Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

June 23, 2012

readings in psychology for 23 june 2012 @PsychScience

Here is what I am reading today:

Concentrating closely on a conversation can leave us ‘deaf’ to other sounds, reveals Dr Polly Dalton from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

“Yogi Bear always claimed that he was smarter than the average bear, but the average bear appears to be smarter than once thought. Psychologists Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University and Michael J. Beran of Georgia State University have taken a testing methodology commonly used for primates and shown not only that the methodology can be more widely used, but also that bears can distinguish among differing numerosities.”

“Babies were thought to begin seeing in stereo at about four months after their due date. They actually learn to do it four months after they are exposed to light, even if they are born early.

Ilona Kovács at Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary and her colleagues gave 15 premature and 15 full-term babies goggles that filtered out red or green light. Once a month for eight months, the team sat the babies in a dark room and got them to stare at patterns of dots on a screen. The goggles made the dots invisible unless viewed in 3D.”

“A phenomenon known as the sardine run — involving millions of the small fish swimming in formation as part of their annual migration — may be one of the most alluring spectacles of the marine universe, and it was captured beautifully by renowned wildlife photographers Chris and Monique Fallows during their recent expedition off the Wild Coast region of South Africa (see the following images).”

“…The raw fMRI data will likely show an eruption of signals. “You see this frothing cauldron with this little blip of extra activity,” says computer scientist Francisco Pereira, a researcher at Princeton University…”

“Do animals other than humans have a sense of humor? Perhaps in some ways, yes. But in other ways there are likely uniquely human properties to such emotions. Aside from anecdotes, we know very little about nonhuman primate laughter and humor, but some of the most significant findings to emerge in comparative science over the past decade have involved the unexpected discovery that rats—particularly juvenile rats—laugh. That’s right: rats laugh. At least, that’s the unflinching argument being made by researcher Jaak Panksepp, who published a remarkable, and rather heated, position paper on the subject in Behavioural Brain Research.”

 

 

March 10, 2012

readings in psychology for 10 March 2012

Roger and me enjoying a fun time in Laguna Beach, California

Here is what I am reading today:

“How do we recognize a face? To date, most research has answered “holistically”: We look at all the features — eyes, nose, mouth — simultaneously and, perceiving the relationships among them, gain an advantage over taking in each feature individually. Now a new study overturns this theory. The researchers — Jason M. Gold and Patrick J. Mundy of the Indiana University and Bosco S. Tjan of the University of California Los Angeles — found that people’s performance in recognizing a whole face is no better than their performance with each individual feature shown alone. “Surprisingly, the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts,” says Gold. The findings appear in the journal Psychological Science, which is published by the Association for Psychological Science.”

“UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators have identified a genetic manipulation that increases the development of neurons in the brain during aging and enhances the effect of antidepressant drugs.”

“A new study in Science suggests that thrill-seeking is not limited to humans and other vertebrates. Some honey bees, too, are more likely than others to seek adventure. The brains of these novelty-seeking bees exhibit distinct patterns of gene activity in molecular pathways known to be associated with thrill-seeking in humans, researchers report.”

January 17, 2012

UPDATES in Psychology for 17 January 2012

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Here is what I am reading today:

“Scientists at Tokyo’s Yamazaki Gakuen University wondered why dogs do not seem to feel the cold in their paws, even though the paws have less insulating fur than their trunks. The paws have pads containing a high fat content, which freezes less easily than other tissues, but they also have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, which means they should lose heat easily.”

“Dr. Adam Perkins, lead author of the study at the IoP at King’s says: ‘Our research group focuses on understanding the causes of anxiety. No one knows exactly what anxiety is. However many animal studies link it to risk assessment behaviour, suggesting anxiety can be explained as a defensive adaptation. We wanted to see if this was also the case in humans.'”

“One daughter in social media who knows how to get the word out!”
“Some 3,100 exhibitors attended the show, and although there were plenty of mainstream technologies on display, the show attracted a fair share of off-beat gadgets. Here’s a roundup of some of the weirdest devices:- SOLOWHEEL. Picture a unicycle without a frame or saddle, and you have the Solowheel. Not working for you? Ok, add this to the picture: footboards that fold out from the wheel. To ride it, you stand on the footboards and straddle the wheel. Lean forward, and the wheel engages a battery-powered electric motor that can send it -and hopefully its rider- zooming along at 10 miles per hour. The wheel has a gyroscope that helps keep the rider upright. In other words, it’s like a Segway with only one wheel.”

“College can be some of the best years of your life, but what happens after graduation? With the tough economy, increased costs of living and outsourcing of jobs, what’s a recent graduate to do?

We partnered with prominent blogger and author of Life After College, Jenny Blake, to develop a post-college decision making roadmap. Whether you live at home, are job hunting or not sure what to do with your life, it may be a good idea to start brainstorming and planning your future.”

“It’s common for people to pick up on each other’s movements. “This is the notion that when you’re having a conversation with somebody and you don’t care where your hands are, and the other person scratches their head, you scratch your head,” says Sasha Ondobaka of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He cowrote the paper with Floris P. de Lange, Michael Wiemers, and Harold Bekkering of Radboud and Roger D. Newman-Norlund of the University of South Carolina. This kind of mimicry is well-established, but Ondobaka and his colleagues suspected that what people mimic depends on their goals.”

“To find out why teens might be more prone to such maladies, the team started with the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that produces so-called happy chemicals in response to rewards such as food or sex. As many are aware, various chemicals (such as recreational drugs) can cause the same effect. In this study, the researchers taught a group of rats to respond to a tone by dipping their nose in a certain hole. Doing so resulted in a tasty treat. In the brain, the tone resulted in the production of happy chemicals which served as a reward, causing the rats to learn to do as they were bid. Both teens and adults made the same amount of the happy chemicals, but, when the researchers compared the reaction of another brain part, the dorsal striatum, to such chemicals in teen rats versus adults they found that this particular brain region responded with more activity in the teen rats.”

“Apple is scheduled to host an education-related event Jan. 19 — shrouded with a veil of mystery, as always. A new report from  Ars Technica says the company is about to unveil a set of tools to create interactive ebooks.

Previous rumors said Apple will show no new devices, and that the event will center around Apple’s new partnerships with textbook publishers.”

December 21, 2011

readings in psychology for 21st december 2011

"Alpha" (Named by Karla) is the newest member of our little Menagerie

Here is what I am reading today:

“People are more likely to lie through texts than other forms of communication, such as video chats and face-to-face interactions, a new study suggests. A new study from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia found that people feel more comfortable hiding the truth through texts and those that are lied to this way get the most upset.”

“Research into decision-making by European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) may help to explain why many animals, including humans, sometimes exhibit irrational preferences.”

“Anxious people have long been classified as “hypersensitive” — they’re thought to be more fearful and feel threatened more easily than their counterparts. But new research from Tel Aviv University shows that the anxious may not be hypersensitive at all — in fact, they may not be sensitive enough.”

“(NaturalNews) An inexplicable butter shortage in Norway that authorities and the media are blaming on the growing popularity of low-carb, high-fat diets has left the wealthy Scandinavian country scrambling to find other sources of the precious cooking ingredient. After all, the Christmas season is upon us, which means that millions of Norwegians need this natural cooking fat to produce a multitude of butter-rich baked goods that have long been a staple of the Norwegian Christmas tradition.”

November 20, 2011

readings in psychology for 20th November 2011

festive holiday ham

This Thanksgiving, the turkey is definitely king in many homes and we traditionally have a Turducken., but with everyone spread all over the country, we'll have a beautiful ham with Pineapple and Apricot glaze! CLICK on the picture for our recipe.

Here is what I am reading today:

” Marijuana use can lead to a loss of brain volume in individuals who are at risk of developing schizophrenia, new research shows. “It is now accepted by most psychiatrists that smoking cannabis increases an individual’s risk of psychosis, and more specifically schizophrenia,” lead author Killian A. Welch, MD, from the University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.”

“… uncertainty may make leaders reject creative ideas. “But sometimes we need creative ideas. If you’re a company that makes radios and suddenly nobody’s buying them anymore, you don’t have a choice,” Mueller says—you have to come up with something new. Her research suggests that rather than focusing on the process of coming up with ideas, companies may need to pay more attention to what makes them reject creative ideas.”

“The authors of the study, Elisabetta Palagi and Giada Cordoni, of the University of Pisa in Italy, found that chimpanzee solitary play peaks in infancy, while the time spent in social play was relatively constant between infants and juveniles. However, the type of social play changed quite a bit as the animals grew up, in terms of measures like complexity and playmate choice. In comparing these behaviors to previous work conducted with humans, they found that both species show significant quantitative and qualitative development in play behavior from infancy to juvenility.”

” Using brain-imaging technology for the first time with people experiencing mathematics anxiety, University of Chicago scientists have gained new insights into how some students are able to overcome their fears and succeed in math.”

“Psychologists once scoffed at fiction as a way of understanding people because—well—it’s made up. But in the past 25 years cognitive psychologists have developed a new appreciation for the significance of stories. ….”

“Billions of years ago, organic chemicals in the primordial soup somehow organized themselves into the first organisms. A few years ago scientists found that something similar happens every once in awhile in the cells of all living things: bits of once-quiet stretches of  DNA sometimes spontaneously assemble themselves into genes. Such “de novo” genes may go on to play significant roles in the evolution of individual organisms—even humans. But how many are there?”

Maybe you don’t know where to shop to buy that certain outfit for the red shirt or number one in your life. Here is a place to start!

 

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



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