Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

November 30, 2011

readings in psychology for 30 november 2011

Here are my two pets "Banjoe & Kazooie". If you know where the names came from, well, I would be impressed!

Here is what I am reading today:

“The more gray matter you have in the decision-making, thought-processing part of your brain, the better your ability to evaluate rewards and consequences. That may seem like an obvious conclusion, but a new study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory is the first to show this link between structure and function in healthy people — and the impairment of both structure and function in people addicted to cocaine.”

“Babies as young as eight months old prefer it when people who commit or condone antisocial acts are mistreated, a new study led by a University of British Columbia psychologist finds.”

“Using advanced imaging techniques and cognitive tests, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, have shown that repeatedly heading a soccer ball increases the risk for brain injury and cognitive impairment. The imaging portion of the findings was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago.”

“According to a recent Herald poll, 37.5 percent have not had any sexual partners this semester, and 36.4 percent have had one. A small percentage — 9.3 percent — had two partners this fall and an even smaller percentage — 5.3 percent — had three to five.”

 

November 28, 2011

readings in Psychology for

Here is what I am reading today:

“When two professors interviewed subjects for a study on Black Friday, almost all the shoppers said they started their days before 9 a.m., and most spent at least three hours hunting down bargains. But none matched the tenacity of one woman, a 40-year-old named Tracy, who had been a Black Friday shopper for 18 years. Starting her day at midnight on Thanksgiving, she spent the next 16 hours shopping.”

“Thanking people is good manners, but it may also lead to better, healthier lives.”

“When it comes to coaches and athletes, there are some simple rules of thumb to follow to make sure the relationship is a healthy one and kids and teens are protected, says Max Trenerry, an associate professor of psychology and consultant in clinical neuropsychology at the Mayo Clinic. (Trenerry isn’t speaking specifically about the Penn State situation.)”

(Laura’s Note: five years or so ago, my daughter Karen wrote a wonderfully informative post on the male coach/ female athlete issue that she termed  ‘Honeybuns’)

“Two lovers. Twenty lovers. Two hundred lovers. They seem almost to be from different universes, the collections of five or six lovers, versus the serial harems of 100 or 200. How to talk coherently about a hodgepodge of small and big numbers?”

“…This morning, a scientist named Svante Paabo delivered a talk. Its subject might make you think that he had stumbled into the wrong conference altogether. He delivered a lecture about Neanderthals. Yet Paabo did not speak to an empty room. He stood before thousands of researchers in the main hall. His face was projected onto a dozen giant screens, as if he were opening for the Rolling Stones. When Paabo was done, the audience released a surging crest of applause. One neuroscientist I know, who was sitting somewhere in that huge room, sent me a one-word email as Paabo finished: “Amazing….””

“…Earlier this month I attended the 41st annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which was held in Washington, D.C. I’m writing two short features about the conference for the Dana Foundation, and they’ll be available soon. Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of conference coverage elsewhere…. The Nature Neuroscience blog Action Potential featured a series of guest posts, including one by myself about how the human brain switches between two different cognitive maps during spatial navigation.”

“…That drew a sharp question from two female researchers in the audience who expressed concern that political correctness too often prevents researchers from asking purely scientific questions….”

November 20, 2011

readings in psychology for 20th November 2011

festive holiday ham

This Thanksgiving, the turkey is definitely king in many homes and we traditionally have a Turducken., but with everyone spread all over the country, we'll have a beautiful ham with Pineapple and Apricot glaze! CLICK on the picture for our recipe.

Here is what I am reading today:

” Marijuana use can lead to a loss of brain volume in individuals who are at risk of developing schizophrenia, new research shows. “It is now accepted by most psychiatrists that smoking cannabis increases an individual’s risk of psychosis, and more specifically schizophrenia,” lead author Killian A. Welch, MD, from the University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.”

“… uncertainty may make leaders reject creative ideas. “But sometimes we need creative ideas. If you’re a company that makes radios and suddenly nobody’s buying them anymore, you don’t have a choice,” Mueller says—you have to come up with something new. Her research suggests that rather than focusing on the process of coming up with ideas, companies may need to pay more attention to what makes them reject creative ideas.”

“The authors of the study, Elisabetta Palagi and Giada Cordoni, of the University of Pisa in Italy, found that chimpanzee solitary play peaks in infancy, while the time spent in social play was relatively constant between infants and juveniles. However, the type of social play changed quite a bit as the animals grew up, in terms of measures like complexity and playmate choice. In comparing these behaviors to previous work conducted with humans, they found that both species show significant quantitative and qualitative development in play behavior from infancy to juvenility.”

” Using brain-imaging technology for the first time with people experiencing mathematics anxiety, University of Chicago scientists have gained new insights into how some students are able to overcome their fears and succeed in math.”

“Psychologists once scoffed at fiction as a way of understanding people because—well—it’s made up. But in the past 25 years cognitive psychologists have developed a new appreciation for the significance of stories. ….”

“Billions of years ago, organic chemicals in the primordial soup somehow organized themselves into the first organisms. A few years ago scientists found that something similar happens every once in awhile in the cells of all living things: bits of once-quiet stretches of  DNA sometimes spontaneously assemble themselves into genes. Such “de novo” genes may go on to play significant roles in the evolution of individual organisms—even humans. But how many are there?”

Maybe you don’t know where to shop to buy that certain outfit for the red shirt or number one in your life. Here is a place to start!

 

November 15, 2011

readings in psychology for 15 november 2011

Here is what I am reading today:

“Cornell researchers have identified for the first time the 3-D crystal structure of a protein in fruit flies (Drosophila) that also facilitates circadian rhythm functions in most higher organisms — from cyanobacteria and plants to animals, including humans.

The study appears in the Nov. 13 issue of the journal Nature.”

“This finding, reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Neuroscience 2011, matters because unraveling how the brain solves the complex task of reading can help in uncovering the brain basis of reading disorders, such as dyslexia, say the scientists.

“One camp of neuroscientists believes that we access both the phonology and the visual perception of a word as we read them and that the area or areas of the brain that do one, also do the other, but our study proves this isn’t the case,” says the study’s lead investigator, Laurie Glezer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow. She works in the Laboratory for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience at GUMC, led by Maximilian Riesenhuber, Ph.D., who is a co-author.”

“In the study, 23 romantic couples were videotaped while one of the partners described a time of suffering in their lives. The other half of the couple and their physical, non-verbal reactions were the focal point of the study. Groups of complete strangers viewed the videos. The observers were asked to rate the person on traits such as how kind, trustworthy, and caring they thought the person was, based on just 20 seconds of silent video.

“Our findings suggest even slight genetic variation may have tangible impact on people’s behavior, and that these behavioral differences are quickly noticed by others,” said Aleksandr Kogan, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and the study’s lead author.”

 

November 13, 2011

readings in psychology for november 13th 2011

Aged Greek Feta Cheese is in my favorite food group! CLICK on the picture to read more

Here is what I am reading today:

“Does understanding emotions depend on the language we speak, or is our perception the same regardless of language and culture? According to a new study by researchers from the MPI for Psycholinguistics and the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, you don’t need to have words for emotions to understand them.”

“Willing to risk your knowledge, skills and monetary reward in competition? If you are under age 50, you’ve probably not reached your competitive peak. If you are older, that peak is behind you. That people are willing to engage in risk at 50 surprised University of Oregon economists and psychologists who explored such behavior in their research.”

“In an article published Nov. 10 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers write that it would be absurd to think people’s mental capacities fundamentally change when they remove clothing. “In six studies, however, we show that taking off a sweater-or otherwise revealing flesh-can significantly change the way a mind is perceived.””

“People with birthmarks, scars and other facial disfigurements are more likely to receive poor ratings in job interviews, according to a new study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston.”

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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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