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  • August 7, 2010
  • 11:14 PM

Bad News for the Genetics of Personality

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

CREDIT: RYAN SNOOK (from Holden, 2008).The latest search for genetic variants that underlie differences in personality traits has drawn a blank (Verweij et al., 2010). The researchers conducted a genome-wide association study using personality ratings from Cloninger's temperament scales in a population of 5,117 Australian individuals:Participants' scores on Harm Avoidance, Novelty Seeking, Reward Dependence, and Persistence were tested for association with 1,252,387 genetic markers. We also perf........ Read more »

  • August 7, 2010
  • 02:21 PM

The Calming Hormonal Effect of Marriage

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Married life is stressful, as any stand-up comedian or therapist will tell you. But being married or in a long-term relationship can also change not only your mood, but also your hormones and behavior as well. Biologists have known for a while that when male birds or monkeys stop mating and start raising offspring, they [...]... Read more »

  • August 7, 2010
  • 11:26 AM

What should you spend on to maximize your happiness?

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

     When it comes to spending our money, we instinctively think that we will derive the most happiness by spending it on ourselves, regardless of whether it is to pay that pesky bill or buy ourselves a nifty new gadget or that gorgeous handbag that we have been eyeing for ages. But is spending on ourselves really the best way to boost our happiness or is there something more to it? Dunn, Aknin & Norton (2008) provides some unexpected insights.     The........ Read more »

Dunn, E., Aknin, L., & Norton, M. (2008) Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science, 319(5870), 1687-1688. DOI: 10.1126/science.1150952  

  • August 6, 2010
  • 10:21 PM

Men Making the Commitment to Genuine Anti-Violence

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

A research study by Casey and Smith (2010) in which 27 men who took a stand on violence against women are asked about their experience of that process.... Read more »

  • August 6, 2010
  • 05:12 PM

Will, Baby, Will: Why Energy Problems Need New Thinking, Not New Oil Wells

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Providing adequate and sustainable sources of energy isn't a geophysical problem of finding supplies or a technological challenge of using sun, wind or gas more efficiently. It's a psychological problem: How to get people to think differently and behave differently. That, I think, is the lesson of this paper, published last month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology: Some 2 percent of American energy use in a year goes to make food that no one eats, it reports. Elimi........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2010
  • 12:33 PM

Amantadine Reduces Pathological Gambling in Parkinson's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Parkinson's disease (PD) commonly includes a variety of behavioral disturbances related to impulsivity.  Impulse control problems noted in (PD) ncludes hypersexuality, compulsive shopping, compulsive eating and pathological gambling.These behavioral problems may be related to the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease.  However, drugs commonly used in Parkinson's disease appear to increase the risk for impulsive behavioral problems. Clinicians face a dilemma in drug-induced behavioral ........ Read more »

Thomas A, Bonanni L, Gambi F, Di Iorio A, & Onofrj M. (2010) Pathological gambling in Parkinson disease is reduced by amantadine. Annals of neurology. PMID: 20687121  

  • August 6, 2010
  • 10:40 AM

Child Abuse Increases Risk of PTSD in Young Adults

by Child Psych in Child Psych

photo by mrcuppofcoffee
Researchers in New Zealand have found a link between childhood abuse and mental disorders in young adults. The article by Drs. Scott, Smith, and Ellis was published in the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The authors analyzed data from a nationally representative community survey of 2144 New Zealanders ages 16 to 27. The survey assessed a variety of anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders during the previous year and in the person's lifetime. Nation........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2010
  • 05:27 AM

Don’t Bite: Does Self Control Determine Class?

by Jason Goldman in Child's Play

Just to be clear, we’ll be talking here about class, folk psychology, and my high school math teacher.  But as ever, I’ve buried the lead.  Now for some recap, before we get on to the good stuff – In the last post, we found that the behavior exhibited in the classic cookie task is more [...]... Read more »

  • August 6, 2010
  • 05:08 AM

Stubbing out thoughts of smoking leads smokers to end up smoking more

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Try not to think of a white bear and what happens? You end up thinking of a white bear. This idea that suppressing thoughts makes them rebound stronger is well-established in psychology [pdf]. Now James Erskine and his co-workers have shown that the same or a similar process can lead behaviours to rebound too.

Eighty-five smokers (average age 31), none of whom were currently trying to quit, were divided into three groups for three weeks. One group was instructed to spend the middle week avoid........ Read more »

Erskine JA, Georgiou GJ, & Kvavilashvili L. (2010) I Suppress, Therefore I Smoke: Effects of Thought Suppression on Smoking Behavior. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 20660892  

  • August 5, 2010
  • 11:48 PM

Can smoking pot make you smarter?

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

Is it possible that if you have schizophrenia, smoking marijuana will actually improve your cognitive performance?
Since this blog is often concerned with the relationship between science and its communication, something which has come up once or twice here is the way drug and alcohol research is reported in the media.
Very often, it is reported that [...]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2010
  • 11:24 PM

…we’re all wrong, but at least we rightly know we’re wrong. Right?

by Rift in Psycasm

Before I started psychology I earned a degree in Business with an extended major in Advertising. When I tell people this they often go ‘Wow, that’s different. What made you make such a big change?’ I had this exact conversation yesterday. My response (which is well practised by now) is advertising is about making people [...]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2010
  • 12:35 PM

Memory, observation, and consciousness in Octopus Vulgaris

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

          A while back, I wrote a post about short and long term memory processes in cephalopods.  I wrote then that there is good evidence for a dissociation of short and long term memory process in cephalopods, but that this isn't a good basis (alone) for inferring the presence of consciousness, or in the case of arguments about animal's rights, the capacity to suffer (which, I guess, usually comes along with being conscious.)  I stand by ........ Read more »

  • August 4, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

Don’t Bite: The Defenestration of Cookie

by Jason Goldman in Child's Play

III. Whither the Cookie Task? WARNING: What you are about to read may contain graphic statistical content.  Side effects may include: contagious yawning, inappropriate arousal, and / or spontaneous combustion, depending on how you like your math cooked… darling. Psychologists often think about the cookie task as a test of cognitive control, and in keeping [...]... Read more »

Eigsti, I., Zayas, V., Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., Ayduk, O., Dadlani, M., Davidson, M., Aber, J., & Casey, B. (2006) Predicting Cognitive Control From Preschool to Late Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Psychological Science, 17(6), 478-484. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01732.x  

Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. (1989) Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933-938. DOI: 10.1126/science.2658056  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:44 PM

Real Time fMRI

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Wouldn't it be cool if you could measure brain activation with fMRI... right as it happens?You could lie there in the scanner and watch your brain light up. Then you could watch your brain light up some more in response to seeing your brain light up, and watch it light up even more upon seeing your brain light up in response to seeing itself light up... like putting your brain between two mirrors and getting an infinite tunnel of activations.Ok, that would probably get boring, eventually. But th........ Read more »

Hinds, O., Ghosh, S., Thompson, T., Yoo, J., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Triantafyllou, C., & Gabrieli, J. (2010) Computing moment to moment BOLD activation for real-time neurofeedback. NeuroImage. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.07.060  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:14 PM

Sensitivity and Specialization in the Occipitatemporal Region: Differences in Dyslexic Children

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility: Advanced/intermediate

Early research on the role of the occipitotemporal region in reading often focused on characterizing a single region in the mid fusiform, commonly called the visual word form area. Since then, focus has gradually...

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... Read more »

van der Mark S, Bucher K, Maurer U, Schulz E, Brem S, Buckelmüller J, Kronbichler M, Loenneker T, Klaver P, Martin E.... (2009) Children with dyslexia lack multiple specializations along the visual word-form (VWF) system. NeuroImage, 47(4), 1940-9. PMID: 19446640  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:59 PM

Persistent ethnic differences in test performance may be entirely an artifact of the method used to 'adjust' the test

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is well established among those who carry out, analyze, and report pre-employment performance testing that slope-based bias in those tests is rare. Why is this important? Look at the following three graphs from a recent study by Aguinis, Culpepper and Pierce (2010):
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Aguinis, H., Culpepper, S., & Pierce, C. (2010) Revival of test bias research in preemployment testing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(4), 648-680. DOI: 10.1037/a0018714  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:39 PM

Study Finds Brains Literally "Sync Up" In Conversation

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Good communication is a matter of getting "in sync" with others, as you've probably noticed when you've seen people match their steps perfectly as they walk, and imitate each other's gestures as they talk, and use each other's phrases and grammar. Last week, this paper reported  this kind of coordination in the most important place of all: When people converse, it reports, regions of their brains synchronize their activity. "Neural coupling," they argue, is a key part of communica........ Read more »

Stephens, G., Silbert, L., & Hasson, U. (2010) Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1008662107  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:35 PM

What Makes Humans Unique ?(IV): Shared Intentionality – The Foundation of Human Uniqueness?

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0

What Makes Humans Unique (IV): Shared Intentionality – The Foundation of Human Uniqueness? Shared or collective intentionality is the ability and motivation to engage with others in collaborative, co-operative activities with joint goals and intentions. (Tomasello et al. 2005). The term also implies that the collaborators’ psychological processes are jointly directed at something and take place within a joint attentional frame (Hurford 2007: 320, Tomasello et al. 2005).
Michael Tomasello an........ Read more »

Moll, H., & Tomasello, M. (2007) Cooperation and human cognition: the Vygotskian intelligence hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1480), 639-648. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.2000  

Tomasello, M., & Carpenter, M. (2007) Shared intentionality. Developmental Science, 10(1), 121-125. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00573.x  

Tomasello, M., Carpenter, M., Call, J., Behne, T., & Moll, H. (2005) Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28(05). DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X05000129  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 04:56 AM

Floral arrangement as a cognitive training tool for schizophrenia

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

It's the hallucinations and delusions associated with schizophrenia that typically attract discussion and research. However, patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia also exhibit deficits in memory and perception and, importantly, the severity of these is predictive of quality of life, social functioning and autonomy. How can these cognitive deficits be helped? Researchers have found some success with computer-based training but patient motivation can be problem. Now a team of researchers led ........ Read more »

  • August 3, 2010
  • 09:11 PM

…We’re all Twits, here.

by Rift in Psycasm

For the most I’m a troglodyte. I hate facebook, I hate misspellings in SMS, and nothing makes me ROFL like a LOLcat. I do have a facebook, however, if only to keep up appearances and waste time during exam block. As of recently I have a Twitter account, too. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have signed up [...]... Read more »

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