Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

January 20, 2014

readings in psychology for 20 january 2014 @PsychScience



Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 5.57.48 PMHere is what we are reading today:

“Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified a new molecular mechanism by which cocaine alters the brain’s reward circuits and causes addiction. Published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, and colleagues, the preclinical research reveals how an abundant enzyme and synaptic gene affect a key reward circuit in the brain, changing the ways genes are expressed in the nucleus accumbens. The DNA itself does not change, but its “mark” activates or represses certain genes encoding synaptic proteins within the DNA. The marks indicate epigenetic changes—changes made by enzymes—that alter the activity of the nucleus accumbens.”

“”Researchers tend to be either in a camp that believes the control of eating is all regulated from the top down, or from the bottom up,” said Ralph DiLeone, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobiology and senior author of the paper. “Both are important and this paper brings a little more neurobiological clarity to the question.””

“Sports teams take the field in a blinding array of color combinations. Nearly every color in the rainbow seems to be worn by someone. Is this just a matter of national pride or taste?

According to Hill and Barton (2005), individuals and teams competing in sport who wear red uniforms are more likely to win. What principles might be responsible for this phenomenon?”

“Prof Tim Spector, research collaborator and director of the TwinsUK study from King’s College London, said: “This is an exciting finding that shows that some components of foods that we consider unhealthy like chocolate or wine may contain some beneficial substances. If we can start to identify and separate these substances we can potentially improve healthy eating. There are many reasons including genetics why people prefer certain foods so we should be cautious until we test them properly in randomised trials and in people developing early diabetes.””

“”Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease that researchers have been approaching from all angles,” said Mohamed Naguib, M.D., the Cleveland Clinic physician who lead the study. “This discovery could provide us with a new approach for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.””

“Gopikrishna Deshpande, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the NIH researchers recently published their results in the journal, “Brain Connectivity.””



May 26, 2013

Research interview at APS #aps2013 #aps2013dc



Here is our APS interview on our research!

Discussing “family” research partners!



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.”


May 14, 2012

readings in psychology for 14 may 2012 #aps2012

I hope all the mothers had a wonderful day yesterday! My daughters 3 all gave me something beautiful"

Here is what I am reading today:


“Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have discovered that the single protein — alpha 2 delta — exerts a spigot-like function, controlling the volume of neurotransmitters and other chemicals that flow between the synapses of brain neurons. The study, published online in Nature, shows how brain cells talk to each other through these signals, relaying thoughts, feelings and action, and this powerful molecule plays a crucial role in regulating effective communication.”

“Free will—or rather the question of whether it exists—has been the topic of heated debate among philosophers for millennia. For many neuroscientists too, the idea of freedom poses a dilemma: if what we do is caused by brain processes—which follow the laws of nature—our behaviour is determined by those laws and is not free.”

“Online communities enable people to talk, share experiences and recognize that they are not alone, says Dr Tim Anstiss”

“Excavations of the bodies have been going on for many years, you can find out more from the Easter Island Statue Project.  It’s generally accepted that the statues were made sometime between 1250 and 1500 AD. There is controversy surrounding why the bodies are buried. Was it time and erosion, or were they buried on purpose?  Aliens?   The soil surrounding the bodies for so long has preserved interesting carvings (petroglyphs, or rock markings)..”

“The development of retinal implants has been dogged by problems of unwieldiness since the first implantable stimulator for vision restoration was developed in 1968. Sticking a mess of electronics, with wires, cables and inductive coils, into the human visual system was always going to be a tricky business.

James Loudin and his colleagues at Stanford University in California have developed a solution that overcomes many of these problems by the use of special glasses that fire infrared signals into the eye and onto an implanted array of silicon photodiodes. The system simplifies what needs to be implanted and both transmits visual data and power directly to the implants, eliminating the need for any bulky external power source. Their work is published today in Nature Photonics1.”

“Our enchanted cookie cutters make it easy for little fairytale fans to bake these very same treats in their own kitchen. These spring-loaded tools create cookies in the shapes of four legendary storybook characters: Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey and the Wicked Queen.”


May 3, 2012

see you at APS #aps2012

One of my colleagues at another university mentioned to me that she had been going through statisticians at an alarming rate. She quipped that she never thought of ‘spawning’ one! My daughter Kristin (middle) is an instructor at West Point and my favorite statistician and my daughter Karen (on the left) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville and my cherished social media colleague. We love to present together when we can!

A couple of presentations for this year! Please come on buy and say 'Hello!'

If you can’t make to our presentations, come on by to the CENGAGE Publisher’s booth and see me with our new textbook: “Discovering Psychology – the Science of Mind”! John Cacioppo and I wrote something that is more than a textbook and incorporates John’s philosophy of  Psychology is a HUB Science™.

Come Join us in Chicago!

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-------- Nietzsche

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