Given that I'm the proverbial lapsed Catholic cum agnostic, religion just doesn't play that large a role in my life and hasn't since around six years ago. I don't know if I'll ever discuss or explain on this blog what the last straw resulting in that transformation was (it's too personal), but a couple of years ago I did go through a period where I became hostile to religion, perhaps spurred on by PZ and the whole anti-religion gestalt of the ScienceBlogs Collective here. That lasted maybe a yea........ Read more »
Andrea C. Phelps, MD, Paul K. Maciejewski, PhD, Matthew Nilsson, BS, Tracy A. Balboni, MD, Alexi A. Wright, MD, M. Elizabeth Paulk, MD, Elizabeth Trice, MD, PhD, Deborah Schrag, MD, MPH, John R. Peteet, MD, Susan D. Block, MD.... (2009) Religious Coping and Use of Intensive Life-Prolonging Care Near Death in Patients With Advanced Cancer. JAMA, 301(11), 1140-1147. DOI: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/301/11/1140
Right now we enjoy more ways to stay connected with people across the globe than at any time in history. What a remarkable irony, then, that “loneliness” is still a topic finding its way into headlines, perhaps now more than ever. How can oceans of distance no longer be an obstacle to communicating, and yet [...]... Read more »
Cacioppo, J., & Hawkley, L. (2003) Social Isolation and Health, with an Emphasis on Underlying Mechanisms. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 46(3). DOI: 10.1353/pbm.2003.0049
Hawkley, L., Masi, C., Berry, J., & Cacioppo, J. (2006) Loneliness Is a Unique Predictor of Age-Related Differences in Systolic Blood Pressure. Psychology and Aging, 21(1), 152-164. DOI: 10.1037/0882-79126.96.36.199
Take a look at this graph showing population distribution by county in a fictional U.S. state:
How do you read such a graph? Is this the ideal way to depict this sort of information? If you wanted to know which part of the state was most populous, how would you go about figuring it out? Researchers have developed conflicting models to explain how it's done. One model suggests that people reading this kind of graph must cycle between the different parts in order to understand it. This makes some........ Read more »
Raj M. Ratwani, J. Gregory Trafton, & Deborah A. Boehm-Davis. (2008) Thinking graphically: Connecting vision and cognition during graph comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14(1), 36-49. DOI: 10.1037/1076-898X.14.1.36
A new paper on alien belief and correlation to hypnotic suggestion and hallucination reveals an interesting link to the song White Christmas in previous studies.... Read more »
FRENCH, C., SANTOMAURO, J., HAMILTON, V., FOX, R., & THALBOURNE, M. (2008) Psychological aspects of the alien contact experience. Cortex, 44(10), 1387-1395. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2007.11.011
Merckelbach H, & van de Ven V. (2001) Another White Christmas: fantasy proneness and reports of 'hallucinatory experiences' in undergraduate students. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 32(3), 137-44. PMID: 11934126
WILSON, K., & FRENCH, C. (2006) The relationship between susceptibility to false memories, dissociativity, and paranormal belief and experience. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(8), 1493-1502. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2006.06.008
tags: peer-reviewed paper, psychology, gift wrapping, wrapping paper, behavior, holidays, holidaze
Besides bright lights, my favorite thing about the holidays is wrapping gifts. I love covering a boxed gift with colored papers (or even with plain brown paper bags), I get tremendous satisfaction from folding the paper so it makes precise corners and then I especially enjoy decorating the wrapped gift with bows, ribbons and toy flowers and birds, christmas ornaments or other decorations. I also e........ Read more »
Discusses an fMRI study of autistic people given a hypothetical choice between two amounts of money; the choice is a test of the "framing effect," which is the tendency most people have of choosing the amount of money that's described in positive terms, rather than the objectively larger amount. ... Read more »
De Martino, B. (2006) Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain. Science, 313(5787), 684-687. DOI: 10.1126/science.1128356
De Martino, B., Harrison, N., Knafo, S., Bird, G., & Dolan, R. (2008) Explaining Enhanced Logical Consistency during Decision Making in Autism. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(42), 10746-10750. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2895-08.2008
Yes, really, they do. It's a scientific fact.As someone who has to read a lot of academic science papers, I occasionally come across studies that really should have been funded by the Ministry of the Bleeding Obvious. I mean, really, it makes you wonder what some researchers are thinking when they carry out these sorts of studies, and whether they actually get grants to do this stuff?Here, let me explain. An item in the latest BPS Research Digest let me know of an "eye-catching study that didn't........ Read more »
F KAIGHOBADI, & T SHACKELFORD. (2008) Female attractiveness mediates the relationship between in-pair copulation frequency and men’s mate retention behaviors. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(4), 293-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.04.013
As if by magic, another item at the BPS Research Digest which is also relevant to my recent forays discusses the question of whether participants in psychology studies are "representative" of the total sample under review. It seems like the majority of those who take part in psychology studies are generally more "stable and outgoing", which begs questions about whether said studies are reliable in their testing of depression measures, for example.To give some background, the popular five-factor ........ Read more »
Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, Sampo Paunonen, Markku Verkasalo, Sointu Leikas, Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, & Jouko Lönnqvist. (2007) Personality characteristics of research volunteers. European Journal of Personality, 21(8), 1017-1030. DOI: 10.1002/per.655
So far in my budding career I've been involved in three psychology studies, all of which required the recruitment of non-clinical participants. Even before that, my psych undergraduate final-year project on schizophrenia was carried out by surveying non-clinical participants. For the benefit of lay readers, non-clinical participants refers to "normal" people who are recruited to take part in the study and are different to results gleaned from sufferers of psychosis, anxiety or oth........ Read more »
Researchers at the Boise State University have found that most women are bisexual by nature. Also, they discovered that these bisexual feelings increase with age. During this study, 484 heterosexual women were surveyed. 60 percent of them said to be sexually attracted to other women, 45 percent had already kissed with a woman en about half of the participants had fantasized about it.... Read more »
Morgan EM, & Thompson EM. (2011) Processes of sexual orientation questioning among heterosexual women. Journal of sex research, 48(1), 16-28. PMID: 19941193
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