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  • September 21, 2010
  • 04:44 PM

Blink and you'll miss it (depending, of course, on your religious beliefs)

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

The attentional blink is another of those weird and wonderful cognitive blind spots with which the human race is afflicted. Flash up two images in close succession, and we find it really difficult to even notice the second, let alone figure out what it is. That's basically because our brains are still engaged in processing the first one.

In another recent study by Lorenzo Colzato (she also did the "big picture" study from a couple of blog posts ago), atheists and Dutch Christian Calvinists have........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 02:17 PM

The Neurobiology of Anxiety Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A key question in the classification of anxiety disorders is whether the DSM-IV classification system describes distinct useful categories.  There is a great deal of overlap in clinical populations.  You do not find many individual who have one unique disorder.  Typically, someone with say panic disorder is likely to have one or more additional anxiety disorder such as social phobia or PTSD.  A key question is whether there is a broader anxiety disorder phenotype that might i........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 02:06 PM

Do Coach’s Directions Hinder Athlete’s Performance?

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

Have you ever seen a basketball player fail to pass to an open teammate who was right in front of them? It happens in every game, and teams are always aiming to reduce this mistake. Research has shown that this mistake is due to a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. This happens when a person doesn’t [...]... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 01:31 PM

Wait -- Jonah Lehrer Wants Reading to be Harder?

by gameswithwords in Games with Words

Recently Jonah Lehrer, now at Wired, wrote a ode to books, titled The Future of Reading. Many people are sad to see the slow replacement of physical books by e-readers -- though probably not many people who have lugged 50 pounds of books in a backpack across Siberia, though that's a different story. The take-home message appears 2/3 of the way down:
So here’s my wish for e-readers. I’d love them to include a feature that allows us to undo their ease, to make the act of reading just a little ........ Read more »

DEHAENE, S., COHEN, L., SIGMAN, M., & VINCKIER, F. (2005) The neural code for written words: a proposal. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(7), 335-341. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.05.004  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 01:23 PM

What do I want? Don't ask me: Choice blindness at the market stall

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Imagine you sampled two jams, chose your favourite, and were then offered another taste of it before being asked to explain your preference. Would you notice that you'd been offered the wrong one, that you were actually tasting the jam you'd turned down? A new study conducted at a market stall by Lars Hall and colleagues found that even for tastes as dramatically different as spicy Cinnamon-Apple and bitter Grapefruit, fewer than 20 per cent of participants realised that they'd just tasted the j........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 06:40 AM

Applied Chaos

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

Dr Jim Bright explains how he uses the Chaos Theory of Careers in his work with clients.... Read more »

Bright, J.E.H, Pryor, R.G.L, Chan, E.W.M., & Rijanto, J. (2009) Chance events in career development: Influence, control and multiplicity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75(1), 14-25. info:/10.1016/j.jvb.2009.02.007

  • September 20, 2010
  • 01:17 PM

OUCH! First ID of proteins involved in pressure-type pain

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

Ouch! I just pinched my finger in the silverware drawer...again. The signal travels up my peripheral nerve fibers, contacts nociceptors, and proceed into my thalamus, insular cortex (which  distunguishes pain from things like itch and cold), and other places in my brain. Soon, I'm shouting PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! But, until now, scientists had nothing but guesses as to the molecular domino that starts the cascade of effects. What happens directly after a pinch?

One team of scientists may have a ........ Read more »

Coste B, Mathur J, Schmidt M, Earley TJ, Ranade S, Petrus MJ, Dubin AE, & Patapoutian A. (2010) Piezo1 and Piezo2 Are Essential Components of Distinct Mechanically Activated Cation Channels. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 20813920  

  • September 20, 2010
  • 12:39 PM

Stressful Live Events and Suicide

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The role of stressful life events in suicide attempts and completed suicides has been a key area of study in the epidemiology of mental disorders.  Although suicidal behavior often occurs in the context of acute and chronic stressor, this does not prove a causal link.  We all could probably report serious life stressors throughout out lives and these could be interpreted as a reason for suicidal behavior.  So these associations could simply be a coincidence and not have anything t........ Read more »

  • September 20, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

You Look Where I Look: Magic Tricks and Gaze Cues

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

If you are like me you have always been intrigued by magic tricks and you try to figure out the secrets behind each trick. Magic tricks have to do with something called “gaze cues”. Gaze cues, the effect of you looking where I look, are exactly what magicians utilize in their tricks. One of the [...]... Read more »

  • September 20, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

Proto-Fairness? Hints of Moral Thinking in Dogs

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Cooperation and conflict are both a part of human society. While a good deal of the academic literature addresses the evolutionary origins of conflict, in recent years there has been an increased focus on the investigation of the evolutionary origins of cooperative behavior. One component of cooperative behavior that might be present in other animals is aversion to inequity. Some scientists have suggested that inequity aversion may itself be the main factor driving the enforcement of cooperati........ Read more »

Range F, Horn L, Viranyi Z, & Huber L. (2009) The absence of reward induces inequity aversion in dogs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(1), 340-5. PMID: 19064923  

  • September 20, 2010
  • 09:45 AM

The Doctor Death Wish: Why are so many health workers the victims of violent attacks?

by Emily Anthes in Wonderland

Last week, 50-year-old Paul Warren Pardus decided to express how he felt about the medical care being provided to his ailing mother. So he shot her doctor. Then he barricaded himself in his mother’s room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. When police found him, he had shot both himself and his mother to death. Her surgeon, Dr. David B. Cohen, had been shot in the abdomen and is expected to survive.... Read more »

  • September 20, 2010
  • 04:02 AM

Sleep problems in chronic pain & what helps

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I have written about sleep problems in people with chronic pain several times. It is one of those aspects of dealing with pain that inevitably arise as I talk with people about energy, their activity through the day, and their mood. Many people blame the pain for their sleep problems, which is unsurprising really – … Read more... Read more »

  • September 20, 2010
  • 02:27 AM

Internet and Videogames Improve Reading Skills and Visual Spatial Skills in Children

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Well yes, but only for those children initially low in these skills. Gender, race and income did not influence the relationship between videogaming, Internet use and academic performance in children.
Computers and Internet access are available in almost all schools in the US, 87% of children between 12 and 17 use the Internet, 71% of online [...]

Related posts:Did Barack Obama Use The Computer for Videogames?
Elderly and Internet and Computer Skills, An Update
SSRIs Effective in Depressed Ado........ Read more »

  • September 19, 2010
  • 05:25 PM

Mania and Artistic 'Surprise' Induced by Deep Brain Stimulation

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Fig. 2 (Haq et al., 2010). A painting made following initial ALIC-NA [anterior limb of the internal capsule/nucleus accumbens] DBS activation. It was produced after a night-long effort and was described as a ‘surprise’ for the staff. The religious tone is typical of the patient.Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is being tested as an experimental treatment for intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as for major depression. A recent review by Mian et al. (2010) discusses the three........ Read more »

Haq, I., Foote, K., Goodman, W., Ricciuti, N., Ward, H., Sudhyadhom, A., Jacobson, C., Siddiqui, M., & Okun, M. (2010) A Case of Mania following Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, 88(5), 322-328. DOI: 10.1159/000319960  

  • September 19, 2010
  • 02:37 PM

Do women and men differ in their acceptance of climate warming?

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

In my series on why people don’t engage climate change, we saw major socioeconomic and demographic differences in how people perceive climate change.
In the current issue of Population and Environment, Aaron McCright authors an article, The effects of gender on climate change knowledge and concern in the American public, in which he examines whether women [...]... Read more »

  • September 19, 2010
  • 06:26 AM

Gay Men, Not Suffering Spectacularly

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Exaggerated claims abound about the prevalence of mental disorder in gay men. By reviewing the literature on this topic, Newcomb and Mustanksi (2010) conclude that future research needs to focus on how ethnicity, amongst other important considerations, influences psychological outcomes for gay men afflicted by internalised homophobia. ... Read more »

  • September 19, 2010
  • 01:03 AM

Neuroligin and Autism

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

The rapid increase in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses over the last 15 years is alarming. A number of reasons for the rise have been suggested, some of which have sparked debate that occasionally becomes laden with vitriol. Many people, surprised and frightened by what they see as the unprecedented appearance of a novel disorder, are looking for answers and pointing fingers at parties they feel may be culpable. The etiology of ASD is unknown, and perhaps we will find that some........ Read more »

De Jaco, A., Lin, M., Dubi, N., Comoletti, D., Miller, M., Camp, S., Ellisman, M., Butko, M., Tsien, R., & Taylor, P. (2010) Neuroligin Trafficking Deficiencies Arising from Mutations in the  / -Hydrolase Fold Protein Family. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(37), 28674-28682. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.139519  

  • September 18, 2010
  • 10:10 AM

Spicy food and collectivism: How the brain shapes culture

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

We are used to thinking of culture as a social factor and not a biological factor. We attribute dispositions such as being individualistic or being collectivist to the country that one was brought up in, but no one has really looked into why certain cultures tend to be that way. An emerging field of research called cultural neuroscience says that cultural values can be shaped by the brain and genes. For example, in one striking example I read about quite recently, one hypothesis put forth for th........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:12 AM

Is Moral Psychology About Morals Or Their Function?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Quandaries such as those involving stealing a drug to save a spouse's life or whether or not to have an abortion have historically dominated the study of the development of moral thinking. The predominant research programs in psychology today use dilemmas in which one choice is deontologically correct (it is wrong to rotate a lever that will divert a train and kill one person instead of five), and the other is consequentially correct (kill one person if it will save five others).

Read the res........ Read more »

Haidt J. (2007) The new synthesis in moral psychology. Science (New York, N.Y.), 316(5827), 998-1002. PMID: 17510357  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 06:03 AM

A Tale of Two Genes

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

An unusually gripping genetics paper from Biological Psychiatry: Pagnamenta et al.The authors discuss a family where two out of the three children were diagnosed with autism. In 2009, they detected a previously unknown copy number variant mutation in the two affected brothers: a 594 kb deletion knocking out two genes, called DOCK4 and IMMP2L.Yet this mutation was also carried by their non-autistic mother and sister, suggesting that it wasn't responsible for the autism. The mother's side of the f........ Read more »

Pagnamenta, A., Bacchelli, E., de Jonge, M., Mirza, G., Scerri, T., Minopoli, F., Chiocchetti, A., Ludwig, K., Hoffmann, P., & Paracchini, S. (2010) Characterization of a Family with Rare Deletions in CNTNAP5 and DOCK4 Suggests Novel Risk Loci for Autism and Dyslexia. Biological Psychiatry, 68(4), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.02.002  

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