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  • December 30, 2015
  • 12:10 AM

Do Experts Make Bad Teachers? No.

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

A pair of new studies has found that the stereotype of the aloof professor—you know, the one that is accomplished in her field but I'd like to see her come teach the kids in my school—might be, surprise surprise, a little unfair.

Researchers found that the superior content knowledge of mathematics professors (8 assistant professors and 7 full professors) relative to secondary teachers was associated with a significantly greater amount of conceptual explanations, as opposed to........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2015
  • 02:46 PM

Being anxious could be good for you! If you’re in a crisis…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New findings by French researchers show that the brain devotes more processing resources to social situations that signal threat than those that are benign. The results may help explain the apparent “sixth sense” we have for danger. This is the first time that specific regions of the brain have been identified to be involved in the phenomenon. The human brain is able to detect social threats in these regions in a fast, automatic fashion, within just 200 milliseconds.... Read more »

  • December 29, 2015
  • 07:04 AM

Social Pain Revisited: Opioids for Severe Suicidal Ideation

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Does the pain of mental anguish rely on the same neural machinery as physical pain? Can we treat these dreaded ailments with the same medications? These issues have come to the fore in the field of social/cognitive/affective neuroscience.As many readers know, Lieberman and Eisenberger (2015) recently published a controversial paper claiming that a brain region called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC, shown above) is “selective” for pain.1 This finding fits with their long-time narr........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2015
  • 05:57 AM

Nothing good comes from exposure to lead

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this population of Mexican children, current blood lead level among children with low exposure (< 5µg/dL) was positively associated with hyperactive/impulsive behaviors, but not with inattentiveness. These results add to the existing evidence of lead-associated neurodevelopmental deficits at low levels of exposure."That quote from the paper by Siying Huang and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) kinda says it all when it comes particularly to childhood exposure to lead (Pb)&........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2015
  • 05:12 AM

It's better to have two passions in life than one

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

As long as you don't become obsessive and defensive about it, there's a wealth of evidence to show that having a passion in life is good for you psychologically – people with a so-called "harmonious passion" (but not so much those with an "obsessive passion") tend to be happier, to enjoy more positive emotions and be more satisfied with life, as compared with people who don't have a passion. As we look ahead to the new year, a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies poses a simple ........ Read more »

  • December 28, 2015
  • 02:48 PM

Want to keep your new year’s resolution? Ask, don’t tell.

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

“Will you exercise this year?” That simple question can be a game-changing technique for people who want to influence their own or others’ behavior, according to a recent study spanning 40 years of research. The research is the first comprehensive look at more than 100 studies examining the ‘question-behavior effect,’ a phenomenon in which asking people about performing a certain behavior influences whether they do it in the future. The effect has been shown to last more than six month........ Read more »

Spangenberg, E., Kareklas, I., Devezer, B., & Sprott, D. (2015) A meta-analytic synthesis of the question-behavior effect. Journal of Consumer Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2015.12.004  

  • December 28, 2015
  • 04:44 AM

ADHD in the prison population: a second micropost

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results indicate that 41 % of the prisoners met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] in childhood and continued to meet criteria for ADHD as adults."So said the study results from Romana Farooq and colleagues [1] continuing a theme of how ADHD may very well have some important associations with the prison population (see here). This time around surveying "both childhood and adult ADHD symptoms using the Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV" amo........ Read more »

Farooq, R., Emerson, L., Keoghan, S., & Adamou, M. (2015) Prevalence of adult ADHD in an all-female prison unit. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s12402-015-0186-x  

  • December 27, 2015
  • 09:30 PM

Cognitive Load Theory

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

In some sense, a preference for explicit instruction, rather than being a pillar of cognitive load theory, is simply the logical consequence of accepting the two distinctions above—that biologically secondary and domain-specific knowledges differ significantly and qualitatively from their biologically primary, domain-general counterparts such that the former require explicit teaching whereas the latter do not.
... Read more »

  • December 27, 2015
  • 02:17 PM

The development of the cerebellar circuitry is driven by epigenetic “music”

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

From before birth through childhood, connections form between neurons in the brain, ultimately making us who we are. So far, scientists have gained a relatively good understanding of how neural circuits become established, but they know less about the genetic control at play during this crucial developmental process. Now, a team of researchers has described for the first time the so-called epigenetic mechanisms underlying the development of the cerebellum, the portion of the brain that allows us........ Read more »

  • December 26, 2015
  • 02:26 PM

Have a sweet tooth? It may be your livers fault

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all love our sugar, especially during the holidays. Cookies, cake, and candy are simply irresistible. While sugar cravings are common, the physiological mechanisms that trigger our “sweet tooth” are not well defined.... Read more »

von Holstein-Rathlou, S., BonDurant, L., Peltekian, L., Naber, M., Yin, T., Claflin, K., Urizar, A., Madsen, A., Ratner, C., Holst, B.... (2015) FGF21 Mediates Endocrine Control of Simple Sugar Intake and Sweet Taste Preference by the Liver. Cell Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.12.003  

  • December 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Here’s an updated version of the meteorologists ‘Santa Tracker’

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re taking a break until 2016 so we’ll see you in January! Most of us grew up watching the weather report on TV and seeing a NORAD ‘Santa Tracker’ showing where Santa and his sleigh were on their way for a long night of work. But this is 2015 and if you celebrate the holiday, […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
fMRIs and Persuasion: Did anyone tell the jurors?
A new neurolaw caveat to minimize punishmen........ Read more »

Hougaard A, Lindberg U, Arngrim N, Larsson HB, Olesen J, Amin FM, Ashina M, & Haddock BT. (2015) Evidence of a Christmas spirit network in the brain: functional MRI study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 26676562  

  • December 24, 2015
  • 04:11 AM

Early intervention before autism diagnosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Santa is approaching so I don't want to keep you too long today. I just thought you might want to briefly cast your eye over the paper by Sonia Monteiro and colleagues [1] and their findings that: "most children are receiving early intervention services before their diagnostic ASD [autism spectrum disorder] evaluations, particularly if an ASD diagnosis is confirmed."Set within the context of some rather disturbing reports about children (and adults) sometimes waiting a very, very long ........ Read more »

Monteiro SA, Dempsey J, Broton S, Berry L, Goin-Kochel RP, & Voigt RG. (2015) Early Intervention Before Autism Diagnosis in Children Referred to a Regional Autism Clinic. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 26647354  

  • December 23, 2015
  • 02:03 PM

Lack of serotonin alters development and function in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have created the first complete model to describe the role that serotonin plays in brain development and structure. Serotonin, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], is an important neuromodulator of brain development and the structure and function of neuronal (nerve cell) circuits.... Read more »

  • December 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Reducing racial prejudice in just seven minutes 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This is a very different strategy for quickly reducing racial prejudice than past research has examined. This one involves the Buddhist practice called a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) which involves focusing on a specific individual and repeating phrases like “may you be happy and healthy”. Researchers wanted to see if practicing a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) would […]

Related posts:
Is racial bias fueling anti-Obama rhetoric?
Seeing and Believing and Reducing Prejudice
Ten ........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2015
  • 04:22 AM

Here's what we get completely wrong when we're judging the difficulty of anagrams

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We think pronounceable anagrams are easier, but they're harderWhen you're trying to solve an anagram (that is, re-arranging a jumble of letters to form a word), sometimes the string of letters looks like complete gobbledygook and impossible to solve, but other times, the anagram is pronounceable, or parts of it are, and the challenge appears a good deal easier.Now a new article in the journal Cognition shows this intuitive assessment, though shared by most people, is completely wrong. We th........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2015
  • 03:14 AM

Prevalence of schizophrenia in China up: was Dohan (partially) right?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The prevalence of schizophrenia in China has more than doubled between 1990 and 2010, with rates being particularly high in the most developed areas of modern China."So said the study results from Chan and colleagues [1] reviewing the collected peer-reviewed "epidemiological studies of schizophrenia in mainland China published between 1990 and 2010."Taking into account data from 42 eligible trials covering some "2 284 957 persons, with 10 506 diagnosed with schizophrenia" researchers appl........ Read more »

Chan KY, Zhao FF, Meng S, Demaio AR, Reed C, Theodoratou E, Campbell H, Wang W, Rudan I, & Global Health Epidemiology Reference Group (GHERG). (2015) Prevalence of schizophrenia in China between 1990 and 2010. Journal of global health, 5(1), 10410. PMID: 26649171  

  • December 22, 2015
  • 02:50 PM

Are you a ‘harbinger of failure’?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Diet Crystal Pepsi. Frito Lay Lemonade. Watermelon-flavored Oreos. Through the years, the shelves of stores have been filled with products that turned out to be flops, failures, duds, and losers. But only briefly filled with them, of course, because products like these tend to get yanked from stores quickly, leaving most consumers to wonder: Who exactly buys these things, anyway?... Read more »

Anderson, E., Lin, S., Simester, D., & Tucker, C. (2015) Harbingers of Failure. Journal of Marketing Research: . DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2420600  

  • December 22, 2015
  • 12:02 PM

Graphic image can be a better strategy to quit smoking

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Cigarette packs with disturbing photos are more helpful in increasing negative feelings about cigarette smoking.

Published in:


Study Further:

In a recent study, researchers from the Ohio State University worked on the placement of graphic (disturbing) images on cigarette warning labels. They were trying to compare the text-only warnings with that of graphic warning images.

Researchers worked on cigarette smokers, who were habitual of smoking 5 to 40 cigaret........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2015
  • 04:31 AM

Swearing patients take a toll on healthcare workers

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Although many medical terms are long and difficult to pronounce, medical settings are punctuated with words familiar to most of us – being sworn at is an occupational hazard for healthcare workers. Exactly how often does it happen? A new review published in Aggression and Violent Behaviour by Teresa Stone and colleagues finds one study suggests rates as high as three incidents per shift in a mental health setting; in other contexts the rates appear lower, but even a lower estimate suggests one........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2015
  • 03:22 AM

Allergy symptoms affecting autistic symptoms?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have quite a bit of time for Harumi Jyonouchi on this blog (see here and see here for example). Not only has Dr Jyonouchi got an eye for some potentially important biological issues associated with at least some cases of autism, she also seems to recognise that behavioural symptoms often seem to go hand-in-hand with other more somatic features as per her work taking gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms into account for example [1].Another, more recent paper from Dr Jyonouchi caught my eye [2], ........ Read more »

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