Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

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.”

May 19, 2012

readings in psychology for 29 may 2012 #aps2012

We love to take a walk every day and sometimes we find a little friend along the way!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Exercise clears the mind. It gets the blood pumping and more oxygen is delivered to the brain. This is familiar territory, but Dartmouth’s David Bucci thinks there is much more going on.”

“Contrary to recent scholarship and popular belief, parents experience greater levels of happiness and meaning in life than people without children, according to researchers from the University of California, Riverside, the University of British Columbia and Stanford University. Parents also are happier during the day when they are caring for their children than during their other daily activities, the researchers found in a series of studies conducted in the United States and Canada.”

“Whether you’re an iPerson who can’t live without a Mac, a Facebook addict, or a gamer, you know that social media and technology say things about your personality and thought processes. And psychological scientists know it too — they’ve started researching how new media and devices both reveal and change our mental states.”

“Posting views on Facebook and other social media sites delivers a powerful reward to the brain similar to the pleasure from food and sex, a Harvard study concludes. The study led by two neuroscientists and published this week concluded that “self disclosure” produces a response in the region of the brain associated with dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure or the anticipation of a reward.”

“Poor Phineas Gage. In 1848, the supervisor for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad in Vermont was using a 13-pound, 3-foot-7-inch rod to pack blasting powder into a rock when he triggered an explosion that drove the rod through his left cheek and out of the top of his head. As reported at the time, the rod was later found, “smeared with blood and brains.””

“THE problem of the self – what it is that makes you you – has exercised philosophers and theologians for millennia.

Today it is also a hotly contested scientific question, and the science is confirming what the Buddha, Scottish philosopher David Hume and many other thinkers maintained: that there is no concrete identity at the core of our being, and that our sense of self is an illusion spun from narratives we construct about our lives.

Bruce Hood’s The Self Illusion is a thoroughly researched and skillfully organised account of the developments in psychology and neuroscience that are helping to substantiate this unsettling vision of selfhood. He casts a long line, exploring subjects such as free will, the unconscious, the role of (false) memories in building identity, as well as myriad social psychology experiments showing how people behave differently according to the situation they are in. His aim is to illustrate the interchangeability of our multiple selves, and why much of our cognition seems to have evolved to protect the illusion that we are who we think we are.”

 

April 23, 2012

readings in psychology for 23 april 2012

Yes, anything for science! That is my brain scanned!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Your best side may be your left cheek, according to a new study by Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo from Wake Forest University in the US. Their work shows that images of the left side of the face are perceived and rated as more pleasant than pictures of the right side of the face, possibly due to the fact that we present a greater intensity of emotion on the left side of our face.”

“‘Brain freeze’ is a nearly universal experience — almost everyone has felt the near-instantaneous headache brought on by a bite of ice cream or slurp of ice-cold soda on the upper palate. However, scientists are still at a loss to explain this phenomenon. Since migraine sufferers are more likely to experience brain freeze than people who don’t have this often-debilitating condition, brain freeze may share a common mechanism with other types of headaches, including those brought on by the trauma of blast-related combat injuries in soldiers. One possible link between brain freeze and other headache types is local changes in brain blood flow.”

“Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk.”

“Gestures made during interviews can influence or even misinform eyewitnesses. In addition eyewitnesses are unlikely to recall the influential gestures being shown to them, new research suggests. These findings are presented April 20 at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference held in London, England (18-20 April).”

 

March 22, 2012

readings in psychology for 22 march 2012

Do you know where this is? Disney World's Grand Floridian! woo-hoo!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele (left) and Randy Blakely pose at the entrance to the Vanderbilt Laboratory for Neurobehavior, where their studies in mice have revealed a clue to autism. Credit: Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt University”

“According to a recent pilot study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) delivered via video teleconferencing is a safe, feasible, and effective treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants in the current study included 13 veterans diagnosed with PTSD at VA clinics in the Hawaiian Islands; each was randomly assigned to receive group cognitive processing therapy (a form of cognitive behavior therapy originally developed by Patricia Resick, Ph.D.) in an in-person therapy group or video teleconferencing therapy group. According to results, both groups displayed reductions in PTSD symptoms, without between-group differences on process outcome variables. In addition, participants in each group expressed high levels of treatment credibility, satisfaction with treatment, and homework adherence. A full randomized control trial (RCT) is currently underway to more rigorously evaluate the clinical effectiveness of cognitive processing therapy delivered via video teleconferencing.”

“A new study by researchers including Bosco Tjan of psychology suggests that facial recognition hinges on recognizing the face’s features more than the “holistic” picture they add up to create.”

“Researchers from Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg have shown that nanocellulose stimulates the formation of neural networks. This is the first step toward creating a three-dimensional model of the brain. Such a model could elevate brain research to totally new levels, with regard to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, for example.”

“Distinct patterns of activity — which may indicate a predisposition to care for infants– appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant face — even when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan.”

“Just like a road atlas faithfully maps real-word locations, our brain maps many aspects of our physical world: Sensory inputs from our fingers are mapped next to each other in the somatosensory cortex; the auditory system is organized by sound frequency; and the various tastes are signaled in different parts of the gustatory cortex.”

“Word extinction. The English word “Roentgenogram” derives from the Nobel prize winning scientist and discoverer of the X-ray, Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923). The prevalence of this word was quickly challenged by two main competitors, “X-ray” (recorded as “Xray” in the database) and “Radiogram.””

“Hidden in the landscape of the fertile crescent of the Middle East, scientists say, lurk overlooked networks of small settlements that hold vital clues to ancient civilizations.”

“”Scans of the brain’s tissue composition, wiring, and activity produced converging evidence of genetically-caused abnormalities in the structure and function of the front part of the insula and in its connectivity to other brain areas in the circuit,” explained Karen Berman, M.D., of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).”

“”Epidemiologic findings suggest that the type of anesthesia we do for cancer surgery influences recurrence rate, and laboratory studies demonstrate that opioids influence tumor progression and metastasis,” said Jonathan Moss, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Chicago Medicine and co-author of the commentary, a summary of research on the topic. “

“What characterizes many people with depression, schizophrenia and some other mental illnesses is anhedonia: an inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences.”

 

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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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