Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

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 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.”

September 23, 2014

readings in psychology for 23 september 2014 #psychScience #psychology

Ronnie gets a little tired after our big walks!

Ronnie gets a little tired after our big walks!

Here’s what we are reading today!

“I’m not alone in this experience. A handful of studies in recent years have examined the prevalence of phantom cellphone vibrations, and they’ve come up with impressive numbers, from 68 percent of the medical staff at a Massachusetts hospital to 89 percent of undergraduates at a midwestern university, to more than 90 percent of Taiwanese doctors-in-training in the middle of their internships”

“‘We are hoping that this type of programme will eventually be useful in several different practical applications. Personally, I think a versatile household robot would be tremendously valuable, but we’re not there yet,’ says Strannegård.

The research team included Claes Strannegård, Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, and at the Department of Applied Information Technology, Chalmers University of Technology.”

“Most studies investigating P300 and recognition have been conducted in lab settings that are far removed from the kinds of information a real witness or suspect might be exposed to. This new study marks an important advance, says lead research John B. Meixner of Northwestern University, because it draws on details from activities in participants’ normal, daily lives.

“Much like a real crime, our participants made their own decisions and were exposed to all of the distracting information in the world,” he explains.”

“Professor Quentin Sattentau, who led the research at the Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, says: ‘This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a potential trigger for peanut allergy has been directly shown.’

Previous studies have shown that roasting modifies peanut proteins leading to altered recognition by the immune system, but they did not show that roasted peanuts can trigger an allergic immune response.”

“But in this new study, conducted by doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan in the laboratory of Prof. Kobi Rosenblum of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Riken Institute, the leading brain research institute in Tokyo, the researchers demonstrate for the first time that there is a functional link between the two brain regions.”

“Researchers do not yet know how exactly gut bacteria might influence behavior, but one hypothesis is that a leaky gut may allow substances to pass into the bloodstream that harm the brain. In the mouse study, the probiotic may have helped reshape the microbial ecosystem and made the intestines more robust, preventing the leakage of such substances, says co-author Elaine Y. Hsiao, a microbiologist at Caltech.”

“An earlier study by Dr. Molholm and colleagues suggested that brainwave electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings could potentially reveal how severely ASD individuals are affected. That study found that children with ASD process sensory information—such as sound, touch and vision—less rapidly than typically developing children do.”

“Sliman Bensmaia, PhD, assistant professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago, and Hannes Saal, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Bensmaia’s lab, reviewed more than 100 research studies on the physiological basis of touch published over the past 57 years. They argue that evidence once thought to show that different groups of receptors and nerves, or afferents, were responsible for conveying information about separate components of touch to the brain actually demonstrates that these afferents work together to produce the complex sensation.

“Any time you touch an object, all of these afferents are active together,” Bensmaia said. “They each convey information about all aspects of an object, whether it’s the shape, the texture, or its motion across the skin.””

 

September 15, 2014

readings in psychology for 15 september 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

the 12th was Roger and my 42nd wedding anniversary! Here we are in 1974 ( married 2 years) dressed very 70's California.

the 12th was Roger and my 42nd wedding anniversary! Here we are in 1974 ( married 2 years) dressed very 70’s California.

“Dizzy and nauseated? You could be dehydrated or have high blood pressure—or there could be a giant hole in your brain. After a 24-year-old woman complained of these symptoms at a hospital in China, doctors scanned her brain anddiscovered that her cerebellum was missing, a new study in Brain reports. Despite missing the entire region, which helps control movement, balance, and speaking, the woman displays only mild clumsiness and slightly slurred speech—a remarkable example of the brain’s ability to compensate, New Scientist reports today.”

“”Our aim was to investigate what is going on in the brains of people when they watch violent movies,” said lead investigator Nelly Alia-Klein, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Friedman Brain Institute and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We hypothesized that if people have aggressive traits to begin with, they will process violent media in a very different way as compared to non-aggressive people, a theory supported by these findings.””

“Taski found that the mechanical pulse was modified at the collision point, but he did not completely examine the details of annhilation itself. Apparently, no other studies have replicated the original 1949 experiments. Falsification of the annhilation scenario really only requires showing sufficient exception, enough that there no longer is a “general case”. Thomas Heimburg, from the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhangen, has recently been able to do just that. Using a simple worm axon preparation where spikes could be timed and measured after stimulation from both ends, Heimburg showed that pulses survive collision.”

“Researchers Jose Fernandez and Dhaval Dave analyzed the number and wages of auxiliary health providers based on California Department of Developmental Services data from 2002 to 2011. Each time autism cases doubled, the number of autism health providers grew by as much as 14 percent over that of non-autism health providers, they found.”

“The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, led by the University of Birmingham in conjunction with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, is the largest project of its kind.”

“”Responding sensitively to infant crying is a difficult yet important task,” notes Esther M. Leerkes, professor of human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who led the study. “Some mothers may need help controlling their own distress and interpreting babies’ crying as an attempt to communicate need or discomfort. Home visiting programs or parenting classes that help parents become more aware of stress and teach ways to reduce it, as well as individualized parent education efforts, may help build these skills.””

“Results show that past use of benzodiazepines for three months or more was associated with an increased risk (up to 51%) of Alzheimer’s disease. The strength of association increased with longer exposure and with use of long-acting benzodiazepines rather than short-acting ones.

Further adjustment for symptoms that might indicate the start of dementia, such as anxiety, depression or sleep disorders, did not meaningfully alter the results.”

“Dr Robert Dickinson from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “After a blow to the head, most of the damage to the brain doesn’t occur immediately but in the hours and days afterwards. At present we have no specific drugs to limit the spread of the secondary injury, but we think that is the key to successful treatment.

“This study shows that xenon can prevent brain damage and disability in mice, and crucially it’s effective when given up to at least three hours after the injury. It’s feasible that someone who hits their head in an accident could be treated in the hospital or in an ambulance in this timeframe.”

“Led by Ifat Levy, assistant professor in comparative medicine and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, the team found that those with larger volume in a particular part of the parietal cortex were willing to take more risks than those with less volume in this part of the brain. The findings are published in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.”

““If you ask any psychiatrist seeing patients with autistic behavior their most striking observation from the clinic, they will say there are more males compared to females,” said Dr. Anilkumar Pillai, MCG neuroscientist and corresponding author of the study in Molecular Autism.”

September 9, 2014

readings in psychology for 9 september 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

Filed under: behavioral neuroscience,Biological Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 8:39 am
Taking an afternoon walk and a bit of coffee is relaxing after a day at the computer!

Taking an afternoon walk and a bit of coffee is relaxing after a day at the computer!

Here is what I am reading today:

They are wounded veterans, and after serving America, this week in London they will compete for America against other wounded veterans at the first-ever Invictus Games.

“Invictus” means “unconquered,” and that is exactly what these games will represent, said Sgt. Major Chris Self, who lost his leg after being shot in Iraq and is now captain of Team USA.

“It’s just telling everybody that hey, you know, we can overcome, and if we can do it, then those that are sitting at home watching or those that are sitting at home reading about it, they can do it too,” Self said.

“Intelligence, cognitive ability or cognitive performance is usually measured by a battery of tests that aim to quantify skills such as memory and analytical ability. There is loads of variation between people in how they perform on such tests, and these differences can be due to genetic and environment factors, and their interplay.”

“”This gets right to the heart of understanding, possibly, the mechanism by which one form of lipid is impacting the process of neuron degeneration,” said Dr. Guy Caldwell, UA professor of biological sciences and one of the study’s co-authors.”

“Laura Cacciamani, who recently earned her doctorate in psychology with a minor in neuroscience, has found supporting evidence. Cacciamani’s is the lead author on a co-authored study, published online in the journal Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, shows that the brain’s subconscious processing has an impact on behavior and decision-making.”

“”While we cannot say whether obesity is a cause or an effect of these patterns of dopamine activity, eating based on unconscious habits rather than conscious choices could make it harder to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, especially when appetizing food cues are practically everywhere,” said Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D., lead author and a senior investigator at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of NIH. “This means that triggers such as the smell of popcorn at a movie theater or a commercial for a favorite food may have a stronger pull for an obese person – and a stronger reaction from their brain chemistry – than for a lean person exposed to the same trigger.””

“In a statement accompanying the publication of these findings, Dr. Jacques Blacher, the study’s lead author, said that new research like this should play a prominent role in determining public health initiatives for reducing epidemic hypertension: “Hypertension is the world’s most prevalent chronic disease. It affects more than 30% of adults aged 25 and above, and accounts for 9.4 million deaths every year. Given its increasing prevalence and the difficulty we as a global health community have in managing it, more should be done to identify causal behavioral relationships to blood pressure outcomes that can lead to better strategies for preventing hypertension.””

“”This increased sensitivity to animacy suggests that people are casting a wide net when looking for people they can possibly relate to—which may ultimately help them maximize opportunities to renew social connections,” explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Katherine Powers of Dartmouth College.”

“This study is the first experimental evidence of these effects, said Saurabh Thosar, a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, who led the study as a doctoral candidate at IU’s School of Public Health-Bloomington.

“The UB research has the potential to identify novel therapies for treating cocaine addiction and other psychostimulants, for which no effective drug therapy exists.

“Why is it that after staying clean for a month or a year, an addict will, seemingly without reason, start using drugs again?” asks David Dietz, PhD, principal investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It’s because addiction has rewired the brain.””

 

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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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