Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

January 31, 2013

readings in psychology for 31 january 2013 @PsychScience

Every once and a while, I will have a visitor sit into my class, this time it was my husband Roger armed with his ever present camera!

Every once and a while, I will have a visitor sit into my class, this time it was my husband Roger armed with his ever present camera!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Vocabulary instruction in the early years is not challenging enough to prepare students for long-term reading comprehension, argues a study led by a Michigan State University education researcher.”

“Female mice exposed to Bisphenol A through their mother’s diet during gestation and lactation were found to be hyperactive, exhibit spontaneous activity and had leaner body mass than those not exposed to the chemical, researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health have discovered.”

  • even a beetle navigates by the stars

“Despite having tiny brains, dung beetles are surprisingly decent navigators, able to follow straight paths as they roll poo balls they’ve collected away from a dung source. But it seems the insects’ abilities are more remarkable than previously believed. Like ancient seafarers, dung beetles can navigate using the starry sky and the glow from the Milky Way, new research shows.

“This is the first time where we see animals using the Milky Way for orientation,” said lead researcher Marie Dacke, a biologist at Lund University in Sweden. “It’s also the first time we see that insects can use the stars.””

“The connection between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration as we grow older has been elusive. But for the first time, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a link between these hallmark maladies of old age. Their discovery opens the door to boosting the quality of sleep in elderly people to improve memory.”

“Results of a recent clinical study by researchers from Western and the University of Arkansas reveal the presence of a unique blood marker, which may further the understanding of possible gut linked environmental contributors to autism. The findings may also forecast potential blood tests for early screening to identify and potentially treat the condition, even before symptoms present.”

“A patient’s relationship with his or her doctor has long been considered an important component of healing. Now, in a novel investigation in which physicians underwent brain scans while they believed they were actually treating patients, researchers have provided the first scientific evidence indicating that doctors truly can feel their patients’ pain – and can also experience their relief following treatment.”

“New research at Oregon State University suggests the health benefits of small amounts of activity – even as small as one- and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes per day – can be just as beneficial as longer bouts of physical exercise achieved by a trip to the gym.”

“In mice, a particular type of neuron responds specifically to gentle touch. Stroking skin produces a pleasurable sensation in many mammals, including humans, but until now, it was unclear which neurons detected that stimulus”

“You knew it would have to come around sometime. Too many gamers out there to not believe it was going to happen. Finally there are a few sites which allow men and women who love to play video games to play with each other! Although it is hard for many of my female colleagues to believe, but there are a rising number of young women who love and play video games! We play as a family, in pairs and individually… and now we know we are not alone!” — Laura Freberg

 

 

September 15, 2012

readings in psychology for 15 september 2012 @PsychScience

In 1985, Super Mario took it’s first bounce into history! I do remember!

Here is what I am reading today:

“By placing a neural device onto the front part of the monkeys’ brains, the researchers, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, University of Kentucky and University of Southern California, were able to recover, and even improve, the monkeys’ ability to make decisions when their normal cognitive functioning was disrupted.”

“Professors James LeCheminant and Michael Larson measured the neural activity of 35 women while they viewed food images, both following a morning of exercise and a morning without exercise. They found their attentional response to the food pictures decreased after the brisk workout.”

“”Based on our previous research we knew that an honour code is useful, but we were wondering how much the location mattered,” says Nina Mazar, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Prof. Mazar co-wrote the paper with Lisa L. Shu of the Kellogg School of Management, Francesca Gino and Max H. Bazerman of Harvard Business School, and Dan Ariely of the Fuqua School of Business.”

love hurts… and why?

“Neurobiologist Larry Young studies a monogamous species of rodent, the prairie vole, to understand the behavior and chemistry behind relationships. In The Chemistry Between Us, Young teams up with science journalist Brian Alexander to describe science’s progress in illuminating the neurochemistry behind our experience of love. In this excerpt, the authors describe the work of neurobiologist Oliver Bosch, a specialist in maternal behavior, who worked with Young’s prairie voles to study the bitter price of bonding.”

“A new study, conducted by Patricia Kanngiesser, a visiting graduate student from the University of Bristol, U.K., together with Felix Warneken, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard, suggests that children may have a far more advanced concept of fairness than previously thought. The study, described in a paper recently published in PLoS ONE, shows that children as young as 3 consider merit—a key part of more-advanced ideas of fairness—when distributing resources. Earlier studies had suggested that the use of merit didn’t emerge until a few years later.”

“By studying mice that had been isolated early in life, researchers led by Gabriel Corfas of Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School hoped to uncover how social deprivation can affect the developing brain. After the mice had weaned, the researchers put them into one of three environments: One was a deluxe suite, enriched with fresh toys every other day and populated by friends of similar ages, one was a standard laboratory cage holding four mice, and one was a holding cell for total isolation. “

 

June 11, 2012

readings in psychology for 11 june 2012 @PsychScience

It's not all work, I love to go to this little coffee shop in Arroyo Grande

Here is what I am reading today:

 

“Researchers from St. Luke’s — Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on 25 men and women of normal weights while they looked at images of healthy and unhealthy foods. The scans were taken after five nights in which sleep was either restricted to four hours or allowed to continue up to nine hours. Results were compared.

“The same brain regions activated when unhealthy foods were presented were not involved when we presented healthy foods,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, the study’s principal investigator. “The unhealthy food response was a neuronal pattern specific to restricted sleep. This may suggest greater propensity to succumb to unhealthy foods when one is sleep restricted.”:

“…Prof David Linden, who led the study which was published in the PLoS One journal, said it had the potential to become part of the “treatment package” for depression. About a fifth of people will develop depression at some point in their lives and a third of those will not respond to standard treatments.

Prof Linden added: “One of the interesting aspects of this technique is that it gives patients the experience of controlling aspects of their own brain activity. “Many of them were very interested in this new way of engaging with their brains.”…

“A new type of game will mine your social media to personalise the experience

“WHEN I put my son to bed, I quite often tell him a story,” says Peter Molyneux, a British game developer who recently left Microsoft to start his own studio, 22Cans. “I will have crafted that story around what I know about him, what he has done in the past few days. Those are the best stories I can tell him – better than Harry Potter, better than anything else because they pull his life into the story.” Molyneux, who has worked in the industry for 30 years, wants to create an artificial intelligence that can offer players the same tailored experience in his next game.”

April 9, 2012

readings in psychology for 9 April 2012

do you know these guys?

My readings for today:

“Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have synthesized a pair of small molecules that dramatically alter the core biological clock in animal models, highlighting the compounds’ potential effectiveness in treating a remarkable range of disorders — including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and serious sleep disorders.”

paralyzed man dances with his wife

“Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, led by Ronald M. Evans, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory, showed that two cellular switches found on the nucleus of mouse cells, known as REV-ERBα and REV-ERBβ, are essential for maintaining normal sleeping and eating cycles and for metabolism of nutrients from food.

The findings, reported March 29 in Nature, describe a powerful link between circadian rhythms and metabolism and suggest a new avenue for treating disorders of both systems, including jet lag, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes.”

February 24, 2012

readings in psychology for 24 February 2012

There have been a few times that I wanted to start class... just like this!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Each year, the brains of hundreds of Finnish children, and therefore their future lives, are at risk due to premature birth or intrapartum asphyxia. The brain is a sensitive organ, and merely keeping the baby alive is not enough to save the brain. The latest scientific achievements offer significant improvements in the brain health and lives of infants.”

“New connections between brain cells emerge in clusters in the brain as animals learn to perform a new task, according to a study published in Nature on February 19 (advance online publication). Led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study reveals details of how brain circuits are rewired during the formation of new motor memories.”

“Chinese blog Apple Daily claims to have leaked pictures of the iPad 3before Apple officially planned to give its own sneak peek in early March. The unconfirmed photos of the iPad 3 look similar to the iPad 2, but Apple Daily reports the iPad 3 will have a quad-core Apple A6 processor and 4G. The iPad 2 has 3G connectivity and a 1 Gigahertz dual-core Apple A5 processor.”

“When first exposed to cocaine, the adolescent brain launches a strong defensive reaction designed to minimize the drug’s effects, Yale and other scientists have found. Now two new studies by a Yale team identify key genes that regulate this response and show that interfering with this reaction dramatically increases a mouse’s sensitivity to cocaine.”

“The more afraid a person is of a spider, the bigger that individual perceives the spider to be, new research suggests.”

“A compound in citrus fruits may reduce your stroke risk, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Eating higher amounts of a compound in citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruit, may lower ischemic stroke risk. Women who ate high amounts of the compound had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount.”

“For some older adults, the online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) may provide more than just an opportunity for escapist adventure. Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that playing WoW actually boosted cognitive functioning for older adults – particularly those adults who had scored poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing the game.”

 

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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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