Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

February 17, 2013

readings in psychology for 17 february 2013 @PsychScience

"Bacon" flowers for St. Valentine's Day!

“Bacon” flowers for St. Valentine’s Day!

Here is what I am reading today:

“In what researchers are calling a first, a new analysis suggests that the greater a woman’s exposure to a type of common chemical compound called PFCs, the greater her risk for developing osteoarthritis.”
“Two iconic sets of research — Stanley Milgram’s 1960s “obedience to authority” studies and Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — highlighted the unsavory reality that people can be prodded into harming others. Milgram found that participants were willing to administer apparently lethal electric shocks in the context of a scientific experiment, while Zimbardo demonstrated that some people assigned to the role of prison guard ended up treating prisoners brutally.Are we all doomed to carry out evil deeds robotically under the right circumstances? Not necessarily, say psychologists S. Alexander Haslam, PhD, of the University of Queensland, and Stephen D. Reicher, PhD, of the University of St. Andrews. In a November essay in PLOS Biology, they offer evidence from history, from Zimbardo’s and Milgram’s work, and from their own research showing that people who tend to follow authority aren’t sheep or robots, but rather people who enthusiastically identify with a group’s or leader’s agenda.”

“Digging into a fondue may seem clichéd, but this quintessential Swiss dish has an epic, if ambiguous, history. Its first mention dates as far back as Homer’s Iliad from around 800 to 725 BC, where it was described as a mixture of goat’s cheese, wine and flour. In the late 17th Century, a Swiss cookbook, Kochbuch der Anna Margaretha Gessner, makes note of cooking cheese with wine. Others say peasants in the Swiss mountains created the dish as a way to make use of leftover bread and cheese during colder months when fresh produce was scarce. But modern fondue – melted cheese and wine set in a pot over an open flame – dates to the late 1800s, with roots in the French Rhône-Alpes region near the Geneva border. Fast forward to 1930 when the Swiss Cheese Union declared it the country’s national dish – and the Swiss have not looked back since.”

“Restoring vision might sometimes be as simple as turning out the lights. That’s according to a study reported on February 14 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, in which researchers examined kittens with a visual impairment known as amblyopia before and after they spent 10 days in complete darkness.”

“The result was a 3D computer image that revealed the important pathways of my brain in vivid colour. One of the lead researchers, Professor Van Wedeen, gave me a guided tour of the inside of my head.

He showed me the connection that helped me to see and another one that helped me understand speech. There were twin arcs that processed my emotions and a bundle that connected the left and right sides of my brain.

Prof Wedeen used visualisation software that enabled him to fly around and through these pathways – even to zoom in to see intricate details.”

“The 18th century natural philosopher Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed that the necks of giraffes lengthened as a consequence of the cumulative effort, across generations, to reach leaves just out of their grasp. This view of evolution was largely abandoned with the advent of modern genetic theories to explain the transmission of most important traits and many medical illnesses across generations.”

“A group of medical specialists has provided an answer to a dilemma that has faced flyers since the Wright brothers took to the air in 1903—is it okay to fart mid-flight? The experts’ recommendation is an emphatic yes to airline passengers—but a warning to cockpit crews that breaking wind could distract the pilot and pose a safety risk. The study concluded that anecdotal evidence that flying increases flatulence is not hot air, finding that changes in air pressure at altitude result in the gut producing more gas. When Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg encountered the malodorous problem first-hand on a flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo, he enlisted some of the finest minds in his field to address the issue.”

“Will you save the best chocolate in the box until last? Do you want the good news first or the bad? Your preferences may depend on your age, reports a Cornell study published in Psychology and Aging. In a series of experiments, younger adults preferred to get aversive experiences out of the way and save the most positive ones for last, confirming prior research. However, preferences for the timing of emotional experiences differed by age. Older adults would rather intersperse the good with the bad, and this may have implications for financial planning, medical choices and work life, the authors say. “Our research is the first to systematically examine age differences in preferences for emotional sequences,” said Corinna Loeckenhoff, assistant professor of human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, who authored the study with former students Andrew Reed, Ph.D. ’11, and Skye Maresca ’11.”

 

12 Responses to “readings in psychology for 17 february 2013 @PsychScience”

  1. nfuentes25 Says:

    I found the article on kittens regaining their sense of vision to be pretty interesting. It made me a little curious as to why darkness would even be harmful to good eyes (aside from not being able to see what one was doing therefore causing accidents). From what I’ve read, there doesn’t seem to be a problem with too much darkness as it only involves the enlarging of the pupil to allow in more light. I’m just going to assume for this study’s sake, it is merely for the fact that kittens are younger therefore more prone to accidents

  2. Crystal Says:

    For the last article about desserts, I may have to disagree in the statement that “younger adults preferred to get aversive experiences out of the way and save the most postive ones for last.” I am a young adult who loves desserts and I would much rather eat desserts over a meal. However, I do not doubt that there are those out there who follow through with this article, but I am not in that criterium.

  3. jbfournier Says:

    In response to farting on a plane is encouraged:

    I find it funny and interesting at the same time that someone would actually carry out research on how farting on a plane could be better than holding in farts. However, the article actually had some interesting points and answered some long held beliefs. I had no idea that women’s farts were considered to smell worse then men’s. I also found it interesting that certain types of seats are better suited for absorbing odor molecules than others.

  4. jbfournier Says:

    In response to your experiences affect your future children:

    This article was very interesting and it helped to explain the role of epigenetics on inheritance of certain traits. I think it is amazing that our life experiences can shape epegenetics and the form and function of certain genes or segments of DNA. It is even more interesting that these changes can be passed on to our children if they occur in germ cells. It is weird to think that an event or events we experienced in our life time could shape the genetic structure of our children who might never experience that same event or events in their life times.

  5. kfrance Says:

    In response to your experiences affect your future children

    This was very interesting to read and it makes sense. I have always thought about how certain traits may have been developed or if they passed on from generation to generation or changed with a generation and then modified to the next. It is amazing how our body has the ability to help us adapt and protect ourselves from particular experiences once we have gone through them. At the same time our children will then have built in mechanisms to protect them from similar situations but may cause them to be more guarded for example or have more anxiety due to paternal experiences.

  6. kfrance Says:

    I understand that holding in gas may cause some disfort, but that is also why there are bathrooms on the plane, a private place to take care of private business. Also, there are some medicines to help relieve gas and gas discomfort that can be taken before flying somewhere. As for the pilot, I do not know of any issues caused by pilots holding in their gas, so I do not think this is a huge pressing issue at this moment in time.

  7. kfrance Says:

    In response to farting on an airplane is encouraged
    I understand that holding in gas may cause some disfort, but that is also why there are bathrooms on the plane, a private place to take care of private business. Also, there are some medicines to help relieve gas and gas discomfort that can be taken before flying somewhere. As for the pilot, I do not know of any issues caused by pilots holding in their gas, so I do not think this is a huge pressing issue at this moment in time.

  8. shelbyromuk Says:

    In response to “Chemicals in cookware, carpets may raise arthritis risk in women”.

    It is very concerning that new evidence has been found regarding the dangers that common synthetic compounds have on public health. Women do tend to take the role of “homemaker” and therefore may have a greater tendency to interact with such products so it is concerning that such associations are being made. I would be interested to find out, though, why such associations have not been observed in men. Perhaps there is a genetic element to this occurrence. Nevertheless, it is important to use this knowledge to investigate safer alternative materials to use in place of the PFC chemicals.

  9. mlauth Says:

    In the article, “Life experiences put their stamp on the next generation: New insights from epigenetics”, researchers begin to discuss the importance of epigenetics and how they can actually be passed on genetically. This is extremely interesting because it was believed that genetics didn’t really change an individual physiology quickly, but epigenetics allow a population to change quickly, if need be. These changes then can be passed on to offspring, which will probably give benefits as they are growing up in that particular environment. This shows a huge benefit for dealing with dramatic change in a population’s environment, and how it can be passed on to the next generation (Trans-generational transmission). This was a huge enlightenment on how a society can deal with a dramatic change for new offspring.

  10. mlauth Says:

    In the article, “Chemicals in cookware, carpets may raise to arthritis in women”, researchers have showed that a new endocrine disruptor is associated with osteoarthritis in women. The endocrine disruptors in this article are PFOA and PFOS, which are used in food packaging, waterproofing, and textile stain protection. It is interesting because they showed that large quantities of these PFC synthetic compounds correlate to a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. But not all endocrine disrupters are harmful at large quantities, in fact, some endocrine disrupters can be more harmful at small quantities. There is actually a current study about endocrine disruptor and the immunological system of oysters at Cal Poly. They are trying to show that an endocrine disruptor, 9-nonylnaline, causes oysters to become immunocompromised when induced by a pathogen. The majority of these synthetic compounds normally mimic estrogen, and have a lot to do with immuno stimulation (which causes inflammation like in the article which then could lead to arthritis) or the reverse effect.

  11. SarahPeterson93 Says:

    I found the article “Preference to save the best for last fades with age, study finds” extremely interesting. I find that studies of this nature are super interesting because they apply to every day life and many aspects of life. However, I disagree with some of the aspects of this study because I do not tend to save the best for last and I am a young adult. Instead, much like the results they found from older adults, I tend to inter disperse my “rewards” (or tend to my pleasure seeking senses) within the not so fun and the more practical.

  12. ctamblin Says:

    In response to the scanning the beautiful brain article:

    I was fascinated by the images of the brain in this article. To me it looked like a piece of art. There is something mystical about the whole field of neuroscience that I never found appealing until taking biopsychology in college. I hope to gain more experience using brain scanning technology as my education level increases.

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