Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

May 18, 2012

readings for 18 May 2012 #aps2012

"The Family that Researches Together" -- a nice article appearing on this year's APS convention web site! CLICK on the picture to read more!

Here is what I am reading today!:

“One of life’s simple pleasures just got a little sweeter. After years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease, a big study finds the opposite: Coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. Regular or decaf doesn’t matter.”

“Common variants of the ApoE gene are strongly associated with the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but the gene’s role in the disease has been unclear. Now, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that in mice, having the most risky variant of ApoE damages the blood vessels that feed the brain.”

“What can a fish tell us about human brain development? Researchers at Duke University Medical Center transplanted a set of human genes into a zebrafish and then used it to identify genes responsible for head size at birth.”

“In an ongoing clinical trial, a paralyzed woman was able to reach for and sip from a drink on her own – for the first time in nearly 15 years – by using her thoughts to direct a robotic arm. The trial is evaluating the safety and feasibility of an investigational device called the BrainGate neural interface system. This is a type of brain-computer interface (BCI) intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain’s control.”

“Among adults of all ages, 82% say it’s harder for today’s young adults to find a job than it was for their parents’ generation. Only 5% say it’s easier now to find a job, and 12% say finding a job is about the same as it was a generation ago.”

 

February 18, 2012

updates in psychology for february 18th 2012

Here is what I am reading today:

Computer programs can be taught to differentiate between the brain scans of healthy adolescents and those most at risk of developing psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression, according to research published yesterday in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The research suggests that it may be possible to design programs that can accurately predict which at-risk adolescents will subsequently develop these disorders.”

Google is in a lot of hot water over recent revelations about how it tracks user activity on Apple devices — particularly iPhones and iPads. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, an independent researcher has discovered that Google embeds hidden software on many websites — software designed to circumvent the default settings on a web browser to record a user’s behavior.

“A new study led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found significant differences in brain development starting at age 6 months in high-risk infants who later develop autism, compared to high-risk infants who did not develop autism.”

“Mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to a common flame retardant were less fertile and their offspring were smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The researchers said the study is the first to link genetics and epigenetics with exposure to a flame retardant chemical.”

“Making play sets more interactive and giving children with autism greater opportunities to control and add content of their own to the game could improve cooperative play with other children as well as giving them greater confidence in understanding how objects interact.”

“Babies still too small to speak know how to make jokes and form friendships, say researchers at an Australian university who have spent two years filming the behaviour of young children.”

 

September 10, 2011

readings in psychology for september 10th 2011

Here I am holding the constant reminder of the greatest machine on the planet.

Here is what I am reading today:

“Women who use contraceptives like birth control pills experience memory changes, according to new UC Irvine research. Their ability to remember the gist of an emotional event improves, while women not using the contraceptives better retain details.”

“In a new study published September 9 in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants’ preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with “sticky mittens” to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.”

“Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute have shown that parental stress during their children’s early years can leave an imprint on their sons’ or daughters’ genes — an imprint that lasts into adolescence and may affect how these genes are expressed later in life.”

“Children are more reliable eyewitnesses than had previously been thought, according to witness psychologist Gunilla Fredin at Lund University in Sweden. She also questions a common method used for police identity parades (line-ups) with children.”

“In the wake of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, research published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress reveals how the attacks impacted the psychological processes of those not directly exposed to the event. The study, which focused on college students in Massachusetts, found that even those who were not directly connected to New York or Washington showed increased stress responses to run of the mill visual images.”

“Dual enrollment numbers continue an upward arc at the county public high schools.

High school students in increasing numbers are taking advantage of dual enrollment opportunities as a head start toward college degrees while working from the familiar surroundings of their home schools.”


 

 

Quote to Ponder

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


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