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  • April 14, 2011
  • 09:09 AM

Nicotine Replacement in Schizophrenia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Inpatient psychiatric hospitals increasingly prohibit smoking by patients, staff and family in their units.  Although the public health benefits of smoking restrictions are undeniable, there may be some situations where smoking restrictions have unintended consequences.  One area is the emergency management of patients with serious psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder.Rates of smoking have been documented to be higher in both schizophrenia and bipo........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2011
  • 05:13 AM

Out of the lab and into the waiting room - research on where we look gets real

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

You know how when you're in an elevator or an underground train, everybody seems to try their darnedest not to look anyone else in the eye. This everyday experience completely contradicts hundreds of psychology studies conducted in the lab, which show how rapidly our attention is drawn to other people's faces and especially their eyes.

Why the contradiction? Because psychologists have used pared down, highly controlled situations to study where people look, often involving faces and social scen........ Read more »

Laidlaw, K., Foulsham, T., Kuhn, G., & Kingstone, A. (2011) Potential social interactions are important to social attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(14), 5548-5553. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1017022108  

  • April 13, 2011
  • 03:24 PM

Daily routines: a framework for healthy living

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I’m working with a couple of people who are having a good deal of trouble maintaining a routine.  Things like having a reasonably regular bedtime and wakeup time, eating regularly, having periods of energising activity, and periods of rest and relaxation.  While some of our normal routines have been disrupted by the earthquake in Christchurch, … Read more... Read more »

Williams, J. (2000) The concepts of habit and routine: a preliminary theoretical synthesis. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 20(1), 100-105. info:/

  • April 13, 2011
  • 12:31 PM

Social mobility needs more than paid internships

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

The UK Government recently released Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility. The report quotes some depressing statistics about social mobility in the UK. Only one in five young people from the poorest families achieve five good GCSEs, including English and maths, compared with three quarters from the richest families. 25% of children [...]... Read more »

  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:55 AM

Enhancing Mood and Performance with Distraction

by Kari Kenefick in Promega Connections

To begin, a reminder that I do not sign your timesheet, nor am I responsible for your pay or promotion. So you may want to discuss these research findings with your supervisor before hitting the play button. That said, have you seen any funny videos lately? Like the “OK, Go” on treadmills video?  Or maybe you have [...]... Read more »

Nadler RT, Rabi R, & Minda JP. (2010) Better mood and better performance. Learning rule-described categories is enhanced by positive mood. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(12), 1770-6. PMID: 20974709  

  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:44 AM

Ecstasy Acute Effects on Social Cognition

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

MDMA (Ecstasy) Chemical StructureAnecdotal reports suggest that some users of ecstasy (3,4-methlenedioxymethamphetamine-MDMA) experience increased feelings of empathy and are more social while under influence of the drug.  Such effects may contribute to the timing and frequency of ecstasy use and may also contribute to risk of abuse or dependence.  Understanding this phenomenon in more detail might provide clinicians with better strategies to reduce use and the associated complications........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Real Men Eat Meat!

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

I always thought that the three most important determinants of food choices for most people are taste, cost and convenience. (interestingly, health benefits feature much further down this list than most people think).
Now a fascinating article by Matthew Ruby and Steven Heine from the University of British Columbia, just published in APPETITE, suggests food choices [...]... Read more »

Ruby MB, & Heine SJ. (2011) Meat, morals, and masculinity. Appetite, 56(2), 447-50. PMID: 21256169  

  • April 13, 2011
  • 04:31 AM

Your brain unscrambles words in the mirror but then switches them back again

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We humans can recognise things from different angles and orientations. As Jon Duñabeitia and his colleagues observe in their new paper, a tiger is still a tiger whether you see it facing rightwards or leftwards. When it comes to words, though, this skill largely vanishes - mirror-reversed words are especially tricky to read. It makes sense that the brain becomes sensitive to orientation in this way because, unlike the tiger, a 'd' isn't a 'd' when it faces the other way: 'b' (and the same is tr........ Read more »

Duñabeitia, J., Molinaro, N., & Carreiras, M. (2011) Through the looking-glass: Mirror reading. NeuroImage, 54(4), 3004-3009. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.10.079  

  • April 13, 2011
  • 03:00 AM

Is breast best? Or chosen by less competent women?: An examination of bias against breastfeeding mothers

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Spoiled milk: An experimental examination of bias against mothers who breastfeed From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  While breastfeeding babies has numerous health advantages to both mother and child, mothers who breastfeed may find that other people look down on them and do not want to work with them. This study found that mothers who [...]... Read more »

  • April 13, 2011
  • 01:12 AM

Mirror Neurons and Mentalizing

by dj in Neuropoly

Perhaps few findings in the cognitive sciences have received more press in recent years than the discovery by Rizolatti and colleagues in macque monkeys of mirror neurons; that is, neurons that preferentially activate both when a monkey performs some action and when observing someone else perform the same action. There is evidence that these neurons [...]... Read more »

  • April 12, 2011
  • 05:44 PM

A general-purpose "need to belong" drives belief in God

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

There's an element of Western religion that's clearly linked in some fundamental way to the fundamental human drive to be accepted and to 'belong' to your group. Teasing out what that is is actually harder than you might think.

Jochen Gebauer, at Humboldt University in Berlin, and Gregory Maio, at Cardiff University in Wales, have just published one of the most interesting studies into this that I've seen.

What they did was to get a bunch of Welsh students and subtly manipulate the strength of........ Read more »

Gebauer JE, & Maio GR. (2011) The Need to Belong Can Motivate Belief in God. Journal of Personality. PMID: 21446945  

  • April 12, 2011
  • 03:29 PM

Play, Parents, and Children’s Stress

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Like mother like daughter…unfortunately this may also apply to depression. A study published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science found that children whose mothers had been depressed at some ... Read more »

  • April 12, 2011
  • 08:30 AM

Kill the communication status quo. With guns.

by David Robertson in David Robertson

Sit down, kids, and get ready for a show. You’re about to see how a dumb rap star intent on killing people, golden retriever puppies and the newest edition of Nature: Climate Change are linked. On Saturday, I gave a … Continue reading →... Read more »

Nick Pidgeon, & Baruch Fischhoff. (2011) The role of social and decision sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks. Nature Climate change, 35-41. info:/10.1038/nclimate1080

  • April 12, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Of Chocolate and Human Factors

by Simon Harper in Thinking Out Loud

Different operating modalities are useful for providing a personalised experience and a one-size fits all approach is not the way forward. Indeed, I wonder if universal design, or participatory design just encourage a product which is acceptable to all but desired by none.... Read more »

Simon Harper. (2007) Is There Design-For-All?. Universal Access in the Information Society, 6(1), 111-113. info:/

  • April 12, 2011
  • 07:37 AM

Organisations, are your citizens impulsive and your deviants emotionally intelligent?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The following is written by Dr Alex Fradera and is being cross-posted here and over at the new BPS Occupational Digest - a 'child' blog of the Research Digest with a focus on psychology at work.

How would you feel about having someone impulsive join your team? It's possible you'd be concerned: all reckless decisions and blurting out sensitive information, they'll hardly help. How about someone high in emotional intelligence (EI)? A better prospect, surely: mindful of others and pretty decent a........ Read more »

  • April 12, 2011
  • 03:55 AM

Organisations, are your citizens impulsive and your deviants emotionally intelligent?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

How would you feel about having someone impulsive join your team? It's possible you'd be concerned: all reckless decisions and blurting out sensitive information, they'll hardly help. How about someone high in emotional intelligence (EI)? A better prospect, surely: mindful of others and pretty decent all round.In a recent study, Doan Winkel of Illinois State University and his collaborators found a different picture. Impulsivity, the degree to which we act spontaneously, was found to lead to mor........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2011
  • 02:56 PM

Talking about it: is it worth encouraging emotional disclosure for people with pain?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

One of the more common coping strategies for people with chronic pain is talking about stressful experiences. It’s thought to be healthy to be open and express feelings, while the very idea of repressing or avoiding emotional content seems almost Victorian. And there are various talk therapies in which emotional disclosure is encouraged – in … Read more... Read more »

  • April 11, 2011
  • 11:45 AM

The Genetics of Normal

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

In the 11 years since the blueprint of human life was decoded by the Human Genome Project, much of the focus has been on when those instructions fail. Scientists have used our newfound genetic knowledge to look for the roots of common and rare diseases, the gene or genes that can increase the risk of [...]... Read more »

  • April 11, 2011
  • 11:44 AM

The octopus, the maze, and why it matters: behavioral flexibility and sensory-motor integration

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

Shallow-water octopuses are generalist predators – this means that they can eat a variety of other animals – and good ones too. They have a few different hunting strategies, with the commonest ones involving the octopus groping along the reef, feeling for food with its arms (although octopuses have been reported to hunt by ambushing [...]... Read more »

Zullo, L., Sumbre, G., Agnisola, C., Flash, T., & Hochner, B. (2009) Nonsomatotopic Organization of the Higher Motor Centers in Octopus. Current Biology, 19(19), 1632-1636. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.067  

  • April 11, 2011
  • 11:33 AM

Go Ahead and Talk with Your Hands, But Know What You're Saying

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

For an upcoming opening statement or closing argument, your gestures are probably the last thing on your mind...until you actually get up to speak. Then, the commentator in your brain might be asking, "why am I gripping the sides of this lectern?" or "Is there a way I can make myself stop these meaningless chopping motions?" In this post, I want to answer the speaker's age-old question, "but what do I do with my hands?" by focusing on some recent studies on the communicative role of gestures, ........ Read more »

Cook SW, Mitchell Z, & Goldin-Meadow S. (2008) Gesturing makes learning last. Cognition, 106(2), 1047-58. PMID: 17560971  

Maricchiolo, F.; Gnisci, A.; Bonaiuto, M., . (2009) Effects of different types of hand gesturs in persuasive speech on receivers' evaluations. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24(2), 239-266. info:/

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