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  • May 28, 2015
  • 05:01 PM

Why does humanity get smarter and smarter?

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Intelligence tests have to be adjusted all the time because people score higher and higher. If the average human of today went 105 years back in time, s/he would score 130, be considered as gifted, and join clubs for highly intelligent people. How can that be? The IQ growth The picture above shows the development […]... Read more »

Pietschnig J, & Voracek M. (2015) One Century of Global IQ Gains: A Formal Meta-Analysis of the Flynn Effect (1909-2013). Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 10(3), 282-306. PMID: 25987509  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 05:10 AM

Our jumpiness at nighttime is not just because it's dark

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When something goes bump in the night, most of us are little jumpier than we would be in the day. But is that just because it's dark, or is it more to do with our bodies and brains switching to a vigilant nocturnal mode?Yadan Li and her colleagues have attempted to disentangle the influences of darkness and nighttime. They recruited 120 young women to complete a computer task in a windowless cubicle, which involved them looking at neutral pictures (e.g. nature scenes), scary pictures (e.g. spide........ Read more »

Li, Y., Ma, W., Kang, Q., Qiao, L., Tang, D., Qiu, J., Zhang, Q., & Li, H. (2015) Night or darkness, which intensifies the feeling of fear?. International Journal of Psychophysiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.04.021  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 03:28 AM

The autisms, case reports and two 'intervention' options

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm looking at two papers today which I'd like to think cover the title of this post pretty well dealing with the plurality of autism - the autisms - and the idea that intervention or management-wise, there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to the autisms.First up are the findings reported by Ziats and colleagues [1] who presented results for a child - "A 4-year-old male with autism and two episodes of neurodevelopmental regression" - who was also found to have a "mutation in the TMLHE gen........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Where Do People Get Information About Dog Training?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Can people be blamed for dog training mistakes when there is so much erroneous information out there?Recently I saw a man walking a German Shepherd. Even from a distance it was clear the dog was nervous: his posture was low to the ground and the way he was walking made me wonder what kind of equipment he was on. As I waited at the traffic lights, I got a chance to see: a prong collar, tight, positioned high on his neck.There are easy alternatives, the simplest being a no-pull harness. I began to........ Read more »

Branson, N., Cobb, M., & McGreevy, P. (2009) Australian Working Dog Survey Report. Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. info:/

Deldalle, S., & Gaunet, F. (2014) Effects of two training methods on stress-related behaviors of the dog. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9(2), 58-65. info:/

  • May 27, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

The NoMoPhobia Scale (NMP-Q): What  happens when you are without your smartphone

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The smartphone has changed our lives. Just last fall, we wrote about the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Scale. As a reminder, that post was about how smartphones allow us to obsessively check our email and social media sites to see what our friends and followers and family members are doing— out of a fear […]

Related posts:
The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Scale
Stop looking at your smartphone & listen to me!
More than half of your potential jurors have  smartphones now

... Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 04:36 AM

Help me out – but hands off! How idea territoriality harms creative team work

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you want quality feedback on your creative ideas, don't be too possessive about themPatents, citations, and copyright all indicate how much it matters to people that they can claim an idea as their own. But new research suggests that staking a claim during the early stages of idea development can be counterproductive, as it cools the enthusiasm others have for making it better.Graham Brown and Markus Baer asked their participants – 230 students at a Singaporean university – to provide fee........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:08 AM

Predicting the onset of schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A lower level of inflammatory response indicated by PTX3 [pentraxin-3] might be implicated in developing schizophrenia."That was the primary conclusion reported by Natalya Weber and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who "tested preonset serum specimens from 160 US military service members who were later diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and 160 matched controls without psychiatric disorders."PTX-3 by the way, is a compound of some note when it comes to the concept of in........ Read more »

Weber NS, Larsen RA, Yolken RH, Cowan DN, Boivin MR, & Niebuhr DW. (2015) Predictors of the Onset of Schizophrenia in US Military Personnel. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 203(5), 319-24. PMID: 25919381  

  • May 26, 2015
  • 01:38 PM

Babies can think before they can speak

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Two pennies can be considered the same — both are pennies, just as two elephants can be considered the same, as both are elephants. Despite the vast difference between pennies and elephants, we easily notice the common relation of sameness that holds for both pairs. Analogical ability — the ability to see common relations between objects, events or ideas — is a key skill that underlies human intelligence and differentiates humans from other apes.... Read more »

  • May 26, 2015
  • 01:30 PM

Researchers find essential fats for brain growth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research has proved that certain special fats found in blood are essential for human brain growth and function. The two studies showed that mutations in the protein Mfsd2a causes impaired brain development in humans. Mfsd2a is the transporter in the brain for a special type of fat called lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) — composed of essential fatty acids like omega-3. These studies show, for the first time, the crucial role of these fats in human brain growth and function.... Read more »

  • May 26, 2015
  • 05:08 AM

Health and adults on the autism spectrum

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Nearly all medical conditions were significantly more common in adults with autism, including immune conditions, gastrointestinal and sleep disorders, seizure, obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes."So said the study results from Lisa Croen and colleagues [1] who set out to "describe the frequency of psychiatric and medical conditions among a large, diverse, insured population of adults with autism in the United States." Said participant group was derived from the interrogation of d........ Read more »

Croen LA, Zerbo O, Qian Y, Massolo ML, Rich S, Sidney S, & Kripke C. (2015) The health status of adults on the autism spectrum. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 25911091  

  • May 26, 2015
  • 04:26 AM

Happy people have more children

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Lots of research, much of it contradictory, has looked into whether having children brings happiness. There are studies showing marital satisfaction plummets after the kids arrive, but there's other evidence that the bundles of joy really do bring ... joy. A new study turns all this on its head and asks whether being happier makes it more likely that people will have children.Jinhyung Kim and Joshua Hicks first analysed data collected from 559 US lawyers. In 1984, the law men and women rated the........ Read more »

  • May 25, 2015
  • 01:40 PM

Echoborgs: Psychologists Bring You Face To Face With A Chat-bot

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last year I blogged about the creepy phenomenon of cyranoids. A cyranoid is a person who speaks the words of another person. With the help of a hidden earpiece, a 'source' whispers words into the ear of a 'shadower' , who repeats them. In research published last year, British psychologists Kevin Corti and Alex Gillespie showed that cyranoids are hard to spot: if you were speaking to one, you probably wouldn't know it, even if the source was an adult and the shadower a child, or vice versa.

... Read more »

  • May 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

I want to believe some psychopaths have feelings 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us find the behavior of the true psychopath frightening enough that we have few issues with locking them up and throwing away the key. They seem so very different from us and hearing the facts of their behavior is frightening and leaves us feeling unsafe. If you are not afraid of the psychopath, […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
Judges are biased in favor of psychopaths whose “brains made them do it”
Is thi........ Read more »

  • May 25, 2015
  • 02:42 AM

Ginkgo biloba for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I approach the paper by Fereshteh Shakibaei and colleagues [1] with some degree of caution save any suggestions that I am somehow 'promoting' the herb Ginkgo biloba for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anything else. I'm not, but I am interested in the results of their placebo-controlled trial suggesting that "The G. biloba is an effective complementary treatment for ADHD" and their subsequent calls for further research into this potentially promising intervention.As ........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2015
  • 06:19 PM

When medication side effects get in the way of living life

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

There are very few people living with chronic pain who gleefully swallow a handful of pills and skip happily off for the day feeling chipper and bright as a button. For the most part, people living with chronic pain don’t seem to enjoy the need to take medications – I’ve heard some say they’re worried about “not being able to tell whether I’m doing damage” when they can’t feel their pain, others say they don’t think medications are very helpf........ Read more »

  • May 23, 2015
  • 03:59 PM

Omega-3 as an intervention for childhood behavioral problems

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We don’t usually think of a child’s behavior as a diet issue, but if new findings hold true, then that might be the very case. In a new study, researchers suggest that omega-3, a fatty acid commonly found in fish oil, may have long-term neurodevelopmental effects that ultimately reduce antisocial and aggressive behavior problems in children.... Read more »

  • May 23, 2015
  • 03:53 AM

Psychological morbidity of coeliac disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Anxiety, depression and fatigue are common complaints in patients with untreated celiac disease and contribute to lower quality of life."That was one of the conclusions reached in the paper by Fabiana Zingone and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) following their review of the research literature "on psychological morbidity of celiac disease." Celiac (coeliac) disease (CD), by the way, is the autoimmune condition classically treated via the use of a gluten-free diet (GFD). Readers........ Read more »

Zingone F, Swift GL, Card TR, Sanders DS, Ludvigsson JF, & Bai JC. (2015) Psychological morbidity of celiac disease: A review of the literature. United European gastroenterology journal, 3(2), 136-45. PMID: 25922673  

  • May 22, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

The Dirty Dozen Scale 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This is not a scale to help you determine if your fruits and vegetables are dirty. This is for a different kind of dirt commonly referred to as the dark triad. Psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism make up the dark triad of personality traits and they are traits we all want to identify at different points […]

Related posts:
The CAST Scale: A comprehensive assessment of sadistic tendencies
The Libertarian Orientation Scale: Who’s the (real) Libertarian?
I’ll show you who&#........ Read more »

Jonason PK, & Webster GD. (2010) The dirty dozen: a concise measure of the dark triad. Psychological Assessment, 22(2), 420-32. PMID: 20528068  

  • May 22, 2015
  • 04:51 AM

You can now test whether someone is a "Maven"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Malcolm Gladwell’s influential book The Tipping Point popularised the notion that ideas, products and movements owe popular success to opinion leaders: people who are highly connected via weak ties to others, persuasive in character, and an expert or "Maven" in the field in question. The Maven is the friend you go to when you want to buy a new laptop, but don’t know where to start, or consult when you’ve been feeling sluggish and wondering if your diet has something to do with it.Identifyi........ Read more »

Boster, F., Carpenter, C., & Kotowksi, M. (2014) Validation studies of the maven scale. Social Influence, 10(2), 85-96. DOI: 10.1080/15534510.2014.939224  

  • May 22, 2015
  • 02:24 AM

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and autism: 2 year outcomes

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results provide evidence that gains from early intensive intervention are maintained 2 years later. Notably, core autism symptoms improved in the ESDM [Early Start Denver Model] group over the follow-up period relative to the COM [community-intervention-as-usual] group."Those were some of the conclusions reported in amongst the potentially very important results from Annette Estes and colleagues [1] looking at "the sustained effects of early intervention" followin........ Read more »

Annette Estes, Jeffrey Munson, Sally J. Rogers, Jessica Greenson, Jamie Winter, & Geraldine Dawson. (2015) Long-Term Outcomes of Early Intervention in 6-Year-Old Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. info:/10.1016/j.jaac.2015.04.005

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