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  • July 23, 2014
  • 03:46 AM
  • 4 views

Trauma and PTSD raise risk of autoimmune disorders?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I admit to some head scratching when I first read the paper by Aoife O’Donovan and colleagues [1] reporting that among war veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, "trauma exposure and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] may increase risk of autoimmune disorders".It wasn't that I didn't believe the results, but rather that the idea that a physical event with a psychological consequence could impact on a somatic condition with an autoimmune element to it seemed to open u........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2014
  • 11:20 PM
  • 9 views

Heroes and Villains: Banal or Special People? Part 2 of 2

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

According to Zimbardo and colleagues, both heroic acts and evil acts occur primarily in response to situational factors, rather than internal features of the person. However, on closer inspection, the situationist analysis provides inconsistent accounts of how each of these occurs. Evil actions are attributed to factors entirely outside the person, while heroism relies on the person’s inner qualities.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2014
  • 06:47 PM
  • 21 views

When Crazy becomes a Crime

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

My friend has a glass eye, you would never notice and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. Yes, you […]... Read more »

Dana Goldman,, John Fastenau,, Riad Dirani,, Eric Hellend,, Geoff Joyce,, Ryan Conrad,, & Darius Lakdawalla,. (2014) Medicaid Prior Authorization Policies and Imprisonment Among Patients With Schizophrenia. The American Journal of Managed Care, 20(7). info:/2014;20(7):577-586

  • July 22, 2014
  • 04:32 AM
  • 31 views

Common variation and the genetics of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Trent Gaugler and colleagues [1] reporting that the genetic architecture of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) seems in the most part to be due to "common variation" over and above "rare variants or spontaneous glitches" adds to the quite voluminous literature in this area.Everything in proportion? @ Wikipedia Based on an analysis of "a unique epidemiological sample from Sweden" researchers looked at DNA variations in some 3000 individuals with autism and asymptomatic co........ Read more »

Gaugler T, Klei L, Sanders SJ, Bodea CA, Goldberg AP, Lee AB, Mahajan M, Manaa D, Pawitan Y, Reichert J.... (2014) Most genetic risk for autism resides with common variation. Nature genetics. PMID: 25038753  

  • July 21, 2014
  • 01:27 PM
  • 64 views

Autism and Parents: Reducing stress

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Raising an autistic child can be a gift. Unfortunately it can also be challenging and stressful. Let’s be real, it’s stressful just being a parent, throw in a disability that […]... Read more »

  • July 21, 2014
  • 05:51 AM
  • 89 views

It's time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

It's become a mantra of the modern Western world that the ultimate aim of life is to achieve happiness. Self-help blog posts on how to be happy are almost guaranteed popularity (the Digest has its own!). Pro-happiness organisations have appeared, such as Action for Happiness, which aims to "create a happier society for everyone." Topping it all, an increasing number of governments, including in the UK, have started measuring national well-being (seen as a proxy for "happiness") - the argument be........ Read more »

  • July 21, 2014
  • 03:24 AM
  • 69 views

Autism and asthma yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Asthma is approximately 35 % more common in autistic children".Pipe down @ Wikipedia That was the finding reported by Stanley Kotey and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) dataset, a resource looking at "the physical and emotional health of children ages 0-17 years of age" resident in the United States. I don't intend to dwell too much on the Kotey findings aside from pointing out: (a) the reported prevalence of autism ca........ Read more »

  • July 21, 2014
  • 03:24 AM
  • 73 views

Autism and asthma yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Asthma is approximately 35 % more common in autistic children".Pipe down @ Wikipedia That was the finding reported by Stanley Kotey and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) dataset, a resource looking at "the physical and emotional health of children ages 0-17 years of age" resident in the United States. I don't intend to dwell too much on the Kotey findings aside from pointing out: (a) the reported prevalence of autism ca........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2014
  • 05:19 AM
  • 57 views

Time-lapse video of developing depression and trichotillomania

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

this young woman took 2100 over 6.5 years. You watch Rebecca as a young 14 year old go through not only the trials and tribulations of adolescent life, but also through the stages of developing major depressive disorder and trichotillomania.... Read more »

  • July 18, 2014
  • 11:01 AM
  • 60 views

Baboons Trade Morning Favors for All-Day Payoffs

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Primates basically invented “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Baboons, for example, trade grooming for favors from other troop members. Social relationships are important to the monkeys. But it seems they put more effort into certain relationships depending on the time of day: in the morning, lower-ranking baboons invest more energy in grooming […]The post Baboons Trade Morning Favors for All-Day Payoffs appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Sick, C., Carter, A., Marshall, H., Knapp, L., Dabelsteen, T., & Cowlishaw, G. (2014) Evidence for varying social strategies across the day in chacma baboons. Biology Letters, 10(7), 20140249-20140249. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0249  

  • July 18, 2014
  • 08:51 AM
  • 72 views

Scientists Create Alcohol-Resistant Worms That Might Cure Alcoholism

by beredim in Strange Animals

Image showing the effects of alchohol in Caenorhabditis elegans and..humansCredit: Jon Pierce-Shimomura from The University of Texas, Austin.A couple of days ago, a team of neuroscientists from the University of Texas, Austin announced that they have created a new strain of mutant worms which is impervious to the intoxicating effects of alcohol!To create the alcohol-immune worms, the researchers implanted a modified human alcohol target – a neuronal channel called the BK channel SLO-1 tha........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2014
  • 07:52 AM
  • 74 views

Men's sex appeal boosted by taking risks like a cave man

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

A willingness to take risks enhances men's sex appeal. This much we know from past research. What's not clear, is whether this is because of cultural beliefs about traditional gender roles, or if it's an evolutionary hang-over (or perhaps both). John Petraitis and his colleagues have put these two explanations to the test by drawing a distinction between risk-taking behaviours that reflect the challenges faced by our ancestors, and contemporary risks based around modern technology.Over two-hundr........ Read more »

Petraitis, J., Lampman, C., Boeckmann, R., & Falconer, E. (2014) Sex differences in the attractiveness of hunter-gatherer and modern risks. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(6), 442-453. DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12237  

  • July 18, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 69 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Should you communicate the details or the big picture?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The American Bar Association is seeking nominations until August 8, 2014 to help it decide on the Top 100 law blogs (“Blawgs”). We have been in the ABA Top 100 for the past 4 years and would like to make it 5! If you like this blog, please nominate us (it’s fast and free) here. THANKS! Doug […]

Related posts:
A pinch of this and a dash of that
A picture is worth a thousand words…
Simple Jury Persuasion: Activate their values


... Read more »

Wakslak CJ, Smith PK, & Han A. (2014) Using abstract language signals power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(1), 41-55. PMID: 24956313  

  • July 18, 2014
  • 06:47 AM
  • 127 views

Ultrafine particulate matter air pollution, mice and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Reading the headline "Study links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia" in a media piece about the study by Joshua Allen and colleagues* (open-access here) made me want to delve a little more into this research. I've talked before about air pollution and autism (see here) on this blog. Although a healthy degree of scepticism is to be expected with any autism correlation, particularly when it comes to something as generalised as air pollution (or pesticide exposure) there is a growing rese........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2014
  • 05:03 AM
  • 141 views

Blue Eyes Mean Lies?

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

A recent study by Karel Kleisner et al. (2013) shows eye colour and facial features have an influence on our perception of trustworthiness.... Read more »

Kleisner K, Priplatova L, Frost P, & Flegr J. (2013) Trustworthy-looking face meets brown eyes. PloS one, 8(1). PMID: 23326406  

  • July 18, 2014
  • 02:51 AM
  • 110 views

Cross-cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women’s faces

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Both attractiveness judgements and mate preferences vary considerably cross-culturally. We investigated whether men’s preference for femininity in women’s faces varies between 28 countries with diverse health conditions by analysing responses of 1972 heterosexual participants. Although men in all countries preferred feminized over masculinized female faces, we found substantial differences between countries in the magnitude of […]... Read more »

Marcinkowska UM, Kozlov MV, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, Dixson BJ, Oana GA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Lyons MT, Onyishi IE.... (2014) Cross-cultural variation in men's preference for sexual dimorphism in women's faces. Biology letters, 10(4), 20130850. PMID: 24789138  

  • July 17, 2014
  • 06:07 AM
  • 80 views

Profiling Risk: Predicting Alcoholism In Adolescents

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

It appears that certain personality traits and traumatic early life events are typically associated with binge drinking in teenage years. However, the predictive power of each type of factors by itself (personality or individual history for example) is not absolute. A new study evaluated not only one single factor, but a series of psychological, genetic, and neurological elements for their ability to determine, when combined, current and future alcohol misuse in a large group of youngsters. ... Read more »

Whelan, R., Watts, R., Orr, C., Althoff, R., Artiges, E., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G., Bokde, A., Büchel, C., Carvalho, F.... (2014) Neuropsychosocial profiles of current and future adolescent alcohol misusers. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13402  

  • July 17, 2014
  • 03:59 AM
  • 41 views

How your mood changes your personality

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Participants scored higher on neuroticism & lower on extraversion when they were sadExcept in extreme cases of illness or trauma, we usually expect each other's personalities to remain stable through life. Indeed, central to the definition of personality is that it describes pervasive tendencies in a person's behaviour and ways of relating to the world. However, a new study highlights the reality - your personality is swayed by your current mood, especially when you're feeling down.Jan Quere........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2014
  • 02:47 AM
  • 52 views

Blood lead levels and childhood behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Blood lead concentrations, even at a mean concentration of 6.4 µg/dL, were associated with increased risk of behavioral problems in Chinese preschool children, including internalizing and pervasive developmental problems". That was the conclusion of the study by Jianghong Liu and colleagues [1] looking at blood lead levels in preschoolers aged 3-5 years resident in Jiangsu province in China. Some associated media accompanying this study can be viewed here including the text: "This re........ Read more »

Liu, J., Liu, X., Wang, W., McCauley, L., Pinto-Martin, J., Wang, Y., Li, L., Yan, C., & Rogan, W. (2014) Blood Lead Concentrations and Children’s Behavioral and Emotional Problems. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.332  

  • July 16, 2014
  • 03:40 PM
  • 90 views

Know your brain: Thalamus

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is it?











Thalamus (in red).






The thalamus is a large, symmetrical (meaning there is one in each hemisphere) structure that makes up most of the mass of the diencephalon. A large number of pathways travel through the thalamus, including all of the sensory pathways other than those devoted to olfaction (smell).What is it and what does it do?The thalamus is often described as a relay station. This is because almost all sensory informati........ Read more »

Sherman, S., & Guillery, R. (2002) The role of the thalamus in the flow of information to the cortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 357(1428), 1695-1708. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2002.1161  

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