This is going to be a very unusual post, it’s an ad-hoc effort, responding directly to Sabrina Golonka and Andrew D Wilson‘s call for feedback: they have recently published a pre-print on bioRxiv, entitled “Ecological Representations“. In the accompanying blog…Read more ›... Read more »
Happy as a pig in...Assuming that I'm still around as and when published, I'd like to think that the final product of the study protocol from Elisa Santocchi and colleagues  will eventually find it's way on to this blog when the peer-reviewed results are finally in.Alongside it's ClinicalTrials.gov entry (see here), authors describe an interesting double-blind, placebo-controlled study where the aim is to "determine the effects of supplementation with a probiotic mixture (Vivomixx®) in ASD&n........ Read more »
Santocchi E, Guiducci L, Fulceri F, Billeci L, Buzzigoli E, Apicella F, Calderoni S, Grossi E, Morales MA, & Muratori F. (2016) Gut to brain interaction in Autism Spectrum Disorders: a randomized controlled trial on the role of probiotics on clinical, biochemical and neurophysiological parameters. BMC psychiatry, 16(1), 183. PMID: 27260271
In a word, maybe. Apparently, it all depends on whether your focus is on differences between you and others or similarities when it comes to genetic makeup. The researchers had Jewish and Arab participants read a new articles which (naturally) cited a scientific article reporting either high genetic similarities or high genetic differences between Jews […]
Can you identify racist jurors by asking if they watch local TV news?
Racist roads not taken and prejudice-based agg........ Read more »
Kimel, S., Huesmann, R., Kunst, J., & Halperin, E. (2016) Living in a Genetic World: How Learning About Interethnic Genetic Similarities and Differences Affects Peace and Conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(5), 688-700. DOI: 10.1177/0146167216642196
An example of imagery used in the study by Coeval et alThe idea that homophobia in men is a counter-reaction to their own unwanted attraction to other men has its roots in psychoanalysis – where's it's considered a psychodynamic defence – and is possibly supported by anecdotal evidence, most recently in reports that the perpetrator of the horrific homophobic massacre at an Orlando gay club was himself gay. But it's worth heeding the cautions noted on Science of Us yesterday where journalist ........ Read more »
Cheval, B., Radel, R., Grob, E., Ghisletta, P., Bianchi-Demicheli, F., & Chanal, J. (2016) Homophobia: An Impulsive Attraction to the Same Sex? Evidence From Eye-Tracking Data in a Picture-Viewing Task. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(5), 825-834. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.02.165
"Individuals with epilepsy are at increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder], especially if epilepsy appears in childhood. Further, ASD is more common in the siblings and offspring of individuals with epilepsy, suggesting shared etiology."That was the research bottom-line from Heléne Sundelin and colleagues  reporting results based on examination of the "Swedish Patient Register" with regards to the "risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in individuals with epilepsy and in t........ Read more »
Postpartum depression--a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it--is indeed serious. But depression that begins before or during pregnancy is often more severe because it lasts longer and usually goes undetected until the doctor screens for it after the birth of the baby.
... Read more »
Fisher, S., Wisner, K., Clark, C., Sit, D., Luther, J., & Wisniewski, S. (2016) Factors associated with onset timing, symptoms, and severity of depression identified in the postpartum period. Journal of Affective Disorders, 111-120. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.05.063
It’s amazing what we can do when we use rewards to train our companion animals. Here are some reasons to give it a try.Positive reinforcement is recommended by professional organizationsMany professional organizations have spoken out against the use of punishment in dog training because the scientific evidence shows that it carries risks.For example, Dogs Trust recommend the use of rewards in dog training. “In order to be effective and to gain the best results, all training should be based a........ Read more »
Arhant, C., Bubna-Littitz, H., Bartels, A., Futschik, A., & Troxler, J. (2010) Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour and level of engagement in activities with the dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123(3-4), 131-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.01.003
Blackwell, E., Twells, C., Seawright, A., & Casey, R. (2008) The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3(5), 207-217. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2007.10.008
Cooper, J., Cracknell, N., Hardiman, J., Wright, H., & Mills, D. (2014) The Welfare Consequences and Efficacy of Training Pet Dogs with Remote Electronic Training Collars in Comparison to Reward Based Training. PLoS ONE, 9(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102722
Gaunet, F. (2009) How do guide dogs and pet dogs (Canis familiaris) ask their owners for their toy and for playing?. Animal Cognition, 13(2), 311-323. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-009-0279-z
Herron, M., Shofer, F., & Reisner, I. (2009) Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 117(1-2), 47-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.12.011
Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J., & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2004) Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare, 63-69. info:/
McGowan, R., Rehn, T., Norling, Y., & Keeling, L. (2013) Positive affect and learning: exploring the “Eureka Effect” in dogs. Animal Cognition, 17(3), 577-587. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-013-0688-x
Rooney, N., & Cowan, S. (2011) Training methods and owner–dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 132(3-4), 169-177. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.03.007
It's more about altruism than trying to win approvalWhy do I tip my taxi driver, but not my accountant? I mean, there’s a good reason I don’t - he would narrow his eyes at me and ask if I was feeling ok. But why, in general, do we tip in some service contexts and not others; is it simply due to a quirk of history or the result of broader psychological patterns? Cornell University’s Michael Lynn suspected the latter, and in his new study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, he o........ Read more »
Lynn, M. (2016) Why are we more likely to tip some service occupations than others? Theory, evidence, and implications. Journal of Economic Psychology, 134-150. DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2016.04.001
"The prevalence of ID [intellectual disability] in WA [Western Australia] has increased over the past 10 years compared with previous estimates... This increase is associated in a large part with an increased prevalence of ASDs [autism spectrum disorder] for whom 70% had comorbid ID or an unknown level of ID."Those were some of the findings reported by Jenny Bourke and colleagues  (open-access available here). Drawing on data derived from the Intellectual Di........ Read more »
Bourke J, de Klerk N, Smith T, & Leonard H. (2016) Population-Based Prevalence of Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Western Australia: A Comparison With Previous Estimates. Medicine, 95(21). PMID: 27227936
‘Street Smart’ finches are generally more intelligent than their rural kin.... Read more »
Audet, J., Ducatez, S., & Lefebvre, L. (2016) The town bird and the country bird: problem solving and immunocompetence vary with urbanization. Behavioral Ecology, 27(2), 637-644. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv201
Tebbich, S., & Teschke, I. (2014) Coping with Uncertainty: Woodpecker Finches (Cactospiza pallida) from an Unpredictable Habitat Are More Flexible than Birds from a Stable Habitat. PLoS ONE, 9(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091718
Kozlovsky, D., Branch, C., & Pravosudov, V. (2015) Elevation-Related Differences in Parental Risk-Taking Behavior are Associated with Cognitive Variation in Mountain Chickadees. Ethology, 121(4), 383-394. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12350
Go ahead, sketch a face on your note paper. Use a photo of someone as a guide if you want. Unless you're a trained artist, the chances are that you've made an elementary error, placing the eyes too far up the head, when it fact they should be halfway. Research suggests about 95 per cent of us non-artists tend to make this mistake and in a new study in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, psychologists in America have attempted to find out why. The answer it turns out is rather ........ Read more »
Ostrofsky, J., Kozbelt, A., Tumminia, M., & Cipriano, M. (2016) Why Do Non-Artists Draw the Eyes Too Far Up the Head? How Vertical Eye-Drawing Errors Relate to Schematic Knowledge, Pseudoneglect, and Context-Based Perceptual Biases. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. DOI: 10.1037/a0040368
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
We posted earlier this week about the new concept of “maladaptive daydreaming” and those researchers published a second article on an actual 14-item scale to assess whether a specific individual is a maladaptive daydreamer. Since it’s a strange area that may end up in the courtroom—we thought we’d share information and some of the items […]
The Motivation to Express Prejudice Scale
The Dirty Dozen Scale
The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Scale
... Read more »
Somer E, Lehrfeld J, Bigelsen J, & Jopp DS. (2016) Development and validation of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). Consciousness and Cognition, 77-91. PMID: 26707384
"The subsample that no longer fulfilled an autism spectrum disorder had full-time jobs or studies (10/11), independent living (100%), and reported having two or more friends (100%)."So said the paper by Adam Helles and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this authorship group on what happens to autism, or rather Asperger syndrome, in the longer-term (see here). Indeed, if you have the time, the thesis from Helles covering this area of study is well worth a read (see here).This time a........ Read more »
Helles A, Gillberg IC, Gillberg C, & Billstedt E. (2016) Asperger syndrome in males over two decades: Quality of life in relation to diagnostic stability and psychiatric comorbidity. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 27233289
How do you know when a farm animal is unhappy? Animal welfare researchers wish they had easy ways to measure malaise in pigs, or stress in cows. But those tools are lacking—which is why scientists in Australia studied sheep they'd dosed with Valium.
"Animals are not able to talk to express their emotions," says Caroline Lee, an animal welfare scientist at CSIRO in New South Wales. "We need to use other ways of understanding how they are feeling."
One such way is to look for changes in ... Read more »
Lee C, Verbeek E, Doyle R, & Bateson M. (2016) Attention bias to threat indicates anxiety differences in sheep. Biology letters, 12(6). PMID: 27277950
Stigma is a major barrier preventing people with mental health issues from getting the help they need. Even in a private and anonymous setting online, someone with greater self-stigma is less likely to take that first step to get information about mental health concerns and counseling.
... Read more »
Lannin, D., Vogel, D., Brenner, R., Abraham, W., & Heath, P. (2016) Does self-stigma reduce the probability of seeking mental health information?. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(3), 351-358. DOI: 10.1037/cou0000108
When we think of crime scene forensics, it’s easy to view it as the objective end of criminal investigation. Witnesses waffle, suspects slide around from the truth, and jurors can be misled by emotive evidence. but the physical evidence simply is what it is. Yet forensic work requires human judgment, and opens the door for human error: for example, a tendency to evaluate evidence differently depending on background information. Now a new study in Law and Human Behaviour suggests that investiga........ Read more »
Smalarz, L., Madon, S., Yang, Y., Guyll, M., & Buck, S. (2016) The Perfect Match: Do Criminal Stereotypes Bias Forensic Evidence Analysis?. Law and Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000190
"Children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] had low levels of EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid], DHA [docosahexaenoic acid] and AA [arachidonic acid] and high ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acid] and these correlated significantly with symptoms. Future research should further investigate abnormal fatty acid metabolism in these disorders."So said the research publication by Natalie Par........ Read more »
Parletta N, Niyonsenga T, & Duff J. (2016) Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Levels and Correlations with Symptoms in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Typically Developing Controls. PloS one, 11(5). PMID: 27232999
Remember Walter Mitty? He was a fictional character who escaped his dull day-to-day existence by constructing elaborate daydreams wherein he was the hero rather than a wallflower. Well, apparently Walter was not so unusual. There are people who spend as much as 60% of their time lost in daydreams. These are people who realize their […]
Can you trust the results of forensic evaluations on legal sanity?
Legal decisions that tick jurors off
Will your genetic defense for that........ Read more »
Bigelsen J, Lehrfeld JM, Jopp DS, & Somer E. (2016) Maladaptive daydreaming: Evidence for an under-researched mental health disorder. Consciousness and Cognition, 254-66. PMID: 27082138
Given my own research interest in the use of specific dietary modifications as possible intervention tools for some aspects of some autism (see here) I was more than interested to read the results published by Faezeh Ghalichi and colleagues  following their randomised-controlled trial of a gluten-free diet (GFD) including some 80 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).As part of an area of much discussion, debate and also heated argument down the years, the author........ Read more »
Ghalichi F, Ghaemmaghami J, Malek A, & Ostadrahimi A. (2016) Effect of gluten free diet on gastrointestinal and behavioral indices for children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized clinical trial. World journal of pediatrics : WJP. PMID: 27286693
I don't want to keep you today. Just long enough to draw your attention to the paper by Jones and colleagues  regarding "ongoing efforts toward identification of early biological markers specific to subphenotypes of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."The potential biomarkers in question this time around were the cytokines/chemokines - those various signalling molecules that seem to have more than a few connections to important processes like inflammation - and how their profile ("mid-gestat........ Read more »
Jones KL, Croen LA, Yoshida CK, Heuer L, Hansen R, Zerbo O, DeLorenze GN, Kharrazi M, Yolken R, Ashwood P.... (2016) Autism with intellectual disability is associated with increased levels of maternal cytokines and chemokines during gestation. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27217154
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