Post List

Psychology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • January 27, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 16 views

How do we integrate information?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

Left or right? Apple or orange? Selma or Birdman? One way to make these decisions is precisely what intuition tell us it should be: we weigh up the pros and cons of each choice. Then, when we have sufficient evidence for one over the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 04:33 AM
  • 20 views

Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were analysed. Yuen et al reported that examination of de novo and rare inherited SNPs previously linked to cases of autism were not present in some 70% of their "affected siblings" group. Further, that less than a third of siblings shared the same autism-related gene changes, potentially over-turning the idea that most affected siblings (with the same parentage) share the same genetic issues as being related to their autistic symptoms and label. That all being said, the authors did report that: "Brothers and sisters who shared autism-related mutations displayed more similar symptoms than those who did not".This is a significant paper in quite a few ways although there are caveats. The results only covered 85 sibling-pairs and the number of autism-related genetic variations inspected was relatively limited. One therefore needs to be a little cautious about sweeping generalisations to the very wide autism spectrum, heterogeneity, comorbidity and all. “The findings suggest that there is significant genetic diversity among people which autism” was one of the commentaries on the Yuen study which I would definitely second (see here). The 'people with autism are like snowflakes' analogy has also been banded around to illustrate that idea of diversity; something that I would also agree with, although perhaps preferring the slightly more scientific idea that 'autism' should perhaps be replaced by the more plural idea: the autisms. Exactly how many 'autisms' there are, remains to be seen as it does in other areas of psychiatry.Ways forward following the Yuen study? Well, I might suggest that alongside replicating the work in a larger cohort, one might also entertain the idea that structural issues associated with the genome might also be complemented by a little more focus on gene functions and that rising star discipline called epigenetics (see here). The idea for example, that even identical twins might vary in their 'methylomic' profile (see here) is gaining traction in autism research circles to potentially account for some of the missing heritability which has been reported in recent years (see here). I'm not saying that the significant resources ploughed into the genetic roots of autism is all bunk; merely that the idea that genes and environment might synergistically [and variably] act on autism risk should be given a lot more credence, alongside the role that common variants might play in [some] autism (see here). Air pollution is one environmental example perhaps requiring a little more study (see here), although I hasten to stress not the only variable which might need further investigation.Finally, as part of the Google - Autism Speaks MSSNG initiative (see here), the 'de-identified' data from the Yuen study has been uploaded to the 'cloud' for other researchers to utilise in further investigations. Again, a very good idea for those interested in this branch of autism research but again with the proviso that autism is a very, very heterogeneous condition often including quite a bit of enhanced risk for various comorbidity...----------[1] Yuen RKC. et al. Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder. Nature Medicine. 2015. Jan 26.[2] Ng PC. & Kirkness EF. Whole genome sequencing. Methods Mol Biol. 2010;628:215-26.----------Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y., Gazzellone, M., D'Abate, L., Deneault, E., Howe, J., Liu, R., Thompson, A., Zarrei, M., Uddin, M., Marshall, C., Ring, R., Zwaigenbaum, L., Ray, P., Weksberg, R., Carter, M., Fernandez, B., Roberts, W., Szatmari, P., & Scherer, S. (2015). Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792... Read more »

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y.... (2015) Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 48 views

His brain made him do it” and so I feel much less empathy for him 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about the brain based defenses a lot here. And here’s an article that may shed light on how the presentation of neural defenses could backfire on defense attorneys. First, let’s look at the research. The researchers wondered how the biological explanation of mental illness might affect the empathy of mental health clinicians toward […]

Related posts:
Which jurors most “feel” your client’s pain?
Empathy: Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intentions
A new question for the jury: Did my brain implant make me do it?


... Read more »

Lebowitz MS, & Ahn WK. (2014) Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians' empathy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(50), 17786-90. PMID: 25453068  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:27 AM
  • 58 views

We're more likely to cheat when we're anxious

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When we’re stressed out and feeling threatened, our priority becomes self-preservation. According to new research, this defensive mode even affects our morality, making us more likely to cheat and excuse our own unethical behaviour.Maryam Kouchaki and Sreedhari Desai demonstrated this through six experiments. In the clearest example, 63 student participants spent three minutes listening to either calm music, or in the anxiety condition, to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. Those freaked out by Hermann's definitive ode to unease declared they were more anxious at the end of the study, and they had threat on their mind (this was confirmed through a word matching task - the Psycho group more often selected words with connotations of threat).Anxious? Check. Threatened? Check. Unethical? Kouchaki and Desai went hunting for cheaters. Their participants next completed a simple computer task for money, for which there was an obvious way to cheat. The non-anxious students made an average of 19 "clear cheats", whereas the anxious ramped this up to 24. The more threatened the anxious felt, the more they cheated.The researchers think this probably happened because threat provokes us to grab resources, status ... anything to buffer the self. An alternative explanation is that anxiety somehow frazzles our apparatus for moral judgment in general. The researchers showed this wasn’t the case in a further experiment where an unethical act - secretly copying a password that gave access to the questions for the next day's fictional job interview - was either posed as something that the participant had done, or a third party named Steve. Participants who had been put into an anxious state judged Steve's infraction just as severely as their non-anxious counterparts, yet they were more likely to let themselves off the hook.When we’re anxious, our sympathetic nervous system floods us with noradrenaline, activating our fight-or-flight pathways. How can I look after me, now? With this imperative looming large, it's unsurprising that we no longer have bandwidth available for our higher principles. It tallies with evidence that, when threatened, people are more likely to consume scarce communal resources, without regard to fair distribution or the long-term. The new findings may not extend to more severe violations such as willingness to harm others, but they do suggest we’re quick to forget lofty notions such as "fair play' when we feel under threat._________________________________ Kouchaki, M., & Desai, S. (2014). Anxious, Threatened, and Also Unethical: How Anxiety Makes Individuals Feel Threatened and Commit Unethical Acts. Journal of Applied Psychology DOI: 10.1037/a0037796 Post written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 59 views

Is it necessary to use brain imaging to understand teen girls' sexual decision making?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

“It is feasible to recruit and retain a cohort of female participants to perform a functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] task focused on making decisions about sex, on the basis of varying levels of hypothetical sexual risk, and to complete longitudinal prospective diaries following this task. Preliminary evidence suggests that risk level differentially impacts brain activity related to sexual decision making in these women [i.e., girls aged 14-15 yrs], which may be related to past and future sexual behaviors.”-Hensel et al. (2015) Can the brain activity of adolescents predict whether they are likely to make risky sexual decisions in the future?  I think this is the goal of a new pilot study by researchers at Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute (Hensel et al., 2015). While I have no reason to doubt the good intentions of the project, certain aspects of it make me uncomfortable.But first, I have a confession to make. I'm not an expert in adolescent sexual health like first author Dr. Devon Hensel. Nor do I know much about pediatrics, adolescent medicine, health risk behaviors, sexually transmitted diseases, or the epidemiology of risk, like senior author Dr. J. Dennis Fortenberry (who has over 300 publications on these topics).  His papers include titles such as Time from first intercourse to first sexually transmitted infection diagnosis among adolescent women and Sexual learning, sexual experience, and healthy adolescent sex. Clearly, these are very important topics with serious personal and public health implications. But are fMRI studies of a potentially vulnerable population the best way to address these societal problems?The study recruited 14 adolescent girls (mean age = 14.7 yrs) from health clinics in lower- to middle-income neighborhoods. Most of the participants (12 of the 14) were African-American, most did not drink or do drugs, and most had not yet engaged in sexual activity.  However, the clinics served areas with “high rates of early childbearing and sexually transmitted infection” so the implication is that these young women are at greater risk of poor outcomes than those who live in different neighborhoods.Detailed sexual histories were obtained from the girls upon enrollment (see below). They also kept a diary of sexual thoughts and behaviors for 30 days. Given the sensitive nature of the information revealed by minors, it's especially important to outline the informed consent procedures and the precautions taken to protect privacy. Yes, a parent or guardian gave their approval, and the girls completed informed consent documents that were approved by the local IRB. But I wanted to see more about this in the Methods. For example, did the parent or guardian have access to their daughters' answers and/or diaries, or was that private? This could have influenced the willingness of the girls to disclose potentially embarrassing behavior or “verboten” activities (prohibited by parental mores, church teachings, legal age of consent,1 etc.).  I don't know, maybe the standard procedures are obvious to those within the field of sexual health behavior, but they weren't to me.Turning to more familiar territory, the experimental design for the neuroimaging study involved presentation of four different types of stimuli: (1) faces of adolescent males; (2) alcoholic beverages; (3) restaurant food; (4) household items (e.g., frying pan). My made-up examples of the stimuli are shown below.Each picture was presented with information that indicated the item's risk level (“high” or “low”):Adolescent male faces: number of previous sexual partners and typical condom use (yes/no)Alcoholic beverages: number of alcohol units and whether there was a designated driver (yes/no)Food: calorie content and whether the restaurant serving the food had been cited in the past year for health code violations (yes/no) Household items: whether the object could be returned to the store (yes/no)For each picture, participants rated how likely they were to: (1) have sex with the male, (2) drink the beverage, (3) eat the food, or (4) purchase the product (1 = very unlikely to 4 = very likely). There were 35 exemplars of each category, and each stimulus was presented in both “high” and “low” risk contexts. So oddly, the pizza was 100 calories and from a clean restaurant on one trial, compared to 1,000 calories and from a roach-infested dump on another trial.The faces task was adapted from a study in adult women (Rupp et al., 2009) where the participants gave a mean likelihood rating of 2.45 for sex with low risk men vs. 1.41 for high risk men (significantly less likely for the latter). The teen girls showed the opposite result: 2.85 for low risk teen boys vs. 3.85 for high risk teen boys (significantly more likely) — the “bad boy” effect?But the actual values were quite confusing. At one point the authors say they omitted the alcohol condition: “The present study focused on the legal behaviors (e.g., sexual behavior, buying item, and eating food) in which adolescents could participate.”But in the Fig. 1 legend, they say the opposite (that the alcohol condition was included):Panel (A) provides the average likelihood of young women's endorsing low- and high-risk decisions in the boy, alcohol, food, and household item (control) stimulus categories. Then they say that the low-risk male faces were rated as the most unlikely (i.e., least preferred) of all stimuli.  But Fig. 1 itself shows that the low-risk food stimuli were rated as the most unlikely...Regardless of the precise ratings, the young women were more drawn to all stimuli when they were in the high risk condition. The authors tried to make a case for more "risky" sexual choices among participants with higher levels of overt or covert sexual reporting, but the numbers were either impossibly low (for behavior) or thought-crimes only (for dreams/fantasy). So it's really hard to see how brain activity of any sort could be diagnostic of actual behavior at this point in their lives.And the neuroimaging results were confusing as well. First, the less desirable low-risk stimuli elicited greater responses in cognitive and emotional control regions:Neural activity in a cognitive-affective network, including prefrontal and anterior cingulate (ACC) regions, was significantly greater during low-risk decisions. But then, we see that the more desirable high-risk sexual stimuli elicited greater responses in cognitive/emotional control regions:Compared with other decisions, high-risk sexual decisions elicited greater activity in the anterior cingulate, and low-risk sexual decision elicited greater activity in regions of the visual cortex.&... Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 45 views

What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), which might also fall into this category under certain circumstances.Guinchat and colleagues "aimed to assess risk factors associated with very acute behavioral crises in adolescents with ASD" by way of collecting various data on participants (both retrospectively and prospectively) including the severity of their presentation, the presence of "comorbid organic conditions" and assessing "predictors of Global Assessment Functioning Scale (GAFS) score and duration of hospitalization at discharge."Results: well, an inpatient stay did seem to have a positive effect on participants as per the findings that: "During the inpatient stay... patients doubled on average their GAFS scores." A higher score translates as better outcome. Comorbid psychiatric conditions, known and unknown, was the most frequently cited reason for behavioural crises, with depressive episode and schizophrenia representing the known conditions cited most. Organic causes, including epilepsy and "painful medical conditions" followed in frequency, with environmental causes "including lack of treatment... and adjustment disorder" bringing up the rear. The authors also suggest that the severity of autism presentation (I draw back from using the idea of 'functioning') had a negative effect on GAFS scores at discharge. This point may also tie into some recent findings reported by Rattaz and colleagues [2] where symptom severity of autism might be a risk factor for the presence of self-injurious behaviours.The authors conclude: "Challenging behaviors among adolescents with ASD may stem from diverse risk factors, including environmental problems, comorbid acute psychiatric conditions, or somatic illness such as epilepsy or acute pain. The management of these behavioral challenges requires a unified, multidisciplinary approach."I know that some people might look at this data, shrug and say 'what did you expect', but I'm not one of them. Challenging behaviours can occur in relation to autism for all-manner of reasons but as per other discussions on this topic, one should never assume that challenging behaviours are just 'part and parcel' of a diagnosis of autism. They aren't, even if some of the signs and symptoms of autism may make a person more likely to present with such issues at certain times (including puberty).I've talked before about some of the circumstances around challenging behaviours and autism as per the idea that pain and discomfort for example, might sometimes facilitate the presence of such issues (see here) particularly in the absence of functional language use. Indeed, a lack of communicative abilities (or rather suitable ways or avenues to communicate) can be a real obstacle to health equality more generally when it comes to autism (see here). Epilepsy or seizure-type disorders have also figured on the autism landscape (see here) and potentially contribute as an important factor when it comes to challenging behaviours for some [3]. Ideas on the possibility of overlap between autism and conditions like certain types of depression and/or schizophrenia are gaining traction in recent times (see here and see here respectively) and again, suggest that 'diagnostic vigilance' are the keywords (see here).To close: Take on Me by Harry Hill (and others)?----------[1] Guinchat V. et al. Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2015; 38: 242-255.[2] Rattaz C. et al. Symptom severity as a risk factor for self-injurious behaviours in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2015 Jan 12.[3] Ito M. et al. Subacute postictal aggression in patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2007 Jun;10(4):611-4.----------Guinchat V, Cravero C, Diaz L, Périsse D, Xavier J, Amiet C, Gourfinkel-An I, Bodeau N, Wachtel L, Cohen D, & Consoli A (2015). Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement. Research in developmental disabilities, 38C, 242-255 PMID: 25575287... Read more »

  • January 24, 2015
  • 01:39 PM
  • 80 views

Lucid dreaming: The similarities between dreaming and wakefulness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To control one’s dreams and to live out there what is impossible in real life — a truly tempting idea. Some people — so-called lucid dreamers — can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when they are awake.... Read more »

Filevich E, Dresler M, Brick TR, & Kühn S. (2015) Metacognitive mechanisms underlying lucid dreaming. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(3), 1082-8. PMID: 25609624  

  • January 24, 2015
  • 05:34 AM
  • 57 views

Hartnup disease in coeliac disease: lessons for 'some' autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Thomas Ciecierega and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about 'refractory' coeliac disease (CD) - a lack of, or diminished response to a gluten-free diet (the primary management option for CD) - and the subsequent diagnosis of Hartnup disease in a young girl is fodder for today's brief post.I already had a big bowl of curly-toed weirdo for breakfast.Describing how authors first diagnosed her with CD but witnessed "only mild clinical and laboratory improvement" following a regime of implementing a gluten-free diet and supplementation with various other nutrients via Total Parental Nutrition among other things, further examinations led to a suspicion of a niacin deficiency. The quite remarkable turn-around in clinical fortunes witnessed following the use of "oral niacin (50 mg three times daily)" led to the final diagnosis of Hartnup disease. This was confirmed by some bog-standard chromatography of a urine specimen which "showed increased levels of excreted neutral amino acids (glutamine, valine, phenylalanine, leucine, asparagine, citrulline, isoleucine, threonine, alanine, serine, histidine, tyrosine, tryptophan)." The authors conclude: "Co-occurrence of Hartnup disease and CD is extremely rare." I'd be minded to say, rare yes, but not unheard of in the peer-reviewed domain [2].This case report stuck out to me for a few reasons. Coeliac disease and the broader spectrum of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or non-coeliac wheat sensitivity if you wish, are quite a regular feature on this blog; even more so with the news that rates of CD are increasing [3]. Treatment of said 'gluten spectrum conditions' involves the use of a diet devoid of gluten which is found in various cereal products. Said diet also seemingly overlapping with other areas/conditions outside of CD including autism (see here). This is not however, the first time that a gluten-free diet has been talked about as not cutting the mustard in cases of something that initially looked like typical CD (see here).Hartnup disease is something I came across quite early on in my autism research career. One of the compounds that I had some interest in called trans-indolyl-acryloylglycine (IAG) (see here) was thought to be derived from that ever so versatile aromatic amino acid called tryptophan. Whilst IAG turned out not to be the 'autism biomarker' that we initially thought it might be, one of the other clinical occasions that this compound cropped up in was, yes you guessed it, Hartnup disease. Hartnup disease and tryptophan have an interesting association [4].Although not wishing to make connections where none may exist, the presentation of Hartnup disease might also manifest in behaviour as well as the more typical skin symptoms which can present [5]. I stumbled across an interesting BBC news article on the condition that mentions Hartnup disease in the same breath as 'the symptoms of autism' which, although rare, is something I've often thought merits further research attention. I'm not necessarily saying that autism = refractory coeliac disease = Hartnup disease - don't be silly - but it strikes me that there may be more to see in connecting some individual cases based on some biological overlap...So: Paolo Nutini with Candy.----------[1] Ciecierega T. et al. Severe persistent unremitting dermatitis, chronic diarrhea and hypoalbuminemia in a child; Hartnup disease in setting of celiac disease. BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:311 .[2] Coudray-Lucas C. et al. Association of celiac disease and Hartnup's disease? Value of the tryptophan loading test. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1986 Feb;10(2):187-8.[3] Zingone F. et al. Socioeconomic variation in the incidence of childhood coeliac disease in the UK. Arch Dis Child. 2015. 22 Jan.[4] Milovanović DD. A clinicobiochemical study of tryptophan and other plasma and urinary amino acids in the family with Hartnup disease. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2003;527:325-35.[5] Patel AB. & Prabhu AS. Hartnup disease. Indian J Dermatol. 2008 Jan;53(1):31-2.----------Ciecierega, T., Dweikat, I., Awar, M., Shahrour, M., Libdeh, B., & Sultan, M. (2014). Severe persistent unremitting dermatitis, chronic diarrhea and hypoalbuminemia in a child; Hartnup disease in setting of celiac disease BMC Pediatrics, 14 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12887-014-0311-6... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 07:16 PM
  • 100 views

Mothers don’t speak clearly to their babies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually speak less clearly to their infants than they do to adults.... Read more »

Andrew Martin, Thomas Schatz, Maarten Versteegh, Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. (2015) Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. Mothers Speak Less Clearly to Infants Than to Adults: A Comprehensive Test of the Hyperarticulation Hypothesis. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797614562453

  • January 23, 2015
  • 11:53 AM
  • 32 views

Why the risk of losing is more fun than an easy win

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

I've started playing in a higher division in my local table-tennis league. I'm winning games less, but enjoying the experience more. I'm far from alone in preferring the danger of possible defeat to the comfort of easy wins. Psychologically this is curious because, at whatever level, virtually everyone who plays competitive games finds winning more pleasurable than losing, and most people like to feel good at what they do. In a new study, Sami Abuhamdeh and his colleagues have shone a light on this understudied paradox of motivational psychology. The researchers invited 72 undergrads to play a sword-based video game on the Wii console (Speed Slice). The students thought they were playing against the console with the difficulty level occasionally changing in random fashion, but in fact one of the researchers, hidden nearby, was their real opponent. He had obviously spent many hours practising (what a great excuse to play video games at work) and was able to carefully control the closeness of the contests. Occasionally, the games were interrupted and the students answered questions about the experience.The students enjoyed the game more when they felt they were playing well, but also when they felt a sense of suspense. These factors were relatively independent - students felt most competent when they were well ahead of their opponent, whereas they experienced the most suspense when scores were close. These influences obviously combine in some way, as the students reported the highest enjoyment levels when they were just slightly ahead of their opponent on points.A second study with a different group of students was similar but this time there were two different games, Speed Slice and Duel, each played twice. The games were manipulated so that one ended in two easy wins, and the other in two close wins. At the end of the study, the students were told there was time for one more game - 69 per cent of them chose the game that they'd only managed to win by a narrow margin. The minority of other students who chose to play the game they'd previously won easily, had tended to say throughout the study that they had greater concerns about performing well. This makes intuitive sense - the thrill of possible defeat is bound to be less appealing when your need to excel is a priority. On one level, the findings from this research seem very obvious - easy wins are boring whether you're a spectator or a player. Yet the role of suspense in the pleasure of competition has been little studied, and it's neglected by one of the most influential psychological theories that's used to explain intrinsic motivation - "Cognitive Evaluation Theory" - which states that intrinsic motivation is fuelled by our need for competence and autonomy. In fact, as this research documents, "the motive for competence may be trumped by the enjoyment of suspense in some situations."Abuhamdeh and his colleagues think that the excitement of uncertainty is just as enthralling and important when we participate in competition, as it is when we watch a TV drama or read a thriller. It could also help explain why the psychological experience of "flow" (famously documented by study co-author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) - when we become fully and pleasurably immersed in an activity - is most often attained during tasks that are at the limits of our ability. As the researchers conclude, it will be interesting to explore these ideas with a wider range of activities and contexts._________________________________ Abuhamdeh, S., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Jalal, B. (2014). Enjoying the possibility of defeat: Outcome uncertainty, suspense, and intrinsic motivation Motivation and Emotion, 39 (1), 1-10 DOI: 10.1007/s11031-014-9425-2 --further reading--How losing can increase your chances of winningNo need to look at the score - athletes' body language gives away who's winning and losingPost written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 06:30 AM
  • 69 views

NAC risperidone = decreased irritability in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a while since I talked about NAC - N-acetylcysteine - on this blog with either autism or schizophrenia in mind (see here and see here respectively). Today I'm going to remedy that situation by bringing the paper by Nikoo and colleagues [1] to your attention, and their observation: "N-acetylcysteine can be considered as an adjuvant therapy for ADs [autistic disorders] with beneficial therapeutic outcomes." Adjuvant therapy by the way, refers to a sort of add-on therapy.We have to call him, Havok. That's his name now.Just in case you don't know, NAC among other things is the treatment of choice when it comes to paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose through it's very important role in the formation of the glutathione (the big 'G' as I should start to call it). Glutathione already has something of a research interest when it comes to autism (see here); more recently increased following papers such as the one by Rahbar and colleagues [2] taking about some of the genetics of the glutathione system with [some] autism in mind, touched upon in a recent post.Nikoo et al reported results based on a gold-standard randomised, double-blind trial whereby one group of children/adolescents with autism received the antipsychotic risperidone plus NAC and another group received risperidone plus placebo over the course of 10 weeks. Risperidone, as I just mentioned is an antipsychotic medicine which has some interesting history when it comes to [some] autism (see here). Irritability was the focus of the study, and what happened to scores on the "Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community (ABC-C) Irritability subscale" at baseline (start), 5 weeks and 10 weeks. The results suggested that NAC may well have some value as an add-on treatment when it came to scores of irritability in cases of autism as per the authors findings: "By week 10, the NAC group showed significantly more reduction in irritability (P = 0.02) and hyperactivity/noncompliance (P = 0.01) subscales scores."This is not the first time that NAC + risperidone has been mentioned in the peer-reviewed autism research literature. The paper by Ghanizadeh & Moghimi-Sarani [3] (open-access) also reported significant positive effects albeit alongside a few adverse events such as: "constipation (16.1%), increased appetite (16.1%), fatigue (12.9%), nervousness (12.9%), and daytime drowsiness (12.9%)." This follows other research out of Iran looking at NAC + risperidone in relation to some of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia [4]. On all these research occasions, the experimental period of observation was relatively short (8-10 weeks).Like many others, I'm always a tad reserved when it comes to the use of antipsychotics for cases/behaviours of/associated with autism. As per my recent discussions on weight gain and such pharmaceutics (see here), one always needs to be a little cautious about the use of such medicines and the application of good medicines management including continual health monitoring as a priority when used. The guidance from NICE here in Blighty advising that such medicines should not be used to manage the core symptoms of autism (see here) is testament to the research base on their effectiveness and their limited place in any management plan. That being said, such pharmaceutics do have a role for some people on the autism spectrum [5] even only if as a 'last resort' in the short-term.I end by harking back to the paper by Hardan and colleagues [6] talked about in a previous post, which suggested that NAC on it's own might have something to add when it comes to irritability in relation to some autism.  I don't necessarily endorse NAC as being a cure-all for irritability in relation to autism - irritability as part of the so-called challenging behaviours is a very multi-faceted thing with lots of potential precursors [7] - but one might give some consideration to NAC as an intervention for some on the autism spectrum. The next question needs to be: how precisely does it work, and does it have any link back to 'the big G' findings with autism in mind?Music then. Marvin Gaye and Heard it Through The Grapevine (and something funky is going down apparently).----------[1] Nikoo M. et al. N-Acetylcysteine as an Adjunctive Therapy to Risperidone for Treatment of Irritability in Autism: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Efficacy and Safety. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan 9.[2] Rahbar MH. et al. Interaction between GSTT1 and GSTP1 allele variants as a risk modulating-factor for autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2015; 12: 1-9.[3] Ghanizadeh A. & Moghimi-Sarani E. A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial of N-Acetylcysteine added to risperidone for treating autistic disorders. BMC Psychiatry. 2013 Jul 25;13:196.[4] Farokhnia M. et al. N-acetylcysteine as an adjunct to risperidone for treatment of negative symptoms in patients with chronic schizophrenia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2013 Nov-Dec;36(6):185-92.[5] Dinnissen M. et al. Clinical and pharmacokinetic evaluation of risperidone for the management of autism spectrum disorder. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2015 Jan;11(1):111-24.[6] Hardan AY. et al. A randomized controlled pilot trial of oral N-acetylcysteine in children with autism. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 1;71(11):956-61.[7] Guinchat V. et al. Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2015; 38: 242–255.----------... Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 159 views

Belief’s effect on biochemistry in cases of addiction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever wonder what makes people susceptible to addiction? Think about it, some people can stop addictive painkillers without a problem and others, well others are not so lucky. So the big question is are there more than biophysical factors at play in addiction? A new study shows that cognitive beliefs play a significant role in a person’s neurological response to an addictive substance and that belief can diminish the neurological effects of an addictive drug.... Read more »

Gu, X., Lohrenz, T., Salas, R., Baldwin, P., Soltani, A., Kirk, U., Cinciripini, P., & Montague, P. (2015) Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201416639. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416639112  

  • January 22, 2015
  • 06:29 AM
  • 81 views

A Tribute to Neuroscience Luminary Dr. Allison Doupe

by Sick Papes in Sick Papes

We were devastated by the news that Dr. Allison Doupe, a much-loved neuroscientist at UCSF, passed away late last year, following a long battle with cancer, a struggle that she refused to let mitigate the exuberance and overflowing passion with which she carried out her research. A symposium in Allison’s honor is being held tomorrow as an opportunity to reflect upon her intellectual and personal life.... Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 06:22 AM
  • 80 views

At-risk kids avoiding an autism diagnosis?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Jonathan Green and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing results based on a "two-site, two-arm assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial of families with an infant at familial high risk of autism aged 7–10 months, testing the adapted Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting (iBASIS-VIPP) versus no intervention" caught quite a few eyes recently. With accompanying media headlines such as 'Parents May Be Able to Lower Kids’ Autism Risk' you can imagine the interest created in such a study. I'll also at this point refer you to a commentary on the study from Cathy Lord [2].Video interaction to promote positive parenting is by no means a new thing to autism research as per the paper by Poslawsky and colleagues [3]. The adapted - BASIS - program "works with parents using video-feedback to help them to understand and adapt to their infant's individual communication style to promote the best possible social and communicative development." Further: "the therapist makes videotapes of interactions between the parent and child in the home setting and uses video excerpts to work with the parent in a series of sessions that are developmentally sequenced to improve the quality of parent understanding of infant's communication." Treading carefully in this area, the idea that family processes can impact on autism presentation is gaining traction (see here).Green and colleagues reported results based on 54 families with an infant deemed at high-risk of autism by virtue of having a sibling diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty eight families were randomly allocated to the intervention group and 26 to a "no intervention" group and participants were monitored and assessed over 5 months. Various measures were used during the trial including the "Manchester Assessment of Caregiver–Infant interaction (MACI)...  to measure infant attentiveness to parent and other interaction variables" and "the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI)" for the assessment of "early behavioural risk markers for children with ASD."Results: "point estimates suggest that the intervention increased the primary outcome of infant attentiveness to parent." The authors are rightly careful about this result however because "CIs [confidence intervals] sometimes include the null" across various results. Wide CI's crossing the null are to be viewed with some degree of caution. Likewise other results such as "the intervention reduced autism-risk behaviours" carry the same optimistic yet guarded message.That all being said, the headline about such intervention potentially 'lowering autism risk' are perhaps a little premature based on the current results. As per some of the media on the study and Prof. Green commenting: "He stressed that the babies have not been tested yet for autism, which will occur when they are around 3 years old, but that the changes he and his team saw strongly suggest that the path to autism may have been interrupted, or at least suppressed in some way." So we wait to see what actually happened to those infants at high-risk and whether intervention actually provided some protection against receipt of a diagnosis of ASD.I have to say that I was really quite interested in these findings. I am cautious following some of the other findings reported by the authors as per the potential effect of such an intervention on "developmental language measures" and possible "reduced responsiveness to language sounds in the intervention group" but await further results on how this might eventually pan out. Early intervention such as this is a up-coming area in autism research (see here) and the idea that brain and behaviour are plastic and development not potentially not as immutable as was once thought. I personally would like to see this area developed further bearing in mind the concept of differing developmental trajectories being associated with autism, and I assume similarly pertinent to high-risk siblings too. I'd also be minded to suggest that a greater focus on the broader autism phenotype (BAP) might be implied in further research (see here) as well as some additional data on the possible genetic/epigenetic/biochemical/neurological correlates which might coincide with the potential efficacy of such early intervention.Given the previous not-so-effective results of the PACT initiative by some of the authors (see here) I can also imagine the current results were probably received in a more optimistic fashion by the team involved. We wait for further research...----------[1] Green J. et al. Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015. Jan 22.[2] Lord C. Infant autism: parents' role in ameliorating risk? Lancet Psychiatry. Jan 22.[3] Poslawsky IE. et al. Development of a Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting for Children with Autism (VIPP-AUTI). Attach Hum Dev. 2014;16(4):343-55.----------Jonathan Green, Tony Charman, Andrew Pickles, Ming W Wan, Mayada Elsabbagh, Vicky Slonims, Carol Taylor, Janet McNally, Rhonda Booth, Teodora Gliga, Emily J H Jones, Clare Harrop, Rachael Bedford, Mark H Johnson, & the BASIS team (2015). Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial The Lancet Psychiatry : http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00091-1... Read more »

Jonathan Green, Tony Charman, Andrew Pickles, Ming W Wan, Mayada Elsabbagh, Vicky Slonims, Carol Taylor, Janet McNally, Rhonda Booth, Teodora Gliga.... (2015) Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial. The Lancet Psychiatry. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00091-1

  • January 22, 2015
  • 05:52 AM
  • 13 views

Testing the American Dream - can the right mix of personality and IQ compensate for poverty?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We know that possessing certain personal traits can help people do better in life – by knuckling down, making the right connections or having the best ideas. A new study goes further and asks whether a person’s traits and their background interact, with personal qualities being more important for people of lower socio-economic status. If true, this would provide intellectual support for the “American Dream” – being smart or diligent might make some difference for the rich, but for the poor, it would make all the difference.Rodica Ioana Damian and her colleagues analysed a gargantuan US survey initiated in 1960 and involving data on 81,000 students - their high school personality and cognitive ability scores, parents' socio-economic status, and various life outcomes eleven years on. Where personality aided life outcomes, was it more useful to children from poorer families?At first blush, the data suggested it did. For example, highly agreeable (compared to highly disagreeable) students from very wealthy families stick with education for a further four months, on average, compared to an extra twelve months if they are from the poorest families. Similarly, all extraverts go on to more prestigious jobs, but the advantage to the poorest pushes them an average additional nine points up the job prestige scale (to make this concrete, nine points takes you from a mail handling role to a retail sales position).But all these effects were found without taking into account an elephant in the room: intelligence. When this was controlled for, almost all of these personality compensation effects melt away - the exception is that conscientiousness is still more useful to those from poorer backgrounds when it comes to gaining a higher income. So it seems personality does influence life outcomes, but mostly it doesn't especially benefit the poor once the influence of intelligence is taken into account. It’s also worth noting that the benefit of affluent socio-economic status dwarfs the benefit of being highly conscientious or extraverted, so a poor kid with "the right stuff" is unlikely to outperform rich kids with less impressive personal qualities.What about that elephant? In this dataset, as with many past studies, intelligence has big benefits for life outcomes. And its impact differed due to socioeconomic class ... but not in favour of the poor. A very poor child who is also very smart is likely to stay nearly 30 months longer in education than his or her low IQ peers. But for a rich child, they'll stay 40 months longer. Wealthier families also see their intelligent kids entering more easily into prestigious jobs than their poor high-IQ peers.This kind of finding is called, after the gospel author, a Matthew Effect: “the rich get richer”. One way to interpret this is that leveraging a child's brightness in fields of higher education or societal prestige requires other assets out of reach of poor families, such as a college fund or knowing the right connections.This isn't new data - over 40 years old - so circumstances may have changed that remodel the interaction between personal qualities and background. But its comprehensive approach strongly suggests that in 20th Century America, people on the bottom rungs of society could only compensate for their lot on the basis of intelligence - and even there, their richer counterparts are often going to find that easier. Diligence, effort, and can-do may be prized components of the American ethos, but when they come up against class, they just can't compensate._________________________________ Damian, R., Su, R., Shanahan, M., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. (2014). Can Personality Traits and Intelligence Compensate for Background Disadvantage? Predicting Status Attainment in Adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000024 Post written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 04:45 AM
  • 70 views

Experts and autism screening triage

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Whilst hopefully using the word 'triage' in the right way in the title of this post, I want to briefly talk today about the paper by Terisa Gabrielsen and colleagues [1] (full-text version here) and their observation that when it came to "brief but highly focused observations", a group of psychologists (well, two of them) "with toddler and autism expertise" missed over a third of cases of children who required additional examination/screening for autism or autistic traits.I am Meredith Vickers, and it is my job to make sure you do yours.Some media attention for this study can be found here alongside the quote: "medical professionals can't rely solely on their clinical judgment to detect autism risk." This is a slightly misleading quote given that autism is by definition a behavioural diagnosis with clinical judgement formed on the basis of presented behaviours (and developmental history) in the absence of any biological or genetic test. Perhaps more usefully it should have read that 'some' medical professionals can't rely solely on their clinical judgement to detect 'some' autism risk. Sorry to be so pedantic but it is an important point; that and realising that early detection/diagnosis of autism is still a work in progress.Gabrielsen and colleagues focused on a small group of infants/children aged between 15-33 months who were screened and assessed to determine their membership of one of three group: autism, speech/language delay and asymptomatic controls. Expert raters were then invited to view video samples of the children and "asked for autism referral impressions based solely on individual 10-minute observations." Unsurprisingly, some children positioned in the autism group were missed, hence the headlines and comments like: "It's often not the pediatrician's fault that referrals are missed".Another media quote from the study authors is also worthwhile highlighting: "Parents see their children at their very best and very worst... They're the experts for their children. They can be educated about signs and symptoms, and need to help their care providers by speaking up if there's a problem and being involved in referral decisions." I like the idea of passing power back to parents when it comes to autism screening. As per other posts on this blog about parental concerns (see here) and the pre-diagnostic journey (see here), parents are the experts on their own children and medical experts and others alike might perhaps take a little more notice of them when red flags are raised for example.Oh and whilst we're on the subject of autism screening, remember, remember the work of Dennis Wall and colleagues (see here) on YouTube videos and lay raters among other things...Music to close, and the exquisite sound of The Shires...----------[1] Gabrielsen TP. et al. Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation. Pediatrics. 2015. January 12.----------Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker, & Judith Miller (2015). Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation Pediatrics : 10.1542/peds.2014-1428... Read more »

Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker, & Judith Miller. (2015) Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation. Pediatrics. info:/10.1542/peds.2014-1428

  • January 21, 2015
  • 09:36 AM
  • 87 views

Then and now: Beepers versus iPhones  [and separation anxiety]

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Back in the early ‘90s, I had a job that required me to carry a beeper. The constant awareness that I was “on call” was a source of strain and led me to complain I was never really “off duty”. Flash forward to this century and I cannot imagine being without my smart phone. In […]

Related posts:
Head versus heart: Why it makes a difference
Does wondering about co-worker sexual preference impair concentration?
Be careful what you text!


... Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 94 views

Do Dogs Prefer Petting or Praise?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study asks dogs to make the choice. Photo: Felix Rohan / Shutterstock Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Fukuzawa, M., & Hayashi, N. (2013) Comparison of 3 different reinforcements of learning in dogs (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4), 221-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.067  

OKAMOTO, Y., OHTANI, N., UCHIYAMA, H., & OHTA, M. (2009) The Feeding Behavior of Dogs Correlates with their Responses to Commands. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 71(12), 1617-1621. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.001617  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 05:34 AM
  • 67 views

Features of autism in childhood epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, features of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were common in children with epilepsy regardless of cognitive ability."Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstorySo said Colin Reily and colleagues [1] in their paper examining facets of autism in cases of childhood epilepsy. Suggesting also that the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) might be "a useful screening instrument in this population, and combining parent and teacher forms was optimal in terms of screening properties", this work adds to other research voices suggesting a possible connection between autism/autistic traits and adult epilepsy too (see here).I don't want to over-analyse the Reilly results beyond what they found and importantly, their limitations (as in the emphasis on 'features of autism' over and above an actual diagnosis of autism). One might see this research as further evidence of the intimate link between autism and epilepsy / seizure-type disorder(s) potentially intersecting with other issues such as sleep for example [2]. That also various other areas of biological functioning might also be related [3] makes for a potentially interesting future research agenda. Oh and then there is a possible connection with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) to consider [4] too.One of the other important issues potentially implied from the Reilly results is whether the possibility of an overlap between autistic traits and epilepsy might also have repercussions in relation to intervention and management. I say this on the basis for example, of the case report (stress: case report) recently described by Philip Bird [5] on the use of low-dose phenytoin - an anticonvulsant medicine - with a man diagnosed with ASD and the implications for various facets of functioning. Appreciating that certain anti-epileptic medications seem to have a rather less positive relationship with autism (see here), it strikes me that there may be more to see and do in this area for certain people...Music then. I Am The Walrus. Not literally, but The Beatles song.----------[1] Reilly C. et al. Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Dec 16;42C:86-92.[2] Accardo JA. & Malow BA. Sleep, epilepsy, and autism. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Dec 9. pii: S1525-5050(14)00533-2.[3] Frye RE. Metabolic and mitochondrial disorders associated with epilepsy in children with autism spectrum disorder. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Nov 4. pii: S1525-5050(14)00412-0.[4] Ettinger AB. et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adults with self-reported epilepsy: Results from a national epidemiologic survey of epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2015. 15 Jan.[5] Bird P. The treatment of autism with low-dose phenytoin: a case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports 2015, 9:8 ----------Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG (2014). Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B, 42C, 86-92 PMID: 25529303... Read more »

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG. (2014) Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study. Epilepsy , 86-92. PMID: 25529303  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 12 views

What do confident people say to themselves before giving a speech?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Before you speak to an audience, can you first talk yourself out of feeling nervous? One step towards this strategy is to find out how confident people speak to themselves in their heads (their internal "self-talk"), compared with others who are more anxious.Xiaowei Shi and his colleagues surveyed nearly 200 students on a public speaking course. The researchers approached the students after they'd given two public presentations on the course and were soon to give their third. The students answered questions about how much they'd engaged in self-talk in the preceding days, and about how much anxiety they feel towards public speaking.The women tended to be more nervous than the men. Once this gender influence had been accounted for, the students' frequency of various types of self-talk over the last few days explained 20 per cent of the difference in their anxiety levels. Specifically, the more confident students tended to say they'd engaged in less self-critical self-talk (e.g. chastising themselves about their poor preparations) and less self-talk related to social assessment (e.g. replaying ways people had reacted in the past), whereas they had engaged in more self-talk related to self-reinforcement (e.g. talking to themselves about how pleased they were with their own preparations).In other words, the students who were more self-confident tended to be less self-focused and less self-critical in the way they spoke to themselves, and when they were self-focused, this tended to be with a positive bias.This study assumes people are able to remember and recognise their own past self-talk, which some readers may question. Of course, it's also just as likely that anxiety triggers particular categories of self-talk, as it is that the wrong kind of self-talk fuels anxiety. Nonetheless, the researchers said their insights could help inform interventions aimed at helping people overcome fear of public speaking."As we know that high public-speaking-anxiety individuals engage in higher levels of self-critical and social-assessing self-talk than low anxiety individuals," Shi's team concluded, "instructors can intervene in the early phases of the speech preparation process by helping these students to attend to, recognise, and adjust the frequency and nature of their self-talk."_________________________________ Shi, X., Brinthaupt, T., & McCree, M. (2015). The relationship of self-talk frequency to communication apprehension and public speaking anxiety Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 125-129 DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.023 --further reading--Self-motivation: How "You can do it!" beats "I can do it!"What are elite cricket batsmen saying when they talk to themselves?The science of how we talk to ourselves in our headsPost written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.