Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

May 23, 2014

readings in psychology for 23 May 2014 in Psychology #psychology #aps14sf #glass #PsychScience

We're at APS all week, come by and test drive Google Glass!... come by the Cengage booth if you can't make these activities... we'll tweet out the times!

We’re at APS all week, come by and test drive Google Glass!… come by the Cengage booth if you can’t make these activities… we’ll tweet out the times!

Here’s what we are reading today:

“It’s well known that people marry folks who are like them,” said Benjamin Domingue, lead author of the paper and a research associate at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science. “But there’s been a question about whether we mate at random with respect to genetics.”

For the study, Domingue and his colleagues, including CU-Boulder Associate Professor Jason Boardman, used genomic data collected by the Health and Retirement Study, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.”

“The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will increase from 5 million in 2014 to as many as 16 million by 2050. Memory impairments and other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are often difficult to differentiate from the effects of normal aging, making it hard for doctors to recommend treatment for those affected until the disease has progressed substantial…”

 

The 'other doctor Freberg" is Karen Freberg an assistant professor of social media at the university of Louisville. Poor Karen, after demonstrating Google Glass all day, she took a three hour nap! Not to worry, she's ready to go today!!

The ‘other doctor Freberg” is Karen Freberg an assistant professor of social media at the university of Louisville. Poor Karen, after demonstrating Google Glass all day, she took a three hour nap! Not to worry, she’s ready to go today!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Our results can be interpreted two ways,” said Rebecca Knickmeyer, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine and lead author of the study published May 19 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. “Either SSRIs increase risk for Chiari type 1 malformations, or other factors associated with SSRI treatment during pregnancy, such as severity of depression itself, increase risk. Additional research into the effects of depression during pregnancy, with and without antidepressant treatment is urgently needed.”

“In a study published in the Journal of Memory and Language, Michael Vitevitch, KU professor of psychology, showed that research participants recognized these keywords more quickly and accurately than other words that were like the keywords in many respects except for their position in a network of 20,000 similar-sounding English words that he and colleagues created in 2008.”

“Looking at the activity of just one neuron in the brain doesn’t tell you how that information is being computed; for that, you need to know what upstream neurons are doing. And to understand what the activity of a given neuron means, you have to be able to see what downstream neurons are doing,” says Ed Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT and one of the leaders of the research team. “In short, if you want to understand how information is being integrated from sensation all the way to action, you have to see the entire brain.”

“According to Marcus Raichle (2010), some of the earliest indications that the brain was not exactly quiet during daydreaming or mind wandering came from observations made by Hans Berger, inventor of the EEG, in 1929. Berger wrote that the brain seemed to be “in a state of considerable activity” all the time, and not just during active wakefulness.”

 

 

 

27 Responses to “readings in psychology for 23 May 2014 in Psychology #psychology #aps14sf #glass #PsychScience”

  1. nfreche Says:

    This article claims that key words help with the memory of new, similar words. I found it interesting that with this knowledge that this technique is being used for treatment for those who have undergone a stroke. A family member of mine lost most of the ability to speak. This family member can blurt certain words and phrases but can not always get across what they are trying to say. Most of the time we realize that the word that is trying to be communicated is not the word that is meant to be said. We then guess the word, and the word is a similar sounding word spoken. I feel as if this study makes sense, but wonder how exactly treatments are carried out.

  2. nfreche Says:

    A cognitive test of Alzheimer’s:
    Testing for Alzheimer’s is difficult because as we age, because as we become older, the weight of our brain’s begin to shrink, and our memory is not as sharp. As we know, the hippocampus is important in its ability to store long term memories. So, it would make sense why researches would investigate the area of this brain for Alzheimer’s. From this article, I learned that in addition to long term memories, the hippocampus also is capable of storing relational information. Hopefully, this testing is refined so those there is another way to diagnose if a person may have Alzheimer’s.

  3. christinahenning Says:

    Antidepressants: I found this article very interesting because I want to have children one day and I love learning about the development of children. I was not surprised to hear that SSRIs during a pregnancy can cause chiari 1, but i am surprised that doctors are saying it is ok to take SSRIs during pregnancy. I think that women should remain 100% drug free during the length of their pregnancy. If they want to treat their depression they can be treated clinically for the 9months they are pennant with a child rather than put a child at risk for Chiari 1

  4. christinahenning Says:

    choosing a spouse by DNA: I found this incredibly interesting after learning about aging and mating in various classes, and the different things mates look for such as: smell, immune system etc. It would be interesting to know if a married couple who’s DNA did not match were more likely to get a divorce vs. a couple who’s DNA did match highly. I guess when choosing a mate it os a lot more than the environment acting, but infact more biological factors.

  5. lmhenderson Says:

    Neural 3D Activity: I think this invention of such a system is going to be really beneficial to neuroscience, and science as a whole. The article states that this can also possibly help us figure out possible brain disorders and understand them more. I think that this will be very crucial not only for those who work with the brain but also for the area of mental illness. Like the article said, if we are able to understand the neurons and the activity of the brain for these disorders, we can also come up with new possible types of therapies and ways for patients to overcome the disorder. Id be interested to see if any new findings are discovered with the imaging system and how well it actually works.

  6. lmhenderson Says:

    Unintended Affects of Antidepressants: I think this is helpful in understanding some brain abnormalities in new borns but I also think this might be dangerous for the mother herself. If the mother is so concerned about her child’s development, she may not continue taking her medication, which can lead to more serious problems. I agree with the article in that women should continue to take their medication until we are able to gain more information about what is exactly at stake. I do think this is good because it will help us discover more about the Chiari type 1 symptoms and how they develop.

  7. tawells Says:

    Choosing a spouse by DNA:
    I found this research to be especially interesting after learning about attraction, specifically how women tend to choose mates who have a scent different from, not similar to, their father’s and brother’s. Therefore, these results showing that the DNA between married people revealed fewer differences at SNPs than between two randomly selected individuals is somewhat surprising. Nonetheless, these findings strengthen the biological basis of mating in conjunction with social psychology: we like people who are like us. As a side note, it would also be interesting to see whether this similarity is universal across a number of cultures.

  8. tawells Says:

    A Cognitive Test for Alzheimer’s:
    I do believe that this new test for Alzheimer’s versus normal aging is significant, however I also find it to be limited. Because Alzheimer’s disease affects other areas of the brain besides the hippocampus, such as association areas and the limbic system, I think this test should be refined to include language, problem-solving, and emotional elements that would be impaired by Alzheimer’s. But in the end, this study does have implications for possible treatment.

  9. rgroppe Says:

    Unintended effects of antidepressants: I really appreciate this study because it provides us with information a confirmed relationship between depression, anti-depressant and Chiari malformation. Yet, it also addresses the importance of further research into to confirm the source of the malformation. This is a good example of gene and environment relationship for both mother and baby. I am very interested in the affect of antidepressants present at conception. So far in class, I know we have seen examples where prenatal exposure to certain hormones causes defects in the child, but I did not think about relating this as far back as conception. This makes me wonder what other factors in the prenatal environment are influence at conception.

  10. rgroppe Says:

    Retaining Memory: This article definitely popped out to me especially since memory obviously plays a huge role in learning and learning is why I am at Cal Poly. So, this connection made by researches between language and memory is very interesting to me. I really like the potential application of these findings. The proposed application is to help people who have had a stroke and lost memories. They proposed that by finding the correct keyword, this may trigger a re connection between other words and potentially bring back memories attached to that web of words. I wonder if the removal of these key words has anything to do with the loss of memory attributed to age.

  11. hillarycho Says:

    Choosing a spouse by DNA??: It doesn’t surprise me that spouse have similar DNA to each other than randomly chosen non-Hispanic caucasian people. People with similar phenotypic characteristics are usually drawn to each other, such as height, race, and body type. I wonder if people in the future will try to find their spouse based on their DNA.

  12. hillarycho Says:

    Unintended Effects of antidepressants: If I were an expected mother I wouldn’t be taking SSRI’s or any other medication for that matter, especially after reading this article. Anything that could potentially affect the fetus’ development should not be taken at any time during pregnancy.

  13. ezapata Says:

    choosing a spouse by DNA?

    I think its great that researchers decided to dig deeper to a potential genetic basis for why most people in marriages have a many similar interest. The article mentions that the spouses genomes were compared to a randomly selected sample within the same population. Using this type of sampling seems in the best interest of the researcher because if they were pulling from random samples across the world it would make there findings very weak. The sample also consisted of 825 non hispanic white American couples which significantly reduces the generalizability of the findings from this study. I also wonder if by couples they are including any gay married couples in their study. If not I think a potential new study would be to observe similarities in gay couples SNP’s and see if they find them to have a significant amount of commonality compared to randomly selected samples.

  14. ezapata Says:

    Retaining memory:
    This article interested me a lot because I plan to take German Language in the Fall and I’ve learned other languages in my past such as Russian and Spanish. This article gave me some insight on how our brain holds words together using keywords and the implications of this study are promising. Such as using keywords to provide new insights into development and acquired language disorders. They can also contribute to potential treatments for people suffering from word-finding problems after a stroke.
    One aspect of this article that really caught me off guard was the mentioning the use psycholinguistics to remove keywords from participants memories. This would lead to fracturing word networks and disrupting language processing, which the said they did not want to do . I was just very surprised that these researchers have the capability to remove key words from ones word networks.

  15. krtomase Says:

    Choosing a spouse by DNA:
    I am not surprised that spouses have similar DNA. After all, we are attracted to those who are like us–whether it be personality or physical characteristics. However, after learning about DNA in class, it is interesting that we tend to marry those with similar DNA even though the healthiest option for our children would be to mate with someone who has the biggest difference in DNA. We even pay attention to body odor and look for someone who smells different from our own family. And yet in the end, we still end up more genetically similar to our spouse. I also agree that it would be interesting to find out if there is a difference in divorce rates between couples who are genetically similar compared to those who are not.

  16. krtomase Says:

    Unintended effects of antidepressants: I thought this experiment was well conducted. I am surprised that doctors encourage the use of SSRI’s during pregnancy, especially when it puts the child at risk for chiari 1. Up until now, I thought it was assumed that pregnant women should not take SSRI’s. I had no idea that doctors allow the use of SSRI’s. If I were pregnant, I would definitely not be taking any medications of the sort. Although, as pointed out, doctors are not 100% positive that it is the SSRI’s causing chiari 1, and the effects of a depressed mother could be worse on the child.

  17. lmhenderson Says:

    Choosing a Spouse by DNA:
    Im surprised that this is the first study done to examine whether people choose their spouse with similar DNA. We are taught in schools that those with the same phenotypic characteristics are normally drawn to each other but I find it interesting that we are now looking at the actual polymorphisms. I wonder if different races would have different outcomes regarding this study, since it was only using participants that were non-hispanic caucasians. It would be interesting to see if this becomes an option for choosing a spouse in the future through DNA studies.

  18. lmhenderson Says:

    Cognitive Test for Alzheimers:
    I think the development of this test is very beneficial when it comes to looking at whether our memory impairments are due to mild aging or Alzheimers. Because the two are sometimes hard to distinguish, I feel that this may help us clearly see what the actual cause is and maybe will reduce the amount of misdiagnoses that can occur. It was said that when the test was conducted, there were clear and evident differences in the performances of the tasks for those who had Alzheimers and those who did not. I would be interested to see the neuroimages of these differences and results of the test. Researchers said that this would be the next step to add on to this test.

  19. nfreche Says:

    Choosing a spouse by DNA?? : As we have learned in class, people are attracted to each other for a number of reasons. Typical preferences may include degree of similarity of the face or body, differing immune systems than one’s own, and even smell. Besides these attractions, a new study shares that spouses share more similar DNA to one another than other random individuals. The research sample size included 825 non-Hispanic white American couples. I am curious to see what future studies will branch from this one such as if this occurs with different races, cultures, inner racial marriages or same sex marriage.

  20. rgroppe Says:

    The Brains Default Mode:
    I find this pretty interesting considering most of my procrastination stems from day dreaming or mind wandering. I always find it fascinating when professionals experience some sort of bump in the road during their research because these problems often lead to something great. In this case, researchers found that while there is still a substantial amount of brain activity there are specific areas that decrease in activity during the DMN (default mode network).

  21. rgroppe Says:

    Cognitive Test for Alzheimer’s:
    The estimated number for those who will have Alzheimer’s in 2050 is astonishing. With more research, if this test actually will help with diagnosis between normal aging people and mild Alzheimer people this potentially could reduce that projected number. Although Alzheimer’s is a disease that can not be cured with a drug, but in class we learned that those who actively use their brain and live active lives are at a lower risk at developing Alzheimer’s. So, with this information, if the test predicts a certain person to have mild Alzheimer’s they might be able to make the necessary changes to prevent the onset.

  22. tawells Says:

    Unintended Effects of Antidepressants:
    Although I am not an expert, I have to disagree with the use of antidepressants or virtually any type of medication during pregnancy. This article argues that depression gone untreated is very harmful to the mother and her infant, but it also says from the results of the study that taking SSRI’s is also harmful during pregnancy, with 18 percent of these children having Chiari type 1 malformations. Granted mothers cannot control their genes, but they can control their babies’ prenatal environment. With other treatment options available, such as psychotherapy, mothers shouldn’t have to use any medication if they want to lower this risk.

  23. tawells Says:

    Retaining memory:
    This article was very interesting to read. It reminded me of the whole tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, in which one remembers something if they hear a word similar to it, such as a word that starts with the same letter as or rhymes with someone’s name you forgot. Knowing we have these word networks then makes sense of our memory and language development. It would be interesting to see this same research go beyond strokes to explore the role of word networks in Alzheimer’s or amnesia.

  24. ezapata Says:

    Cognitive test for Alzheimer’s:
    After further refinement, this test can be the future of classical tests for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I liked that the researchers took previously knowledge about how the hippocampus deals with relational memory and knowledge that Alzheimer’s disease often impairs the hippocampus. They used this information and created a test to observe any deficits, it almost seems too easy! This story really relates to me because I’ve had members in my family suffer from Alzheimer’s and I’ve had to take care of them and see what they go through. I’ve also always wondered how much of memory loss is due to old age and how much of it is due to a disease such as Alzheimer’s.

  25. RocioG Says:

    Choosing a spouse by DNA :
    I also agree that these results are not surprising when the study is solely focused on randomly chosen non-Hispanic Caucasian people. I am very skeptical and would like to see more of these study’s on people from different ethnic backgrounds or even sexualities. As discussed in my classes, it is both biological and environmental factors that “determine” an outcome. I could understand why certain couples have similar DNA stay together longer but I also believe that other factors such as attraction, similar interests, cultural values, personality etc are just as important as similarity in DNA. I am very curious to find out the outcome from the spouses. Such as divorce rates or differences in enjoyment of the marriage when compared to DNA. I also wonder about the instances when people prefer mates whose DNA is actually more different rather than more similar, could their marriage rates be better or worse?

  26. ezapata Says:

    Antidepressant use in pregnancy:
    This article peaked my interesest because Ive personally dealt with depression and been given antidepressant medication ( but I chose not to take it).
    From what this article is saying there appears to be a correlation between depression,SSRI’s and Chiari type 1 malformations however there isn’t strong enough research to conclude anything that could make a call to action. I think the key part of this article would be when the author states that malformations were highest in children “whose mothers reported a family history of depression” along with “treatment with SSRIs during pregnancy”, there is clearly an increased risk but only further research will help avoid more babies being born with Chiari type 1 malformations.

  27. RocioG Says:

    Unintended Effects of Antidepressants:
    I am thankful that this study was conducted. I am also surprised that doctors continued to encourage SSRI’s usage during pregnancy. Although I am also having a hard time understanding this if the child at risk for chiari 1.Even if doctors are not convinced that it is the SSRI’s causing chiari 1 I would still not take the SSRI if I were in a similar situation. However, this could also vary from person to person. Maybe there are extreme cases where therapy is not enough and SSRI’s are there last resort. Then I would slightly understand.

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