Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

December 9, 2014

readings in psychology for 9 december 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

Part of the Family at a favorite Greek Restaurant called the "Wild Donkey."

Part of the Family at a favorite Greek Restaurant called the “Wild Donkey.”

Here is what I am reading today:

“”It is well-established that being inactive is perilous, and that regular physical activityimproves health, quality of life and life expectancy”, says Professor Carl Johan Sundberg, Principal Investigator at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. “However, exactly how the positive effects of training are induced in the body has been unclear. This study indicates that epigenetics is an important part in skeletal muscle adaptation to endurance training.””

“….It also changes the release of multiple gut-related hormones, explains clinical endocrinologist Stephen O’Rahilly of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who wasn’t involved with the study. That’s important, because years of eating a diet high in fat and sugar can throw a person’s metabolism into disarray. Cells undergo genetic reprogramming that negatively impacts how they process sugar and store fat, locking in obesity. This pattern makes it harder and harder to lose weight, even if a person changes their diet and begins exercising.”

“UBC zoologists Benjamin Goller and Douglas Altshuler projected moving spiral and striped patterns in front of free-flying hummingbirds attempting to feed from a stationary feeder.

Even minimal background pattern motion caused the hummingbirds to lose positional stability and drift. Giving the birds time to get used to the stimuli didn’t eliminate the disruption. Projecting a combination of moving and stationary patterns in front of the birds didn’t help either, although birds were able to regain some stability.”

““We found significant associations between preeclampsia and ASD that increased with severity. We also observed a significant association between severe preeclampsia and developmental delay,” said Cheryl Walker, study senior author, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine and a researcher affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

While preeclampsia has previously been examined as a risk factor for autism, the literature has been inconsistent. The current study provides a robust population-based, case-controlled examination of the association between autism and preeclampsia and whether risk was associated with preeclampsia severity.”

“The findings are published in the December issue of Sleep, a joint publication of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The lead author is Carol Everson, Ph.D., professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at MCW. Co-authors are Christopher Henchen, B.S., Clinical Research Coordinator at MCW; Aniko Szabo Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics and director of the Biostatistics Consulting Service at MCW; and Neil Hogg, Ph.D., professor of biophysics and assistant dean of recruitment for MCW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.”

“The effort led by Joshua Johansen from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan and New York University scientists Lorenzo Diaz-Mataix and Joseph LeDoux, tested an influential theory proposed in 1949 by the Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb that neurons that are connected and fire electrical impulses at the same time increase the strength of their connections to form a memory.”

“Zach Sims, co-founder and CEO of Codecademy, tells Mashable that learning how to code is reasonably easy for beginners, especially people under 18.

This year, Codecademy set up initiatives in England, Estonia and Argentina to bring coding education to young students — England and Estonia both added coding to their national curricula. As a result, Sims and the team found that “people in high schools can start with actual programming, and more advanced students in middle school can do the same,” he says.”

December 3, 2014

readings in psychology for 3 december #PsychScience #psychology

My third edition is coming out in January 2015 !!!

My third edition is coming out in January 2015 !!!

Here is what we are reading today:

“Reporting in a new study published this week in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, James Loughead, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry, and Caryn Lerman, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry and director of Penn’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, found that smokers who relapsed within seven days from their target quit date had specific disruptions in the brain’s working memory system during abstinence that separated them from the group who successfully quit. Such neural activity–mainly a decrease in the part of the brain that supports self-control and a boost in the area that promotes an “introspective” state–could help distinguish successful quitters from those who fail at an earlier stage and serve as a potentially therapeutic target for novel treatments.”

“Their findings, reported in the Dec. 3 issue of the journal Neuron, suggest that subtle shifts in the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain are linked to superior cognition. Among other things, the frontoparietal network plays a key role in analysis, memory retrieval, abstract thinking and problem-solving, and has the fluidity to adapt according to the task at hand.”

““If correct it certainly pushes back in time the evidence for marking objects in a way that arguably could be considered evidence for symbolic activity,” says Curtis Marean, an archaeologist at Arizona State University, Tempe, who was not involved in the study. But he points out that the Java site, known as Trinil, was excavated in the 1890s using “quite primitive” archaeological methods and that no one has reexamined the location using modern techniques. That means, he says, that “the observation is essentially devoid of context.””

“”Our study demonstrated that women’s hormonal contraceptive use interacted with their husbands’ facial attractiveness to predict their marital satisfaction,” said SMU psychologist Andrea L. Meltzer, a co-author on the study.

Specifically, women who met their relatively more attractive husbands while using hormonal contraceptives experienced a boost in marital satisfaction when they discontinued using those contraceptives, said Meltzer, an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Psychology.”

“”We know that capuchin monkeys share a number of our own economic biases. Our previous work has shown that monkeys are loss-averse, irrational when it comes to dealing with risk, and even prone to rationalizing their own decisions, just like humans,” said Laurie Santos, a psychologist at Yale University and senior author of the study. “But this is one of the first domains we’ve tested in which monkeys show more rational behavior than humans do.”

Rhia Catapano, a former Yale undergraduate who ran the study as part of her senior honors thesis, along with Santos and colleagues designed a series of four experiments to test whether capuchins would prefer higher-priced but equivalent items.”

“To fend off predators, the black-saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini) famously inflates its body with water, much like a person puffing up his cheeks and holding his breath. But unlike the blue-faced human—and in contrast with scientists’ expectations—the pufferfish does not actually stop breathing, researchers report online today in Biology Letters. “

“In the movie The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Legolas fights some orcs. Yes, Legolas isn’t supposed to be in this movie, but he is. At one point, Legolas takes a breather from fighting and some orc thinks this would be a perfect time to take him out with an arrow. The orc’s arrow flies towards Legolas, but BOOM. The arrow is shot out of it’s trajectory as it is hit from another arrow fired from the wood elf Tauriel.

That’s your plot. Now for the physics.:

“”The findings are important because cognitive ability is among the most important psychological predictors of many important life outcomes, including socioeconomic success and health,” says lead researcher Antti Latvala of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Helsinki in Finland.”

“t’s no secret that many alcoholics are also smokers—the two vices seem to go hand in hand. Many people who have tried to give up drinking have claimed that smoking while doing so makes it easier. Evidence from this new study suggests such people may be fooling themselves.”

December 2, 2014

readings in psychology for 2 december 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

Our Family 2014 Card... we hope you have a wonderful season and a Happy New Year!

Our Family 2014 Card… we hope you have a wonderful season and a Happy New Year!

Here is what I am reading today:

“”Rather than being one of many factors, vitamin D could have a regulative role in the development of SAD,” said Alan Stewart of the University of Georgia College of Education.

An international research partnership between UGA, the University of Pittsburgh and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia reported the finding in the November 2014 issue of the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Stewart and Michael Kimlin from QUT’s School of Public Health and Social Work conducted a review of more than 100 leading articles and found a relationship between vitamin D and seasonal depression.”

““We found that we could tell whether a person has autism or not by the their brain activation patterns when they think about social concepts. This gives us a whole new perspective to understanding psychiatric illnesses and disorders,” said Just, the D. O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a leading researcher into the neural basis of autism. “We’ve shown not just that the brains of people with autism may be different, or that their activation is different, but that the way social thoughts are formed is different. We have discovered a biological thought-marker for autism.””

“”This is the first time we have been able to explicitly characterize subtypes of severity in autism spectrum disorder,” said Jorge V. José, Ph.D., vice president of research at Indiana University and the James H. Rudy Professor of Physics in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. “We also have determined that a pattern exists in the movement variations in some cases between children with autism and their parents, leading us to surmise that genetics plays a role in movement patterns.””

“The research, led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah and Tom Carter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, could change the way 3D shapes are used. The new technology could enable surgeons to explore a CT scan by enabling them to feel a disease, such as a tumour, using haptic feedback.”

““The HPA axis is a complex system with a feedback loop, so that damage to any one of the three areas will affect the others,” said study lead author Thomas M. Malone, B.A., from the Department of Neurosurgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. “It’s suspected of playing an important role in PTSD, but there is limited neuroimaging research in the veteran population.””

“We’re using what we learned in these experiments to try to develop a new tool that would allow physicians to not only examine the eye but also to stimulate specific parts of the retina to determine whether it’s functioning properly,” said senior investigator Vladimir J. Kefalov, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Washington University. “We hope that ultimately this discovery will have some very practical applications.”

The findings are published Dec. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Online Early Edition. Collaborators include scientists in Cleveland, Poland, Switzerland and Norway,”

 

November 25, 2014

readings for psychology for 25 november 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

Filed under: a current story,Biological Psychology,General Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 11:15 am
My favorite of all and I remember playing it when it first came out!

My favorite of all and I remember playing it when it first came out! #Nintendo

What I am reading today:

“Researchers studying honeybees during learning activities have shown that memory management in the bee brain is controlled by small genetic elements called microRNAs that help regulate gene expression.

Queensland Brain Institute researchers Professor Charles Claudianos and Dr Judith Reinhard have led an international team which has discovered that these microRNAs could directly target the key developmental gene ‘actin’, which controls the ability of nerve cells to connect with other nerve cells.”

“To capture the details of the aerodynamics of the hummingbird’s ability to hover, Tyson Hedrick, associate professor of biology at UNC, put tiny dabs of non-toxic paint at nine places on a female ruby-throated hummingbird’s wing. Then he took high-speed videos at 1,000 frames per second with four cameras while the bird hovered in front of an artificial flower.

Then at Vanderbilt Haoxiang Luo, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and doctoral student Jialei Song took the video, extracted data on the position of the points in three dimensions and reconstructed the varying wing shape and position for a full flapping cycle.”

“During brain development, neurons extend projections called axons to connect with other neurons. Axons from groups of neurons with the same function tend to extend together, but the mechanisms involved in keeping the growing axons in contact for collective extension have been unclear. Masatoshi Takeichi, Shuichi Hayashi and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology and RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center have now revealed that the protein protocadherin-17 (Pcdh17) plays a crucial role in this coordinated axon growth and correct development of the nervous system.”

““The clinical histology slide offered us a great opportunity to generate the first genome sequence of this elusive class of tapeworms,” says Dr Hayley Bennett, first author of the study from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “However, we only had a minute amount of DNA available to work with – just 40 billionths of a gram. So we had to make difficult decisions as to what we wanted to find out from the DNA we had.”

To identify the exact species of worm, the researchers sequenced one particular gene, the so-called “barcode of life”. Fortunately for the patient, the gene’s DNA sequence revealed that the parasite was the more benign of the two sparganosis-causing worm species.”

““We think that the degree of plasticity in the cortex gets more and more limited with older people,” said Takeo Watanabe, the Fred M. Seed Professor at Brown University and a co-author of the study published in Nature Communications. “However, they keep the ability to learn, visually at least, by changing white matter structure.”

The study’s lead authors are Yuko Yotsumoto of the University of Tokyo and Li-Hung Chang of Brown University and National Yang Ming University in Taiwan. The corresponding author is Yuka Sasaki, associate professor (research) of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown University.”

“To date, roughly 85 people worldwide have undergone hand replant or transplant surgery, an 8- to 10-hour procedure in which surgeons reattach the bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue between the patient’s severed wrist and their own hand or one from a donor, often using a needle finer than a human hair. After surgery, studies have shown that it takes about 2 years for the peripheral nerves to regenerate, with sensation slowly creeping through the palm and into the fingertips at a rate of roughly 2 mm per day, says Scott Frey, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Missouri, Columbia.”

 

November 19, 2014

readings in psychology for 19 november 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

Filed under: a current story,Biological Psychology,General Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 11:05 am
Always fun to meet with friends and break bread

Always fun to meet with friends and break bread

Here’s what we are reading today:

“The study looked at the entire nasal complex of Neanderthals and involved researchers with diverse academic backgrounds. Supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the research also indicates that the Neanderthal nasal complex was not adaptively inferior to that of modern humans, and that the Neanderthals’ extinction was likely due to competition from modern humans and not an inability of the Neanderthal nose to process a colder and drier climate.

Samuel Márquez, PhD, associate professor and co-discipline director of gross anatomy in SUNY Downstate’s Department of Cell Biology, and his team of specialists published their findings on the Neanderthal nasal complex in the November issue of The Anatomical Record, which is part of a special issue on The Vertebrate Nose: Evolution, Structure, and Function (now online).”

“According to senior study investigator and neurobiologist Regina Sullivan, PhD, who is scheduled to present her team’s findings at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18, the research is believed to be the first to show the short-term effects of maternal caregiving in a distressed infant pup’s brain. The study was also designed to support her research into the long-term consequences of differences in how mammals, including humans, are nurtured from birth.

“Our study shows that a mother comforting her infant in pain does not just elicit a behavioral response, but also the comforting itself modifies — for better or worse — critical neural circuitry during early brain development,” says Sullivan, a professor at the NYU School of Medicine and its affiliated Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research.”

“One of the most surprising outcomes of the study was that those who underwent the training also saw their IQ jump by an average of 12 points, compared to a control group that didn’t undergo training.

Dr Daniel Bor, who co-led the study with Dr Nicolas Rothen, says: “The main implication of our study is that radically new ways of experiencing the world can be brought about simply through extensive perceptual training.”

“”These results seem to suggest that males are selected to be aggressive toward females to increase their paternity success, which explains why male-female aggression is observed in so many chimpanzee populations,” says Joseph Feldblum of Duke University.

Chimpanzee males are known to direct surprising amounts of aggression toward their female group mates, according to the researchers, but previous studies of mating success had found evidence both for and against the presence of sexual coercion in wild chimps.”

“The scientists made their discovery as part of research in which they identified genes that are activated to make specific proteins in crucial stem cells in the brain known as radial glial cells. The discovery stems from a collaboration between the laboratories of leading radial glial cell scientist Arnold Kriegstein MD, PhD, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF, and Michael Oldham, PhD, who recently made a rapid career leap from graduate student to principal investigator and Sandler Fellow at UCSF.”

“”Previous research into facial structure of athletes has been primarily in the United States and Canada,” said Keith Welker, a postdoctoral researcher in CU-Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the lead author of the paper. “No one had really looked at how facial-width-to-height ratio is associated with athletic performance by comparing people from across the world.”

FWHR is the distance between the cheekbones divided by the distance between the mid-brow and the upper lip. Past studies have shown that a high FWHR is associated with more aggressive behavior, with both positive and negative results. For example, high FWHR correlates with greater antisocial and unethical behavior, but it also correlates with greater success among CEOs and achievement drive among U.S. presidents.”

“”In the future, robots must be able to solve tasks in deep mines on distant planets, in radioactive disaster areas, in hazardous landslip areas and on the sea bed beneath the Antarctic. These environments are so extreme that no human being can cope. Everything needs to be automatically controlled. Imagine that the robot is entering the wreckage of a nuclear power plant. It finds a staircase that no-one has thought of. The robot takes a picture. The picture is analysed. The arms of one of the robots is fitted with a printer. This produces a new robot, or a new part for the existing robot, which enables it to negotiate the stairs,” hopes Associate Professor Kyrre Glette who is part of the Robotics and intelligent systems research team at Oslo University’s Department of Informatics, Norway.”

 

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Quote to Ponder

It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages
-------- Nietzsche



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