There's little doubt that many conceptions of attractiveness are faddish - the size zero female model being an obvious example. However, other notions of beauty are more hard-wired, perhaps reflecting an evolutionary adaptation. These aspects of appearance have come to be associated with fertility, signifying 'reproductive fitness' to potential mates. Male facial symmetry is one example. Another is the hour-glass female form. Men in cultures across world report a preference for women with a lowe........ Read more »
Platek, S., & Singh, D. (2010) Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men. PLoS ONE, 5(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009042
Have you ever been walking through the forest and thought to yourself, “Damn, its loud here…it’s really, really hard to hear anything anybody else is saying”? Well, maybe that’s what prompted Terry J. Ord and Judy A. Stamps, respectively from Harvard and UC Davis to investigate lizard exercise routines.
You ask: What do lizard calisthenics and [...]... Read more »
Ord TJ, & Stamps JA. (2008) Alert signals enhance animal communication in "noisy" environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(48), 18830-5. PMID: 19033197
Capitalists beware. No less a journal than Nature has just published a paper proving conclusively that the human brain is a Communist, and that it's plotting the overthrow of the bourgeois order and its replacement by the revolutionary Dictatorship of the Proletariat even as we speak.Kind of. The article, Neural evidence for inequality-averse social preferences, doesn't mention the C word, but it does claim to have found evidence that people's brains display more egalitarianism than people thems........ Read more »
Tricomi E, Rangel A, Camerer CF, & O'Doherty JP. (2010) Neural evidence for inequality-averse social preferences. Nature, 463(7284), 1089-91. PMID: 20182511
Anyone in the skeptical and atheist community who hasn't heard of the row that erupted over changes to richarddawkins.net forum probably still uses a 56K modem and a dialup connection.
This post summarises the fallout and explores the issue of online communities: are they real or illusory?... Read more »
Haythornwaite, C. (2008) Chapter 9: Social Networks and Community, Oxford handbook of internet psychology – Edited by Adam Joinson. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 561-562. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00855_4.x
The superficial summary is that depression is an evolutionary adaptation, and that is still helping us solve problems in modern society. Is this true? These are two very distinct claims and while each may have some merit, saying it like that may obscure as much as it enlightens. ... Read more »
Karten and Wade's (2010) research study finds that some men conflicted by their homosexual feelings and behaviours who engage in 'sexual orientation change efforts' (SOCE)later report a decrease in those feelings and behaviours. ... Read more »
Karten, E., & Wade, J. (2010) Sexual Orientation Change Efforts in Men: A Client Perspective. The Journal of Men's Studies, 18(1), 84-102. DOI: 10.3149/jms.1801.84
If you have not heard of Kerrie Wooltorton, then you are either living in a box (like me) or an Indian medical student (again. like me, sigh!)...
So here is the deal.
Kerrie Wooltorton was a 26 year old woman who was suffering from an "untreatable" emotionally unstable personality disorder, infertility and depression. She drunk anti freeze and waved an advance directive in the face of the doctors when she was pushed into the ER. It said (1):
14/09/2007 To whom this may c........ Read more »
Dyer, C. (2009) Coroner rules that treating 26 year old woman who wanted to die would have been unlawful. BMJ, 339(oct05 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b4070
There's a new paper out by Satoshi Kanazawa which is causing a bit of a stir. You might have seen something about it already - I'm a little behind the curve on this one, but on the plus side I have actually read the paper, unlike many other pundits!What's got people talking is the correlation between atheism and intelligence, although that isn't what the paper is actually about. It's already pretty well established that atheists tend, on average, to be more intelligent. This paper firms that fin........ Read more »
One day a friend and I were briskly strolling along a mall corridor, engaged in conversation, until something quite hilarious happened. A burly gentleman was quickly approaching my friend's direct line of trajectory. She and this man had to make either one of two choices; move to the left or to the right to avoid a disastrous collision. Simple, no? And so I thought. With about a foot between them, my tiny-sized friend and this large stranger began this seemingly unending and surprisingly well-co........ Read more »
Nummenmaa L, Hyönä J, & Hietanen JK. (2009) I'll Walk This Way: Eyes Reveal the Direction of Locomotion and Make Passersby Look and Go the Other Way. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 19883491
Pelphrey, K. (2005) Neural basis of eye gaze processing deficits in autism. Brain, 128(5), 1038-1048. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awh404
Mitchell P, Parsons S, & Leonard A. (2007) Using virtual environments for teaching social understanding to 6 adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 37(3), 589-600. PMID: 16900403
Parsons, S., Mitchell, P., & Leonard, A. (2004) The Use and Understanding of Virtual Environments by Adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(4), 449-466. DOI: 10.1023/B:JADD.0000037421.98517.8d
About five to ten per cent of the time, people in therapy get worse instead of better. What should psychotherapists do in such cases? Hang on a minute. There's no point answering that question unless therapists can recognise that a client has deteriorated in the first place. A new study tackles this precise issue, finding, rather alarmingly, that the vast majority of therapists appear blind to client deterioration. Derek Hatfield and colleagues took advantage of therapy outcome data gathered at ........ Read more »
Hatfield, D., McCullough, L., Frantz, S., & Krieger, K. (2009) Do we know when our clients get worse? an investigation of therapists' ability to detect negative client change. Clinical Psychology . DOI: 10.1002/cpp.656
The blogosphere is all a-twitter with talk of the recent commentary in Science that dolphins should be considered people. Well, sort of people. Non-human people.
On the heels of the incident at SeaWorld in Florida in which a trainer was killed by one of the killer whales, this is especially an important issue to consider.
Frequent commenter [...]... Read more »
Masocco et al. (2009) wonder why the suicide rate differs so much from region-to-region across Italy, although they note that marriage does indeed tend to protect some men from suicide. They call for greater understanding of the socio-cultural variables that might influence suicidal ideation.... Read more »
Masocco, M., Pompili, M., Vanacore, N., Innamorati, M., Lester, D., Girardi, P., Tatarelli, R., & Vichi, M. (2009) Completed Suicide and Marital Status According to the Italian Region of Origin. Psychiatric Quarterly, 81(1), 57-71. DOI: 10.1007/s11126-009-9118-2
Cannabinoid Receptor, Type 1 (CB1) antagonists were supposed to be the next big thing.They're weight loss drugs, and with obesity rates rising and the diet craze showing no signs of abating, that's a large and growing market (...sorry). They worked, at least in the short term, and they were at least as effective as existing pills. They may even have had health benefits over and above promoting weight loss, such as improving blood fat and sugar levels through metabolic effects.It all started off ........ Read more »
Aronne, L., Tonstad, S., Moreno, M., Gantz, I., Erondu, N., Suryawanshi, S., Molony, C., Sieberts, S., Nayee, J., Meehan, A.... (2010) A clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of taranabant, a CB1R inverse agonist, in obese and overweight patients: a high-dose study. International Journal of Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2010.21
Jonah Lehrer has an interesting article in the NYT magazine about a recent Psych Review article by Paul Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson. The basic claim Andrews and Thomson make in their paper is that depression is “an adaptation that evolved as a response to complex problems and whose function is to minimize disruption of [...]... Read more »
Nofziger (2010) has put forward the idea that the loss of self-control so often associated with deviant behaviour might not be a matter of sex differences but rather, differences in gender identity.... Read more »
Nofziger, S. (2010) A Gendered Perspective on the Relationship Between Self-Control and Deviance. Feminist Criminology, 5(1), 29-50. DOI: 10.1177/1557085109353892
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Many a times, researchers have their own personal agendas and its very human to fall in to the temptation to interpret study results or spin them to suit ones long term subject matter and expertise. This is a trap in which Joe Forgas et al fall when they report in JESP that happy More >Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Related posts:Am happy, will seek novelty; am sad, will stick with familiar Image by Getty Images via Daylife I have earlier...
Entrepreneurial ro........ Read more »
Tan, H., & Forgas, J. (2010) When happiness makes us selfish, but sadness makes us fair: Affective influences on interpersonal strategies in the dictator game. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.01.007
Exercise is going techno. People are playing Wii fit sports games in their homes and gyms are full of ever more interactive exercise machines. But is this trend anything more than gimmickry? Yes, according to a new study by Ryan Rhodes at the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria, and his colleagues.Rhodes' team had 29 previously inactive young men embark on an exercise regime, involving three half-hour cycling sessions a week for six weeks. Crucially, half the men trained on Ga........ Read more »
Rhodes, R., Warburton, D., & Bredin, S. (2009) Predicting the effect of interactive video bikes on exercise adherence: An efficacy trial. Psychology, Health , 14(6), 631-640. DOI: 10.1080/13548500903281088
The draft version of DSM-V: Revenge of the Fallen has been online for a few weeks (1) and much has already been written about it (1, 2, 3, 4). Much focus has been on what is "new" and what is "gone." One feature that is shared by the majority of DSM diagnoses, the "clinical significance" criterion, might be on its way out. Typically this criterion reads "The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other........ Read more »
Wakefield, J., Schmitz, M., & Baer, J. (2010) Does the DSM-IV Clinical Significance Criterion for Major Depression Reduce False Positives? Evidence From the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09040553
The placebo effect is that spooky phenomenon that can cure people simply by convincing them they're getting real medicine (whereas they in fact are just taking a sugar pill). Although it's been reported in all sorts of areas of medicine, it's particularly potent for treating things like irritable bowel syndrome, pain, and depression.In fact, a recent analysis found that most of the effect of antidepressant medicine in people with depression was in fact due to the placebo effect (but the effect........ Read more »
Murphy, P., & Fitchett, G. (2009) Belief in a concerned god predicts response to treatment for adults with clinical depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(9), 1000-1008. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20598
Figure 1: Dogs are pretty intelligent.
Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures. If you point to something the dog zeroes in on the object or location you’re pointing to (whether it’s a toy, or food, or to get his in-need-of-a-bath butt off your damn bed and back onto his [...]... Read more »
Hare, B., Plyusnina, I., Ignacio, N., Schepina, O., Stepika, A., Wrangham, R., & Trut, L. (2005) Social Cognitive Evolution in Captive Foxes Is a Correlated By-Product of Experimental Domestication. Current Biology, 15(3), 226-230. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.01.040
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