We know that hormones affect who we are, even when we aren’t aware of it. In the past scientists have found that people who are hungry tend to buy more things, no surprise for those of us who have shopped hungry. However, new research shows that women seek a greater variety of products and services, specifically when they are ovulating.... Read more »
Durante, K., & Arsena, A. (2015) Playing the Field: The Effect of Fertility on Women’s Desire for Variety. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(6), 1372-1391. DOI: 10.1086/679652
A new simulation of a complex, realistic disaster event suggests that time pressure facilitates better decision-making among emergency responders. The two-day training exercise, overseen by Liverpool’s Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology, looked at the impact of a hypothetical aeroplane crash over a city. Nearly two hundred professionals were split into different rooms based on the agency they belonged to (14 agencies in all, including police, transport, health and science adviso........ Read more »
Alison, L., Power, N., van den Heuvel, C., Humann, M., Palasinksi, M., & Crego, J. (2015) Decision inertia: Deciding between least worst outcomes in emergency responses to disasters. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/joop.12108
You can enhance your memory nearly five times with the help of 45-60 minutes of sleep.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Memory is the power of retaining, remembering, and recalling past experiences and knowledge. Normally, new information moves away from the mind quite rapidly as we are prone to forget things. Every one of us wants to have a good memory. Researchers are working on new techniques to improve memory that may range from exer........ Read more »
Studte, S., Bridger, E., & Mecklinger, A. (2015) Nap sleep preserves associative but not item memory performance. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 84-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2015.02.012
Anhedonia: the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable.Although by no means an expert on anhedonia (or much else), I believe that it is a concept quite important when it comes to making a diagnosis of depression although the precise hows and whys of connecting anhedonia to other symptoms are still the source of some discussion .The paper from Vicki Bitsika & Christopher Sharpley  brings the concepts of anhedonia and depression into v........ Read more »
Bitsika, V., & Sharpley, C. (2015) Differences in the Prevalence, Severity and Symptom Profiles of Depression in Boys and Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder versus Normally Developing Controls. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 62(2), 158-167. DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2014.998179
This boy may be influencing who he will marry when he grows up. Photo by Orrling at Wikimedia Commons.Animals (including humans) are swarming with microorganisms both on and in our bodies. Humans harbor so many different microorganisms that we have over 150 times more microbial genes than mammalian genes, and it is reasonable to suspect that this scenario is similar for most animals. But before you run to soak in a tub of hand sanitizer, you should realize that many of these microorganisms are a........ Read more »
Cryan, J., & Dinan, T. (2015) More than a Gut Feeling: the Microbiota Regulates Neurodevelopment and Behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(1), 241-242. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2014.224
This is sort of scary research. We all like to think our views on moral issues are pretty consistent and not easily shaken. That would be incorrect. They are not consistent and they are easily shaken. At least these are the conclusions reached by this research. We’ve written before about on which side of the […]
Simple Jury Persuasion: Telling jurors where to look
Simple Jury Persuasion: Activate the ‘intuitive prosecutor’
Simple Jury Persuasion: It’s really prett........ Read more »
Pärnamets P, Johansson P, Hall L, Balkenius C, Spivey MJ, & Richardson DC. (2015) Biasing moral decisions by exploiting the dynamics of eye gaze. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25775604
If I gave you a written description of an object – let's say a boat – would you be able to judge whether the author had written about the boat from their memory of it, as opposed to having written about a boat they'd imagined?It's a question with real-world importance because, in court, we often rely on eyewitness memories and it's up to a jury to determine their source and veracity. But memory, like the imagination, is a creative process. Sometimes the two even become blurred – it's quite........ Read more »
Johnson, M., Bush, J., & Mitchell, K. (1998) Interpersonal Reality Monitoring: Judging the Sources of Other People's Memories. Social Cognition, 16(2), 199-224. DOI: 10.1521/soco.19126.96.36.199
"Asthmatic children had a higher risk of also having ADHD."That was the conclusion reached by Kirsten Holmberg and colleagues  based on their analysis of rates of ADHD, and other variables found "through the Swedish Twin Register, linked to the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the National Patient Register and the Prescribed Drug Register." Said data came from over 20,000 twins who's parents were questioned when children were aged 9 or 12 years.For those unfamiliar with the proposed conne........ Read more »
Holmberg K, Lundholm C, Anckarsäter H, Larsson H, & Almqvist C. (2015) Impact of asthma medication and familial factors on the association between childhood asthma and ADHD A combined twin- and register-based study. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology. PMID: 25772649
Childhood obesity affects more than double the amount of children it did 30 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). To figure out why the rate is increasing researchers studied the relationship between parents and their obese children to determine how to improve pediatric health. The study actually reveals how poorly parents rate their own child’s weight issues — at least until they reach extreme levels of obesity.... Read more »
Black et al. (2015) Child obesity cut-offs as derived from parental perceptions: cross-sectional questionnaire. British Journal of General Practice. info:/10.3399/bjgp15X684385
"The autism sera injected rats demonstrated developmental delay and deficits in social communication, interaction, and novelty."That was one of the findings reported in the paper by Syed Faraz Kazim and colleagues  (open-access) who, among other things, injected intracerebroventricularly sera collected from children with autism into newborn rats and examined behavioural effects compared with injections of sera from asymptomatic controls. Actually, that was only one part of the resea........ Read more »
Kazim, S., Cardenas-Aguayo, M., Arif, M., Blanchard, J., Fayyaz, F., Grundke-Iqbal, I., & Iqbal, K. (2015) Sera from Children with Autism Induce Autistic Features Which Can Be Rescued with a CNTF Small Peptide Mimetic in Rats. PLOS ONE, 10(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118627
When you consider that so much of our energy and such a large portion of our behavioral repertoire is devoted to ways of ensuring our survival, suicide appears to be perhaps the most inexplicable human behavior. What would make this human machine--which most of the time seems to be resolutely programmed to scratch, claw, and fight to endure through even the most dire situations--so easily decide to give it all up, even when the circumstances may not objectively seem all that desperate? Suicide i........ Read more »
Sometimes being too focused on a task is not a good thing. During tasks that require our attention, we might become so engrossed in what we are doing that we fail to notice there is a better way to get the job done. For example, let’s say you are coming out of a New York City subway one late afternoon and you want to find out which way is west. You might begin to scan street signs and then suddenly realize that you could just look for the setting sun.... Read more »
Nicolas W. Schuck, Robert Gaschler, Dorit Wenke, Jakob Heinzle, Peter A. Frensch, John-Dylan Haynes, & Carlo Reverberi. (2015) Medial Prefrontal Cortex Predicts Internally Driven Strategy Shifts. Neuron. info:/Link
by Sergio Graziosi in Evolutionary Games Group
A recurrent theme here in TheEGG is the limits and reliability of knowledge. These get explored from many directions: on epistemological grounds, from the philosophy of science angle, but also formally, through game theory and simulations. In this post, I will explore the topic of misbeliefs as adaptations. Misbeliefs will be intended as ideas about […]... Read more »
Kaznatcheev, A., Montrey, M., & Shultz, T.R. (2014) Evolving useful delusions: Subjectively rational selfishness leads to objectively irrational cooperation. Proceedings of the 36th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. arXiv: 1405.0041v1
In the Journal of Personality, a new study reports on the uniformity of human experience around the globe: The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of Situations Across 20 Countries
The research was an online survey of a total of 5447 people. Each participant was asked to think about what happened the previous evening at 7 pm. Then they were asked to describe the 7 pm scene by means of 89 statements (descriptors), which included things like: "Rational thinking is called for.", "Situation ra... Read more »
Guillaume E, Baranski E, Todd E, Bastian B, Bronin I, Ivanova C, Cheng JT, de Kock FS, Denissen JJ, Gallardo-Pujol D.... (2015) The World at 7: Comparing the experience of situations across 20 countries. Journal of personality. PMID: 25808415
"A positive screen on the M-CHAT [Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers] occurs more commonly in very preterm infants than those born at term."So said the study by Peter Gray and colleagues  as the topic of preterm status - that is, babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy - potentially being linked to a greater risk of autism or at least, increased risk of screening positive for autism, crops up yet again on this blog (see here).Gray et al examined a cohort of children bo........ Read more »
Gray PH, Edwards DM, O'Callaghan MJ, & Gibbons K. (2015) Screening for autism spectrum disorder in very preterm infants during early childhood. Early human development, 91(4), 271-276. PMID: 25766314
The sparring mitt, yellow stitches spelling "SLUGGER" casually lying on the desk. The Mathlete trophy on a high shelf. A Ganesha statue, slightly chipped. Why do people bring these kinds of personal objects into the workplace?Researchers Kris Byron and Gregory Laurence found answers by consulting 28 people in a range of jobs and workplaces. They used the "grounded theory" approach, starting with a clutch of more open-ended interviews and then pursuing the lines of inquiry that emerged, in every ........ Read more »
Byron, K., & Laurence, G. (2014) Diplomas, Photos, and Tchotchkes as Symbolic Self-Representations: Understanding Employees' Individual Use of Symbols. Academy of Management Journal, 58(1), 298-323. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2012.0932
Is it cool or existentially disturbing to think that your personal brain quirks might come from the toys you played with as a toddler?
In a study published earlier this month, psychologists asked 6,588 American synesthetes what colors they associate with each letter of the alphabet. Then they compared these associations to a certain vintage set of Fisher-Price alphabet magnets. They found that at least 6% of their synesthetes had improbably close matches to the colors of the magnets.
T... Read more »
Witthoft, N., Winawer, J., & Eagleman, D. (2015) Prevalence of Learned Grapheme-Color Pairings in a Large Online Sample of Synesthetes. PLOS ONE, 10(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118996
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
There is a lot of literature on fire-setters but not, apparently, on how psychotic fire-setters differ from those who are not psychotic. As it turns out, there are some significant differences. Researchers in The Netherlands examined the records of 124 fire-setters (30 psychotic and 94 non-psychotic) sent for pretrial forensic mental health assessments between 2000 […]
But, your honor! That witness was drunk!
Can you trust the results of forensic evaluations on legal sanit........ Read more »
Dalhuisen, L., Koenraadt, F., & Liem, M. (2015) Psychotic versus non-psychotic firesetters: similarities and differences in characteristics. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry , 1-22. DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2015.1018927
A quote to begin: "acute inflammation can lead to decreases in the ability to accurately and reliably comprehend emotional information from others."It comes from the article published by Mona Moieni and colleagues  who examined a concept familiar to many people with a connection to autism either personally or professionally: Theory of Mind (ToM). Rather interestingly, Moieni et al "examined whether exposure to an experimental inflammatory challenge led to changes in ToM." Inflammato........ Read more »
Moieni M, Irwin MR, Jevtic I, Breen EC, & Eisenberger NI. (2015) Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing: a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 25770082
For treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to be effective, is it really necessary to focus on the trauma itself? ... Read more »
Barlow DH, Bullis JR, Comer JS, & Ametaj AA. (2013) Evidence-based psychological treatments: an update and a way forward. Annual review of clinical psychology, 1-27. PMID: 23245338
Gerger, H., Munder, T., Gemperli, A., Nüesch, E., Trelle, S., Jüni, P., & Barth, J. (2014) Integrating fragmented evidence by network meta-analysis: relative effectiveness of psychological interventions for adults with post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychological Medicine, 3151-3164. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714000853
Schnurr PP. (2007) The rocks and hard places in psychotherapy outcome research. Journal of traumatic stress, 779-92. PMID: 17955539
Watts BV, Schnurr PP, Mayo L, Young-Xu Y, Weeks WB, & Friedman MJ. (2013) Meta-analysis of the efficacy of treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 23842024
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