Researchers have identified for the first time a cell type in the brain of mice that is integral to attention. Moreover, by manipulating the activity of this cell type, the scientists were able to enhance attention in mice. The results add to the understanding of how the brain's frontal lobes work and control behaviour.
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Hoseok Kim, Sofie hedlund-Richter, Xinming Wang, Karl Deisseroth, Marie Carlén. (2016) Prefrontal Parvalbumin Neurons in Control of Attention. Cell . DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.038
By guest blogger Melissa HogenboomConsider the following scenario. A policeman is on patrol, maybe he's quite new to working in the field. He sees a suspicious young man and decides to follow him.He turns the corner and sees that the man has drawn a gun from his pocket. In a snap second – almost too fast to think twice – he takes out his own gun and shoots the man dead.Only the man didn't have a gun at all, it was a mobile phone.Sadly, it's a familiar story. An incident exactly like it ........ Read more »
Lojowska, M., Gladwin, T., Hermans, E., & Roelofs, K. (2015) Freezing promotes perception of coarse visual features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(6), 1080-1088. DOI: 10.1037/xge0000117
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
While idealistically we might want to think people whose mom is (or was) in prison would view their Mom’s plight as a cautionary tale, and be less likely to go to prison themselves, a new study shows that “children of incarcerated mothers are twice as likely to be arrested, convicted and incarcerated as adults”. The […]
Would you rather go to jail or prison?
Go to jail. Go directly to jail. And if you are a woman, stay there a lot longer.
Even kids don’t make pa........ Read more »
Muftic, L., Bouffard, L., & Armstrong, G. (2015) Impact of Maternal Incarceration on the Criminal Justice Involvement of Adult Offspring: A Research Note. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 53(1), 93-111. DOI: 10.1177/0022427815593988
I was intrigued to read the findings reported by Anna Sosa  who reported that "play with books and traditional toys was superior to play with electronic toys in promoting high-quality communication."This was a study looking at communication between parents and their infants aged 10-16 months old as a function of toy type, where electronic toys - "3 battery-operated toys with buttons and switches that can be manipulated to produce lights, words, phrases, and songs" - were pitted against '........ Read more »
Sosa AV. (2015) Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication. JAMA Pediatrics. info:/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3753
New research shows listening to audiobooks can help dogs waiting for adoption.Imagine how it must feel to be a dog at a shelter, taken from your normal environment for reasons you don’t understand, with unfamiliar smells and noises, including other dogs barking. Could the sounds of music or a person reading help? A new study by Clarissa Brayley and Tamara Montrose (Hartpury Animal Behaviour College) tests audiobooks and music to see if they calm the dogs, and finds beneficial results from audi........ Read more »
Brayley, C., & Montrose, V. (2016) The effects of audiobooks on the behaviour of dogs at a rehoming kennels. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 111-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.11.008
"Collectively, these results clearly indicate the existence of dysbiosis in the gut of AN [anorexia nervosa] patients."That opening sentence comes from the paper by Chihiro Morita and colleagues  (open-access available here) who "compared the fecal microbiota of female patients with AN (n = 25), including restrictive (ANR, n = 14) and binge-eating (ANBP, n = 11) subtypes, with those of age-matched healthy female controls (n = 21)." Stool and blood samples were analysed for vari........ Read more »
Better detection rates for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) mean the chances of having a colleague with the diagnosis, or being diagnosed yourself, have never been so high. But what’s it like to be "working while ASD"? A new paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests the age when a person is diagnosed is key. Those diagnosed later in life are less likely to fully identify with the label of autism and with the ASD community more broadly, shaping their attitudes and feelings abo........ Read more »
Johnson, T., & Joshi, A. (2015) Dark Clouds or Silver Linings? A Stigma Threat Perspective on the Implications of an Autism Diagnosis for Workplace Well-Being. Journal of Applied Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/apl0000058
You're creating a profile for an online dating site when you come to a question you're not sure you want to answer—say, "Do you smoke?" You might be more comfortable leaving it blank than sharing the truth with all your potential dates. But a series of experiments says that we tend to judge people harshly when they withhold personal information. Even someone who shares an unpleasant truth is more appealing, trustworthy, and hirable than someone who'd rather not say.
Harvard Business ........ Read more »
If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.
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Fitzpatrick, C., Archambault, I., Janosz, M., & Pagani, L. (2015) Early childhood working memory forecasts high school dropout risk. Intelligence, 160-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2015.10.002
Recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of children born via IVF and other fertility treatments (in 2011 in the UK, 17,041 babies were born via IVF). While this has undoubtedly brought immeasurable happiness to many families, medical experts have raised concerns that the steps involved in IVF – such as the direct implantation of embryos into the mother's uterus, and in some cases the injection of an individual sperm cell into the egg – may bypass some biological filtering proces........ Read more »
Friedlander, E., Mankuta, D., Yaari, M., Harel, A., Ebstein, R., & Yirmiya, N. (2015) Cognitive and social-communication abilities among young children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1-14. DOI: 10.1080/17405629.2015.1115343
Listening to your own voice in different emotional tones and features can change your mood accordingly.
In a study, researchers worked with some people. They asked the people to read a short story written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Researchers then changed the pitch of the voice along with some other features such as sadness, happiness, and fearfulness (in voice). They then allowed the people to listen to their modified voices........ Read more »
Aucouturier, J., Johansson, P., Hall, L., Segnini, R., Mercadié, L., & Watanabe, K. (2016) Covert digital manipulation of vocal emotion alter speakers’ emotional states in a congruent direction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201506552. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1506552113
"Prenatal use of acetaminophen was associated with an increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] accompanied by hyperkinetic symptoms..., but not with other ASD cases."I was rather interested to read that conclusion presented in the study by Zeyan Liew and colleagues  talking about how acetaminophen (or paracetamol as it is known here in Blighty) use during pregnancy might have some rather important connections to offspring outcomes specifically with autism and hyperkinetic symptoms ........ Read more »
Liew Z, Ritz B, Virk J, & Olsen J. (2015) Maternal use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders in childhood: A Danish national birth cohort study. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26688372
You may have seen the buzz around a recent study which found that kids in atheist families are more altruistic than kids in religious families. Like any study that reinforces preconceptions of a vocal group, it was social media gold dust. I want to take a critical look at it and some of the objections [Read More...]... Read more »
Decety, J., Cowell, J., Lee, K., Mahasneh, R., Malcolm-Smith, S., Selcuk, B., & Zhou, X. (2015) The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.056
Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »
Hofer, S. (2015) Studying Gender Bias in Physics Grading: The role of teaching experience and country. International Journal of Science Education, 37(17), 2879-2905. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1114190
From the pontifications of the politician on the nightly news, to the latest tabloid health scare, we're constantly bombarded by other people's arguments – their attempts to make a particular claim based on some kind of evidence. How best to evaluate all these assertions and counter-assertions? Some insights come from a new study in the journal Thinking and Reasoning that's compared the argument evaluation strategies of scientists (advanced doctoral students and post-docs in psychology) with t........ Read more »
von der Mühlen, S., Richter, T., Schmid, S., Schmidt, E., & Berthold, K. (2015) Judging the plausibility of arguments in scientific texts: a student–scientist comparison. Thinking , 1-29. DOI: 10.1080/13546783.2015.1127289
High level of depression is an important barrier to achieve best cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular problems are among the important causes of mortality throughout the world, that’s why researchers are working on the cardiovascular disorders and causes behind them. Some of the important causes or factors behind cardiovascular disorders are blood pressure, smoking (especially in men), and lipids. Some other risk f........ Read more »
Gaye, B., Prugger, C., Perier, M., Thomas, F., Plichart, M., Guibout, C., Lemogne, C., Pannier, B., Boutouyrie, P., Jouven, X.... (2016) High level of depressive symptoms as a barrier to reach an ideal cardiovascular health. The Paris Prospective Study III. Scientific Reports, 18951. DOI: 10.1038/srep18951
Hot on the heels of the peer-reviewed research-based suggestion that fish oil supplementation (high in omega-3 PUFAs) might have some rather important effects pertinent to the transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder for 'young people with an at-risk mental state' (see here), are the results from Tomasz Pawełczyk and colleagues .This time around it was a randomised, placebo-controlled trial "of either 2.2 g/day of n-3 PUFA, or olive oil placebo, with regard to symptom severity in firs........ Read more »
Pawełczyk, T., Grancow-Grabka, M., Kotlicka-Antczak, M., Trafalska, E., & Pawełczyk, A. (2016) A randomized controlled study of the efficacy of six-month supplementation with concentrated fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in first episode schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 34-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.11.013
Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »
Molet, J., Heins, K., Zhuo, X., Mei, Y., Regev, L., Baram, T., & Stern, H. (2016) Fragmentation and high entropy of neonatal experience predict adolescent emotional outcome. Translational Psychiatry, 6(1). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.200
Epiphenomenalism is one idea I’ve struggled with for a long time: to my eyes, it doesn’t make any sense. But more importantly, when applied to philosophy of mind, it seems to me that epiphenomenalism does a great deal of damage.…Read more ›... Read more »
Swinburne, Richard. (2011) Could anyone justifiably believe epiphenomenalism?. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 18(3-4), 196-216. info:/
When you have a fever, your nose is stuffed and your headache is spreading to your toes, your body is telling you to stay home in bed. Feeling sick is an evolutionary adaptation according to a hypothesis put forward by Prof. Guy Shakhar of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department and Dr. Keren Shakhar of the Psychology Department of the College of Management Academic Studies.... Read more »
Shakhar, K., & Shakhar, G. (2015) Why Do We Feel Sick When Infected—Can Altruism Play a Role?. PLOS Biology, 13(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002276
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