Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

August 30, 2011

My Birthday is today!

Filed under: a Family Blog or 2 — Laura Freberg @ 8:26 am

My daughter Karla drew this cue picture of me (?) enjoying my birthday cake!

The day started off  ‘smashingly’ with homemade crumpets and jam and a crumpet eggo! YUM!!!

Love Crumpets! CLICK on my picture above for the step-by-step recipe!


August 27, 2011

readings in psychology for august 27th 2011

Couldn't help but fnd this funny! It must be the Scandinavian in me.

Here is what I am reading today:

“A fundamental new discovery about how nerve cells in the brain store and release tiny sacs filled with chemicals may radically alter the way scientists think about neurotransmission — the electrical signaling in the brain that enables everything from the way we move, to how we remember and sense the world.”

“Believe it or not, one thing that predicts how well a CEO’s company performs is — the width of the CEO’s face! CEOs with wider faces have better-performing companies than CEOs with long faces. That’s the conclusion of a new study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.”

“”We found that cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, can either be tied to a student’s poor performance on a math test or contribute to success, depending on the frame of mind of the student going into the test,” said Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology at UChicago and one of the nation’s leading experts on poor performance by otherwise talented people.”

“After returning from holiday, it’s likely you felt that the journey home by plane, car or train went much quicker than the outward journey, even though in fact both distances and journey are usually the same. So why the difference? According to a new study by Niels van de Ven and his colleagues, it seems that many people find that, when taking a trip, the way back seems shorter.”

August 20, 2011

readings in psychology for august 20th 2011

a beautiful coffee mug celebrating 7 years of research & work

a beautiful coffee mug celebrating 7 years of research & work

Here is what I am reading today:

“Teachers in Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, conduct lessons streamed to students in the village of Tumbira using an Internet connection made possible with a generator-powered radio signal. If not for “distance learning,” children from far-flung Amazon river communities would forgo school or endure arduous boat trips to places with traditional schools.”

“But the Stanford study generated a new kind of evidence: Brain scan images revealed the therapy caused dramatic changes in the brain’s inner workings.

In the fall, Stanford researchers will start a new, five-year clinical trial to continue their study of non-drug treatments for social anxiety. As with the previous one, the trial will test the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation in calming social anxiety.”

“But good, old-fashioned horseplay is a critical part of a child’s development and comes with a surprising number of health benefits, according to some psychologists and experts in childhood play.”

“Highly social and clever and cooperative with tools, elephants are often near the top of the brainiest creatures list. Now, scientists have added a new talent to elephants’ mental repertoire: The ability to solve a problem using insight—that aha! moment when your internal light bulb switches on and you figure out the solution to a puzzle. Previously, only a limited number of species, including certain primates, crows, and parrots were known to have this ability. “


August 18, 2011

reading in psychology for august 18th 2011

My eldest daughter Major Kristin teaches now at her alma mater West Point!

Here is what I am reading today:

“While this might sound like a boon to day traders, coaches and gypsy fortune tellers, people with early stages of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases could someday benefit from this research. In these maladies, sufferers have difficulty segmenting events in their environment from the normal stream of consciousness that constantly surrounds them.

The researchers focused on the mid-brain dopamine system (MDS), an evolutionarily ancient system that provides signals to the rest of the brain when unexpected events occur. Using functional MRI (fMRI), they found that this system encodes prediction error when viewers are forced to choose what will happen next in a video of an everyday event.”

“Like far away galaxies, powerful tools are required to bring the minute inner workings of neurons into focus. Borrowing a technique from materials science, a team of neurobiologists, psychiatrists, and advanced imaging specialists from Switzerland’s EPLF and CHUV report in The Journal of Neuroscience how Digital Holographic Microscopy (DHM) can now be used to observe neuronal activity in real-time and in three dimensions — with up to 50 times greater resolution than ever before. The application has immense potential for testing out new drugs to fight neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

“Consumers who set ambitious goals have a greater level of satisfaction compared to those who set conservative goals, according to a recently published paper by the Cecile K. Cho, a University of California, Riverside assistant marketing professor.”

“Fatigue can lead to dangerous errors by doctors, pilots and others in high-risk professions, but individuals who work together as a team display better problem-solving skills than those who face their fatigue alone, new research shows.”

August 17, 2011

readings in psychology for august 17th 2011

My daughter Karen is a Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville. When you are on the Marquee, it always seems more official! Congratulations, Karen!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Tom likes Susan but he fears she does not like him. Expecting to be rejected, he’s cold toward Susan. And guess what? She snubs him back. His prophesy is self-fulfilled, his social insecurity reinforced. The miserable cycle continues. But what if Tom could be helped to set aside his fears and behave as warmly as he feels?”

“Four new studies by researchers at the University at Buffalo have found that when a woman’s goal is to be romantically desirable, she distances herself from academic majors and activities related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”

“Large amounts of alcohol are known to shorten sleep latency, increase slow-wave sleep, and suppress rapid eye movement (REM) during the first half of sleep. During the second half of sleep, REM increases and sleep becomes shallower. A study of the acute effects of alcohol on the relationship between sleep and heart rate variability (HRV) during sleep has found that alcohol interferes with the restorative functions of sleep.”

A special welcome to the upcoming Class of 2015! Many of your classmates were born in 1993 and I remember the year well. I was 40 with three daughters (14, 11 and 9) married (21 years) and teaching at Cal Poly. Today, we are all a bit older and I like to think ‘better.’ I hope your journey is as pleasant.


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