, S., Mausbach, B., Wolkowitz, O., Thorp, S., & Jeste, D. (2015) Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Associated with Premature Senescence? A Review of the Literature. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.04.001  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 02:23 PM

Do interviewers really make a hiring decision in the first four minutes?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

There's an urban myth that interviewers make their hiring decisions within the first four minutes of an interview and spend the remaining time seeking information to bolster that gut judgment. The evidence for this is extremely limited and probably originates with a 1954 doctoral thesis. Now Rachel Frieder and her colleagues have conducted a field study involving hundreds of real interviews and they say that claims about snap decisions in interviews are exaggerated.The researchers collected thei........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 12:08 PM

Story envy: When we borrow other people's personal anecdotes

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

In the study, men admitted "borrowing" other people's stories more than womenAdmit it, have you ever told a cracking story to your friends but failed to include the crucial (but perhaps boring) caveat that the amusing events actually happened to someone else? A new survey of hundreds of US undergrads finds that borrowing personal memories in this way is common place.Alan Brown and his colleagues found that nearly half of the 447 undergrads they sampled admitted to having told someone else's pers........ Read more »

Brown, A., Croft Caderao, K., Fields, L., & Marsh, E. (2015) Borrowing Personal Memories. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3130  

  • May 8, 2015
  • 12:07 PM

A new questionnaire measures people's "no mobile phone phobia" or nomophobia

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Do you get intensely anxious when your mobile phone runs out of battery or you don't know where it is? If so, researchers in the US believe you could be showing signs of a distinctly modern malaise: "nomophobia", or "no mobile phone phobia".To galvanise more research into the phenomenon, Caglar Yildirim and Ana-Paula Correia have developed a 20-item nomophobia questionnaire. The pair began by interviewing nine undergrads (five women) who were identified as being heavily dependent on their smartp........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

The distraction effect: “No, no, not your left side, the patient’s left  side…”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I grew up in a family where multiple siblings got confused about which way was right and which way was left. When I began to drive, I would make a capital R in the air with my right index finger to be sure I was turning the right way. Unbeknownst to me, my siblings had […]

Related posts:
The hypercorrection effect: Correcting misinformation and false beliefs
The prospective moral licensing effect: “I can be bad now because I’m sure I will be good in the future!”
Shooting the messe........ Read more »

McKinley, J, Dempster, M, & Gormley, GJ. (2015) ‘Sorry, I meant the patient’s left side’: Impact of distraction on left-right discrimination. . Medical Education, 427-435. info:/

  • May 8, 2015
  • 05:09 AM

MoBa does prenatal antidepressant use and offspring anxiety

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

MoBa, otherwise known as the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, has found it's way onto this blog a few times over the years. If it's not to do with results concerning prenatal paracetamol (acetaminophen) exposure and possible offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes (see here), it's about confirming that bowel issues are indeed over-represented in cases of autism (see here) and lots more besides.We can now add the results from Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen and colleagues [1] (open-access) t........ Read more »

Brandlistuen, R., Ystrom, E., Eberhard-Gran, M., Nulman, I., Koren, G., & Nordeng, H. (2015) Behavioural effects of fetal antidepressant exposure in a Norwegian cohort of discordant siblings. International Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv030  

  • May 7, 2015
  • 04:44 AM

Parent training vs parent education for disruptive behaviour in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that historically I've never been a great fan of the words 'parent training' when applied to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). For me, the idea that parents of children with autism need 'training' to parent their child with autism always seemed a little condescending with overtones harking back to the bad old days of 'blame the mother' [1].My attitude to the idea of parent training has however softened in recent years on the back of some peer-reviewed evidence suggesting t........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 10:06 PM

Limitations of the consensus: How widely-accepted hypotheses can sometimes hinder understanding

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

To those who believe strongly in the scientific method, it really is the only approach to understanding the relationship between two events or variables that allows us to make assertions about such relationships with any confidence. Due to the inherent flaws in human reasoning, our non-scientific conclusions are frequently riddled with bias, misunderstanding, and misattribution. Thus, it seems there is little that can be trusted if it hasn't been scientifically verified.The scientific method, ho........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 03:26 PM

Researchers find new clues in treating chronic pain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A chemical in the brain typically associated with cognition, movement and reward-motivation behavior — among others — may also play a role in promoting chronic pain, according to new research. The chemical, dopamine, sets the stage for many important brain functions, but the mechanisms that cause it to contribute to chronic pain are less well understood.... Read more »

Kim, J., Tillu, D., Quinn, T., Mejia, G., Shy, A., Asiedu, M., Murad, E., Schumann, A., Totsch, S., Sorge, R.... (2015) Spinal Dopaminergic Projections Control the Transition to Pathological Pain Plasticity via a D1/D5-Mediated Mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(16), 6307-6317. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3481-14.2015  

  • May 6, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Loss of a Dog: The Importance of Social Support

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research finds that losing a pet dog is a stressful life event.Sooner or later, all pet owners have to face the realization that the lives of our animals are far too short. Grieving for a lost pet is further complicated by some people who fail to understand what a pet means. Comments like, “It was just a dog” can be very hurtful. A new study by Lilian Tzivian (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) et al investigates the psychological effects of pet loss. The study compared 103 dog owners w........ Read more »

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