Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

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.”

 

October 28, 2014

readings in psychology for 28 october 2015 #PsychScience #psychology

I have collaborated with Savant Learning Systems to produce lectures for John Cacioppo and my new edition of "Discovering Psychology -- the Science of Mind" Read more:  http://www.savantlearningsystems.com

I have collaborated with Savant Learning Systems to produce video lectures for John Cacioppo and my new edition of “Discovering Psychology — the Science of Mind”
Read more: http://www.savantlearningsystems.com

Here is what I am reading today:

“When Yanomamö men in the Amazon raided villages and killed decades ago, they formed alliances with men in other villages rather than just with close kin like chimpanzees do. And the spoils of war came from marrying their allies’ sisters and daughters, rather than taking their victims’ land and women.”

“Ever wonder how biologists use RNA sequencing from cytoplasm to decode a cell’s stress response? Or how about how astronomers use heterodyne arrays with superconducting mixers to observe the birth of stars? Rather than reading a paper about it, why not watch a dance? A ballet and a modern dance on those very topics have made it into the finals of this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.

It was a tight race among this year’s 21 Ph.D. dance submissions. The previous winners of the contest scored each of them on their scientific and artistic merits, and these 12 finalists made the cut.”

“The study involved a small group of healthy people aged in their late 20s to early 30s who rode exercise bikes. They were monitored for changes in the brain immediately after the exercise and again 15 minutes later.

“We saw positive changes in the brain straight away, and these improvements were sustained 15 minutes after the exercise had ended,” says research leader Associate Professor Michael Ridding.”

“Using a high-resolution, one-of-a-kind microscope, Daniel A. Dombeck and Mark E. J. Sheffield peered into the brain of a living animal and saw exactly what was happening in individual neurons called place cells as the animal navigated a virtual reality maze.”

““Dopamine is a ubiquitous molecule in the brain that signals ‘mission accomplished.’ It serves as the key indicator during almost all aspects of learning and the formation of new memories,” said David Kleinfeld professor of physics at UC San Diego, who directed the work. “Disruptions to dopamine signaling lie at the heart of schizophrenia and addiction.” Kleinfeld also holds appointments in neurobiology, and electrical and computer engineering.”

“Richard G. M. Morris developed the water maze that bears his name as an alternative for the radial arm maze. The radial arm maze had been used for many decades prior to Morris’s first use of the water maze in 1981. 

The radial arm maze provides limited information about cues other than the immediate visual environment. Because Morris was interested in an array of cues, including audition and olfaction, he needed to find another way to study spatial learning.

See: Morris (1981)”

“Dr Shelley Gorman, of the Telethon Kids Institute and lead author of the study, said: “Our findings are important as they suggest that casual skin exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children.”

“These observations further indicate that the amounts of nitric oxide released from the skin may have beneficial effects not only on heart and blood vessels but also on the way our body regulates metabolism,” Dr Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton, added.”

John Cacioppo and I have worked hard to update our text to reflect the many discoveries that have affected the wonderfully dynamic field we call Psychology! Questions?? feel free to contact me:  laura (AT) laurafreberg.com

October 19, 2014

readings in psychology for 19 october 20014 #PsychScience #psychology

Filed under: a current story — Laura Freberg @ 9:33 am
in 2009 , we presented at a wonderful Psychology Conference in Athens, Greece. A place everyone should visit.

in 2009 , we presented at a wonderful Psychology Conference in Athens, Greece. A place everyone should visit.

What I am reading today:

“”When we compared the genomes of apes and humans, we found that the humans had evolved complex structural changes at 16p11.2 associated with deletions and duplications that often result in autism. The findings suggest that these changes emerged relatively recently and are unique to humans,” explained study author Xander Nuttle, BS, BSE, a graduate student in the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.”

“”Previous research shows that the color red in a mating context makes people more attractive, and in the fighting context makes people seem more threatening and angry,” explained Benjamin Y. Hayden, a coauthor of the study and professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.

Hayden, whose research often involves primates, and Andrew J. Elliot, a professor of psychology at Rochester who has published several articles on humans and the red effect and coauthor of the study, sought to uncover what causes humans’ response to the color. Is triggered simply by repeated cultural exposures, or if there is a biological basis that may help explain why the color tends to amplify human emotions?”

“A study led by University of Toronto psychology researchers has found that people who play action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed seem to learn a new sensorimotor skill more quickly than non-gamers do.

A new sensorimotor skill, such as learning to ride a bike or typing, often requires a new pattern of coordination between vision and motor movement. With such skills, an individual generally moves from novice performance, characterized by a low degree of coordination, to expert performance, marked by a high degree of coordination. As a result of successful sensorimotor learning, one comes to perform these tasks efficiently and perhaps even without consciously thinking about them.

“We wanted to understand if chronic video game playing has an effect on sensorimotor control, that is, the coordinated function of vision and hand movement,” said graduate student Davood Gozli, who led the study with supervisor Jay Pratt.”

“”In our study we are dealing with the question of why we believe that we see the world uniformly detailed,” says Dr. Arvid Herwig from the Neuro-Cognitive Psychology research group of the Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science. The group is also affiliated to the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) of Bielefeld University and is led by Professor Dr. Werner X. Schneider.”

“Bacteria are likely not the whole story; irregular sleeping and eating can contribute to disease through other routes, such as excess stress hormone and insulin production. Even so, “this is a compelling study,” says microbiologist Rob Knight of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Knight says some of the strongest evidence for a bacterial role in circadian-linked diseases lies in the final phase of the study, when the research team analyzed fecal samples from two people on a normal schedule and two more who had recently flown from the United States to Israel. Analyzing the samples before, during, and after the bouts of jet lag, they found fluctuations in bacteria similar to what they saw in the mice. The jet-lagged participants showed an increase in a type of bacteria known to be more prevalent in people with obesity and diabetes; levels of these microbes dropped back to normal once the travelers adjusted to the new time zone.”

 

October 15, 2014

readings in psychology for 15 october 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

In case you are unaware of video games, Zelda has a new adventure that is a but different from the rest and loads of fun!

In case you are unaware of video games, Zelda has a new adventure that is a but different from the rest and loads of fun!

Here is what I am reading today:

““This isn’t ready for application in the clinic yet, but as we get a better feel for where these and other hubs are found in the brain, they may factor into surgical decision-making,” said co-senior author Steven Petersen, PhD, the James S McDonnell Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in Neurology. “The risks of surgeries to these sites could include significant impairment of attention, memory, language, speech and many other cognitive functions.””

“The researchers hope that this unifying theory, if validated, could offer new strategies for treating autism.
“At the moment, the treatments that have been developed are driven by the end symptoms. We’re suggesting that the deeper problem is a predictive impairment problem, so we should directly address that ability,” says Pawan Sinha, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences and the lead author of a paper describing the hypothesis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.”

“Society for Neuroscience archival interview with American sleep researcher William C. Dement. He founded the Sleep Research Center, the world’s first sleep laboratory, at Stanford University. The interview took place July 21-22, 2004. This video is part of the Society for Neuroscience’s autobiography series, “The History of Neuroscience in Autobiography,” detailing the lives and discoveries of eminent senior neuroscientists.”

“”We have now shown that one way maternal inflammation could result in larger brains and, ultimately, autistic behavior, is through the activation of the neural stem cells that reside in the brain of all developing and adult mammals,” said Dr. Harley Kornblum, the paper’s senior author and a director of the Neural Stem Cell Research Center at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.”

“Blood-brain barrier (BBB) damaging during ischemia may induce devastating consequences like cerebral edema and hemorrhagic transformation. This study presents a novel strategy for dynamically imaging of BBB damaging with PEGylated supermagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) as contrast agents.”

October 8, 2014

readings in psychology for 8 october 2014 #PsychScience. #psychology

Filed under: a current story,behavioral neuroscience,General Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 8:55 am
a fusion of Greek and Mexican foods

a fusion of Greek and Mexican foods in San Luis Obispo

Here is what I am reading today:

““As we have now discovered in cell cultures, exosomes seem to have a whole range of functions,” explained Dr. Eva-Maria Krämer-Albers. By means of their transmission activity, the small bubbles that are the vesicles not only promote electrical activity in the nerve cells, but also influence them on the biochemical and gene regulatory level. “The extent of activities of the exosomes is impressive,” added Krämer-Albers. The researchers hope that the understanding of these processes will contribute to the development of new strategies for the treatment of neuronal diseases. Their next aim is to uncover how vesicles actually function in the brains of living organisms.”

“If you sailed through school with high grades and perfect test scores, you probably did it with traits beyond sheer smarts. A new study of more than 6000 pairs of twins finds that academic achievement is influenced by genes affecting motivation, personality, confidence, and dozens of other traits, in addition to those that shape intelligence. The results may lead to new ways to improve childhood education.  

“I think this is going to end up being a really classic paper in the literature,” says psychologist Lee Thompson of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who has studied the genetics of cognitive skills and who was not involved in the work. “It’s a really firm foundation from which we can build on.””

““We have a new way to regulate T-cell activation and potentially better control immune-mediated diseases,” said senior author Eyal Raz, MD, professor of medicine.

The receptor, called a TRPV1 channel, has a well-recognized role on nerve cells that help regulate body temperature and alert the brain to heat and pain. It is also sometimes called the capsaicin receptor because of its role in producing the sensation of heat from chili peppers.”

“”Height is almost completely determined by genetics, but our earlier studies were only able to explain about 10 percent of this genetic influence,” says Joel Hirschhorn, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, leader of the GIANT Consortium and co-senior investigator on the study. “Now, by doubling the number of people in our study, we have a much more complete picture of how common genetic variants affect height—how many of them there are and how much they contribute.””

“A high alcohol intake is linked to a heightened risk of human papillomavirus infection among men, suggests research in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. The findings seem to be independent of other risk factors for the infection, such as number of sexual partners and smoking.”

“For decades, researchers have been trying to nail down what influences eyewitness testimony and how much confidence to place in it. After a year of sifting through the scientific evidence, a committee of psychologists and criminologists organized by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) has now gingerly weighed in. “This is a serious issue with major implications for our justice system,” says committee member Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist at New York University in New York City. Their 2 October report, Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification, is likely to change the way that criminal cases are prosecuted, says Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was an external reviewer of the report.”

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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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