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  • June 20, 2016
  • 08:31 AM
  • 75 views

Using a cocktail of magic and fMRI, psychologists implanted thoughts in people's minds

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Vaughan BellCan you think a thought which isn’t yours? A remarkable new study, led by psychologist Jay Olson from McGill University in Canada, suggests you can. The research, published in Consciousness and Cognition, used a form of stage magic known as “mentalism” to induce the experience of thoughts being inserted into the minds of volunteers. It is an ingenious study, not only for how it created the experience, but also for how it used the psychology lab as both a stage ........ Read more »

  • June 20, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 82 views

Flushing toilets to sway legislators: Is it a true  delusion or just an “over-valued belief”?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I first heard the term “over-valued belief” back in the mid-1990’s when I worked in forensic rehabilitation with a man adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity. He had been very ill (psychotic) and very violent when unmedicated (and had killed more than once due to delusional beliefs) but had been in treatment and well-medicated […]

Related posts:
“Belief Perseverance”: Correcting false information without inadvertently reinforcing it
The better than average effect ........ Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • June 20, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 91 views

Athletes Are Open to Genetic Testing and Are Willing to Share Results

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Despite a number of concerns many athletes responded with substantial interest and little resistance to the idea of genetic testing for the purpose of risk assessment for prolonged concussion recovery and late onset Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »

  • June 20, 2016
  • 02:49 AM
  • 97 views

Lactobacillus reuteri rescuing [mouse] social behaviours: relevance to autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing a recent 'probiotic theme' on this blog I've decided to talk a little about the study results reported by Shelly Buffington and colleagues [1] on how a "single species of gut bacteria can reverse autism-related social behavior in mice." I say 'talk about' but my conversations on this topic should be viewed in light of what others have also said about this study (see here for example) including the lead author (see here).To summarise the findings: authors started from the idea that mat........ Read more »

  • June 19, 2016
  • 12:57 PM
  • 98 views

Ecological representations: a reply to Golonka and Wilson

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

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 »

Golonka, S, & Wilson, AD. (2016) Ecological Representations. bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/058925  

  • June 18, 2016
  • 04:57 AM
  • 133 views

A study to watch... probiotics for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

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 [1] 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 »

  • June 17, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 86 views

Will checking your DNA for ancestry information make you  more racist?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

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 […]

Related posts:
Can you identify racist jurors by asking if they watch local  TV news?
Racist roads not taken and prejudice-based agg........ Read more »

  • June 17, 2016
  • 04:59 AM
  • 171 views

Do some homophobic men harbour a latent attraction to other men?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

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 »

  • June 17, 2016
  • 03:06 AM
  • 144 views

Epilepsy begets autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"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 [1] 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 »

Sundelin, H., Larsson, H., Lichtenstein, P., Almqvist, C., Hultman, C., Tomson, T., & Ludvigsson, J. (2016) Autism and epilepsy. Neurology, 10. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002836  

  • June 16, 2016
  • 03:52 PM
  • 188 views

Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • June 16, 2016
  • 08:30 AM
  • 158 views

Seven Reasons to Use Reward-Based Dog Training

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

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 »

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:/

  • June 16, 2016
  • 04:35 AM
  • 142 views

The psychology of why we tip some occupations but not others

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

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 »

  • June 16, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 142 views

Prevalence of learning disability and autism in Western Australia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"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 [1] (open-access available here). Drawing on data derived from the Intellectual Di........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2016
  • 08:21 AM
  • 180 views

When we draw a face, why do most of us put the eyes in the wrong place?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

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 »

  • June 15, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 174 views

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS) 

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 […]

Related posts:
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  

  • June 15, 2016
  • 03:10 AM
  • 125 views

The stability of an Asperger syndrome diagnosis continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"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 [1] 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 »

  • June 14, 2016
  • 03:22 PM
  • 170 views

Sheep on Valium Teach Scientists about Anxiety

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



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 »

  • June 14, 2016
  • 03:16 PM
  • 188 views

Even when help is just a click away, stigma is still a roadblock

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • June 14, 2016
  • 04:50 AM
  • 122 views

Fingerprint matching is biased by the assessor's prejudices

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

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 »

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