Repeated alcohol exposure during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, according to a research team at Duke Medicine that used a rodent model as a surrogate for humans. The study provides new insights at the cellular level for how alcohol exposure during adolescence, before the brain is fully developed, can result in cellular and synaptic abnormalities that have enduring, detrimental effects on behavior.... Read more »
Risher, M., Fleming, R., Risher, W., Miller, K., Klein, R., Wills, T., Acheson, S., Moore, S., Wilson, W., Eroglu, C.... (2015) Adolescent Intermittent Alcohol Exposure: Persistence of Structural and Functional Hippocampal Abnormalities into Adulthood. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. DOI: 10.1111/acer.12725
There is surprisingly little data on how and when scientists reject hypotheses, but John Fugelsang and Kevin Dunbar at Dartmouth conducted a rather unique study "Theory and data interactions of the scientific mind: Evidence from the molecular and the cognitive laboratory" in 2004 in which they researched researchers. They sat in at scientific laboratory meetings of three renowned molecular biology laboratories at carefully recorded how scientists presented their laboratory data and how........ Read more »
Fugelsang, J., Stein, C., Green, A., & Dunbar, K. (2004) Theory and Data Interactions of the Scientific Mind: Evidence From the Molecular and the Cognitive Laboratory. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 58(2), 86-95. DOI: 10.1037/h0085799
Loneliness is bad for you. Some experts have even likened it to a kind of disease. What's unclear is how being being lonely leads to these adverse effects on our health. A new study looks at one possibility – that loneliness makes people feel hungrier than normal, thus increasing their food intake and putting them at risk of obesity with all its associated health problems.Lisa Jaremka and her colleagues asked 42 women (average age 53) to fast for 12 hours before visiting the psych lab. On arri........ Read more »
Jaremka, L., Fagundes, C., Peng, J., Belury, M., Andridge, R., Malarkey, W., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (2015) Loneliness predicts postprandial ghrelin and hunger in women. Hormones and Behavior, 57-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.01.011
The paper from Garth Swanson and colleagues  reporting findings suggesting that "suppression of melatonin in AD [alcohol use disorder] may promote gut leakiness and endotoxemia" make for the discussion point today.Continuing a theme from previous times on this blog that "melatonin may serve important gastrointestinal barrier functions"  and specifically those related to the concept of intestinal permeability and the so-called 'leaky gut' (see here), these are potentially imp........ Read more »
Swanson GR, Gorenz A, Shaikh M, Desai V, Forsyth CB, Fogg L, Burgess HJ, & Keshavarzian A. (2015) Decreased Melatonin Secretion is Associated with Increased Intestinal Permeability and Marker of Endotoxemia in Alcoholics. American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology. PMID: 25907689
Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study. Researchers found that those areas with greater levels of racism, as indexed by the proportion of Google searches containing the “n-word,” had higher mortality rates among Blacks. The study is the first to examine an Internet query-based measure of racism in relation to mortality risk.... Read more »
Chae, D., Clouston, S., Hatzenbuehler, M., Kramer, M., Cooper, H., Wilson, S., Stephens-Davidowitz, S., Gold, R., & Link, B. (2015) Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality. PLOS ONE, 10(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122963
Surveys show that most of us wish our personalities were different. Change is certainly possible: people's personalities evolve as they get older (for example, most of us become more friendly but less open-minded), and there's research showing more immediate influences on personality, such as our current mood (we're less extravert when we're sad). And yet, before now, no one has studied whether people can simply choose to change their personality at will.Nathan Hudson and Chris Fraley asked 135 ........ Read more »
Hudson, N., & Fraley, R. (2015) Volitional Personality Trait Change: Can People Choose to Change Their Personality Traits?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000021
I recently came across the paper by Martina Barnevik Olsson and colleagues  (open-access) and their rather interesting take on the issue of optimal outcome and autism (see here for some background on this concept).Based on the idea that a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might not be as immutable as perhaps once thought (as in 'no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for the condition'), Barnevik Olsson et al reported that loss of the autism/ASD label does not........ Read more »
Barnevik Olsson, M., Westerlund, J., Lundström, S., Giacobini, M., Fernell, E., & Gillberg, C. (2015) “Recovery” from the diagnosis of autism – and then?. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 999. DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S78707
"My wine is good to me, it helps me pass the time. And my good old buddy whiskey keeps me warmer than the sunshine," Aloe Blacc – I need a dollar, 2011.Psychologists have documented a striking increase in references to alcohol and heavy drinking in the lyrics of UK chart music. They warn this could mean that attempts to control the direct advertising of alcohol to young people will be in vain, as pop music is effectively spreading a positive message on the drinks companies' behalf.Katheri........ Read more »
Hardcastle, K., Hughes, K., Sharples, O., & Bellis, M. (2013) Trends in alcohol portrayal in popular music: A longitudinal analysis of the UK charts. Psychology of Music, 43(3), 321-332. DOI: 10.1177/0305735613500701
A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form opinions on GMOs........ Read more »
Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J., & Van Montagu, M. (2015) Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition. Trends in Plant Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.03.011
When Sandy Hook happened, it was so shocking that to this day, some don’t actually believe it happened. Shortly after, something frustrating happened, the shooter was labeled with aspergers. This helped drive the mental health and violence connection to the point that Time came out with an article dispelling that myth. Even now according to new longitudinal study of delinquent youth, most psychiatric disorders – including depression — do not predict future violent behavior. The only except........ Read more »
Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M., & Welty, L. (2015) Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002
Gazing between pets and owners releases oxytocin, neurologically strengthening their bond. ... Read more »
Nagasawa, M., Mitsui, S., En, S., Ohtani, N., Ohta, M., Sakuma, Y., Onaka, T., Mogi, K., & Kikusui, T. (2015) Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds. Science, 348(6232), 333-336. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261022
After the fall of Nazi Germany, the victorious Allies sought to bring the leaders of the Third Reich to justice in the form of the well-known Nuremberg Trials. Less famous are the attempts by psychologists to understand the Nazi mind in the form of psychological evaluations of the Nuremberg defendants.
A new paper by Joel E. Dimsdale of the University of California San Diego looks at one of the stranger episodes in the aftermath of WW2 - the use of the Rorschach "Inkblot" Test on Nazi de... Read more »
Dimsdale, J. (2015) Use of Rorschach tests at the Nuremberg war crimes trial: A forgotten chapter in history of medicine. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.04.001
"In keeping with international studies this sample of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was a highly medicated group."So said the results of the study reported by Kerry-Ann Louw and colleagues  back in 2013 who noted that approximately one quarter of their cohort were currently in receipt of "psychotropic medications". I don't want to linger too much on this topic given that such findings tally with other peer-reviewed reports including those with much larger partici........ Read more »
Louw KA, Bentley J, Sorsdahl K, & Adnams CM. (2013) Prevalence and patterns of medication use in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders in the Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of child and adolescent mental health, 25(1), 69-79. PMID: 25860309
No one expects a human infant to slide into the world with a good grasp of grammar. Marmosets, another kind of chatty primate, are also poor conversationalists when they're young. But their parents seem to teach them how it's done. Young marmosets learn the cardinal rule of having a conversation: don't interrupt. And if they mess up, their parents give them the silent treatment.
Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) live in large family groups in the forests of Brazil. "Because marmosets ... Read more »
Chow, C., Mitchell, J., & Miller, C. (2015) Vocal turn-taking in a non-human primate is learned during ontogeny. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1807), 20150069-20150069. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0069
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
People take selfies at funerals and text during sex. Others text while in the shower or while using the toilet (which apparently is not just for newspapers and books any longer). And wherever there are social faux pas’ you can bet academic researchers are not far behind. In fact, today we have research on just […]
Be careful what you text!
Let’s see if you can text him from jail…
When the defendant texts the juror…
... Read more »
Harrison, M., Bealing, C., & Salley, J. (2015) 2 TXT or not 2 TXT: College students’ reports of when text messaging is social breach. The Social Science Journal. DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2015.02.005
"Consistent with previous reviews, the majority of included studies indicated between 50 and 75 % of individuals will maintain diagnoses."That was one of the conclusions reached by Isaac Smith and colleagues  following their systematic review of studies comparing DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and what the changes mean for eligibility for the label.Authors further reported that: "the greatest decreases [were] among high-functioning populations with IQs over ........ Read more »
Smith IC, Reichow B, & Volkmar FR. (2015) The Effects of DSM-5 Criteria on Number of Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25796195
A funny thing happened on the way to the publisher. In a world first, China has successfully created genetically modified human embryos. It was certainly an amazing piece of science, but the paper was rejected by both Nature and Science. Not because the study was flawed, or because the data was falsified, the paper was rejected for ethical reasons.... Read more »
Liang, P., Xu, Y., Zhang, X., Ding, C., Huang, R., Zhang, Z., Lv, J., Xie, X., Chen, Y., Li, Y.... (2015) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes. Protein . DOI: 10.1007/s13238-015-0153-5
Why do we do the things we do? Knowing the science behind bad habits may help you to break them. ... Read more »
White KG, & Magalhães P. (2015) The sunk cost effect in pigeons and people: a case of within-trials contrast?. Behavioural processes, 22-8. PMID: 25305066
One of the longest-debated and most studied issues in psychology is whether and how our personalities are affected by our birth order and the sex of our siblings. A problem with much previous research is that it's depended on people self-reporting their own personality, or on siblings or parents providing the personality ratings. These ratings are prone to subjectivity and skewed by people's expectations about how, say, a younger sibling ought to behave.A new study focused on one particular find........ Read more »
Okudaira, H., Kinari, Y., Mizutani, N., Ohtake, F., & Kawaguchi, A. (2015) Older sisters and younger brothers: The impact of siblings on preference for competition. Personality and Individual Differences, 81-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.037
The paper from Jared Schwartzer and colleagues  (open-access) including a couple of familiar names on the authorship list (Charity Onore and Paul Ashwood) caught my attention recently. Based on mouse studies and the artificial induction of maternal allergy/asthma in pregnant mice, researchers reported that: "Activation of the maternal immune system with an allergy/asthma insult significantly perturbed developmental growth and species-typical behaviors in offspring." Further that the........ Read more »
Schwartzer, J., Careaga, M., Chang, C., Onore, C., & Ashwood, P. (2015) Allergic fetal priming leads to developmental, behavioral and neurobiological changes in mice. Translational Psychiatry, 5(4). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.40
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