Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

December 28, 2010

readings in psychology for december 28 2011

daughters make great tiramisu

My daughters Kristin and Karen show off their individually portioned Tiramisu! CLICK on the picture for our wonderful Tiramisu

Here are a few stories I have found interesting:

“A multinational research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. A report of the findings, which include human genetic analyses and gene knockout studies in animals, appears in the Dec. 23 issue of Nature.”

It is common for people to think about the impact of exercise and nutrition on their body, but most people don’t really think about the effects of psychology or their mindset on their results. Believe it or not, it  is often possible to determine if a person will ultimately succeed or fail based on the psychological approach they have towards their health and fitness routine.”

People who seem to face stressful situations without blinking an eye may have an increased risk of health woes such as obesity and depression, according to a new study.”

Scholars at the University of Chicago have played a central role in establishing a new professional organization, the Society for Social Neuroscience, helping to advance an emerging interdisciplinary field. Research in social neuroscience is based on the use of new technologies, advanced understanding of genetics and other research, including studies on animal behavior. “We define social neuroscience broadly as the study of the neural, genetic, cellular and hormonal mechanisms underlying the emergent organizations that characterize each social species,” said  University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo.

December 25, 2010

readings in psychology for christmas day

Filed under: a current story,behavioral neuroscience,Biological Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 10:04 am

Here are a few readings:

“Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have used sophisticated brain imaging to predict with 90 percent accuracy which teenagers with dyslexia would improve their reading skills over time.”

The last-minute holiday dash is on: Men tend to rush in for their prized item, pay, and leave. Women study the fabrics, color, texture and price.”

“In the future, more and more products will be able to interpret what users are feeling and use that information in a smart way. To illustrate the power of this theory, researcher Miguel Bruns Alonso has developed a pen which can measure the stress levels of the person using it, and can actually help to reduce that stress. In experiments, the heart rate of people who used the anti-stress pen fell by an average of five percent.”

Researchers in Australia are a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of human sexual development, following genetic studies that show male mice can be created without a Y chromosome — through the activation of an ancient brain gene.”

“Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories, a team of neuroscientists has found in a study of laboratory rats. Their results, which appear in the journal PLoS Biology, may bolster our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and could offer a pathway for addressing PTSD and related afflictions.”

The iconic image of the Baby Boom generation is a 1960s-era snapshot of an exuberant, long-haired, rebellious young adult. That portrait wasn’t entirely accurate even then, but it’s hopelessly out of date now. This famously huge cohort of Americans finds itself in a funk as it approaches old age.”

We recently caught up with Scott Summit, the industrial designer behind San-Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations, at AU 2010, where he was one of the keynote speakers. Bespoke Innovations has a clear mission: Apply good industrial design and rapid prototyping techniques to make kick-ass prosthetics. They don’t do off-the-shelf parts–they interview amputees, find out what makes them tick, and design some seriously cool custom limbs based on their interests and tastes.”

December 22, 2010

readings in psychology for december 22 2010

learning to walk stairs

the son of one of my daughter's friends is learning to climb the stairs! Now I remember why I was so slim when my daughters were young!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Scientists have isolated a set of proteins that accounts for over 130 brain diseases, including diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsies and forms of autism and learning disability. The team showed that the protein machinery has changed relatively little during evolution, suggesting that the behaviors governed by and the diseases associated with these proteins have not changed significantly over many millions of years. The findings open several new paths toward tackling these diseases.”

“It is well known that music arouses emotions. But why do some musical performances move us, while others leave us flat? Why do musicians spend years perfecting the subtle nuances that bring us to tears? Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have now identified key aspects of musical performance that cause emotion-related brain activity, and they have shown for the first time how these performance nuances work in the brain, in real-time.”

“Researchers have reported some of the first evidence that chimpanzee youngsters in the wild may tend to play differently depending on their sex, just as human children around the world do.”

“Researchers have shed new light on dopamine’s role in the brain’s reward system, which could provide insight into impulse control problems associated with addiction and a number of psychiatric disorders.”

December 17, 2010

readings in psychology for december 17th 2010

Filed under: a current story,behavioral neuroscience,Biological Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 11:30 am

One of my favorite midday meals is the Spanish Tortilla! CLICK on the picture to read about this wonderful meal!

Here are a few items for today:

“To investigate whether sleep deprived people are perceived as less healthy, less attractive, and more tired than after a normal night’s sleep.”

Some of the most intense emotions people feel occur during a conflict in a romantic relationship. Now, new research from Baylor University psychologists shows that how each person perceives the other partner’s emotion during a conflict greatly influences different types of thoughts, feelings and reactions in themselves.”

“She’s not afraid to handle snakes. She’s not afraid of the “The Blair Witch Project,” ”The Shining,” or “Arachnophobia.” When she visited a haunted house, it was a monster who was afraid of her.”

As humans, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. So there must be a point to it, right? Scientists have found that sleep helps consolidate memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them later. Now, new research is showing that sleep also seems to reorganize memories, picking out the emotional details and reconfiguring the memories to help you produce new and creative ideas, according to the authors of an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science.”


December 14, 2010

readings in psychology for december 14th 2010

Filed under: a current story,Biological Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 9:30 am
my late brother Leroy Sievers in happier times

the season for remembering: my late brother Leroy Sievers in happier times

here are a few readings for today:

“Pregnant and nursing mothers have new reason to eat well, suggests a new study. Flavors in a mom’s diet shape her baby’s brain, the study found, and that may alter her child’s lifelong likes and dislikes for certain foods. The findings could help mothers start as early as possible to turn their children into healthy eaters.”

“intelligent people live longer—the correlation is as strong as that between smoking and premature death. But the reason is not fully understood. Beyond simply making wiser choices in life, these people also may have biology working in their favor. Now research in honeybees offers evidence that learning ability is indeed linked with a general capacity to withstand one of the rigors of aging—namely, oxidative stress.”

the thacher illusion

Most people can still recognise an image of a face that’s been rotated upside-down, and they still do even when altered in rather major ways. In particular, a distortion known as ‘Thatcherization’  often goes unnoticed – that’s where the face is upside-down but the eyes and the mouth are changed to remain the right way up .”

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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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