New research explains why healthcare costs are running out of control, while costs to unemployment protection are kept in line. The answer is found deep in our psychology, where powerful intuitions lead us to view illness as the result of bad luck and worthy of help.
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Jensen, C., & Petersen, M. (2016) The Deservingness Heuristic and the Politics of Health Care. American Journal of Political Science. DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12251
A team of scientists have shown that the brains of patients with schizophrenia have the capacity to reorganize and fight the illness. This is the first time that imaging data has been used to show that our brains may have the ability to reverse the effects of schizophrenia.
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Guo, S., Palaniyappan, L., Liddle, P., & Feng, J. (2016) Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: a MRI-derived cortical thickness study. Psychological Medicine, 1-14. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291716000994
Have you read this sentence before? Perhaps it feels strangely familiar? The experience of déjà vu is a common one, but in rare cases, it can become a disorder. In a fascinating new Cortex paper, French psychologists Julie Bertrand and colleagues discuss the phenomenon of pathological déjà vu.
Bertrand et al. present an English translation of what is probably the first description of the condition, published in 1896 in French by the psychiatrist Francois-Léon Arnaud (1858-1927).
Ar... Read more »
Bertrand JM, Martinon LM, Souchay C, & Moulin CJ. (2016) History repeating itself: Arnaud's case of pathological déjà vu. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 27188828
It's another research mash-up today as I bring to your attention two papers talking about potential correlates associated with psychosis and/or psychotic symptoms.First up are the findings reported by Joanne Newbury and colleagues  (open-access here) who observed that urban residency and certain factors associated with urban residency might link into a higher risk of childhood psychotic symptoms. A second paper by Tomasz Pawełczyk and colleagues  provides some further food for thought and........ Read more »
Pawełczyk, T., Trafalska, E., Kotlicka-Antczak, M., & Pawełczyk, A. (2016) The association between polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption and the transition to psychosis in ultra-high risk individuals. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 30-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.plefa.2016.03.010
Newbury J, Arseneault L, Caspi A, Moffitt TE, Odgers CL, & Fisher HL. (2016) Why are Children in Urban Neighborhoods at Increased Risk for Psychotic Symptoms? Findings From a UK Longitudinal Cohort Study. Schizophrenia bulletin. PMID: 27153864
Not all habits are bad. Some are even necessary. It's a good thing, for example, that we can find our way home on "autopilot" or wash our hands without having to ponder every step. But inability to switch from acting habitually to acting in a deliberate way can underlie addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders.
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Christina M. Gremel,, Jessica H. Chancey,, Brady K. Atwood,, Guoxiang Luo,, Rachael Neve,, Charu Ramakrishnan,, Karl Deisseroth,, David M. Lovinger, & Rui M. Costa. (2016) Endocannabinoid Modulation of Orbitostriatal Circuits Gates Habit Formation. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.043
Performing the discrete mode of presentation test strongly enhances the salience of the relevant variable, perimeter, and somewhat decreases that of area. This enhancement supports appropriate solution strategies that lead to improved performance. This effect is robust and transfers to continuous mode of presentation for at least 10 days. In line with this conclusion, a student who performed the continuous test after the discrete one commented that, “It [continuous] was harder this time bu........ Read more »
Babai, R., Nattiv, L., & Stavy, R. (2016) Comparison of perimeters: improving students’ performance by increasing the salience of the relevant variable. ZDM, 48(3), 367-378. DOI: 10.1007/s11858-016-0766-z
I know that I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record on the topic of wandering (elopement) and autism on this blog (see here and see here and see here) but I am yet again going to briefly talk about peer-reviewed research in this area simply because it's just too damned important not to.This time around the results from Catherine Rice and colleagues  are the source of my musings and the conclusion that: "wandering among children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regard........ Read more »
Rice, C., Zablotsky, B., Avila, R., Colpe, L., Schieve, L., Pringle, B., & Blumberg, S. (2016) Reported Wandering Behavior among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Intellectual Disability. The Journal of Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.03.047
If you feel brave enough, today I will direct your reading attention to the paper by Michael Williams and colleagues  detailing the application of a particularly important genome editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9  to autism-related science.Titled: "A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons" the Williams paper probably won't win any awards for plain English but don't be fooled about just how important this pape........ Read more »
Williams MR, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Getz SA, Skelton PD, Lee J, Rizzuto CP, Geller JS, Li M, & Luikart BW. (2016) A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons. Scientific reports, 25611. PMID: 27161796
Feelings of shame and humiliation bother obese air passengers more than tight seat belts and tiny seats, according to a study published by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. Participants interviewed for the study recounted the typical challenges they encounter while boarding, in-flight and deplaning.
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Yaniv Poria, & Jeremy Beal. (2016) An Exploratory Study about Obese People’s Flight Experience . Journal of travel research. info:/10.1177/0047287516643416
According to the philosophy of "lean space management", a minimalist workspace shorn of clutter is distraction-free and ideal for productivity. But this philosophy turns out to have slim empirical foundations, and as promoting a sense of identity at work, including personalising the work space, generally leads to better outcomes, there’s reason to expect richer, characterful workplaces to be more beneficial. A new article in the Journal of Personnel Psychology builds on this past work, showing........ Read more »
Greenaway, K., Thai, H., Haslam, S., & Murphy, S. (2016) Spaces That Signal Identity Improve Workplace Productivity. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 15(1), 35-43. DOI: 10.1027/1866-5888/a000148
Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »
Richards, C., Moss, J., Nelson, L., & Oliver, C. (2016) Persistence of self-injurious behaviour in autism spectrum disorder over 3 years: a prospective cohort study of risk markers. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 8(1). DOI: 10.1186/s11689-016-9153-x
Almost five years ago, we wrote about research saying men with deep voices were more persuasive. Science has moved forward though and now, women can also be more persuasive when using a deeper voice. Some call it a “sultry voice”. New work tells us your voice doesn’t have be a deep and resonant baritone to […]
Who has the deepest voice amongst the Republican candidates for President?
Feel the power of that deep and resonant voice!
Here’s why that movie wasn’t ........ Read more »
Cheng JT, Tracy JL, Ho S, & Henrich J. (2016) Listen, follow me: Dynamic vocal signals of dominance predict emergent social rank in humans. Journal of Experimental Psychology, General, 145(5), 536-47. PMID: 27019023
Psychological science is surprisingly difficult to replicate (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). Researchers are desperate to find out why. A new study in the prestigious journal PNAS (Van Bavel et al., 2016) claims unknown contextual factors of psychological phenomena (“hidden moderators”) are to blame. The more an effect is sensitive to unknown contextual factors, the less […]... Read more »
Dreber, A., Pfeiffer, T., Almenberg, J., Isaksson, S., Wilson, B., Chen, Y., Nosek, B., & Johannesson, M. (2015) Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(50), 15343-15347. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516179112
Kunert, R. (2016) Internal conceptual replications do not increase independent replication success. Psychonomic Bulletin . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-016-1030-9
Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716
Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (2016) Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility. PNAS. info:/
The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues  recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »
Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/
The results could help explain some of the many injuriesincurred by firefighters each yearYour brain has a representation of where your body extends in space. It's how you know whether you can fit through a doorway or not, among other things. This representation – the "body schema" as some scientists call it – is flexible. For example if you're using a grabbing tool or swinging a tennis raquet, your sense of how far you can reach is updated accordingly. But there are limits to the accuracy a........ Read more »
Petrucci, M., Horn, G., Rosengren, K., & Hsiao-Wecksler, E. (2016) Inaccuracy of Affordance Judgments for Firefighters Wearing Personal Protective Equipment. Ecological Psychology, 28(2), 108-126. DOI: 10.1080/10407413.2016.1163987
In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.
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Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741
Pop quiz: hands up — how many of you think positive stereotypes are OK? I suspect that for many of you, your first reaction may have been, “well, yeah, they’re positive, right?” I can totally empathize with that shortcut, but … Continue reading →... Read more »
I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »
Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18
Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.
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Ren, Z., Pribiag, H., Jefferson, S., Shorey, M., Fuchs, T., Stellwagen, D., & Luscher, B. (2016) Bidirectional Homeostatic Regulation of a Depression-Related Brain State by Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidergic Deficits and Ketamine Treatment. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.02.009
Sometimes reading a flawed argument triggers my rage, I really do get angry, a phenomenon that invariably surprises and amuses me. What follows is my attempt to use my anger in a constructive way, it may include elements of a…Read more ›... Read more »
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