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  • April 13, 2011
  • 11:44 AM

Ecstasy Acute Effects on Social Cognition

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

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

  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Real Men Eat Meat!

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

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

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

  • April 4, 2011
  • 11:30 PM

Scientists like publishing studies that say “ZOMG!! THE BRAIN – IT’S DIFFERENT!!!”

by Psychbytes in Psychbytes

The Archives of General Psychiatry just published a study by John Ioannidis which basically says that for whatever reason, studies that say that brain volumes are different in different psychiatric disorders are more likely to be published. Ioannidis has shown similar meta-research type findings before in other fields already (see this article for example), and I highly doubt anyone is really surprised by this finding. Still, it’s cool to see this issue being acknowledged by a relatively ........ Read more »

John Ioannidis. (2011) Excess Significance Bias in the Literature on Brain Volume Abnormalities. Archives of General Psychiatry. info:/

  • March 31, 2011
  • 02:53 AM

Apparently, size does matter….the hippocampus size, that is, in people with current vs lifetime PTSD

by Psychbytes in Psychbytes

Or at least that’s the conclusion drawn by authors of a recent study that was published in Biological Psychiatry. Apfel et al. did a structural MRI study of 244 Gulf War vets and controls and compared the size of the hippocampus across subjects, and concluded that only current symptoms of PTSD appeared to be associated with it. Since the journal put out a press release about it, I figured there was something unique or novel about the study and decided to look into it.The authors assessed lifet........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2011
  • 03:50 AM

Sexting as a form of attachment anxiety

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Learned a new word today: sexting. You probably know what it means but I didn’t have a clue. Sexting is: sending and receiving sexually suggestive images, videos, or texts on cell phones. Smartphones, computers and other toys with internet access also creep into our relationships. For example visiting dating sites, long distance interactions with webcam, [...]

No related posts.... Read more »

Weisskirch, R., & Delevi, R. (2011) “Sexting” and adult romantic attachment. Computers in Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.02.008  

  • March 21, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Psychological Effects of Exercise in Adolescents

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

Despite a widely held belief that the potential benefits of exercise on weight management are related to ‘burning’ calories, I recently proposed that the real effect of exercise is in helping regulate food intake.
This is because exercise directly affects many of the psychological and emotional factors that can drive overeating and promote weight gain.
A study [...]... Read more »

Goldfield GS, Henderson K, Buchholz A, Obeid N, Nguyen H, & Flament MF. (2011) Physical activity and psychological adjustment in adolescents. Journal of physical activity , 8(2), 157-63. PMID: 21415442  

  • March 18, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Interpersonal Violence in Childhood as a Risk Factor for Obesities

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

Given the importance of mood, anxiety, anger, body image, self-esteem and disordered eating as common drivers of excessive weight gain (in many but certainly not all individuals with excess weight), eliciting a past or ongoing history of mental, physical and/or sexual abuse should be standard practice in any assessment for obesity.
This not only applies to [...]... Read more »

  • March 16, 2011
  • 10:08 AM

Basketball: It’s A Pretty ‘Touchy’ Subject.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in ionpsych

Some basketball players really like touching their teammates. Of course, when I say ‘touch,’ I mean gestures like high fives and half hugs. No matter how macho they may seem, basketball players touch their teammates in all sorts of ways … Continue reading →... Read more »

Kurzban, R. (2001) The social psychophysics of cooperation: Nonverbal communication in a public goods game. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 241-259. info:/

Wieselquist, J., Rusbult, C., Foster, C., & Agnew, C. (1999) Commitment, pro-relationship behavior, and trust in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(5), 942-966. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.77.5.942  

  • March 11, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Are Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Key Drivers of Obesities?

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

Yesterday, at the International School on Obesity Research and Management currently underway at Lake Louise, Alberta, several presenters (Shelley Russell-Mayhew, U Calgary and Claudia Sikorski, U Leipzig) focussed on the role of negative body-image and the stigma of obesities on weight gain in both men and women.
This topic is of substantial interest in light of [...]... Read more »

Urquhart CS, & Mihalynuk TV. (2011) Disordered eating in women: implications for the obesity pandemic. Canadian journal of dietetic practice and research : a publication of Dietitians of Canada , 72(1), 50. PMID: 21382233  

  • February 26, 2011
  • 06:47 PM

The biochemistry of religious aggression

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Anyone who's taken a passing interest in the news at any time in the past 100 years will have noticed that Israel/Palestine region has had more than its fair share of religious violence. So it's the ideal place to start looking if you want to investigatge the links between religiously-motivated aggression and the common-or-garden variety.

Jeff Victoroff, of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and colleagues (including Samir Quota of the Gaza Community Mental Health Pro........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 07:37 AM

Influencing others by showing emotion: a new emotional ability?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Many workplaces recognise that besides more cognitive notions of intelligence – our capability to solve problems, use logic, process and judge factual information – they also need Emotional Intelligence (EI): the capability to recognise, make the most of and manage emotion. Now a new theoretical paper makes the case that we should be expanding this concept of EI to include the ability to influence others through emotional displays.EI currently focuses on spotting, dealing with and making sen........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2011
  • 06:05 PM

A dose of pain to take the guilt away

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Can you take away the feelings of guilt through self harm? Well, here's one way to find out.

Take 59 Australian students, and split them into three groups. Get two groups to write about something they did that they feel guilty about.

Then get one of those groups to stick their arms into iced water - if you've ever tried to do that for a long time, it hurts! The other group gets nice warm water. The third group writes about just some everyday interaction, but then they get the ice bath too.

W........ Read more »

Bastian B, Jetten J, & Fasoli F. (2011) Cleansing the Soul by Hurting the Flesh: The Guilt-Reducing Effect of Pain. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 21245493  

  • January 18, 2011
  • 02:57 PM

The Emotional Depth of a Turnip—Do Men and Women Read Emotions Differently?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

She was clearly upset. The disgust on her face was apparent. As was her frustration when she shook her head at the man standing numbly beside her and said, "You have the emotional depth of a turnip!" The rest of us in the subway car did our best to look busy—headphones were put on, games were played on cell phones, even the morning newspaper made a few reappearances even though it was the evening rush hour.
I have to admit that I was somewhat amused by the situation because I'd recently direc........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2011
  • 12:30 PM

What Do Antidepressants Do in Healthy Brains?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The easiest answer to the title question is “cause side effects”.  A more important theoretical and practical aspect of this question is: Do antidepressants have a general property experienced by everyone or are their effects only seen in the presence of depression?  Antidepressant drugs have research support for a variety of non-depression indications including: chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraine prophylaxis, irritable bowel syndrome and pathological crying and laughing.&nb........ Read more »

Serretti A, Calati R, Goracci A, Di Simplicio M, Castrogiovanni P, & De Ronchi D. (2010) Antidepressants in healthy subjects: what are the psychotropic/psychological effects?. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(7), 433-53. PMID: 20079613  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 03:50 PM

Chinese Mothers, American Anxieties and the Nature of Parenting

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Over the weekend I read Amy Chua's paean to "Chinese parents" in The Wall Street Journal with morbid fascination. What felt morbid was Chua's "Mommie Dearest" anecdote about battling with her 7-year-old because the little girl couldn't master a difficult piano piece (which involved threatening to ...Read More
... Read more »

QUINN, N. (2003) Cultural Selves. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1001(1), 145-176. DOI: 10.1196/annals.1279.010  

  • January 7, 2011
  • 02:49 AM

Is Facebook the path to happiness?

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Does a lot of friends on Facebook make you happy or does a positive self representation on Facebook make you feel happy. These two important questions were studied amongst 391 college students using Facebook. How does faceook use contribute to happiness?
Indeed more friends on facebook increases your subjective well-being. This association was not mediated by [...]

No related posts.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 04:35 PM

Video Games Enhance Visual Attention

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Video games might cause aggressive behavior,1 and they may contribute to childhood obesity,2 but recent research by Daphne Bavelier and her colleagues at the University of Rochester suggests that playing video games can have at least one benefit: they enhance visual attention. Visual attention is the mental mechanism we use to select relevant visual information [...]... Read more »

  • December 26, 2010
  • 01:57 PM

My picks for the top studies of 2010

by Michelle Greene in NeurRealism

Presented in no particular order, here are the ten studies of 2010 that I found the most interesting. Enjoy!1. A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy MindI wrote about this study here. Authors used an iPhone app to obtain "what are you doing?", "what are you thinking about?" and "how happy are you right now?" data. It turns out that we are thinking about something other than what we are doing about half of the time, and these are the times we are least happy.2. Electrical Enhancement of Mathematical Abi........ Read more »

Killingsworth MA, & Gilbert DT. (2010) A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6006), 932. PMID: 21071660  

Job V, Dweck CS, & Walton GM. (2010) Ego depletion--is it all in your head?: implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(11), 1686-93. PMID: 20876879  

Loetscher, T., Bockisch, C., Nicholls, M., & Brugger, P. (2010) Eye position predicts what number you have in mind. Current Biology, 20(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.015  

Monti, M., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Coleman, M., Boly, M., Pickard, J., Tshibanda, L., Owen, A., & Laureys, S. (2010) Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(7), 579-589. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905370  

Owen, A., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A., Howard, R., & Ballard, C. (2010) Putting brain training to the test. Nature, 465(7299), 775-778. DOI: 10.1038/nature09042  

Bourgeois FT, Murthy S, & Mandl KD. (2010) Outcome reporting among drug trials registered in Annals of internal medicine, 153(3), 158-66. PMID: 20679560  

Dosenbach NU, Nardos B, Cohen AL, Fair DA, Power JD, Church JA, Nelson SM, Wig GS, Vogel AC, Lessov-Schlaggar CN.... (2010) Prediction of individual brain maturity using fMRI. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5997), 1358-61. PMID: 20829489  

  • December 12, 2010
  • 03:05 PM

The painful legacy of torture

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Torture has received a great deal of deserved media attention in recent years. In large part this is due to people who should know better somewhat shamelessly jumping through legal hoops in attempts to distinguish which ways of abusing their fellow humans are acceptable and distinct from torture. This should be surprising in the current [...]... Read more »

Williams AC, Peña CR, & Rice AS. (2010) Persistent pain in survivors of torture: a cohort study. Journal of pain and symptom management, 40(5), 715-22. PMID: 20678891  

  • December 4, 2010
  • 06:40 PM

The emotional problems of the slightly religious

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's generally taken as fact that religion is linked to happiness - happier people are more likely to be religious,  if you take into account other circumstances. There are loads of studies, of varying quality, that support this idea.

However, most people who interpret these data make a couple of assumptions that are probably not valid. Firstly, the assume that they can be generalised across cultures. However most studies are  done in the USA, where being non-religious often leads to ........ Read more »

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