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  • September 11, 2015
  • 05:11 AM

Self-doubting bosses prefer to delegate to self-doubting staff

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It’s possible to earn great success in your professional career, rise to great heights, but all the while experience the "imposter phenomenon": the sense that your position is undeserved, your unmasking possible at any time. For people like this, who doubt their own abilities, it would seem wise to rely on others who are confident they can get things done. But new research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests the opposite: the more prone managers are to that imposter fe........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 02:38 AM

School and autism: anxiety, aggression and making things easier

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up insofar as including two papers into (brief) discussions. The first paper is from Pamela Gaye Ambler and colleagues [1] who bring in a number of important issues associated with quite a bit of autism: anxiety and aggression during adolescence and how this can manifest during school time. The second paper from Will Mandy and colleagues [2] (open-access available here) provides some interesting discussion on a "manualised intervention" called STEP-ASD design........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 05:41 PM

Does belief that God is in control reduce support for government welfare?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

There’s an enduring puzzle about religion and government, and it’s about what effect religions have on government welfare policies. That’s down to an intriguing observation: that more religious countries tend to have a weaker welfare state. Quite why this is so is a matter of dispute. After all, given religion’s association with altruism, you might [Read More...]... Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 03:58 PM

Subliminal religious prompts might not make people nicer after all

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Back in 2007, right when I was starting this blog, a ground breaking study revealed an extra-ordinary finding. What the researchers had discovered was that just giving people subliminal reminders of religion was enough to make them be more generous in a something called the dictator game. The really extraordinary thing was that the same [Read More...]... Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 04:50 AM

The digit ratio and autism: ALSPAC says no

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this population-based study, there was no strong evidence of an association between 2D:4D [second-to-fourth digit ratio] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis or traits, although the CIs [confidence intervals] were wide. These results are not consistent with the extreme male brain theory."So said the study results from Anna Louise Guyatt and colleagues [1] (open-access) who investigated the 2D:4D ratio as part of the ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Par........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 02:57 AM

The psychological toll of being off-duty but "on call"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

That increasingly common end-of-day feeling: of physically leaving the office, only for it to tag along home. Thanks largely to technology, our availability – to clients, bosses and co-workers – extends into our evenings, weekends and even holidays. Getting a clear account of what this means for us isn’t easy, as jobs that intrude more into leisure time are also distinguished by higher pace and further factors known and unknown, making it hard to pinpoint what harmful effects, if any, are ........ Read more »

Dettmers, J., Vahle-Hinz, T., Bamberg, E., Friedrich, N., & Keller, M. (2015) Extended Work Availability and Its Relation With Start-of-Day Mood and Cortisol. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0039602  

  • September 9, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

If You Lead a Lab to Water, Should You Let Them Swim?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study tests whether Labrador Retrievers choose the pool.Labrador Retrievers were bred to retrieve from water, and it’s widely known they love to swim. But, how much? And, given their sociability, do they prefer to swim rather than mix with a person or another dog? A study by Sara Tavares, Ana Magalhães and Liliana de Sousa (Universityof Porto) gave Labs a free choice, and says the results are important for good animal welfare.The study involved ten Labrador Retrievers who live on a farm........ Read more »

  • September 9, 2015
  • 04:43 AM

Mental effort is contagious

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you're about to dive into a piece of work that requires intense mental focus, you might find it helps to sit next to someone else who is concentrating hard. According to an ingenious new study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, mental exertion is contagious: if a person near you is straining their synapses in mental effort, their mindset will automatically intensify your own concentration levels.Psychologists have known since at least the 1960s that the presence of other people aff........ Read more »

Desender, K., Beurms, S., & Van den Bussche, E. (2015) Is mental effort exertion contagious?. Psychonomic Bulletin . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-015-0923-3  

  • September 9, 2015
  • 02:51 AM

SCQ vs. M-CHAT for autism screening: no winner

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"While screening tests may provide useful information, their accuracy is moderate. Screening information in isolation should not be used to make referral decisions regarding specialized ASD [autism spectrum disorder] assessment."That was the findings of the study published by Tony Charman and colleagues [1] who sought to "test the accuracy of two screening instruments in UK Community health services: Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) and Social Communication Questionna........ Read more »

Charman T, Baird G, Simonoff E, Chandler S, Davison-Jenkins A, Sharma A, O'Sullivan T, & Pickles A. (2015) Testing two screening instruments for autism spectrum disorder in UK community child health services. Developmental medicine and child neurology. PMID: 26303216  

  • September 8, 2015
  • 08:47 AM

Most acts of aggression by toddlers are unprovoked

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Watching toddlers pinch, hit and bite each other doesn't fill you with confidence about human nature. But there's no need to be down about it – the little devils don't yet have the self-control to manage their anger and frustration, that's all. Right?Not according to a new study published in Developmental Science, which is the first to systematically investigate the use of force in infants from age 11 months and up. Audun Dahl at the University of California, Santa Cruz, finds that in fac........ Read more »

  • September 8, 2015
  • 06:14 AM

Psychiatric history infection during pregnancy increases the risk of psychosis in offspring

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this (hopefully) brief post mirrors the conclusion reached by Åsa Blomström and colleagues [1] who analysed data pertinent to all children "born in Sweden 1978-1997" to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) of nonaffective psychosis "in relation to maternal infection during pregnancy." Also detailing RERI - relative excess risk due to interaction - bringing in factors such as maternal history of psychiatric disorder as part and parcel of any effect, and authors reported that: "Among ........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2015
  • 06:58 AM

Psychology Should Aim For 100% Reproducibility

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last week, the Open Science Collaboration reported that only 36% of a sample of 100 claims from published psychology studies were succesfully replicated: Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science.

A reproducibility rate of 36% seems bad. But what would be a good value? Is it realistic to expect all studies to replicate? If not, where should we set the bar?

In this post I'll argue that it should be 100%.

First off however, I'll note that no single replication attemp... Read more »

Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science (New York, N.Y.), 349(6251). PMID: 26315443  

  • September 7, 2015
  • 06:48 AM

Images of ultra-thin models need your attention to make you feel bad

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Tom StaffordWe all know that fashion models have unrealistic bodies. Even if they aren’t photoshopped, most of us could never be that thin, at least not without making ourselves ill. Previous research has suggested that viewing pictures of unrealistically thin female models makes young women feel bad – leaving them dissatisfied with their own bodies, more sad, angry and insecure.A crucial question is whether the effect of these thin-ideal images is automatic. Does the compar........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2015
  • 03:07 AM

Gluten- and casein-free diets and autism: the Hyman results (at last)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Although these findings must be interpreted with caution because of the small sample size, the study does not provide evidence to support general use of the GFCF [gluten-free/casein-free] diet."So said the results of the study finally published by Susan Hyman and colleagues [1] detailing the effects (or not) of a small (n=14) "double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge study" of the use of a diet devoid of gluten and casein for young children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD........ Read more »

Hyman, S., Stewart, P., Foley, J., Cain, U., Peck, R., Morris, D., Wang, H., & Smith, T. (2015) The Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet: A Double-Blind Challenge Trial in Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2564-9  

  • September 6, 2015
  • 03:35 PM

Guilting teens into exercise won’t increase activity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Just like attempts at influencing hairstyles or clothing can backfire, adults who try to guilt middle-schoolers into exercising won’t get them to be any more active. The study found students who don’t feel in control of their exercise choices or who feel pressured by adults to be more active typically aren’t.... Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 06:26 PM


by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Can we please talk about how we keep kids trapped for too long in counting number land? I've got this marvelous study to show you which might provides some good reasons to interleave different number systems throughout students' educations. It's this one.... Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 03:03 PM

The science of stereotyping: Challenging the validity of ‘gaydar’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

“Gaydar” — the purported ability to infer whether people are gay or straight based on their appearance — seemed to get a scientific boost from a 2008 study that concluded people could accurately guess someone’s sexual orientation based on photographs of their faces. In a new paper researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison challenge what they call “the gaydar myth.” William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology and the lead author, says gaydar isn’t ........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 06:21 AM

Are internal replications the solution to the replication crisis in Psychology? No.

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Most Psychology findings are not replicable. What can be done? Stanford psychologist Michael Frank has an idea : Cumulative study sets with internal replication. ‘If I had to advocate for a single change to practice, this would be it.’ I took a look whether this makes any difference. A recent paper in the journal Science […]... Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 05:10 AM

Vitamin D fortified mozzarella topped pizzas. Yum!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A slightly more light-hearted but nevertheless important post for you today as I bring to your attention the paper by Banaz Al-Khalidi and colleagues [1] and their conclusion that: "Vitamin D3 is safe and bioavailable from fortified mozzarella cheese baked on pizza."Adding vitamin D3 - cholecalciferol - to mozzarella cheese, researchers assessed what happened to serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in a high (28,000 international units, IU) and low (200 IU) dose group of "96 appare........ Read more »

Al-Khalidi B MSc, Chiu W MSc, Rousseau D PhD, & Vieth R PhD. (2015) Bioavailability and Safety of Vitamin D3 from Pizza Baked with Fortified Mozzarella Cheese: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Canadian journal of dietetic practice and research : a publication of Dietitians of Canada , 76(3), 109-116. PMID: 26280790  

  • September 4, 2015
  • 02:28 PM

Common antidepressant may change brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A commonly prescribed antidepressant may alter brain structures in depressed and non-depressed individuals in very different ways, according to new research. The study – conducted in nonhuman primates with brain structures and functions similar to those of humans – found that the antidepressant sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) marketed as Zoloft, significantly increased the volume of one brain region in depressed subjects but decreased the volume of two brain areas........ Read more »

Willard, S., Uberseder, B., Clark, A., Daunais, J., Johnston, W., Neely, D., Massey, A., Williamson, J., Kraft, R., Bourland, J.... (2015) Long term sertraline effects on neural structures in depressed and nondepressed adult female nonhuman primates. Neuropharmacology, 369-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.06.011  

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