by amikulak in Daily Observations
Almost half a century after the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, many American cities – including New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; and Houston – are still vastly segregated […]... Read more »
Schmid, K., Ramiah, A., & Hewstone, M. (2014) Neighborhood ethnic diversity and trust: The role of intergroup contact and perceived threat. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613508956
The paper by Michael Benrós and colleagues  talking about an "increased risk of subsequent autoimmune diseases in individuals with schizophrenia" caught my eye recently. Based on a trawl of the records of several thousands of people with "schizophrenia-like psychosis" or "individuals with autoimmune disease" derived from Danish nationwide registers (see here for some background), the authors were able to conclude that "Autoimmune diseases developed subsequently in 3.6% of people with schizophrenia, and 3.1% of people with autoimmune diseases had a family history of schizophrenia". By the way, this is not the first time that authors linked to this paper have published on this topic  based on similar analyses. Further coverage of this paper can also be found here.And don't forget your lute.. @ Wikipedia As far as I'm aware, I've not yet covered the issue of autoimmune conditions being correlated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia on this blog. Regular readers might already know about my interest in all things autoimmunity when it comes to autism. Be it the markers of autoimmunity (see here and see here) or the seemingly wide range of conditions correlating with the appearance of autism (see here), I certainly believe that there is more to see here from a research point of view. With the schizophrenia data in mind it appears that I should perhaps be casting the research net a little wider; perhaps even talking about some closer links?As Benrós et al note there is already some research form in the area linking schizophrenia and autoimmune conditions. Outside of the autoantibody side of things  and that very interesting link to anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis  I note some of the data available in this area to be quite nicely summarised by Davison  (open-access) specifically with the Chen paper  (open-access) in mind. Taking a few conditions noted by Chen and colleagues, I was interested to see that risk of psoriasis was elevated in cases of schizophrenia as per my interest in this skin condition with autism in mind (see here). Given my focus on / obsession with all things gluten too, the fact that a diagnosis of schizophrenia also elevated the risk of coeliac (celiac) disease similarly piqued my interest and brought back floods of memories about the late Curt Dohan and his life's work in this area (see here). In light of the not-quite-coeliac-disease-but-something-else paper on autism and gluten-related serology it also asks the question of how deep the rabbit hole might actually go?The same questions remain about this work as they do when it comes to examining any link between autism and autoimmune conditions - whether first person or familial: What are the common denominators in terms of genes and biochemistry? Are there shared susceptibility factors evident in schizophrenia and selected autoimmune diseases including infection? But also I'm getting pretty interested in some new areas of potential overlap such as any effects from those very old HERVs (human endogenous retroviruses) and whether through expression of HERV proteins, for whatever reason(s), they are participating in a series of events heading towards autoimmunity? Well, it's not as if HERVs haven't been mentioned with schizophrenia  or autoimmune diseases in mind  but I'll wait and see how this pans out.Fantastic Mr Fox y'say.... Will you join me? (whistle/click)---------- Benrós ME. et al. A Nationwide Study on the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases in Individuals With a Personal or a Family History of Schizophrenia and Related Psychosis. Am J Psychiatry 2014;171:218-226. Eaton WW. et al. Association of schizophrenia and autoimmune diseases: linkage of Danish national registers. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Mar;163(3):521-8. Ezeoke A. et al. A systematic, quantitative review of blood autoantibodies in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2013 Oct;150(1):245-51.  Pollak TA. et al. Prevalence of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antibodies in patients with schizophrenia and related psychoses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychol Med. 2013 Dec 13:1-13. Davison K. Autoimmunity in psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry. 2012 May;200(5):353-5. Chen SJ. et al. Prevalence of autoimmune diseases in in-patients with schizophrenia: nationwide population-based study. Br J Psychiatry. 2012 May;200(5):374-80. Frank O. et al. Human endogenous retrovirus expression profiles in samples from brains of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. J Virol. 2005 Sep;79(17):10890-901. Brodziak A. et al. The role of human endogenous retroviruses in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Med Sci Monit. 2012 Jun;18(6):RA80-8.----------Benrós ME, Pedersen MG, Rasmussen H, Eaton WW, Nordentoft M, & Mortensen PB (2013). A Nationwide Study on the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases in Individuals With a Personal or a Family History of Schizophrenia and Related Psychosis. The American journal of psychiatry PMID: 24129899... Read more »
Benrós ME, Pedersen MG, Rasmussen H, Eaton WW, Nordentoft M, & Mortensen PB. (2013) A Nationwide Study on the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases in Individuals With a Personal or a Family History of Schizophrenia and Related Psychosis. The American journal of psychiatry. PMID: 24129899
For years, sports commentators who spew evidence-free clichés about the keys to athletic victory have monopolized our airwaves. But recently a technique some of them view as akin to witchcraft, but that’s more commonly known as “statistical analysis,” has begun to bring an end to their reign of terror. The latest volley in this ongoing […]... Read more »
Pitts, J. (2014) Determinants of Success in the National Football League's Postseason: How Important Is Previous Playoff Experience?. Journal of Sports Economics. DOI: 10.1177/1527002514525409
Study shows that sex-priming substantially influences gender-based self-perception... Read more »
Hundhammer, T., & Mussweiler, T. (2012) How sex puts you in gendered shoes: Sexuality-priming leads to gender-based self-perception and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(1), 176-193. DOI: 10.1037/a0028121
Children aren't as gullible as you might think. Early in life they display a discernment that psychologists call "epistemic vigilance". They are more likely to trust information from experts compared with novices, from kind people rather than meanies, and from those they are familiar with, as opposed to strangers. Now a study shows that even by age three, children are sceptical about circular arguments; in some cases even more than adults.Hugo Mercier and his team presented 84 children aged 3 to 5 (and a control group of adults) with three illustrated vignettes in which a girl was looking for her dog. For each story, one character advised the girl of the dog's whereabouts with an argument based on what they'd seen: "The dog went this way because I've seen him go in this direction," (this is known as an "argument from perception" and it was spoken in a neutral voice played through speakers). A second character said the dog had gone in the other direction and gave a circular argument, "The dog went this way because he went in this direction" (also heard through speakers).Children from age three and up, and the adults, more often chose to believe the character who based their testimony on what they'd seen rather than on a circular argument. This supports the idea that children from three and upwards have epistemic vigilance. "These results point to the existence of basic skills of argument evaluation that children would possess from at least three years of age onwards," the researchers said.A developmental trend was for the older children to grow more consistent in their preferences. That is, as the children got older, they more often favoured either the argument from perception on every occasion, or (in a minority of cases) they favoured the circular argument on every occasion. Focusing on just those participants who always made the same choice, an intriguing pattern emerged. A minority of the four- and five-year-olds, and adults, always favoured the circular arguments, but none of the three-year-olds showed this pattern. In a sense then, some older children, and adults, were less sophisticated in their judgment of arguments than the three-year-olds.How could this be? Mercier and his team think that as they get older, some children and adults become dependent on a rule of thumb that mistakes circular arguments for a sign of dominance or authority. When a person says that "the dog went this way because he went in this direction" this is interpreted as equivalent to an authoritative person saying, "this is the case because I say so."To test this idea, the same children were tested on a similar task to before, but this time one character used a circular argument for a cat's location, while the other character provided no argument (i.e. they just said "The cat went this way"). Preference for circular arguments would be evidence that they are interpreted as having value beyond no argument at all. In this case, three-year-olds were equally likely to trust either form of advice, while a large number of four- and five-year-olds consistently chose to trust the circular arguments. That is, older children, but not the three-year-olds, saw more value in a circular argument than in no argument at all.Many children display a distrust of circular arguments from a very early age. However, the findings also reveal an intriguing developmental trend, in which a minority of slightly older children begin to be seduced by circular arguments (a weakness that also persists in a minority of adults). This is likely due to them interpreting such arguments as a sign of authority. Such an inference requires a complexity of social thinking that is beyond three-year-olds. Ironically, this means that three-year-olds end up being more canny in their distrust of circular arguments than even some adults._________________________________ Mercier H, Bernard S, and Clément F (2014). Early sensitivity to arguments: How preschoolers weight circular arguments. Journal of experimental child psychology PMID: 24485755 --Further reading--Young children trust kindness over expertiseLying is common at age two, becomes the norm by threeKids experience schadenfreude by age four, maybe earlierPost written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
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Mercier H, Bernard S, & Clément F. (2014) Early sensitivity to arguments: How preschoolers weight circular arguments. Journal of experimental child psychology. PMID: 24485755
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week came and went (in the US, anyway). Posters were shared, liked, and tweeted. Pretty (but often misguided) infographics made the rounds on the internet. Local ED groups visited schools and college campuses to educate students about eating disorders. To, you know, increase awareness.
The thing is, awareness is not always a good thing. For one, as Carrie over at ED Bites mentioned, there’s a whole lot of misinformation masquerading as fact. And two, awareness campaigns, even when the information in them is correct, may have unintended consequences, like, for example, increasing stigma or self-stigma.
Moreover, not all approaches to increasing awareness or decreasing stigma are equally effective, and the effectiveness of a particular approach may differ depending on the population studied.
So, what about the effectiveness of EDAW? In 2012, Kathleen Tillman and colleagues published a study looking at the impact of a “campus-wide, week-long series of psycho-educational and awareness program designed for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.”
In particular, they assessed individuals’ willingness to seek help, their levels …
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Park, S., McSweeney, J., & Yun, G. (2009) Intervention of Eating Disorder Symptomatology Using Educational Communication Messages. Communication Research, 36(5), 677-697. DOI: 10.1177/0093650209338910
Ridolfi, D.R., & Vander Wal, J.S. (2008) Eating disorders awareness week: the effectiveness of a one-time body image dissatisfaction prevention session. Eating disorders, 16(5), 428-43. PMID: 18821366
Tillman, K.S., Arbaugh, T. Jr., & Balaban, M.S. (2012) Campus programming for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: An investigation of stigma, help-seeking, and resource knowledge. Eating Behaviors, 13(3), 281-4. PMID: 22664413
Hi Julie,Right off the bat I need to say YES YES YES! Your last post about aggression and what we can learn from and about it WITHOUT the need to experience it was spot on. Are you THIS attached to your dog? (source)You’re also right that my head is filled with glorious meta-analysis results right now, as well as perceptions and other measures (#allthemeasures!) as I start preparing my abstracts for submission to be part of the Canine Science Forum. One of the small but quirky things I’ve noticed in the results of the perceived welfare of dogs survey, is that people seem to think their own pet dog has a much higher level of welfare than everyone else’s pet dog. Why would we think we take better care of our own dogs than anyone else? Now, this could be to do with the self-selected convenience sample of people who took the online questionnaire. Perhaps the 2,146 people who were interested and motivated enough to take the time to do the survey really are the very top of the pile of all dog owners, but I found it interesting all the same. It got me thinking about our relationships with dogs (Ha! What’s new, right?!). I also happened to have a chat with Hal Herzog (while recording an upcoming episode of Human Animal Science) and, amongst many other things, we talked about how animals and pets aren’t universally beneficial for all people. Some people don’t even like their dogs. We know from extensive research into human psychology that our attitudes are major predictors of our behaviour. So are people who really love their animals more likely to take better care of them? (The answer is no, not always). Why is it that even people like us, who really find dogs fascinating and work with them daily, can feel more of a 'connection' with one individual dog, but not so much another?Definitely attached to dog (source)When faced with a question like this, how do we measure these differences scientifically? We can look at (usually self-reported by the human) measures, such as time per day spent in the company, or interacting/sharing activities with pet dogs. This is valuable, but does not necessarily indicate emotional closeness of a person to their dog.Lucky for me, plenty of psychologists, including earlier members of the Anthrozoology Research Group have tackled this and worked hard to create scales that measure the human-animal bond. The Monash Dog-Owner Relationship Scale, or MDORS as it’s more affectionately known is a great example. MDORS is a series of questions that form a psychometrically sound and validated scale. This scale was developed with the assistance of over 1,000 participants and comprises 28 items (statements that you agree/disagree with on a 5 point likert-style scale) across three subscales: Dog–Owner Interaction (e.g. “How often do you play games with your dog”), Perceived Emotional Closeness (e.g. “I wish my dog and I never had to be apart”), and Perceived Costs (e.g. "It is annoying that I sometimes have to change my plans because of my dog"). A scale like this can be used not just to assess how attached people are to their pet dogs, but also to explore how these attachments might vary between dogs, and with different groups of people (e.g. from different countries, with different cultural, work experience or education backgrounds, etc.), making it a very powerful tool for researchers. (excerpt from ... Read more »
Dwyer Fleur, Bennett Pauleen C., & Coleman Grahame J. (2006) Development of the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS). Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 19(3), 243-256. DOI: 10.2752/089279306785415592
Archer John, & Ireland Jane L. (2011) The Development and Factor Structure of a Questionnaire Measure of the Strength of Attachment to Pet Dogs. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 24(3), 249-261. DOI: 10.2752/175303711X13045914865060
Handlin Linda, Nilsson Anne, Ejdebäck Mikael, Hydbring-Sandberg Eva, & Uvnäs-Moberg Kerstin. (2012) Associations between the Psychological Characteristics of the Human–Dog Relationship and Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 25(2), 215-228. DOI: 10.2752/175303712X13316289505468
by amikulak in Daily Observations
A boost to income can increase happiness to a certain degree, but research suggests how you spend your money may be equally important as the amount you have. According to […]... Read more »
Dunn, E., Aknin, L., & Norton, M. (2014) Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(1), 41-47. DOI: 10.1177/0963721413512503
Do you ever wonder how dogs are rewarded for taking part in scientific research? In some studies dogs are allowed to act naturally, but in others they need to learn something such as how to operate an apparatus they haven’t seen before, or to observe people interacting. Either way, you can’t guarantee canine cooperation. This week we thought we’d take a look at how dogs are motivated during the course of the research itself.Photo: kitty / ShutterstockNeedless to say, food is a common denominator. Many studies use sausage or hot dog. For example, in Buttelmann and Tomasello’s (2012) research, dogs were given a piece of sausage if they successfully chose the box containing it, rather than one containing wood shavings or garlic, after a human had peeked into the box and made an appropriate facial response. Horowitz, Hecht and Dedrick (2013) used hot dog in their studies of pet dogs' sense of smell. Range, Huber and Heyes (2011) refer to “a small piece of sausage” as the reward in training dogs to open a box (and with up to 350 trials in the experiment proper, that’s potentially a lot of sausage). Other enticing food rewards are used too. Elgier et al (2009) writes that “As reinforcer, small pieces of dry liver of 3g were used. In order to control the odor, both containers were greased with abundant liver before the experience.” You can just imagine the dogs licking their lips, though they only received liver if they chose the correct one of two boxes by following a pointing gesture from their owner. Otherwise they were told “no” and shown that the liver was in the other box. Other studies use regular food, or a mix of kibble and treats. Burman et al (2011) used “two different types of food reward (standard food pellets and Frolic TM)”. They explain that “The dogs were familiar with both food types, receiving standard food pellets as their regular diet and being rewarded with Frolic during training.” In some cases, the researchers have made a note in the method section that they had to take account of food allergies. For example, in Feuerbacher and Wynne (2012)most of the dogs were given a piece of Natural Balance, but one dog was rewarded with a piece of potato. Although it may surprise some readers, this is fine: the thing that counts is whether or not the dog finds it rewarding. (If the dog didn’t like potato, then it would have been a problem).Human preferences may also have to be taken into account, such as in Freidin et al (2013)’s study of dogs’ eavesdropping abilities. Sausage was used as a reward for the dogs, but they had to first observe an interaction between three people. Although sausage might have been acceptable to a human also, instead they used cornflakes, and hence, at the start of the study, plates were prepped with cornflakes (for the human) and pieces of sausage (for the dog).Disappointingly, some studies refer only to “food” or “treats” without specifying exactly what, so we can’t draw up a table of the most preferred food item. What do you use when training your dog at home?ReferencesBurman, O., McGowan, R., Mendl, M., Norling, Y., Paul, E., Rehn, T., & Keeling, L. (2011). Using judgement bias to measure positive affective state in dogs Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 132 (3-4), 160-168 DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.001 Buttelmann, D., & Tomasello, M. (2012). Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food? Animal Cognition, 16 (1), 137-145 DOI: 10.1007/s10071-012-0560-4 Elgier, A., Jakovcevic, A., Mustaca, A., & Bentosela, M. (2009). Learning and owner–stranger effects on interspecific communication in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) Behavioural Processes, 81 (1), 44-49 DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2008.12.023 Feuerbacher, E., & Wynne, C. (201... Read more »
Burman, O., McGowan, R., Mendl, M., Norling, Y., Paul, E., Rehn, T., & Keeling, L. (2011) Using judgement bias to measure positive affective state in dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 132(3-4), 160-168. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.001
Buttelmann, D., & Tomasello, M. (2012) Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food?. Animal Cognition, 16(1), 137-145. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-012-0560-4
Elgier, A., Jakovcevic, A., Mustaca, A., & Bentosela, M. (2009) Learning and owner–stranger effects on interspecific communication in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Behavioural Processes, 81(1), 44-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2008.12.023
Feuerbacher, E., & Wynne, C. (2012) RELATIVE EFFICACY OF HUMAN SOCIAL INTERACTION AND FOOD AS REINFORCERS FOR DOMESTIC DOGS AND HAND-REARED WOLVES. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 98(1), 105-129. DOI: 10.1901/jeab.2012.98-105
Freidin E, Putrino N, D'Orazio M, & Bentosela M. (2013) Dogs' Eavesdropping from people's reactions in third party interactions. PloS one, 8(11). PMID: 24236108
Horowitz, A., Hecht, J., & Dedrick, A. (2013) Smelling more or less: Investigating the olfactory experience of the domestic dog. Learning and Motivation, 44(4), 207-217. DOI: 10.1016/j.lmot.2013.02.002
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
I did not intend to binge watch the newly-released second season of House of Cards. But once I saw the first episode, I could not stop and watched the entire season over the next 4 days. As a fellow fan, I understood Barack Obama’s tweet about the show Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please. and […]
Creativity in others makes us uncertain and anxious
How can cheating be wrong when it feels so right?
Keep your eye on this one: A Depravity Scale
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Gino F, & Wiltermuth SS. (2014) Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity. Psychological Science. PMID: 24549296
At the time of writing this post, the media is awash with two stories with an autism research slant to them. So we have the paper by Brian D’Onofrio and colleagues  talking about older, sorry, advancing paternal age and the risk of various conditions for offspring, including autism, and the paper by Sébastien Jacquemont and colleagues  on a female protective model for autism. Y'know these are serious pieces of research when the good old BBC (Auntie) puts its 10p worth into the media pot as per its headlines: "Child health problems 'linked to father's age'" and "Girls' growing brains 'more resilient', study suggests" respectively.El coloso @ Wikipedia Personally, I have little more to add to the myriad of comments made about these studies, aside from saying 'yes', both represent very detailed and potentially important areas of work. For people with autism and their families or caregivers however, I am inclined to suggest that such news from these studies is not going to be particularly useful in the day-to-day context.Hence then why I've decided to focus instead on the paper by Adler and colleagues  in this post, and their rather less publicised work on "drug-refractory aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums" in the context of autism.To talk about aggression and autism has the ability to invoke emotion. On the one hand is the realisation that aggression can be part and parcel of the presentation of some autism, and both for the person themselves and their families, can have a profound effect on quality of life. As one example, I'll take you back to a post I did a while back on self-aggression, otherwise known as self-injurious behaviour (SIB), and autism and the extreme consequences it can sometimes have (see here).On the other hand, there is the risk that talking about aggression with autism in mind may unfairly stereotype such behaviours to autism, all autism. In much the same way that the label schizophrenia carries with it some often over-emphasised links (see here) so one has to be mindful of the possible effects of talking about such behaviours and in particular, the over-generalisation that can accompany discussions. Just for the record, I'll bring the paper by Farmer and colleagues  to your attention and their conclusion: "children with autism spectrum disorder were reported to have less aggression and were more likely to be rated as reactive rather than proactive". Indeed, reactive or spontaneous aggression is also a theme when it comes to autism and the CJS too (see here).That all being said, the Adler paper is an interesting one in terms of their assertion that from a total of 250 cases, 135 participants were diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition, and "53 of these individuals met drug-refractory symptom criteria" when it came to definitions of aggression and its relations. I should also add that drug refractory means resistant to change following the use of pharmacotherapy. Not wishing to dwell too much on the methodology employed by Adler et al - based on medical records and medication history charts - the authors set about looking for what characteristics may be correlated with drug-refractory aggression among their cohort. In the end, they determined a few important factors to be related: (a) a diagnosis of autism, (b) being over the age of 12 years, and (c) the presence of intellectual disability (or learning disability).I hope you don't feel cheated by my highlighting what are three very general factors when it comes to aggression. Personally I feel that these represent important factors not least because the issue of intellectual disability in particular, does show more than a passing connection to challenging behaviours including those with an aggression element to them (see here). Indeed within that Moss paper  there are also a few other important points which may well be important; not least the association between things like depression and anxiety when it comes to the presentation of aggression and self-injury. One might even assume that this could be evidence for the presence of anxiety symptoms / disorders as being present where SIB is a feature of autism? Just sayin'.The fact also that Adler and colleagues were looking at medication resistant aggressive behaviours in the first place is important. As they note: "We define drug-refractory aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums in people with autism spectrum disorders as behavioral symptoms requiring medication adjustment despite previous trials of risperidone and aripiprazole or previous trials of three psychotropic drugs targeting the symptom cluster, one of which was risperidone or aripiprazole". In other words, such behaviours were not managed by something like risperidone or aripiprazole (which itself is having a bit of a hard time at the moment). This point in particular brings me back to some interesting work looking at the use of antipsychotics in other conditions and how one might extrapolate from other experiences to autism. In other words, before reaching for the antipsychotics, make reasonable efforts to see if there may be other reasons / causes for challenging behaviours like aggression. Certainly take some time to look at guidance like that produced by NICE (see here) and remember the weight gain issue  too.Finally, I'm not saying that pharmacotherapy may not have a place when it comes to some aggression and some autism as per other research literature on this topic . Indeed, it is timely to mention something like naltrexone as one medicinal option  given the reported recent passing of Dr Jaquelyn McCandless (RIP). Indeed, naltrexone looks like it may very well be coming out of the research wilderness if the paper by Roy and colleagues  is anything to go by [watch this space for more news from our research team on this stuff...]Not to make light of today's subject matter, I close with some music by a man who some of my brood have just discovered via the wonders of YouTube... and they are absolutely enthralled by his dancing.---------- D’Onofrio BM. et al. Paternal Age at Childbearing and Offspring Psychiatric and Academic Morbidity. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014. February 26. Jacquemont S. et al. A Higher Mutational Burden in Females Supports a “Female Protective Model” in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 2014. Feburary 27. Adler BA. et al. Drug-refractory aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums in autism spectrum disorders: A chart review study. Autism. 2014 Feb 26.... Read more »
Adler BA, Wink LK, Early M, Shaffer R, Minshawi N, McDougle CJ, & Erickson CA. (2014) Drug-refractory aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums in autism spectrum disorders: A chart review study. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 24571823
A paper just out in the journal Psychological Science says that: Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs This eye-catching title heads up an article that’s interesting in more ways than you’d think. According to the paper, authors Christine Harris and Laura Mickes […]The post Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Harris, C., & Mickes, L. (2014) Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613520236
Durante, K., Arsena, A., & Griskevicius, V. (2014) Fertility Can Have Different Effects on Single and Nonsingle Women: Reply to Harris and Mickes (2014). Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797614524422
We often dream about what we've been doing and who we've been with, so it should come as little surprise to discover many psychotherapists dream about their clients. In fact a new study reports that nearly 70 per cent of thirteen participating therapists said that they'd had such dreams.Psychologist Clara Hill and her colleagues asked the 13 student psychotherapists to keep dream journals for the duration of the time they worked at a community clinic - either one or two years. The number of dreams recorded in the journals ranged from 6 to 150 per year, and the proportion that were about clients ranged from 0 to 0.19 (average 0.06). Also, at the end of a period of therapy with a client they'd dreamed about, the therapists took part in an interview with the researchers about their dream experiences and what they'd gained from them.The student therapists described their dreams about clients as disturbing and directly related to the therapy, often depicting the struggles involved. "Dreams appeared to function as a means for therapists to process difficulties they were experiencing in the therapy with these clients," the researchers said.Although unpleasant, the dreams about clients appeared to be beneficial. Therapists described how the dreams of clients led to useful insights. To paraphrase one example, a female therapist dreamt of being in a circus and her client appearing on the back of an elephant, and remaining in the middle of the ring even as the other riders and their elephants left. The therapist said her client looked liked a mannequin and just sat their not interacting with the audience. The dream led the therapist to think about her client's depression and the possibility she might have been forcing happiness and optimism on her. It also made the therapist realise that she cared for her client, that her client was willing to try new things, but that she (the therapist) needed to adjust her pacing and tone."In this rich qualitative examination of these therapists' dreams, then, we learn that such dreams, though clearly distressing … nevertheless yielded helpful lessons that therapists then effectively applied to their continued clinical work," said Hill and her colleagues.There was little evidence that therapists discussed their dreams of clients with their supervisors. Given the apparent insights derived from client dreams, the researchers suggested that therapy training programmes incorporate more focus on working with dreams in supervision. They also suggested expanding this line of research to see whether therapists using other approaches (e.g. CBT, psychoanalysis) also dream of their clients, and whether they too find it beneficial.The researchers acknowledged some limitations of their study including the small sample size and the fact that keeping dream journals may have encouraged a greater than usual focus on dreams among the participating therapists. However, the researchers didn't show any scepticism towards the therapists' claims that their dreams had been beneficial for therapy. Readers of a more scientific persuasion will no doubt demand more rigorous evidence before believing this is really true._________________________________ Hill CE, Knox S, Crook-Lyon RE, Hess SA, Miles J, Spangler PT, and Pudasaini S (2014). Dreaming of you: Client and therapist dreams about each other during psychodynamic psychotherapy. Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research PMID: 24387006 Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Hill CE, Knox S, Crook-Lyon RE, Hess SA, Miles J, Spangler PT, & Pudasaini S. (2014) Dreaming of you: Client and therapist dreams about each other during psychodynamic psychotherapy. Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. PMID: 24387006
Objects that belonged to famous personalities are very wanted. People pay incredibly high prices to obtain them. Researchers found that the price of an object was influenced by the estimated amount of physical contact that the celebrity had with it. Two theories may explain this finding. ... Read more »
Newman, G., & Bloom, P. (2014) Physical contact influences how much people pay at celebrity auctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1313637111
What do you see when you meditate? Is it the back of your eyelids, a boring spot on the floor just a few feet in front of you? Or is it perhaps something more startling, like little pinpricks of light, or a sense that the world is glowing?
If you have seen those lights, don’t worry; you’re not hallucinating. Or rather, you are hallucinating, in a very strict sense of the word, and that may indicate just how far your meditation practice has progressed.... Read more »
Lindahl JR, Kaplan CT, Winget EM, & Britton WB. (2014) A phenomenology of meditation-induced light experiences: traditional buddhist and neurobiological perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 973. PMID: 24427148
Most of us realize that real life stalking is a serious issue and very frightening to the victim, whether male or female and whether young or old. But what about cyber stalking? While research on real life stalking has grown over the past two decades, actual research on cyber stalking is sparse–despite ever-increasing depictions on […]
Are female stalkers less likely to be violent than male stalkers?
If your jurors are happy, will they blame the victim less?
Who cares? The crime victim was old anyway!
... Read more »
Dreßing, H., Bailer, J., Anders, A., Wagner, H., & Gallas, C. (2014) Cyberstalking in a Large Sample of Social Network Users: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Impact Upon Victims. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(2), 61-67. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0231
The "sunshine vitamin" that is vitamin D has cropped up quite a few times on this blog for all manner of reasons. The suggestion of a link (whatever that means) between vitamin D and the autism spectrum conditions has received the lion's share of coverage, be that in relation to measured levels of vitamin D (see here and see here) or more speculatively, the possible impact of something like deficiency of vitamin D to symptoms or physiology (see here and see here). I've also not been adverse to talking about the 'D' in relation to other conditions or states either (see here and see here).Monet at dusk @ WikipediaWithout trying to do a Linus Pauling on vitamin D [bearing in mind the pendulum potentially swinging partially his way], I am genuinely interested in how this stuff might show some connection to a condition like autism. Further, whether the reports of deficiency (as they invariably tend to show) reflect something important for core symptoms, or are tied into specific comorbidity  or are just purely epiphenomenal and reflective of a more widespread population deficiency . A few papers add to my interest in this area, specifically from Dr John Cannell who heads the non-profit Vitamin D Council based in the US. For those of you who have started to use PubMed Commons, Dr Cannell is certainly putting this post-publication review option to very good use.So, first up is the paper from Grant & Cannell  (open-access here) which looked at US autism prevalence estimates for 2010 "with respect to indices of solar UV-B (UVB) doses" according to state. Based on an analysis of prevalence estimates for autism coupled to variables such as ethnicity and geographical latitude, time of year and solar UVB doses, the authors concluded that "autism prevalence among those aged 6–17 y in 2010 was significantly inversely correlated with solar UVB doses". Further, they speculate about the effects of maternal vitamin D deficiency as a potentially important issue when it comes to offspring autism risk. There was some other media interest in these results at the time of publication in 2012.Obviously I don't need to point out that this was a number-crunching paper which relies on a statistical association so one has to be quite careful of making too much of the findings. Yes, the authors looked at "other possible risk-modifying factors" such as air pollution (see here) and obesity (see here) but one needs always to be cautious when it comes to correlation (as in, not necessarily equalling causation). That also other researchers have downplayed the maternal vitamin D - offspring autism, sorry autistic traits, link (see here) is also important. Me being me though, I'm still interested in the Grant/Cannell findings, particularly when one considers that not-so-long-ago paper which looked at ADHD prevalence and solar intensity and the growing realisation that autism is probably not a stand-alone condition in terms of comorbidity.Next up, another paper from Cannell & Grant  (open-access here) which is a rather more review type paper on the various biological processes which vitamin D is reported to be involved with and how these might link into autism. I'm not going to rehash the paper in its entirety because it is open-access. That being said, there are some familiar themes contained in the review - autoimmunity, mitochondrial issues, etc - which are all potentially important issues to at least some of the autisms. Picking out one detail however, which fell under the heading 'Comorbid Conditions' I was struck by the discussion about adiponectin levels with autism and vitamin D levels in mind. It may be a slightly off-the-wall thought but given mention of this adipokine and my recent interest in elevated leptin levels being reported in a fair few cases of autism I couldn't help but wonder whether there may be further investigations to be had on an effect of vitamin D in relation to leptin elevations  with an autism slant.What I think is worth taking from these papers and the growing scientific interest in vitamin D and autism including that related to the issue of ethnicity and autism (see here) recently illustrated in the Somali-autism initiative, is that there is still much to do in this area of autism research. That vitamin D deficiency does seem to be an issue for some people with autism  should already imply that deficiency should be corrected, save any of the more classical problems coming about as a result .Whether the effects of vitamin D extend further into autism and in particular, the presentation of autism or its suggested biological profile (see here for example), is something I'd like to see more on, with the promise of some potential answers already on the research horizon (... Read more »
Grant WB, & Cannell JJ. (2013) Autism prevalence in the United States with respect to solar UV-B doses: An ecological study. Dermato-endocrinology, 5(1), 159-64. PMID: 24494049
The idea that young people might find the world a stranger, more exciting place than older people makes intuitive sense. They've had less time to grow familiar with life. What's irrational is to believe that more significant public events happen when people are young. Of course they're just as likely to happen at any time of life. Nonetheless, a new study suggests that thanks to a phenomenon known as the "Youth Bias" many of us do believe that more major public events happen during a person's youth, than at any other time.Jonathan Koppel and Dorthe Bernsten began by asking 200 US participants recruited online to imagine a typical infant of their own culture and gender. The participants then read the following text: "…throughout this person's life, many important public events will take place, both nationally and internationally, such as wars, the deaths of public figures, and sporting events. How old do you think this person is likely to be when the event that they consider to be the most important public event of their lifetime takes place?"The question was phrased deliberately to tap people's beliefs about the subjective sense of when the most important public event is likely to occur in a lifetime. There was an overwhelming bias for the participants to mention ages in the second and third decades of life (from 11 to 30 years). Splitting the participants into an older (aged 33 to 81) and younger group (aged 18 to 31), both groups showed this bias, although the younger group specifically mentioned an age in the range 16 to 20 more often, while the older group more often mentioned an age in the range 6 to 10.Next, the researchers recruited 198 more participants online and this time they tweaked the wording of their question. The participants were again asked to imagine an infant of their own gender and culture. Then they read this text: " … how old do you this person is likely to be when the most important public event of their lifetime takes place?"This time the question was phrased deliberately to tap participants' beliefs about the objective distribution of major public events across a lifetime, regardless of the subjective impact of events on a person. Again there was evidence of a youth bias. The participants far more often mentioned ages within the range 11 to 30. This was true for the whole sample, and when the sample was split into younger and older groups.The researchers explained there is no rational reason to suppose that major public events will more often occur in a person's youth. "These findings represent the discovery of a heretofore unnoted cognitive bias, the youth bias," they said. "The youth bias holds that the most notable experiences of one's life, whether private or public, occur in young adulthood."The researchers mentioned people's perceptions about the timing of private and public events because prior studies by them and others have shown that people's narratives about their personal lives also show a bias towards perceiving more important personal events - such as marriages - as occurring more often earlier in life.The notion of a youth bias in people's perceptions about the timing of major public and private events also chimes with research on a memory phenomenon known as "the reminiscence bump". This is our tendency to recall more events from our teens and twenties than any other stage of our lives. In fact, Koppel and Bernsten speculated that perhaps the Youth Bias "structures recall," heightening access to our memories from our youth. They added that their discovery of a Youth Bias "opens up new vistas" for research, including studies to find out whether the bias exists in other cultures outside of the USA, and whether it applies to other domains, such as people's beliefs about when in a lifetime a person is most likely to meet the best friend they'll ever have. _________________________________ Koppel J, and Berntsen D (2014). Does everything happen when you are young? Introducing the Youth Bias. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 67 (3), 417-23 PMID: 24286365 Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Koppel J, & Berntsen D. (2014) Does everything happen when you are young? Introducing the Youth Bias. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 67(3), 417-23. PMID: 24286365
America has a problem. Some people are spouting the lie that vaccines can cause autism and other people are believing them. This has led to some unfortunate false-equivalence when the issue is discussed, and wouldn’t you know it, that false equivalence makes people less likely to believe the truth. Sometimes there’s no false equivalence; people […]... Read more »
Nyhan, B., Reifler, J., Richey, S., & Freed, G.L. (2014) Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial. Pediatrics. info:/
Recently I was doing some research for an upcoming (and very exciting) endeavour that involves exploring eating disorders among LGBTQ individuals. As one does, I set about scouring the research literature in this area in the hopes of stumbling across some prior articles on which to hang my proverbial research hat.
As I sifted through the databases, however, my searches kept coming up short. After sending out a call to a list-serv enquiring about the state of the field in this area, I received many responses highlighting the gap that surrounds trans individuals in particular. While this is good news for arguing for the value in conducting research in this area, it is discouraging news when it comes to understanding and attending to the experiences of trans people with eating disorders.
All this is to say, it seems as though now is as good a time as any to dip my toes into writing in this area through blogging about it. To focus this discussion, I will explore an article I came across in my search by Murray, Boon, and …
You May Also Like:
Understanding Disordered Eating in Transgendered Individuals
Gender Nonconformity, Transsexuality and Eating Disorders
Does Too Much Exposure to Thin Models Cause Eating Disorders? Anorexia, Bulimia in Blind Women
... Read more »
Murray SB, Boon E, & Touyz SW. (2013) Diverging eating psychopathology in transgendered eating disorder patients: a report of two cases. Eating Disorders, 21(1), 70-4. PMID: 23241091
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