Laura’s Psychology Blog

One Professor’s Observations of the World of Psychology….   

April 19, 2014

readings in psychology for 19 april 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

My Daughter Karla's contribution ...

My Daughter Karla’s contribution …

Here’s what we are reading today:

“A research team led by Brown geologist Pete Schultz has found fragments of leaves and preserved organic compounds lodged inside glass created by a several ancient impacts in Argentina. The material could provide a snapshot of environmental conditions at the time of those impacts. The find also suggests that impact glasses could be a good place to look for signs of ancient life on Mars.”

“”It is always difficult to put a value on the connection between meteorites and the origin of life; for example, earlier work has shown that vitamin Bcould have been produced non-biologically on ancient Earth, but it’s possible that an added source of vitamin B3 could have been helpful,” said Karen Smith of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa. “Vitamin B3, also called nicotinic acid or niacin, is a precursor to NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which is essential to metabolism and likely very ancient in origin.” Smith is lead author of a paper on this research, along with co-authors from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., now available online in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.”

“Myelin, the electrical insulating material long known to be essential for the fast transmission of impulses along the axons of nerve cells, is not as ubiquitous as thought, according to a new work lead by Professor Paola Arlotta of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and the University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, in collaboration with Professor Jeff Lichtman, of Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.”

“Close your eyes and imagine home. Sharp details—such as the shape of the front doorknob, the height of the windows, or the paint color—assemble in your mind with a richness that seems touchable. A new study has found where this mental projection lives in the brain by inducing hallucinations in an epilepsy patient. “

“Once inside, the gynosome inflates, deploying spines that anchor the pair for sexual bouts lasting as long as 70 hours (not a typo). The connection is so strong, in fact, that researchers trying to pry a pair apart “led to separation of the male abdomen from the thorax without breaking the genital coupling.””

“Play-i was founded with the mission to bring the joy and magic of programming to every child. We want Bo & Yana to also reach children who cannot afford them. This is where you come in. Every dollar you contribute will go towards robots for schools and organizations that serve underprivileged children.”

“The study, led by Amita Sehgal PhD, professor of Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, linkssleep disruption in newborn fruit flies with a critical adult behavior: courtship and mating.

The team, addressed sleep in the very youngest of flies. “These flies sleep considerably more than adults and that behavior repeats across the animal kingdom,” Sehgal says. “Infant humans, rats, and flies, they all sleep a lot.””


April 10, 2014

readings in psychology for 10 april 2014 @PsychScience #Psychology #glass

Willie Nelson came to Cal Poly providing you can still be a wonderful performer at 81

Willie Nelson came to Cal Poly proving you can still be a wonderful performer at 81

Here’s what we are reading today:

“A major new security vulnerability dubbed Heartbleed was disclosed Monday night with severe implications for the entire Web. The bug can scrape a server’s memory, where sensitive user data is stored, including private data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.

It’s an extremely serious issue, affecting some 500,000 servers, according to Netcraft, an Internet research firm. Here’s what you can do to make sure your information is protected, according to security experts contacted by CNET:”

“What exactly causes Parkinson’s disease is far from figured out. But a clue has been lurking in cornfields for years.
The data confirm it: farmers are more prone to Parkinson’s than the general population. And pesticides could be to blame. Over a decade of evidence shows a clear association between pesticide exposure and a higher risk for the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimer’s. A new study published inNeurology proposes a potential mechanism by which at least some pesticides might contribute to Parkinson’s. “

“A research team from PALAEO (Centre for Human Palaeoecology and Evolutionary Origins) and the Department of Archaeology at York offer a new and distinctive perspective which suggests that Neanderthal children experienced strong emotional attachments with their immediate social group, used play to develop skills and played a significant role in their society.

The traditional perception of the toughness of Neanderthal childhood is based largely on biological evidence, but the archaeologists, led by Dr Penny Spikins, also studied cultural and social evidence to explore the experience of Neanderthal children.In research published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, they found that Neanderthal childhood experience was subtly different from that of their modern human counterparts in that it had a greater focus on social relationships within their group. Investigation of Neanderthal burials suggests that children played a particularly significant role in their society, particularly in symbolic expression.”

“In the current study, Dylan Barnes and Donald Wilson, PhD, of the City University of New York, the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and New York University Langone Medical School exposed rats to new and previously encountered odor information while the animals slept. To precisely control the animals’ odor experience during periods of wakefulness and sleep, the researchers delivered electrical stimulation to brain circuits involved in odor processing rather than relying on the delivery of real odors to the animals.

Exposure to new odor information during sleep made it more difficult for the animals to distinguish the learned odor from the other odors. “While previous work has demonstrated the role of sleep replay on memory strength, these are the first data to show that memory accuracy can also independently be influenced during sleep,” Wilson said.”

“Researchers at Newcastle University in England believe that Glass can provide automated reminders in a user’s field of vision.

“We’re looking at the ways in which people with Parkinson’s can use this technology to provide them with prompts whilst they’re out, reminders, and to help them live more independently,” said Dr. John Vines, senior research associate at the Digital Interaction group at Newcastle’s Culture Lab, in a video.”


March 29, 2014

readings in psychology for 29 march 2014 @PsychScience #psychology

Facebook has been a wonderful tool for social connectivity when used wisely.

Facebook has been a wonderful tool for social connectivity when used wisely.

Here is what we are reading today:

“Over most of its history, meditation was performed within religious contexts. More recently, however, many people have used meditation techniques to reduce stress. When asked how they feel when meditating, experienced practitioners report a “blissful” emotional state. What might account for this experience?”

“it may be an awkward question, but male St. Andrew’s Cross spiders (Argiope keyserlingi) need to know how many partners their potential mate has already had sex with. Females have two vaginalike receptacles, placed side by side, in which males deposit sperm using two penislike palps. To prevent others from copulating with a former love, males will break off a palp after copulation and permanently seal the female’s genital orifice.”

“The findings, published in the March 27, 2014 issue of PLOS ONE, could help lead to new treatments benefitting affected individuals – and to new ways of protecting servicepersons (and civilians) from similar problems in the future, said principal investigator Beatrice A. Golomb MD, PhD, professor of medicine.”

“Now geneticist Roger Reeves of Johns Hopkins University may have stumbled on another drug target—this one with the potential to correct the learning and memory deficits so central to the condition.”

“”We were interested to examine how individual differences about justice and fairness are represented in the brain to better understand the contribution of emotion and cognition in moral judgment,” explained lead author Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry.”

“After searching systematically for both published and unpublished studies over 38 years (1975-2013) reporting on the impact of public smoking restrictions on health outcomes in children aged 12 years or younger, Dr Jasper Been from the Maastricht University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands, and colleagues identified 11 suitable studies — five North American studies describing local bans and six European studies looking at national bans.”

“”Mammals usually have large moveable ears, but alligators do not, so they have solved the problems of sound localization a little differently. This may also be the solution used by the alligator’s dinosaur relatives,” said Hilary Bierman, a biology lecturer at the University of Maryland.”

“Based on personal experience, you might think that one of the things that makes you feel thirsty is a dry mouth. Nineteenth century French scientist Claude Bernard tested this hypothesis directly by surgically producing an opening or fistula in the esophagus of his research animals.”



March 17, 2014

readings in psychology for 17 march 2014 @PsychScience #glass

Filed under: a current story,Biological Psychology,General Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 5:36 pm
Our furry little friends!

Our furry little friends!

Here is what we are reading today:

Another way to get your google glass on Amazon! ( I love mine!!)

“When bats began migrating to Austin, Texas in the early 1980s, locals were afraid that the bats would be a rabies spreading menace. But in the three decades that they’ve been coming to Austin they’ve become a part of the city’s identity and an unofficial mascot. “

“A team of scientists may have detected a twist in light from the early universe that could help explain how the universe began. Such a finding has been compared in significance to the detection of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012.

What they detected is known as primordial B-mode polarization and is important for at least two reasons. It would be the first detection of gravitational waves, which are predicted to exist under Einstein’s theory of relativity but have never before been seen. But the thing that has scientists really excited is that it could provide the first direct evidence for a theorized event called inflation that caused the universe to exponentially grow just a fraction of a fraction of a second after it was born. “

“Bo Hang, Ph.D., who presented the research, said that although the idea of third-hand smoke made its debut in research circles just a few years ago in 2009, evidence already strongly suggests it could threaten human health.

“The best argument for instituting a ban on smoking indoors is actually third-hand smoke,” said Hang, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).”

“”This is a tremendous advance in the field,” says Anna Dongari-Bagtzoglou, an oral microbiologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. Besides being the first study of the fungal microbiome in people with HIV, it’s also the first study that compares bacterial and fungal populations in the same patients, she says. “These correlations are important because for many years we thought the two kingdoms were in competition,” she says, adding that research from her lab has shown that some bacteria can even combine with Candidato make infections more severe.”

“‘Elephants appear to be able to manipulate their vocal tract (mouth, tongue, trunk and so on) to shape the sounds of their rumbles to make different alarm calls,’ said Dr Lucy King of Save the Elephants and Oxford University who led the study with Dr Joseph Soltis, a bioacoustics expert from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and colleagues.”

“Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has had enough of shooting in the dark. He thinks that if a clinical trial of a psychiatric therapy fails, scientists should at least learn something about the brain along the way.”

“”The lack of association in our study between contagious yawning and empathy suggests that contagious yawning is not simply a product of one’s capacity for empathy,” said study author Elizabeth Cirulli, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke University School of Medicine.”


March 10, 2014

readings in psychology for 10 march 2013 @PsychScience #glass

Come to the Western Psychological Association and Talk to me about Google Glass

Come to the Western Psychological Association and Talk to me about Google Glass

Here is what I am reading today:

“”The Squid and its Giant Nerve Fiber” was filmed in the 1970s at Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England. This is the laboratory where Hodgkin and Huxley conducted experiments on the squid giant axon in the 1940s. Their experiments unraveled the mechanism of the action potential, and led to a Nobel Prize. Long out of print, the film is an historically important record of the voltage-clamp technique as developed by Hodgkin and Huxley, as well as an interesting glimpse at how the experiments were done. QuickTime video excerpts from the film are presented here: Dissection and anatomy (J.Z. Young); Removing the mantle nerves (H. Meves); Cleaning and cannulating a giant fiber; Voltage clamping (P.F. Baker & A.L. Hodgkin); Injection & perfusion (R.D. Keynes).”

“That’s what researchers found when they played recordings of people for elephants in Kenya. Scientists say this is an advanced thinking skill that other animals haven’t shown. It lets elephants figure out who is a threat and who isn’t.

The result shows that while humans are studying elephants, the clever animals are also studying people and drawing on their famed powers of memory, said study author Karen McComb.”

“Semir Zeki is a well-known vision researcher who has made notable contributions to our understanding of color vision in primates. Since his original mapping studies, other researchers have made a few anatomical discoveries—in particular, the so-called color “globs,” which are millimeter-sized nodules in the part of the parvocellular (small cell) stream known as the V4 complex. Today Zeki has moved on to higher things and has just published a paper on the neural correlate of the experience of mathematical beauty.That may be an appropriate topic for a researcher at the apex of their career, but it seems we still have much to learn about the more mundane experience of color.”

“Every March, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and more. Interested in getting involved? Visit Become a Partner for more information.”

“The paper, aptly titled “Blurred Lines? Sexual Aggression and Barroom Culture,” after the summer hit by Robin Thicke Kathryn Graham, was published earlier this week in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. “Its not a blurred line, its a pretty easy line,” says Kathryn Graham, senior scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and co-author of the paper. “The whole culture that thinks blurred lines is some kind of truth or inevitability, from our data, is a little bit astray.””

“Professor Karen Pine, a psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire and co-founder of Do Something Different, said: “Practising these habits really can boost our happiness. It’s great to see so many people regularly doing things to help others — and when we make others happy we tend to feel good ourselves too. This survey shows that practising self-acceptance is one thing that could make the biggest difference to many people’s happiness. Exercise is also known to lift mood so if people want a simple, daily way to fee happier they should get into the habit of being more physically active too.””




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