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  • March 17, 2014
  • 11:33 PM

Soy infant formula and seizures in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Spring @ Wikipedia 'Association' is a word I'm sure many people with a connection to autism will have heard a lot about. Y'know gene X or compound Y is the plat du jour when it comes to autism aetiology; more often than not carrying the caveat 'requires further investigation'. As to whether such investigations are ever truly carried out would perhaps be an interesting piece of research on autism research.Today I'm talking about another association, another variable to throw into the st........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

One Meditation Session to Let the Past Go

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

The sunk-cost bias is the idea that once we’ve invested in something, it’s hard to pull out of it; that would make everything we’ve invested already just a waste of time and money. The impact ranges from finishing dessert, to sticking with bad stock investments, to staying in romantic relationships long past when they’re enjoyable because of the years you’ve already given to that partner.

And the sunk cost bias may be overcome with a single 15-minute session of m........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2014
  • 06:41 AM

Gamers find it easier to relax and detach from work

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

A new study suggests digital gaming during leisure time is associated with better recovery from working stresses, particularly when that gaming involves online interaction with other people. Contrary to prior research, time spent gaming is not an influential factor upon the findings. This suggests that rather than game play steadily replenishing personal resources, the act – or mere availability – of gaming can be beneficial in a range of forms, from a quick zap to longer immersive sessions......... Read more »

  • March 17, 2014
  • 05:06 AM

The amazing durability of infant memory: Three-year-olds show recognition of a person they met once at age one

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

The fate of our earliest memories is something of an enigma. As adults, most of us are unable to recall memories from before we were age three or four. And yet, as toddlers we are perfectly capable of storing and recalling memories from before that age. To solve this mystery, we need to understand more about how infant memory works. Now a clever study has provided a test of just how durable infant memories can be. Osman Kingo and his colleagues in Denmark have demonstrated that three-year-olds d........ Read more »

  • March 16, 2014
  • 04:42 AM

Obesity and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Phillips and colleagues [1] looking at the prevalence of 'unhealthy weight' in relation to developmentally-defined conditions including autism brought me to writing this update post on the topic of obesity and autism. As you might glean from that previous sentence, obesity and over-weightness(?) has been talked about before on this blog (see here and see here for example). My recent discussion in relation to findings of elevated plasma leptin in cases of autism (see here) ........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2014
  • 11:40 AM

The Power of Conscious Intention Proven At Last?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A neuroscience paper published before Christmas draw my eye with the expansive title: “How Thoughts Give Rise to Action“ Subtitled “Conscious Motor Intention Increases the Excitability of Target-Specific Motor Circuits”, the article’s abstract was no less bold, concluding that: These results indicate that conscious intentions govern motor function… until today, it was unclear whether conscious […]The post The Power of Conscious Intention Proven At Last? ........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2014
  • 07:26 PM

The Passion Trap

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

The first email I ever sent was to Stephen Hawking. I sent the email in the spring of 1998 when I was 16 years old from a computer at my high school (because I didn't have internet at home) using a friend's AOL account. I had just finished reading Hawking's A Brief History of Time and knew that I wanted to be an astrophysicist (or a cosmologist). I emailed Hawking to tell him how much of an inspiration he was to me and how passionate I was about physics.Passion. Follow your passion. Fo........ Read more »

Vallerand, R., Blanchard, C., Mageau, G., Koestner, R., Ratelle, C., Léonard, M., Gagné, M., & Marsolais, J. (2003) Les passions de l'âme: On obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(4), 756-767. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.4.756  

  • March 14, 2014
  • 06:03 PM

Environmental exposure and autism incidence?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "After controlling for ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic factors, the strongest predictor of ASD [autism spectrum disorders] was the rate of male congenital malformations of the reproductive system, used as an approximate measurement for exposure to teratogens, based on extensive epidemiological evidence".That was one of the conclusions reached by the study by Andrey Rzhetsky and colleagues [1] (open-access) which looked at spatial incidence patterns of autism and........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Action aversion versus outcome aversion

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Today’s post focuses on ideas that will be familiar to many of you but the terms themselves will probably seem foreign. The research is about the role of emotion in our  decisions about moral issues. Essentially, the research looks at emotional pathways to moral condemnation. What motivates our reaction to tragic injury? Is it about […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: Being “right” versus being persuasive
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make an emotional connection with your jury
Si........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2014
  • 06:52 AM

Birds That Are Right- or Left-Handed Help Their Flocks Fly Better

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

As they scrub the smeared ink from their wrists yet again, left-handed people must sometimes wonder what the point of all this is. Why do we have a dominant hand, anyway? However arbitrary it seems, we’re not alone in favoring one side over the other—there are all kinds of animals with a preferred paw, claw, […]The post Birds That Are Right- or Left-Handed Help Their Flocks Fly Better appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Bhagavatula, P., Claudianos, C., Ibbotson, M., & Srinivasan, M. (2014) Behavioral Lateralization and Optimal Route Choice in Flying Budgerigars. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003473  

  • March 14, 2014
  • 05:55 AM

With their hand on their heart, people are seen as more honest, and they really do behave more honestly

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Image: Greg Peverill-Conti / FlickrYou know when you want a friend or partner to tell you, honestly, how you look in a new outfit? A new study offers a way. Daft as it may sound, the findings suggest that if you truly want an honest verdict, it could work to ask your friend to put his hand on his heart before he answers (in British and Polish cultures, at least).In one of several experiments Michal Parzuchowski and Bogdan Wojciszke asked 48 Polish undergrads (eight men) to rate the physical........ Read more »

Parzuchowski M, & Wojciszke B. (2014) Hand over Heart Primes Moral Judgments and Behavior. Journal of nonverbal behavior, 145-165. PMID: 24489423  

  • March 13, 2014
  • 10:15 PM

Two sides to learning to think ahead

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

My mother once told me that when my sister and I were children, she didn’t envy the parents with the adorable tiny newborns, or the parents with teenagers who were potty trained and somewhat self-sufficient. Her mantra was “It doesn’t get better, it just gets different.” First you trade happy gurgles and endless dirty diapers for cute pronunciations of “pasketti” and temper tantrums; then the childish lisp and temper tantrums will be swapped out for independen........ Read more »

  • March 13, 2014
  • 05:32 PM

Why are extraverts happier?

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Numerous personality studies have found the same pattern time and again – extraverts tend to be happier than introverts. But why? A popular theory holds that extraverts are happier because they find fun activities more enjoyable, as if they have a more responsive “pleasure system” in their brains than introverts.A new investigation puts this idea to the test, and is one of the first to compare introverts’ and extraverts’ momentary happiness in response to different activities in everyd........ Read more »

Oerlemans, W., & Bakker, A. (2014) Why extravert are happier: A day reconstruction study. Journal of Research in Personality, 11-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2014.02.001  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 07:41 PM

Canines and Castles: 4th Canine Science Forum Abstract & Early Bird Registration Deadline Friday

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

“Two canine scientists, Julie Hecht and Mia Cobb, met briefly at a conference in Barcelona in late July 2012. They share a passion for canine science, good communication, social media and fun.” So reads the 'About' page at Do You Believe in Dog?. After a brief hello at the 3rd Canine Science Forum in Barcelona, we decided to embark on an adventure as digital pen pals, taking turns blogging on topics related to our own research, that of other research groups and general dog science themes.&n........ Read more »

Cobb Mia, Branson Nick, & McGreevy Paul. (2013) Advancing the welfare of Australia’s iconic working dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.054  

Hecht J., & Horowitz A. (2013) Physical prompts to anthropomorphism of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.013  

Racca A., Range F., Virányi Z., & Huber L. (2013) Discrimination of familiar human faces in domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.071  

Howell Tiffani J., Toukhsati Samia, Conduit Russell, & Bennett Pauleen. (2013) Do dogs use a mirror to find hidden food?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(6), 425-430. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.07.002  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 06:41 PM

Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, I examined the story of the Computerized Adaptive Test – Depression Inventory (CAT-DI). This new technique has touted as being a revolutionary new way of measuring depression. The CAT-DI is a kind of computerized questionnaire, that assesses depressive symptoms by asking a series of questions about […]The post Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gibbons RD, Weiss DJ, Pilkonis PA, Frank E, Moore T, Kim JB, & Kupfer DJ. (2012) Development of a computerized adaptive test for depression. Archives of general psychiatry, 69(11), 1104-12. PMID: 23117634  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 07:02 AM

Do we want convicted felons to express guilt and shame, or no?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Almost three years ago, we blogged about what we called the Scott Peterson Effect – citing a 2001 literature review of 45 years of research on remorse in capital murder defendants. Now, we have new article on the role of shame and guilt in predicting recidivism. To these researchers, the difference between shame and guilt is critical, […]

Related posts:
Should you want guilt-prone leaders for that jury?
Does priming influence behavior of even the “bad boys”?
Ask the judge for ........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2014
  • 05:46 AM

Pain predicting sleep problems in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Not so long ago I talked about the paper from Smith and colleagues [1] on autism and obstacles to medical [comorbidity] diagnosis and treatment (see here). Aside from the need for professionals to overcome the issue of "a lack of expressive speech" as an impediment to undertaking a thorough medical work-up when presented with a person with autism, an important theme of that paper was the requirement to see beyond autism as being the 'reason' for every single behaviour or issue that aff........ Read more »

Tudor ME, Walsh CE, Mulder EC, & Lerner MD. (2014) Pain as a predictor of sleep problems in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 24497628  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 05:07 AM

Where exactly in your body are YOU?

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

From Alsmith & Longo 2014Although you probably consider all of your body is yours, if you're like most people, you also have a feeling that your very essence, your self, is more localised. Past research has turned up mixed findings for where exactly this spot is. In some studies people say they are located in their head, near the eyes. Other research has found that people consider the self to be located in the chest. The varied results are probably partly due to the different methods used. S........ Read more »

  • March 10, 2014
  • 10:45 AM

Money and Morality: Lack of Resources May Lead to Harsher Moral Judgments

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Material resources, specifically income, have a sustaining impact on our lives. They dictate fundamental aspects of life, like where we live, and more peripheral aspects, such as whether we can […]... Read more »

  • March 10, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

At the Speed of the Unconscious Mind

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

This is the week when I get to introduce a new batch of students to the idea that our unconscious minds can make better decisions than our conscious ones (if you’re not an expert, anyway). Which may be even more important to know, given some new evidence about just how quickly our unconscious minds can process incoming information.... Read more »

Lin Z, & Murray SO. (2014) Unconscious processing of an abstract concept. Psychological science, 25(1), 296-298. PMID: 24285433  

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