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  • June 27, 2014
  • 08:46 AM

Objects Bring Fear the Closer They Appear

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Quick: which of these things should you worry about if it’s coming toward you? a.) grizzly bear b.) pedestrian c.) frowny face emoticon You many not have time to assess all the risks (is the bear running? does the frowny face have greater-than-symbol eyebrows?). But without thinking about it, you’ll have a bad feeling about […]The post Objects Bring Fear the Closer They Appear appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Hsee, C., Tu, Y., Lu, Z., & Ruan, B. (2014) Approach aversion: Negative hedonic reactions toward approaching stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(5), 699-712. DOI: 10.1037/a0036332  

  • June 27, 2014
  • 07:27 AM

What is “Cultural IQ” training and does it really work?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

IQ was once the only game in town. Now it rubs shoulders with a gaggle of human ability measures such as Emotional Intelligence, Empathy Quotient, and Rationality Quotient. The increasingly interconnected and diverse world of work has magnified interest in another newcomer: CQ, or cultural intelligence. With it come courses promising to prepare their students to work with colleagues, partners and customers who have different values and norms. A new paper investigates how effective this training ........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2014
  • 05:08 AM

Scurvy, vitamin C and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd been thinking about writing this post on scurvy, vitamin C and autism for quite a while. The paper by Kitcharoensakkul and colleagues [1] really made the decision for me, following their discussions on three young children with walking difficulties who were eventually diagnosed with scurvy, one of whom was diagnosed with autism. The authors concluded: "These clinical manifestations and radiologic findings highlight the importance for rheumatologists to have a higher index of suspicion f........ Read more »

Kitcharoensakkul M, Schulz CG, Kassel R, Khanna G, Liang S, Ngwube A, Baszis KW, Hunstad DA, & White AJ. (2014) Scurvy revealed by difficulty walking: three cases in young children. Journal of clinical rheumatology : practical reports on rheumatic , 20(4), 224-8. PMID: 24847751  

  • June 26, 2014
  • 09:26 AM

Why use fruit flies to study a gene involved in language?

by Björn Brembs in

This is the story behind our work on the function of the FoxP gene in the fruit fly Drosophila (more background info). As so many good things, it started with beer. Troy Zars and I were having a beer on […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

Mendoza, E., Colomb, J., Rybak, J., Pflüger, H., Zars, T., Scharff, C., & Brembs, B. (2014) Drosophila FoxP Mutants Are Deficient in Operant Self-Learning. PLoS ONE, 9(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100648  

  • June 26, 2014
  • 04:44 AM

Increased rates of suicidal ideation in adults with Asperger syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings lend support to anecdotal reports of increased rates of suicidal ideation in adults with Asperger's syndrome, and depression as an important potential risk factor for suicidality in adults with this condition".Sunrise @ Wikipedia That was the very stark conclusion reached by the study by Sarah Cassidy and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at self-reported rates of suicide ideation and suicide plans/attempts in a sample of adults newly diagnosed with Asperger syndr........ Read more »

Sarah Cassidy, Paul Bradley, Janine Robinson, Carrie Allison, Meghan McHugh, & Simon Baron-Cohen. (2014) Suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts in adults with Asperger's syndrome attending a specialist diagnostic clinic: a clinical cohort study. Lancet Psychiatry. info:/doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61345-8

  • June 25, 2014
  • 01:00 PM

How can we increase altruism towards future generations?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Dan JonesLike many parents, I often wonder what kind of world my two-year-old son will grow up to inhabit. Will the planet be ravaged by extreme climatic events, depleted of vital forests and biodiversity? Although some of our fears about the future may be overblown, if we don’t want to leave the planet in ruins for future generations, we need to think about how we act today — and maybe change our ways.Some changes are likely to involve minor sacrifices or small inconvenienc........ Read more »

Oliver P. Hauser, David G. Rand, Alexander Peysakhovich, & Martin A. Nowak. (2014) Cooperating with the future. Nature. info:/

  • June 25, 2014
  • 08:30 AM

Do Children Help Care for the Family Pet?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

…Or does mom do it all?Photo: Samuel Borges Photography / ShutterstockHow should children learn to take some responsibility for family pets? New research by Janine Muldoon et al (University of St Andrews) investigates children’s perspectives of the division of labour in relation to their pets.The exploratory study involved focus groups with children aged 7, 9, 11 and 13. The researchers planned equal numbers of boys and girls, but constraints meant that 30 girls and only 23 boys took part.&n........ Read more »

  • June 25, 2014
  • 04:39 AM

Men who are ashamed of their bodies are more prone to sexual aggression against women - US study

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When men are aggressive towards women, their behaviour is often driven by the feeling that their masculinity has been threatened. Consider these previous findings: men told they'd performed poorly on a strength test gave more painful electric shocks to a woman who criticised them; and men whose masculine identity was threatened subsequently harassed a feminist woman by sending her pornographic photos.Now Kris Mescher and Laurie Rudman have shown that this link is particularly strong for men who ........ Read more »

  • June 25, 2014
  • 04:33 AM

Silence ENO2! More epigenetics and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Yu Wang and colleagues [1] (open-access here) concluded that: "reduced ENO2 expression may be a biomarker for a subset of autistic children" following their genome-wide methylation study of autism. For those who've picked up the word 'methylation' in that first sentence, this is yet another sign that epigenetics - the science of changes to gene function not entailing structural genomic changes - is starting to impact on autism research.Silentio! @ Wikipedia Based on an ini........ Read more »

Wang Y, Fang Y, Zhang F, Xu M, Zhang J, Yan J, Ju W, Brown WT, & Zhong N. (2014) Hypermethylation of the enolase gene (ENO2) in autism. European journal of pediatrics. PMID: 24737292  

  • June 24, 2014
  • 12:30 PM

Is it possible to predict who will benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The rise of CBT has been welcomed by many as safe, effective alternative to drug treatments for mental illness. However, there are also fears that CBT has grown too dominant, crowding out other less structured, more time consuming forms of psychotherapy.The fact is, CBT doesn't work for everyone. Precious resources could be better managed, and alternative approaches sensibly considered, if there were a way to predict in advance those patients who are likely to benefit from CBT, and those who are........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 10:51 AM

Is it okay to eat fish if they don’t have any feelings?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

When a scientific paper begins its list of keywords with “fish cognition”, you know you’re in for a good read. Culum Brown is tired of people eating fish, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Fish, he says, are smarter than you think. We need to cast off our view of them as dumb slimy creatures and […]... Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 09:05 AM

Social Networks May Guide Parents to Particular Autism Interventions

by amikulak in Daily Observations

After receiving a life-changing diagnosis for themselves or a loved one, people often turn to social networks for support and information. Parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) […]... Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 09:04 AM

No need to only send your best work to Science Magazine

by Björn Brembs in

The data clearly show that publications in Cell, Nature or Science (CNS for short), on average, cannot be distinguished from other publications, be it by methodology, reproducibility or other measures of quality. Even their citation advantage, while statistically significant, is […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

  • June 23, 2014
  • 03:53 PM

Pesticides and autism: chapter II

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've labelled this entry a chapter II post reflecting some continued interest in how agricultural pesticide exposure might fit into autism research (see here for the chapter I post). In that previous post, I talked about various issues such as the old correlation-is-not-necessarily-causation mantra and indeed, how use of something like galantamine for cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) [1] might present something of a paradox for certain types of pesticides being involved in the condition, ........ Read more »

Janie F. Shelton, Estella M. Geraghty, Daniel J. Tancredi,, Lora D. Delwiche, Rebecca J. Schmidt, Beate Ritz, Robin L. Hansen, & Irva Hertz-Picciotto. (2014) Neurodevelopmental disorders and prenatal residential proximity to agricultural pesticides: The CHARGE study. Environmental Health Perspectives. info:/10.1289/ehp.1307044

  • June 23, 2014
  • 11:48 AM

A man's fighting ability is written in his face

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A composite of the most (A) and least (B) experienced UFC fighters (from Zilioli et al.)Men with faces that are wide relative to their length are more formidable fighters, on average. That's according to a new paper that also finds that observers use the width of a man's face to ascertain with accuracy his likely fighting ability. Samuele Zilioli and his collaborators believe their findings support the idea that humans have evolved specific "neurocognitive adaptations" for assessing the fig........ Read more »

Zilioli S, Sell AN, Stirrat M, Jagore J, Vickerman W, & Watson NV. (2014) Face of a fighter: Bizygomatic width as a cue of formidability. Aggressive behavior. PMID: 24910133  

  • June 23, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

Smiles really might warm your heart (or brain)

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

Those heartwarming touches can give us a warm feeling inside, and help us warm up to someone we don’t know well. On the other hand, a cold-hearted person will leave us cold, and if you give people the cold shoulder too often your significant other might get cold feet about marrying you. Fancy figures of speech, all, and perhaps not just pulled from the ether. We may describe positive social interactions this way because positive interactions really do make us warmer – and by contrast........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2014
  • 04:43 AM

Is group brainstorming more effective if you do it standing up?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Experts say that spending more time standing at work is good for your physical well-being. Now there's another reason to ditch your office chair. According to psychologists in the US, standing improves group brainstorming sessions.Andrew Knight and Markus Baer recruited 214 undergrads to take part in a 30-minute brainstorming session in groups of three to five people. The challenge for the groups was to come up with ideas for a university recruitment video, which they then recorded at the end of........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2014
  • 04:30 AM

Kata training and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The actor and musician Steven Seagal is probably not natural fodder for this blog about autism research but he does nevertheless make an appearance today. More readily known for his action films - my favourite was always 'Under Siege' - one of the appeals of Mr Seagal was his knowledge and use of martial arts in his various roles, as a function of his quite impressive real-life black belt in Aikido.Obi Wan... no Obi knot @ Wikipedia It is with martial arts in mind that today I'm talkin........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2014
  • 10:23 AM

The Love Song of Philo T. Farnsworth

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Philo Farnsworth, if the name sounds vaguely familiar than you might just be a Futurama watcher. If you don't watch and know who I'm talking about or even better are a fan then, "YAY!" and for those of you who don't know, don't sweat it you're not alone. One of the forgotten greats, Farnsworth should be a household name, namely because one of his biggest inventions is in practically every home.... Read more »

The associated press. (2006) Elma Gardner Farnsworth, 98, Who Helped Husband Develop TV, Dies. The New York Times. info:/

Edwin Cartlidge. (2007) The Secrete way of Amateur Fusion. Physics World. info:/

  • June 21, 2014
  • 10:50 PM

Meta-analysing cytokine involvement in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly brief post today to draw your attention to the "systematic review and meta-analysis" paper by Masi and colleagues [1] on all-things cytokine in relation to autism. They concluded that there was "strengthening evidence of an abnormal cytokine profile in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] where inflammatory signals dominate". I should point out that other authors have reached similar conclusions in previous reviews [2] and here also [3]."The herring does not fry here" @ Wikiped........ Read more »

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