Laura’s Psychology Blog

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

June 9, 2014

readings in psychology for 9 june 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

TeachingIsLove

Teaching is Love.

Here is what I am reading today:

““We think that reducing the flow of information between these two brain structures that play a central role in processing auditory information sets the stage for stress or other factors to come along and trigger the ‘voices’ that are the most common psychotic symptom of schizophrenia,” said the study’s corresponding author Stanislav Zakharenko, M.D., Ph.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. “These findings also integrate several competing models regarding changes in the brain that lead to this complex disorder.””

““We’ve known for a long time that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. If you don’t sleep well you won’t learn well,” says senior investigator Wen-Biao Gan, PhD, professor of neuroscience and physiology and a member of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But what’s the underlying physical mechanism responsible for this phenomenon? Here we’ve shown how sleep helps neurons form very specific connections on dendritic branches that may facilitate long-term memory. We also show how different types of learning form synapses on different branches of the same neurons, suggesting that learning causes very specific structural changes in the brain.””

check out the cover photo “An artistic rendition of a glomerulus in the mammalian olfactory bulb, with affiliated excitatory mitral cells (dark green) and external tufted (ET) cells (white) and inhibitory periglomerular (PG) cells (brown, pink, orange). Local dendrodendritic processing involving ET and PG cells appears to control whether the mitral cell output of a glomerulus is entirely ‘on’ or ‘off.’ Artwork by Greg Dunn, Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Pennsylvania. For more information, see the article by Gire and Schoppa in this issue (pages 13454–13464).”

“…In humans, there are three common variants, or alleles, of the APOE gene, numbered 2, 3 and 4. The obvious step, Roses realized, was to find out whether individual APOE alleles influence the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The variants can be distinguished from one another using a technique called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). But Roses had little experience with PCR, so he asked the postdocs in his team to test samples from people with the disease and healthy controls. The postdocs refused: they were busy hunting for genes underlying Alzheimer’s, and APOE seemed an unlikely candidate. The feeling in the lab, recalls Roses, was that “the chief was off on one of his crazy ideas”.”

““We know that some chemotherapeutic agents can kill brain tumor cells when they are outside the brain (as in a laboratory test). But because the agents cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, they are not able to kill brain tumor cells inside the brain. With the peptide carrier, these agents can now get into the brain and potentially kill the tumor cells,” says Mayo neurology researcher Robert Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study.”

“The quick diagnosis and successful treatment of the adolescent just 48 hours after cerebrospinal spinal fluid and blood were received for analysis portends the broader application of powerful, “next-generation sequencing” (NGS) techniques in solving infectious disease mysteries, not only in cutting-edge research labs, but also in clinical laboratories accessible to hospital physicians everywhere, according to Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, a professor of laboratory medicine at UC San Francisco. Chiu is senior author of the case study, published online in the The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on June 4, 2014.”

“Lead author Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our knowledge of factors that influence sperm size and shape is very limited, yet faced with a diagnosis of poor sperm morphology, many men are concerned to try and identify any factors in their lifestyle that could be causing this. It is therefore reassuring to find that there are very few identifiable risks, although our data suggests that cannabis users might be advised to stop using the drug if they are planning to try and start a family.””

who was little albert??

“For generations, psychology students have been asking the question, “Whatever happened to Little Albert?”, the baby who John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner conditioned to fear furry things back in 1919. Five years ago, it seemed that the question had finally been answered when Hall Beck of Appalachian State University in North Carolina and his colleagues published the results of some intensive archive-snooping. They declared that “Albert B.” (as the baby was called in the original report) had actually been Douglas Merritte, a child who died of hydrocephaly just a few years after the experiment. Now, however, two psychologists in Alberta are disputing that claim, and The Chronicle of Higher Education has just published an article on the matter.”

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.”

 

 

 

May 18, 2014

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

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.52 PM

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.”

May 8, 2014

readings in psychology for 8 may 2014 #PsychScience @psychology

"Am I so beautiful that you've no words left?" -- Midna

“Am I so beautiful that you’ve no words left?” — Midna

Here is what I am reading today:

“Dogs first surprised cognition researchers when scientists showed that the animals readily follow a human’s pointing finger or gaze to find food. Both wolves, dogs’ closest relative, and chimpanzees, our near-cousin, have trouble doing this. Now, scientists have raised the dogs-only bar: The canines can also use the sound of a human voice alone to find that tasty treat. Researchers carried out the auditory test on adult dogs and 8- to 14-week-old puppies as their owners watched.”

“Liverpool Psychologist, Dr Georg Mayer , explained: “This suggests that the correlated brain patterns were the result of using areas thought to be involved in language processing. Therefore we can assume that musical training results in a rapid change in the cognitive mechansims utilised for music perception and these shared mechanisms are usually employed for language.””

“Laura Freberg, a psychologist at California Polytechnic State University and Google Glass owner, believes society will develop a new etiquette for using head-mounted technology in social situations, but it will take time. People will need to work out where and when the use of such devices is acceptable to others.

“I walked into the restroom and was like, ‘oh my gosh… I’m going to make people really uncomfortable’,” she says. “It’s a learning process for the person who is wearing it as much as it is for the people around you. I think developing good manners will help us work through a lot of these problems.””

When Brent Williams got to RadioShack that day in the spring of 2012, he knew exactly what he was looking for: a variable resistor, a current regulator, a circuit board, and a 9-volt battery. The total came to around $20. Williams is tall and balding, with wire-rim glasses that make him look like an engineer, which he is. He directs a center on technology in education at Kennesaw State University and is the kind of guy who spends his free time chatting up people on his ham radio or trying to glimpse a passing comet with his telescope. But this project was different.”

“The problem with figuring out how nerve cells work in the eye, of either mice or humans, is the inability to watch what happens in action—everything is too tiny and intricate. To get around that problem, researchers have been building three dimensional models on computers. But even that gets untenable when considering the complexity and numbers of nerves involved. That’s where the EyeWire gamers came in….”

“So cognitive scientist Andreas Lind and his colleagues at Lund University in Sweden wanted to see what would happen if someone said one word, but heard themselves saying another. “If we use auditory feedback to compare what we say with a well-specified intention, then any mismatch should be quickly detected,” he says. “But if the feedback is instead a powerful factor in a dynamic, interpretative process, then the manipulation could go undetected.””

“The unidentified patient is a health care professional who had been working in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of the viral outbreak of MERS, federal health officials said Friday.

MERS has sickened hundreds of people in the Middle East, and kills about a quarter of the people who contract the virus, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Friday news conference.”

May 1, 2014

readings in psychology for 1 may 2014 #PsychScience @psychology

My daughters Kristin and Karen have been wonderful research collaborators over the years. One colleague quipped ,"If I knew how reliable a stats and communication person would be, I would have spawned some year's ago!"

My daughters Kristin and Karen have been wonderful research collaborators over the years. One colleague quipped ,”If I knew how reliable a stats and communication person would be, I would have spawned some year’s ago!”

Here is what I am reading today:

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is forging ahead with a four-year plan to build a sophisticated memory stimulator, as part of President Barack Obama’s $100 million initiative to better understand the human brain.

The science has never been done before, and raises ethical questions about whether the human mind should be manipulated in the name of staving off war injuries or managing the aging brain.”

“The study was carried out by Christian Scharinger and Ulrich Rabl, under the supervision of Lukas Pezawas at the Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the MedUni Vienna, in collaboration with groups from the special research division SFB-35 and other institutions at the MedUni Vienna, as well as international cooperation partners (Technical University of Dresden, Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim). Alongside other colleagues from the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, the MedUni Vienna’s Centre of Excellence for High Field MR, Clinical Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Institute of Pharmacology were also involved in the study.”

“”When we made detailed comparisons, we found that about a third of people with AgCC would meet diagnostic criteria for an autism spectrum disorder in terms of their current symptoms,” says Paul, who was the founding president of the National Organization for Disorders of the Corpus Callosum.

The research was done in the laboratory of Ralph Adolphs, Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology at Caltech and a coauthor of the study. The team looked at a range of different tasks performed by both sets of patients. Some of the exercises that involved certain social behaviors were videotaped and analyzed by the researchers to assess for autism. The team also gave the individuals questionnaires to fill out that measured factors like intelligence and social functioning.”

“Based solely on genetic markers, GPS could place individuals within their country of origin 83% of the time. Half of the subjects were pinpointed within 87 km of their reported point of origin. For instance, all female subjects from the mountain commune of San Basilio, Sardinia, were placed in their original village (inset).”

“Dr Rob Waterland of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who conducted the epigenetic analyses said: “We selected these gene regions because our earlier studies in mice had shown that establishment of DNA methylation at metastable epialleles is particularly sensitive to maternal nutrition in early pregnancy.”

The authors note that their study was limited by including only one blood sampling point during early pregnancy, but estimates of pre-conception nutrient concentrations were calculated using results from non-pregnant women sampled throughout a whole calendar year. The authors also plan to increase the sample size in further studies.”

Simpson and colleagues describe the monkeys as being more communicative when they saw the caregivers, that is, making facial gestures more frequently after receiving oxytocin than they did after receiving the saline. The monkeys were more likely to engage in lip smacking than tongue protrusion, but were more likely still to engage in either of these gestures after oxytocin than after the saline. Although on average monkeys exposed to oxytocin gestured more than after exposure to saline, there were differences in the frequency of gesturing among the individual monkeys. Monkeys who were more likely than their peers to gesture at caregivers in the first week of life (which the researchers termed strong imitators) gestured more frequently after oxytocin than did peers who were not as likely to gesture in the first week.”

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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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