Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

March 31, 2011

readings in psychology for march 31st 2011

a new quarter begins at Cal Poly... and many new faces!

“We all know that smiling faces sometimes tell lies, even without the Motown song there to remind us. But now there’s proof that those fake smiles may not be worth as much as the genuine article.”

The dyes used to colour foods such as cereal, ketchup and snacks may contribute to hyperactivity in some children, a U.S. advisory committee has heard.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration started a two-day meeting Wednesday to weigh data on the link between dyes and the disorder.

March 30, 2011

readings in psychology for march 30th

Filed under: a current story,behavioral neuroscience,Biological Psychology,Psychology — Laura Freberg @ 12:59 pm
Kristin at Epcot Center

Kristin and Scott waving from Epcot Center

Here is what i am reading today:

“Speaking at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in California, MIT professor Daniel Nocera claims to have created an artificial leaf, made from stable and inexpensive materials, which mimics nature’s photosynthesis process.”

“By combining sophisticated mathematical techniques more commonly used by spies instead of scientists with the power and versatility of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a Penn neurologist has developed a new approach for studying the inner workings of the brain. A hidden pattern is encoded in the seemingly random order of things presented to a human subject, which the brain reveals when observed with fMRI. The research is published in the journal NeuroImage.”

“Just like snowflakes, no two people are alike, even if they’re identical twins according to new genetic research from The University of Western Ontario. Molecular geneticist Shiva Singh has been working with psychiatrist Dr. Richard O’Reilly to determine the genetic sequencing of schizophrenia using identical or monozygotic twins.”

“Women’s appreciation of their bodies is only indirectly connected to their body mass index (BMI), a common health measure of weight relative to height, according to recent research.”

“Newborn nerve cells may help heal the brain after a traumatic injury.

In a study in mice, blocking the birth of new neurons hindered the mice’s ability to learn and remember a water maze after a brain injury, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas report in the March 30 Journal of Neuroscience. The finding could help settle a debate about what new nerve cells do for the brain and may eventually change the way brain-injured patients are treated.”

March 27, 2011

readings in psychology for march 27th

Here is what I am reading today:

“Researchers at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam have discovered a universal property of musical scales. Until now it was assumed that the only thing scales throughout the world have in common is the octave.”

“How does your best friend feel when people act needy? Or, about people being dishonest? What do they think when others seem uncomfortable in social situations? According to an upcoming study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, if you don’t know – your relationship may pay a price.”

“PUT a newborn chick in front of a print of Escher’s impossible staircases and it just might scratch its head. The vertebrate brain appears to be hard-wired at birth to comprehend a 3D world – and is flummoxed by geometries that don’t make sense.”

“Never have we been so excited about putting our tray tables in the full upright and locked position. In this brand-new spot produced for Air New Zealand, you’ll see the usual suspects: There are the attractive, diverse, impeccably groomed flight attendants; the mild-anxiety-inducing notifications about life vests and air masks; the admonitions to search for the nearest exit.”

March 26, 2011

readings in psychology for march 26th 2011

Here are my readings for today:

“Although he was treading the boards in Boston community theatre at age 8, actor Leonard Nimoy didn’t become a household name until 27 years later, when Star Trek hit the airwaves. “

“It seems that the constant threat of predation could have a more subtle effect on prey animals than first thought.”

“Teenagers are a puzzle, and not just to their parents. When kids pass from childhood to adolescence their mortality rate doubles, despite the fact that teenagers are stronger and faster than children as well as more resistant to disease. Parents and scientists alike abound with explanations. It is tempting to put it down to plain stupidity: Teenagers have not yet learned how to make good choices. But that is simply not true. Psychologists have found that teenagers are about as adept as adults at recognizing the risks of dangerous behavior. Something else is at work.”

Obesity subtly diminishes memory and other features of thinking and reasoning even among seemingly healthy people, an international team of scientists reports. At least some of these impairments appear reversible through weight loss. Researchers also report one likely mechanism for those cognitive deficits: damage to the wiring that links the brain’s information-processing regions.”


March 25, 2011

readings in psychology for march 25th 2011

 

Here are a few stories for today:

“Think about the last time you got bored with the TV channel you were watching and decided to change it with the remote control. Or a time you grabbed a magazine off a newsstand, or raised a hand to hail a taxi. As we go about our daily lives, we constantly make choices to act in certain ways. We all believe we exercise free will in such actions – we decide what to do and when to do it. Free will, however, becomes more complicated when you try to think how it can arise from brain activity.”

“A handful of people around the world have never known the meaning of physical pain – not because they live incredibly sheltered lives, but because their nerves lack a crucial ion channel that helps transmit signals between adjacent nerve cells. A new study reveals that our sense of smell depends on this same protein gate, establishing a previously unrecognised link between the perception of pain and scent.”

“A sleepless night can make us cranky and moody. But a lesser known side effect of sleep deprivation is short-term euphoria, which can potentially lead to poor judgment and addictive behavior, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.”

“Just when children are faced with intensifying peer pressure to misbehave, regions of the brain are actually blossoming in a way that heighten the ability to resist risky behavior, report researchers at three West Coast institutions.”

“A study of Yup’ik Eskimos in Alaska, who on average consume 20 times more omega-3 fats from fish than people in the lower 48 states, suggests that a high intake of these fats helps prevent obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.”


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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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