Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

February 12, 2013

readings in psychology for 12 february 2013 @PsychScience

Have you remembered Valentine's Day? It's not too late... this handmade chocolate came from our good friend and Chocolatier Dennis Wetzel!

Have you remembered Valentine’s Day? It’s not too late… this handmade chocolate came from our good friend and Chocolatier Dennis Wetzel!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC describe in PLoS ONE how an electrode array sitting on top of the brain enabled a 30-year-old paralyzed man to control the movement of a character on a computer screen in three dimensions with just his thoughts. It also enabled him to move a robot arm to touch a friend’s hand for the first time in the seven years since he was injured in a motorcycle accident.”

“Smartphones offer a wealth of possibilities for psychological research. A new study shows that an iPhone app yields as reliable results as laboratory tests.”

“When modern-day crooner Trey Songz sings, “Cause girl, my heart beats for you,” in his romantic ballad, “Flatline,” his lyrics could be telling a tale that’s as much physiological as it is emotional, according to a University of California, Davis, study that found lovers’ hearts indeed beat for each other, or at least at the same rate.”

“Genes linked to autism and schizophrenia are only switched on during the early stages of brain development, according to a study in mice led by researchers at the University of Oxford. This new study adds to the evidence that autism and schizophrenia are neurodevelopmental disorders, a term describing conditions that originate during early brain development. The researchers studied gene expression in the brains of mice throughout their development, from 15-day old embryos to adults, and their results are published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“…In both cases, the university has said the relationships between the coaches and students were consensual. But Kearney’s lawyer, Derek Howard, has suggested the track coach was treated unfairly and may sue the university. Howard did not immediately respond to an email message….”

 

8 Responses to “readings in psychology for 12 february 2013 @PsychScience”

  1. jbfournier Says:

    in response to: thought control robotics!

    I find it really amazing when neuroscience and engineering come together to create such great inventions. I remember seeing something similar to this on tv once. The patient was basically in a comatose state and had no function of his arms or legs and could not communicate with doctors, only thing that was functional was his vision. The doctors plugged electrodes to his brain and through a computer screen using his eyes he was able to move a black ball on the screen up and down. The doctors then correlated the movement of the ball up as a “yes” response and the movement of the ball down as a “no” response. They were then able to ask the patient questions and he was able to answer using his brain by moving the ball on the screen in the appropriate manner.

  2. shelbyromuk Says:

    In response to “Texas regents mull coaches’ conduct with students”.

    This article brought up some interesting things to think about for someone who was an athlete at one point in her college career. I definitely think that relationships are inappropriate between a coach and “their” athlete. Many coaches see their athletes in situations that, without professional demeanor, can be bordering on inappropriate in themselves. I was a swimmer, and, besides the fact that I have only ever had male coaches who saw us girls in very tight and revealing swimsuits for hours at a time, things could get a bit uncomfortable in situations like in the training room when we iced and such, or stretching. I recall at one of the larger swim meets last year, I needed to ice my shoulder after a race. The ice had to be directly on my skin as well. Therefore I was in a sports bra when they wrapped me, anchoring the pack around my chest. Although I was not uncomfortable after years of such practices in the swimming world, I know that it is very close to crossing the line. One accidental touch or movement could turn the situation very very uncomfortable and inappropriate because the trainers and coaches are in an authoritative position over me.
    Based on my own knowledge of college athletics and the amount of contact and time spent with your coaches, I think that it is in everyone’s best interests that relationships between coaches and students/athletes be strictly discouraged to keep the environment comfortable and positive, and that repercussions should be in order when that rule is disobeyed.

  3. mlauth Says:

    In a recent study of early brain development with genetic abnormalities and environmental stresses, Oxford University was able to show the importance of particular times of development, which can cause autism or schizophrenia. What made this article incredible is the technology used to do this study. In this study the technology used not only identified particular areas of the brain in which the abnormalities in biochemical pathways were occurring but also they didn’t examine very many cells, which allowed them to identify different subplate zone neurons more accurately. In research in the past, the ability to determine a chemical pathway took many years and a lot of time creating enough of a chemical to actually see a physical response. For example, when scientists were trying to determine what anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) does, they had to obtain hundreds of pituitary glands from cows and grid them up and extract ADH protein to have enough to experiment with. With new techniques used today, we don’t worry about extracting large quantities because now we have ways of testing that don’t need large amounts of a protein or a substrate of interest. It is incredible the vast improvement of the scientific world that we all live in.

  4. mlauth Says:

    In the article, “Paralyzed man uses thoughts alone to control robot arm…”, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine were able to create a BCI (brain-computer interface) that allows an individual’s thoughts to control the movement of a robotic arm. This interface is recently beginning to show a lot of promise in interpreting an individual’s thoughts into algorithms and then transferring them to movement of a robot arm by the electrical signaling of neurons in a particular area of the cortex. This is extremely interesting in the fact that having computers actually interpreting what an individual thinks by placing an implantation devise in a human subject brain revolutionizes the idea of artificial limbs. We were always taught that our brains are one of the most complex structures but these advances in computers begin to simplify this structure. I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later this technology will start to become a necessity for the younger population. With the ability of attaching a computer to a brain, quadriplegic/paraplegic individuals will soon be able to live on their own with the help of these robotic limbs.

  5. kfrance Says:

    I swam for Cal Poly for four years and have been a competitive athlete for more than ten years. As a coach it is your job to make your athletes feel as comfortable as they can, almost like a parent figure. As a college athlete and as a grown woman, I would have never been okay with a relationship with my coach. As previously stated in a comment above, as a swimmer you are seen in very revealing workout attire and you need to be able to feel safe with your coach. When I was in high school, my club coach of six years passed away my senior year and our assistant coach took over for the remainder of my time there. He made very inappropriate comments and gestures to many females on the team. It made us feel like we were not safe and that we were being looked at in ways that were crossing the line. He later got in trouble for his sexual remarks. I feel that if for some reason a coach and an athlete were to feel that their connection was “real” and “strong” then he/she should resign from their position and they can if they choose continue or start a relationship.

  6. kfrance Says:

    In response for when are genes active for Autism, I find it reassuring that technology and research in the area is advancing. I am a behavioral aide for children on the spectrum and I know how hard it is for the parents to not have definitive answers as to why their child is on the spectrum. Every day I feel like scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, etc are making strides in understanding the biological and environmental effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder. A lot of parents I work with feel as if they did something wrong specifically or if they had known what caused ASD they could have prevented it from happening. At the end of the day we still do not know exactly what causes ASD, but we are headed in the right direction and even though ASD may cause some stress to parents, their children are so special and delightful to be around!

  7. nfuentes25 Says:

    In response to the “heart beats” article, I’ve often heard of how couples seem to share emotional experiences, but never have I heard any physiological experiences being in sync. I do suppose that it makes sense, as with emotional experiences, partners are usually together every day and may often discuss how their days have been going/what they are feeling on a regular basis. I’m a little curious as to how long it takes a woman to adjust to her partner’s physiology, and whether or not proximity has a distinct effect on the shared patterns (ie long distance relationships vs. short distance).

  8. SarahPeterson93 Says:

    In response to the article “Lovers’ hearts beat in sync, study says”:

    I did not know that couples actually sync their heart beats and respiration rates. I have heard the phrase “my heart beats for you” in many songs and poems before but I never knew it was an actual philological affect of being in a relationship.

    I wish to know more about this and how it relates to a women’s level of empathy. I do believe that women are more empathetic in general. I would like to see more studies of this nature.

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