Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

June 29, 2011

readings in psychology for june 29th 2011

On the left is a book on successful diet stories of which I am a part and on the right is a picture that Karla drew of me when I gained 3 lbs recently! funny girl! CLICK on the picture to read about Nancy Kennedy's fine book!

Here is what I am reading today:

“The manner of chewing and the movement of the tongue both influence food sensations, but the opposite is also true. René de Wijk and Anke Janssen, researchers at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, and the British nutrition scientist Jon Prinz, from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, have together summarised the results of a large number of studies on the role of chewing behaviour. The result is the scientific article ‘Oral movements and the perception of semi-solid food’ in which they have combined the results from sensory, physiological and instrumental research.”

“Researchers have found that both the duration and intensity of incidental physical activities (IPA) are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. The intensity of the activity seems to be particularly important, with a cumulative 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity throughout the day offering significant benefits for fitness and long-term health.”

“Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed software that facilitates an innovative approach to active reading. Taking advantage of touch-screen tablet computers, the LiquidText software enables active readers to interact with documents using finger motions. LiquidText can significantly enhance the experiences of active readers, a group that includes students, lawyers, managers, corporate strategists and researchers.

“Most computer-based active reading software seeks to replicate the experience of paper, but paper has limitations, being in many ways inflexible,” said Georgia Tech graduate student Craig Tashman. “LiquidText offers readers a fluid-like representation of text so that users can restructure, revisualize and rearrange content to suit their needs.””

“In How We Did It, Nancy B. Kennedy tells the stories of those who have succeeded at their goal of weight loss, whether that means 20 pounds or 200 pounds. These stories will inspire, inform and encourage readers to find the weight loss plan that will work for them. Weight loss plans are too often presented as one-size-fits-all propositions. How We Did It compares the wide gamut of weight loss programs–South Beach, the Zone, Atkins, Thin Within, First Place, Weight Watchers and many more–and shows how weight loss seekers have succeeded using popular plans or by creating their own recipe for success. This book is a resource for both inspiration and information. With chapters that cover everything from childhood obesity to bariatric surgery, the book will help millions of adults who are struggling with their weight. In inspiring profiles, readers meet others just like them who may have tried and failed to lose weight, but who finally found a way to success that suited their lifestyle, personality, spirituality and internal values.”


June 26, 2011

readings in psychology for june 26th 2011

2011 has been an amazing year! My girls and me at APS!

Here is what I am reading today:

“In many migratory animals, the light-sensitive chemical reactions involving the flavoprotein cryptochrome (CRY) are thought to play an important role in the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field. In the case of Drosophila, previous studies from the Reppert laboratory have shown that the cryptochrome protein found in these flies can function as a light-dependent magnetic sensor.

To test whether the human cryptochrome 2 protein (hCRY2) has a similar magnetic sensory ability, Steven Reppert, MD, the Higgins Family Professor of Neuroscience and chair and professor of neurobiology…..”

“The data the researchers gathered in recent studies are the first to show that negative arousal following successful retrieval of information enhances later recall of that information.”

“The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, appears online in Psychological Science.

“Our findings suggest that women’s prejudice, at least in part, may be a byproduct of their biology,” said Melissa McDonald, a doctoral student and lead author on the paper”

“Imagining something with our mind’s eye is a task we engage in frequently, whether we’re daydreaming, conjuring up the face of a childhood friend, or trying to figure out exactly where we might have parked the car. But how can we tell whether our own mental images are accurate or vivid when we have no direct comparison? That is, how do we come to know and judge the contents of our own minds?”

June 22, 2011

readings in psychology for june 22nd 2011

no rest for authors!

No Rest for Authors! In our modern world, work can follow you anywhere, even on a working vacation! In truth, I met some great people in Florida!

Here is what I am reading today:

“The research, published in Evolutionary Psychology, confirmed the prediction that participants who believed they were being watched, although possibly not conscious of that thought, would express greater disapproval of moral transgressions, than those did not.

The increased expression of disapproval is attributed to people’s sensitivity to perceptions of their own reputation.”

“The series of studies, “Peacocks, Porsches and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous Consumption as a Sexual Signaling System,” was conducted with nearly 1,000 test subjects and published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“This research suggests that conspicuous products, such as Porsches, can serve the same function for some men that large and brilliant feathers serve for peacocks,” said Jill Sundie, assistant professor of marketing at UTSA and lead author of the paper.”

“In the past, many researchers have believed that testing is good for memory, but only for the exact thing you are trying to remember: so-called “target memory.” If you’re asked to recall the Lithuanian equivalent of an English word, say, you will get good at remembering the Lithuanian, but you won’t necessarily remember the English. Vaughn wondered whether practice testing might boost other types of memory too. It does.”

“Human affective systems evolved from mammalian affective systems, and when mammals are young and incapable of thinking, their brain systems have to make these pups able to perform the ‘correct’ behavior,” write authors Dan King (NUS Business School, Singapore) and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida, Gainesville). One way the brain encourages correct behavior is to use the mammal’s affective state to change the pleasure response to major sensory channels.

June 12, 2011

readings in psychology for June 12th 2011

Spanish Tortilla aand Mango Salsa is one of my favorite lunches!

Here is what I am reading today:

“The Society for Neuroscience is a nonprofit membership organization of basic scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience includes the study of brain development, sensation and perception, learning and memory, movement, sleep, stress, aging and neurological and…”

“Red can symbolize danger, heat and even anger. It’s true: The color’s appearance in road signs, stoplights, labels and flushed cheeks often cautions humans to avoid harm.

One study even found that Olympic competitors donning red uniforms were more successful at winning events, suggesting the color intimidates the competition. And a recent set of experiments featured in the journal Psychological Science indicates humans’ apprehension of red may have evolutionary roots, leading to greater consideration of the color’s use in human sports and primate habitats.”

“FOR people worried about the feminising effect of oestrogen-like chemicals in the water there is now a modern-day equivalent of the canary in the coal mine: a genetically modified fish in a bowl.

Male fish exposed to oestrogen have delayed sperm development and grow smaller testes. Some industrial chemicals, such as bisphenol A, mimic oestrogen, but little is known about how the effects of different oestrogen-like chemicals add up in water.”

“”About 2 percent of those who start discussion threads attract about 50 percent of the replies,” said study author Itai Himelboim, assistant professor in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.”

“A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg shows that young Swedish women are more prone than men to perceive situations as risky. However, there are no gender differences in actual risk-taking behaviour.”

June 10, 2011

readings in psychology for june 10th 2011

Daughters Kristin (left) jumping out of a perfectly good plane , and Karen (right) recently in Aspen, Colorado

Here is what I am reading about today:

“The interactome or protein interaction network for autism spectrum disorders developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital in collaboration with scientists at the Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute demonstrates how protein pathways converge, diverge and interact to arrive at the same devastating condition.”

““The fact that people’s perceptions of healthfulness vary with the name of the food item isn’t surprising,” Irmak said. “What is interesting is that dieters, who try to eat healthy and care about what they eat, fell into these ‘naming traps’ more than non-dieters who really don’t care about healthy eating.””

“The study — led by Matthew State, M.D., Ph.D., the Donald J. Cohen Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Genetics — looked at more than 1,000 families in which there was a single child with an autism spectrum disorder, an unaffected sibling and unaffected parents. The team, including postdoctoral fellow and first author Stephan Sanders from Yale, compared individuals with autism to their siblings to determine what types of genetic changes distinguished the affected child from the unaffected child.”

“In recent years, much sleep research has focused on memory, but now results of a new study by University of Massachusetts Amherst psychologist Rebecca Spencer and colleagues suggest another key effect of sleep is facilitating and enhancing complex cognitive skills such as decision-making.”

“The researchers telephoned a representative sample of nearly 400 Americans to ask them about what they regret. The most frequent regrets of Americans are about love, education, and work. Romantic regrets—America’s most common—focused on lost chances for potential romances, and relationships that did not live up to their potential.”

“Men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 experienced very similar levels of combat-related stress and post-deployment mental health impacts during the first year following return from deployment, researchers reported in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published by American Psychological Association.”

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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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