Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

May 18, 2014

readings in psychology for 18 may 2014 # glass #PsychScience @psychology #aps14sf

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My daughter Karen calls us “Dr. Freberg and Dr. Freberg 2.0 (two point oh). We’ll be presenting at this years Association for Psychological Sciences Convention in San Francisco this month… and demonstrating and discussing Google Glass… catch us and we’ll show you how it works!

“Paleontologists in Argentina say they recently discovered fossils belonging to the largest dinosaur on record. During its lifetime, the new species of titanosaur is believed to have stood 65-feet-tall, was more than 130-feet-long, and weighed 77 tons (155,000 pounds).

“Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth,” researchers Dr. Jose Luis Carballido and Dr. Diego Pol told the BBC.”

“In his epic encyclopedia Natural History, the great Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote of the bonnacon, a sort of bull whose defensive strategy was to hit its foes with blasts of dung “so strong and hot, that it burneth them that follow after him in chase, like fire, if haply they touch it.” Natural history in Pliny’s time, you see, consisted of a good amount of hearsay. From 12-year-old boys, apparently.”

““The loss of bitter taste is a complete surprise, because natural toxins typically taste bitter,” says zoologist Huabin Zhao of Wuhan University in China who led the study. All whales likely descend from raccoon-esque raoellids, a group of herbivorous land mammals that transitioned to the sea where they became fish eaters.”

“The technique relies on electrically stimulating the nerve pathways in the spinal cord. “In the injured area, the nerve cells have been damaged to such an extent that they no longer receive usable information from the brain, so the stimulation needs to be delivered beneath that,” explains Dr. Peter Detemple, head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology’s Mainz branch (IMM) and NEUWalk project coordinator.”

“”I think if anybody ever had a doubt that this was just some sort of odd pickiness or something like that in people with autism, this shows, no, there really is a brain basis for this,” said Dr. Paul Wang, head of medical research for nonprofit advocacy group Autism Speaks.”

“”The study indicates that nondirective meditation allows for more room to process memories and emotions than during concentrated meditation,” says Svend Davanger, a neuroscientist at the University of Oslo, and co-author of the study.”

“Social isolation has been recognized as a major risk factor for mobidity and mortality in humans for more than three decades. The brain is the key organ of social connections and processes, however, and hte same objective social relationships can be experienced as caring and protective or as exploitive and isolating. We have provided evidence that the perception of social isolation (i.e. loneliness) impacts the brain and behavior and is a risk factor for broad based morbidity and mortality….”

Discover the Association for Psychological Science

“The 26th APS Annual Convention will begin on Thursday, May 22, 2014, and will end on Sunday, May 25, 2014.”

14 Responses to “readings in psychology for 18 may 2014 # glass #PsychScience @psychology #aps14sf”

  1. lmhenderson Says:

    How your brain works during meditation: I recently did a project for a religions class on meditation in public schools and my portion had to look at the health aspects of meditation. It has also been said that meditating can show an increase in grey matter in the brains of those that meditate. Meditation allows for your body to relax, repair and rejuvenate and allow the body to fix any damages that have been done. It also stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, or the branch of your peripheral nervous system that helps your body return to a calm, relaxed state after the threat of danger, or even daily stress, has passed. Another article I read about had one experiment showed participants images of other people that were either good, bad or neutral in what they called “compassion meditation.” The participants were able to focus their attention and reduce their emotional reactions to these images, even when they weren’t in a meditative state. They also experienced more compassion for others when shown disturbing images. Part of this comes from activity in the amygdala—the part of the brain that processes emotional stimuli. During meditation, this part of the brain normally shows decreased activity, but in this experiment it was exceptionally responsive when participants were shown images of people. I think that meditation is beneficial but there are many arguments against whether or not it is beneficial. Some think that if it is not conducted properly, it could effect the outcome and do the opposite of what it is intended to do.

  2. lmhenderson Says:

    It’s a big Dino!: I think it is really cool that they have discovered a new type of dinosaur that hasn’t been presented before. I like how they gave the dinosaur its name by acknowledging the farming community where it was found but also the size of its fossils as well. Seeing as this is the second titanosaur discovery, I think researchers and paleontologists will be able to gather more information regarding the new discovery and will be able to educate people around the world on this new discovery. As a dinosaur fan as a kid, I think this is an awesome discovery for science. It is believed to be a herbivore, which I find in a way a coincidence because it was found in a farming area. Hopefully there will be leads to a third finding for this dinosaur.

  3. tawells Says:

    How Your Brain Works During Meditation:
    Having tried meditation only a handful of times, I never really understood the nature or benefit of this phenomenon. I find it fascinating that this study has shown it can actually help process emotions and memories, with even higher activity in the brain than at a resting state. This is especially surprising for nondirective meditation due to its absence of specific, focused thoughts. It would be interesting to see even more research on the long-term benefits of nondirective meditation in comparison to concentrative meditation, as well as implications for treatment of personality or mental disorders.

  4. tawells Says:

    Hope for paraplegic patients:
    In the case of paraplegia and Parkinson’s disease, I think this sort of technology is justified so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. It’s hard to believe these implantable microelectrode sensors have the capacity to help paraplegic patients walk again simply by stimulating their spinal cord. But with a flexible and wafer-thin structure, they do appear promising and effective. However, the trials completed on the two patients might be limited, since they are not completely paraplegic. Nonetheless, I think this discovery has some major potential in improving many people’s lives.

  5. shanpolley Says:

    Hope for paraplegic patients: If paraplegic patients were able to restore a portion of their mobility, it could greatly change medicine and treatments. My concern is that humans are much more complex creatures than mice, so just because something worked on test mice does not necessarily mean it will work on humans. However, it is a fairly good sign and I am excited to see where this research goes in the future, especially as someone interested in a medical career. A previous article discussed using electrical stimulation in the brain to help regain memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients or for soldiers, so if electrical stimulation in the spine is found able to work I believe it could open the door to many other solutions to medical issues even in other parts of the body (such as the brain) related to neuron loss, degradation, or firing problems.

  6. shanpolley Says:

    they can only taste salt: it seems counterintuitive that whales would lose the sense of taste, even through evolutionary mutations. Usually, if a mutation decreases the fitness of an organism, the organisms with that mutation will be less likely to survive compared to the others without the mutation and will eventually become removed from the population. However it makes sense that having all tastes wouldn’t necessarily be advantageous- if a whale swims into an oil spill, regardless of his ability to taste he will still be exposed to all of the toxins through some form (toxins permeating through skin or being present in small doses in the food eaten). It’s interesting that such a seemingly important sense can be lost, and it makes me wonder if humans will ever lose the need or ability to have any of our senses due to a changing environment.

  7. rgroppe Says:

    Sensitivity and Autism:
    This article was very interesting since scientist can see the over active senitivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. By using the fMRI on children and teens with and without ASD, there is evidence to support what scientist were speculating by their behavior alone. The fact that we now know that there is a real connection between autism and different stimulation in brain activity is very interesting. I think that the behavioral accomodations for coping with over stimuation makes sense and is good, but I wonder how these accomodations change brain stimulation. It would be interesting to see how coping with over sensitivity changes brain activity.

  8. rgroppe Says:

    They can taste only salt:
    I think this is very interesting becasue we develop and lose traits throughout evolution. There is usually some sort of pressure that caused this unless it was a mutation that allowed the next generations to keep living, and in turn was passed down. In this case, it was a mutation that resulted in pseudogenes that were related to taste buds. Not only is it interesting that saltiness can still be detected but the fact that evolutionarily bitterness has been characteristic of poisenous food detection, and tasting bitterness was lost is very peculiar. This brings up the question of what other mechanisms compensate for this loss. The fact that saltiness is still sensed makes sense because that is the environment in which they live, and like the paper said it is nececssary for salt and water balance.

  9. hillarycho Says:

    How your brain works with meditation:
    When I was about 13 years old, my parents took me to a chinese temple and while we were there we took a lesson on how meditate and ended up meditation for 45 minutes. Before we meditated, my dad told me to try not to think about anything which I think is the concentrative method. This was very hard for me because the only thing I could think of was to not think about anything. I don’t know how monks do it regularly!

  10. hillarycho Says:

    Hope for paraplegic patients: I think that it’s incredible how researchers potentially have been able to find a solution to paraplegia. I’m excited to see how it works this summer on the people with partial paraplegia. I wonder if they’ll eventually be able to work on people with full paraplegia. It’s amazing how they may also be able to work on patients with parkinson’s disease. My grandma had Parkinson’s, and it was so sad to see how much Parkinson’s altered her lifestyle, so I’m glad they potentially may have a solution.

  11. Jenna Cleary Says:

    unintended effects of antidepressants: Along with drinking and smoking antidepressants are another thing that women need to take into account when they want to get pregnant. I also read the article on how a diet effects the child and it yet again shows how incredibly important it is for the mom to take care of her self for she is not only taking care of herself but also her baby. Although the study only reported 18% effected, that is still a lot when it comes down to it.

  12. Jenna Cleary Says:

    Retaining memory: I really enjoyed this article. I think its important to understand how we learn especially when it comes to studying for big exams and such. If we understand things like this (that we learn better by having key words) we might make up acronyms to remember when going into the test. I am currently in Memory and Cognition right now and we have been talking about this a lot lately as well and its extremely interesting to see how we group things together in order to remember one specific thing.

  13. krtomase Says:

    How your brain works during meditation: I have never tried to meditate, but I know people who do and they always talk about how beneficial it is. It leaves them feeling more relaxed and less stressed. I have a friend who describes it as if a blank white space has filled her thoughts; she completely empties her mind. That sounds like a hard technique to master to me! I personally don’t know how I could manage to sit for so long without getting antsy or thinking about a million things at once. I was surprised that the activity of the brain was higher during nondirective meditation rather than concentrated meditation. The brain just fascinates me even more because of that. I wonder what the activity of my brain would look like if I gave it a try. The fact that nondirective meditation allows more room to process memories and emotion seems like this practice could be really beneficial. I agree with the researches that it was important to use participants who had extensive experience with meditation, but I also wonder what the brain activity would be like for individuals trying it out for the first time, and whether or not there would be a difference between nondirective meditation and concentrated meditation.

  14. krtomase Says:

    Hope for paraplegic patients: This new research and technology seems like it could be extremely beneficial, and to restore mobility to those suffering from paraplegia and Parkinson’s would be amazing. However, I am a little skeptical about testing this method out on rats. I agree with shanpolley that humans are much more complex than rats, and this technology does not seem 100% promising. However, I do believe that it’s a start, and I have no doubt scientists will improve over time. It seems like a good idea to first test it out on patients who are not completely paraplegic. I am also curious if there are any side effects or serious risks at hand with this technology. I am excited to see where this can take us. A cure for paraplegia and Parkinson’s would be such a remarkable discovery!

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