So much for taking a day off or going to a spa to help you relax. It might be wiser to just give away some of your time to your loved ones. It could magically open op you busy agenda, four experiments show.... Read more »
The carpet is sticky and the smell of hotdogs mingles with sweet popcorn. The trailers are rolling. Even though person’s knee from the seat behind jabs into my back, I don’t care. The summer blockbuster is about to start and I’ve heard great things about it… But two hours, a bursting bladder and numb bottom … Continue reading »... Read more »
Chintagunta, P., Gopinath, S., & Venkataraman, S. (2010) The Effects of Online User Reviews on Movie Box Office Performance: Accounting for Sequential Rollout and Aggregation Across Local Markets. Marketing Science, 29(5), 944-957. DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1100.0572
Duan, W., Gu, B., & Whinston, A. (2008) Do online reviews matter? — An empirical investigation of panel data. Decision Support Systems, 45(4), 1007-1016. DOI: 10.1016/j.dss.2008.04.001
BOOR, M. (1992) RELATIONSHIPS AMONG RATINGS OF MOTION PICTURES BY VIEWERS AND SIX PROFESSIONAL MOVIE CRITICS. Psychological Reports, 70(3c), 1011-1021. DOI: 10.2466/pr0.1992.70.3c.1011
We each vary in how much we use first-person singular pronouns (I, Me, Myself) in our speech and writing, and how much we use first-person plural pronouns (We, Us, Ourselves). Researchers say it's a kind of habit and not something we usually have much control over. Now a study conducted in Germany claims that people who are more prolific users of "I" and "Me" tend to have more interpersonal problems and to experience more depression. "Using first-person singular pronouns highlights the self as a distinct entity," say the researchers led by Johannes Zimmermann, "whereas using first-person plural pronouns emphasises its embeddedness into social relationships."
Zimmermann and his colleagues counted pronoun use in transcripts recorded from 118 people who'd completed a 60 to 90-minute psychotherapeutic interview taking in topics including their past, their relationships and self-perception. This was an exploratory study and, knowing that these kind of interviews increase first-person singular pronoun use, the researchers thought this would be a good place to start.
The sample was made up of 99 female patients at a psychotherapy clinic and 19 "healthy" controls (across both there were 103 women). The patients had problems ranging from anxiety to eating disorder. All the participants also filled out in-depth questionnaires that asked them about depression and their interpersonal behaviour.
Frequent use of first-person singular pronouns went hand in hand with higher depression scores and with interpersonal distress characterised by what the researchers called an "intrusive style", including inappropriate self-disclosure, attention seeking, and an inability to spend time alone. "First-person singular pronoun use may be part of a ... strategy that pulls for friendly-submissive attention from others," the researchers said. A "tendency to seek attention from others rather than self-focused attention."
In contrast, greater use of first-person plural pronouns was associated with lower depression scores and lower interpersonal distress. To the researchers' surprise, this was characterised by a "cold" interpersonal style. However, they think this is a "functional" kind of coldness - the ability to help others with their needs while also remaining appropriately detached for self-protection.
These are interesting findings that build on an established evidence base relating to pronoun use - for instance, past research has linked greater use of first-person singular pronouns with more marital dissatisfaction and social anxiety. However, the study has some obvious limitations, most notably its clinical sample, which limits the ability to say if the same findings would apply to the general population, and its reliance on participants' own descriptions of their interpersonal style. It's also important to note that there's no evidence here of a causal link - Zimmermann's team aren't saying that greater use of "I" and "Me" causes interpersonal problems. More likely, this way of speaking probably reflects how people see themselves and habitually relate to others.
Zimmermann, J., Wolf, M., Bock, A., Peham, D., and Benecke, C. (2013). The way we refer to ourselves reflects how we relate to others: Associations between first-person pronoun use and interpersonal problems. Journal of Research in Personality, 47 (3), 218-225 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2013.01.008
Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Zimmermann, J., Wolf, M., Bock, A., Peham, D., & Benecke, C. (2013) The way we refer to ourselves reflects how we relate to others: Associations between first-person pronoun use and interpersonal problems. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(3), 218-225. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2013.01.008
Let’s say you find yourself in charge of a group of children. Since you’re a relatively-average psychologist, you have a relatively strange hypothesis you want to test: you want to see whether wearing a red shirt will make children better … Continue reading →... Read more »
Shanks, D., Newell, B., Lee, E., Balakrishnan, D., Ekelund, L., Cenac, Z., Kavvadia, F., & Moore, C. (2013) Priming Intelligent Behavior: An Elusive Phenomenon. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056515
Why we shouldn't be so quick to judge when 'failures' of intelligence occur.... Read more »
Fischhoff, B. (1975) Hindsight is not equal to foresight: The effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1(3), 288-299. DOI: 10.1037//0096-15220.127.116.118
All you need is love. Or failing that chocolate.And not only because dark chocolate could lower the risk of heart disease, blood pressure and sugar levels. As Dr. Schieberle's team recently discovered that heart could sense and enjoy the sweet smell of chocolate too. When they put small odor-emitting molecules from chocolate on one side of a dish, cells actually moved towards the aroma.The heart, the lungs, the blood, the sperm and testis all have the abilities to recognize chemicals responsible for smells. Genomic studies (Deldmesser et al, 2006) showed that many tissues have working genes responsible for the perception of flavors. Sperm of sea urchines is able to recognize the odor and swim toward the egg. Human sperm might very well be capable of "smelling" their way to the egg too. And white blood cells sense the odors of bacteria to rush to the site of infection in the wound. Unfortunately, cancer cells can also sense their way out of the tumor in the direction of blood vessels, leading to metastasis. Smells can guide social preferences, trigger positive or negative memories, help to lose weight, reduce anxiety or give you nightmares. Smells can make or brake, kill or heal. They can have therapeutic or diagnostic use helping to understand gene-environment health paradigms and paving new avenues for future health care strategies. REFERENCES Feldmesser E, Olender T, Khen M, Yanai I, Ophir R, & Lancet D (2006). Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes. BMC genomics, 7 PMID: 16716209Schieberle P, & Molyneux RJ (2012). Quantitation of sensory-active and bioactive constituents of food: A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry perspective. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60 (10), 2404-8 PMID: 22369090Schieberle P., Do cells in the blood, heart and lungs smell the food we eat? 245th Chemistry of Energy and Food, National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, New Orleans, LA, April 7-11, 2013... Read more »
Feldmesser E, Olender T, Khen M, Yanai I, Ophir R, & Lancet D. (2006) Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes. BMC genomics, 121. PMID: 16716209
Schieberle P, & Molyneux RJ. (2012) Quantitation of sensory-active and bioactive constituents of food: A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry perspective. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60(10), 2404-8. PMID: 22369090
What are you saying with your smells? Image by freedigitalphotos.net.Animals communicate in all kinds of ways: with vocalizations, body language, vibrations, and even odors. In fact, compared to most species, we are pathetic in our abilities to communicate with body odor. With just a whiff of eau de crotch, many animals can decipher that individual’s species, sex, age, health status, reproductive status, emotional state, and dietary history. Some species can go so far as to make out that individual’s exact identity (*Sniff Sniff* Oh! Hi Mike!).There are a lot of advantages to using odors to communicate. For one thing, messages sent by smell are more likely to be honest than messages sent by other means. (You might be able to do a pretty good Shakira impersonation, but you can’t hide the fact that you had a tuna sandwich for lunch and haven’t brushed your teeth since). Another advantage is that unlike other signal types, an odor signal can be left behind, kind of like those sticky-notes you leave on your food in the fridge.How do scientists know which species use odors to communicate and what information these signals contain? This investigatory process involves a lot of reasoning.A solitary black rhino. Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.Wayne Linklater, Katha Mayer and Ron Swaisgood, an international team of researchers associated with Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, University of Potsdam in Germany, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in California, set out to test whether black rhinoceros use odor to communicate. Although rhinos lack the specialized scent glands that many smell-communicating species have, there are many reasons to suggest that they are a likely species to communicate this way. A photo of field assistant Brayden Crocker with rhino dung scrape mark. Photo by Wayne Linklater.Black rhinos are solitary. Females often have overlapping ranges, but males’ territories only overlap at their boundaries. This means that they would rarely encounter one another and would benefit from a means to leave “sticky-notes” behind to indicate where their territories are. Furthermore, despite their poor eyesight, male black rhinos have a poop-ritual in which they scrape at the ground and spread their dung. Although female rhinos don’t spread their poo, they do spray their pee when they are ready to mate. Between 2004 and 2006, the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Veterinary and Game-Capture Team captured a number of black rhinoceros from the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Reserves in South Africa in order to relocate them to other reserves for conservation purposes. At this time, Wayne, Katha, and Ron collected dung from rhinos with known sexes and ages. They stored the dung in labeled plastic bags and froze them to preserve the odor freshness for a series of experiments to explore the extent of the black rhinos’ abilities to communicate with their bodily waste. In one experiment, the researchers asked whether black rhinos could differentiate between the dung of males and females and between the dung of adults and immature subadults. They presented rhinos with the dung of young males, young females, adult males and adult females, and then measured how many times they sniffed each and how long they spent sniffing. The rhinos spent more time sniffing male dung than female dung. This means that rhino poop likely communicates the sex of the pooper. Rhinos also responded differently to adult and subadult poop, suggesting that they can tell whether the pooper is an adult or not.In order to test whether rhinos may be able to tell the individual identity of the pooper, they did a habituation-dishabituation test. Habituation is when an animal gets used to something that happens repeatedly and stops responding to it. For example, the first time you heard Gangnam Style, you probably stopped what you were doing and maybe even learned the dance. But now it has been so ridiculously over-played that when you hear it, you just ignore it. Dishabituation happens when an animal is exposed to something slightly different and has a heightened response again. Kind of like the excitement over Psy’s new song, Gentleman, even though it sucks. A photo of rhino performing flehmen, a behavior that helps waft odors for better odor detection. Photo by Wayne Linklater.Wayne, Katha, and Ron exposed rhinos to the same individual’s dung three times to see if their interest in it waned. With each presentation, the rhinos spent a little less time sniffing it. When the researchers put poop from a different rhino (that was the same sex and age as the first pooper) in front of them, their interest returned. This suggests that rhinos can tell the individual identity of the pooper from his/her poop.But can rhinos use their poop like “sticky-notes”? The researchers aged dung for 1, 4, 16 and 32 days and put them in front of rhinos to smell. Their response was the same, no matter how old the dung was. This indicates that rhinos can spread their poop to leave an “I was here” message for at least a month.As fun as it may be to spend years studying rhinoceros poop, there are some important uses for research like this. Black rhinos are critically endangered, largely due to hunting, poaching and habitat loss. In fact, Mozambique's Limpopo National Park declared the last of their rhino population killed as recently as last month. Conservation efforts such as captive breeding programs and reintroductions have helped in several areas, but have not been enough to sustain the populations. Conservationists could apply this knowledge of how rhinoceros use dung odors to communicate to these breeding and reintroduction efforts in order to make them considerably more successful. Wa... Read more »
Linklater, W., Mayer, K., & Swaisgood, R. (2013) Chemical signals of age, sex and identity in black rhinoceros. Animal Behaviour, 85(3), 671-677. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.12.034
by ebender in Daily Observations
Five psychological scientists, including four APS Fellows, are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in recognition of their contributions and The post Four APS Fellows Elected to NAS appeared first on Association for Psychological Science.... Read more »
Aslin, R.N. (2012) Questioning the questions that have been asked about the infant brain using near-infrared spectroscopy. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 29(1-2), 7-33. PMID: 22329690
In an upcoming issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Papay and colleagues provide psychometric evidence for the short-form Problematic Online Gaming Questionnaire (developed earlier and published in PLOS ONE) using a national sample of 5,045 high school students. The short-form version is especially interesting because it has six dimensions over just twelve items. However, the [...]
Related articles from NeoAcademic:
Why Do People Play Online Social Games?
In Online Games, Those Who Are Harassed Will Themselves Harass Others
Augmented Reality as a Training Tool
Playing Violent Video Games for a Release That Never Comes
College Courses as Live Games
... Read more »
Pápay, O., Urbán, R., Griffiths, M., Nagygyörgy, K., Farkas, J., Kökönyei, G., Felvinczi, K., Oláh, A., Elekes, Z., & Demetrovics, Z. (2013) Psychometric Properties of the Problematic Online Gaming Questionnaire Short-Form and Prevalence of Problematic Online Gaming in a National Sample of Adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0484
Demetrovics, Z., Urbán, R., Nagygyörgy, K., Farkas, J., Griffiths, M., Pápay, O., Kökönyei, G., Felvinczi, K., & Oláh, A. (2012) The Development of the Problematic Online Gaming Questionnaire (POGQ). PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036417
Dog training is an unlicensed profession. Sometimes it surprises people to learn there is a science to training, the origins of which can be traced back to Pavlov and Skinner. When studying how ordinary people train their dogs, scientists have to map between technical terms and everyday language. How do they do this?You’ve probably heard the phrase that “dogs do what works”, as explained by Jean Donaldson in her wonderful book The Culture Clash. What this means is, the behaviours that are rewarded get repeated, and the ones that don’t get rewards tend to disappear (this is called extinction). Our knowledge of operant conditioning has its roots in the work of B.F. Skinner, who coined the phrase in 1937, but applied behaviour analysis is still an active field today; for example, it is used to help children and adults with autism.Operant conditioning relies on punishments and reinforcements. Reinforcement makes a behaviour increase, whereas punishment makes a behaviour go down in frequency. Either can be positive or negative, and this is where it gets technical, because the terms don’t map intuitively into everyday English. A positive reinforcement means that something good (reinforcing) is added, such as when a dog is given chicken. Negative reinforcement means that something is taken away, such as a painful stimulus or an unpleasant vibration that stops when the dog does what you want it to do. Positive punishment is essentially what we mean when we talk about punishment in everyday language; something unpleasant is added, such as when a dog gets a bop on the nose or an electric shock. Finally, negative punishment would be something like a time-out; the dog is losing its freedom to play or explore.When conducting surveys of dog-owners, scientists can’t just ask ‘do you use negative punishment?’, because this is a technical term that unfortunately even some dog trainers don’t understand. So they have to phrase the questions in everyday language.One way of doing this is illustrated by Hiby, Rooney and Bradshaw (University of Bristol) in 2004. They decided to ask about the training of specific behaviours. This is helpful because some people might use one method for teaching ‘sit’, and another for teaching walking to heel. They asked open-ended questions so that participants could write in their own words how they had taught various commands, and how they responded if the dog did something like stealing food or chewing a household object. The scientists themselves then classified these techniques into the quadrants of operant conditioning. Actually, they categorized them as reward-based, punishment-based, and miscellaneous.Another approach is to ask participants to rate specific statements on a scale. This is what Arhant et al in Vienna did in a large survey published in 2010. They used a five-point scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (very often) for owners to rate how often they used particular techniques, including food, praise, play, scolding, startling with a noise, and a jerk on the leash. Although participants don’t get to use their own words, the advantage is that better statistics can be applied to this kind of data. In fact, when Arhant et al looked statistically to see how the different training approaches related to each other, they didn’t end up with four quadrants. They categorized the approaches as punishment (technically speaking, positive punishment), rewards, and ‘reward-based responses to unwanted behaviour’. This last category included negative punishment such as time-outs, as well as comforting a fearful dog. We can see that the main distinction drawn in these studies is between reward-based and punishment-based approaches. So, does it matter which quadrants are used in training? Well, Hiby et al’s study found that although many people use rewards, many of them also use punishment. There was a positive correlation between the frequency of using rewards-based training and ratings of general obedience; in other words, dogs trained using rewards were rated as more obedient. There was no correlation between obedience and punishment. Arhant et al found similar results. Again, many owners reported using punishment in training, although they did not use it very often. More frequent use of punishment was linked to higher scores on aggression and excitability. In contrast, more frequent use of rewards was linked to more obedience, less aggression, and less anxiousness.These results (and others) don’t prove a causal connection, but they do suggest it is more effective to stick to the positive reinforcement and negative punishment quadrants in operant conditioning, and not to use positive punishment. One of the risks of using positive punishment is that it might inadvertently cause aggression. A study by Meghan Herron found many owners report an aggressive response to the use of punishment.Unfortunately it is not always easy to know what methods trainers use. The language of dog training can be full of weasel words. Instead of talking about punishment, some trainers refer to ‘corrections’ or to a ‘balanced approach’. Shock collars are described as remote collars, as if nothing happens at the other end (but of course it does, or else how would they work?). These seem to be ways of avoiding saying they use punishment. This is why scientists need to be careful in how they phrase questions, and also why owners need to look at the details when choosing a dog trainer.Luckily, the use of positive punishment in training is old-fashioned, and more and more trainers (and owners) are taking a force-free approach. A force-free dog trainer will only use the positive reinforcement and negative punishment quadrants; sometimes, to avoid confusion, they will only mention positive reinforcement. Ask your dog trainer carefully about the approach they use, so that you know you will be happy with the way they treat your dog.How do you train your dog? And, if you have had dogs for a while, how has your training changed over time?ReferencesArhant, C., Bubna-Littitz, H., Bartels, A., Futschik, A., & Troxler, J. (2010). Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour and level of engagement in activities with the dog Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123 (3-4), 131-142 DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.01.003Donaldson, Jean (2012/1996) The Culture Clash. Dogwise Publishing.... Read more »
Arhant, C., Bubna-Littitz, H., Bartels, A., Futschik, A., & Troxler, J. (2010) Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour and level of engagement in activities with the dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123(3-4), 131-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.01.003
Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J., & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2004) Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness, and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare, 63-69. info:/
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
Oh, the things men say. Well, in truth, no real man said this. It’s featured in a parody of the viral Dove video where a forensic artist draws pictures of women as they describe themselves and then as they are described by a stranger. In the real ad, the women describe themselves as less attractive than [...]
Real men don’t make mistakes
“It was ‘a man’s work’ and I just didn’t like working with those incompetent women….”
Look into my eyes…..
... Read more »
Cha, Y. (2013) Overwork and the Persistence of Gender Segregation in Occupations. Gender , 27(2), 158-184. DOI: 10.1177/0891243212470510
Researcher has found that over-diagnosis and over-treatment of depression is common in Americans.
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
"Depression over-diagnosis and over-treatment is common in the U.S. and frankly the numbers are staggering," said Ramin J. Mojtabai, PhD, author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Mental Health.
Researcher, in this study, worked on 5,639 participants with clinician-identified depression taken from the 2009-2010 United States National Survey of Drug Use and Health. They examined the major depressive episodes within a 12-month period in the patients.
Researcher found that only 38.4% of adults with clinician-identified depression met the 12-month criteria for depression, even though many of the participants being prescribed and using psychiatric medications.
"Among study participants who were 65 years old or older with clinician-identified depression, 6 out of every 7 did not meet the 12-month major-depressive-episodes criteria. While participants who did not meet the criteria used significantly fewer services and treatment contacts, the majority of both groups used prescription psychiatric medication." Mojtabai said in a statement.
"A number of factors likely contribute to the high false-positive rate of depression diagnosis in community settings, including the relatively low prevalence of depression in these settings, clinicians' uncertainty about the diagnostic criteria and the ambiguity regarding sub-threshold syndromes," said Mojtabai. "Previous evidence has highlighted the under-diagnosis and under-treatment of major depression in community settings. The new data suggest that the under-diagnosis and under-treatment of many who are in need of treatment occurs in conjunction with the over-diagnosis and over-treatment of others who do not need such treatment. There is a need for improved targeting of diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mental disorders in these settings."
Mojtabai, R. (2013). Clinician-Identified Depression in Community Settings: Concordance with Structured-Interview Diagnoses Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 82 (3), 161-169 DOI: 10.1159/000345968... Read more »
Mojtabai, R. (2013) Clinician-Identified Depression in Community Settings: Concordance with Structured-Interview Diagnoses. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 82(3), 161-169. DOI: 10.1159/000345968
We’ve all been there. Mid-winter morning, you crawl out of bed, slouch towards work, and pass the day in a hazy daze. There seems to be no concept of time, just never-ending darkness and cold. You’re not depressed, just…bleh. Well, rats have that feeling too. Being nocturnal though, they prefer long nights to long days [...]... Read more »
Dulcis D, Jamshidi P, Leutgeb S, & Spitzer NC. (2013) Neurotransmitter switching in the adult brain regulates behavior. Science (New York, N.Y.), 340(6131), 449-53. PMID: 23620046
I've talked about the mighty tick previously on this blog and some speculation on how a tick harbouring the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (or a close relation) bites and transmits said bacteria to humans which can lead to Lyme disease and whether this might be implicated in some cases of autism. Tickety boo @ Wikipedia The suggestion from that post was that whilst the data was speculative and relatively sparse at that time on whether Lyme disease is common in cases of autism or indeed could 'cause' autism, there might be some room to test one or two hypotheses regarding a possible link between the two conditions.Two years on, I'm happy to report that someone has finally looked at the possibility of a connection in the form of a letter by Mary Ajamian and colleagues* published in the journal JAMA. The results: no link between Lyme disease and autism in a sizeable cohort of children/young adults with autism or indeed Lyme disease and control participants.The ins-and-outs of the study have been quite widely reported, for example with headlines like: 'Autism-Lyme Correlation Debunked' and 'Autism And Lyme Disease Link Is Bunk, Study Says'. Using a two-tiered assay based on initial screening for antibodies to B.burgdorferi (IgG and IgM) and Western blotting for antibodies in suspect cases, the authors were systematically able to test for signs of infection and found pretty much nothing.Interestingly, the authors are quoted as saying that their study, whilst well-powered and based on the US CDC advice for screening for Lyme disease, might not necessarily spell the end of any association between Lyme disease and autism. To quote from this news source: "The researchers also pointed out that their analysis did not address the question of whether Lyme disease might cause autism-like behavioral deficits". That for example earlier infection during infancy or even in-utero might be linked to cases of autism was not part and parcel of the Ajamian study. Certainly with all the recent speculation turning to the earliest time of life being linked to autism risk - think folate and valproate for example - I don't think we are in a position to yet discount such possibilities. That and the renewed focus on the tetracyclines with autism in mind (used to treat Lyme disease).But....The Ajamian study must be seen as compelling evidence that no current infection pertinent to Lyme disease exists in cases of autism or controls, or at least the cases that were under investigation. I know infection is still quite a hot potato when it comes to autism risk (remembering this study by Hornig and colleagues** and all that XMRV overspill into autism spectrum disorders) bearing in mind the continued speculation on all those possible in-utero exposures whether viral or bacterial. I would bring you back to that most classical of autism risk factors - congenital rubella as per the study by Chess and colleagues*** - as evidence that external agents might be associated with autism onset and how the wider search for potentially linked pathogens should not be tarnished by the latest findings.----------* Ajamian M. et al. Serologic markers of Lyme Disease in children with autism. JAMA. 2013; 309: 1771-1773.** Hornig M. et al. Lack of association between measles virus vaccine and autism with enteropathy: a case-control study. PLoS ONE. 2008; 3: e3140.*** Chess S. et al. Behavioral consequences of congenital rubella. J Pediatr. 1978; 93: 699-703.----------Mary Ajamian, Barry E. Kosofsky, Gary P. Wormser, Anjali M. Rajadhyaksha, & Armin Alaedini (2013). Serologic Markers of Lyme Disease in Children With Autism JAMA, 309 (17), 1771-1773... Read more »
Mary Ajamian, Barry E. Kosofsky, Gary P. Wormser, Anjali M. Rajadhyaksha, & Armin Alaedini. (2013) Serologic Markers of Lyme Disease in Children With Autism. JAMA, 309(17), 1771-1773. info:/
When we adults are confronted by a bridge, we're concerned not just by its width and sturdiness, but also by the height of the drop beneath. If there's a deep canyon, we'd usually rather the bridge was mighty strong and wide. If there's but a short drop, we'll happily jaunt along the narrowest, flimsiest of crossings - after all, it won't matter much if we fall.
Infants - those aged 11 to 14 months - are different. They don't want to fall, so they're wary of narrow bridges. But the height of the drop makes no difference to them at all. "We found clear evidence that infants are averse to falling from a height," said the researchers Kari Kretch and Karen Adolph, "but no evidence of adult-like anxiety that increases with drop-off height."
Kretch and Adolph challenged 37 14-month-olds to walk across a bridge of varying widths spanning a 76cm gap between two surfaces. The drop beneath the bridge was either large (71cm - nearly the infants' standing height) or short (17cm - roughly knee-high to the infants).
When faced with a more narrow crossing, the toddlers were more cautious as you'd expect - they hesitated, felt their way, and proceeded more slowly. Too narrow and they'd even refuse to go ahead. Crucially, however, their crossing behaviour didn't vary according to the height of the drop. A similar result was found when the study was repeated with 11-month-olds who were still crawling.
It's not that the walkers and crawlers couldn't perceive the difference in the height of the drops. When they refused to cross a very narrow bridge, they'd climb down into the small drop, but not the big drop.
At first, these new results might appear to contradict Gibson and Walk's classic "visual cliff" experiments conducted in the 1960s, in which babies refused to crawl onto a glass surface that had the appearance of a cliff edge. However, the visual cliff studies, and other research since, didn't disentangle risk of falling from the issue of fall height and the likelihood of injury. The researchers point out their new results aren't as surprising as they might seem. Toddlers, it seems, are effectively averse to all dangers of falling, whether down a short or big drop. Unlike adults, they don't calibrate according to the relative risk.
"How would infants know that the longer an object (or baby) falls, the harder it hits the ground?" asked Kretch and Adolph. "Certainly by adulthood, we understand this intuitively. An open question is how and when this understanding develops." They acknowledged it would be useful for future research to explore a broader range of heights, to see if there's any level at which toddlers do register a greater danger.
Kretch, K., and Adolph, K. (2013). No bridge too high: Infants decide whether to cross based on the probability of falling not the severity of the potential fall. Developmental Science, 16 (3), 336-351 DOI: 10.1111/desc.12045
Toddlers don't take the risk of entrapment seriously.
Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Kretch, K., & Adolph, K. (2013) No bridge too high: Infants decide whether to cross based on the probability of falling not the severity of the potential fall. Developmental Science, 16(3), 336-351. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12045
Homophobic protestors of gay rights assert things like "homosexuality will lead to the breakdown of civilization," and other such notions. But research is finding that some of these avid protestors are homosexuals themselves. Why is that?
Recent research looks at how cultural influences regarding homosexuality affect the psychology of homosexuals who are "in the closet." A new study is contrasted with information on pornography consumption, showing widespread hypocrisy throughout the world.... Read more »
Weinstein, N., Ryan, W., DeHaan, C., Przybylski, A., Legate, N., & Ryan, R. (2012) Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(4), 815-832. DOI: 10.1037/a0026854
Starting an argument with someone can be a great way to learn more about a topic. Arguments help us check our own thinking, come to terms with someone else’s reasoning, and occasionally even arrive at a shared understanding about what we believe to be true. Everyday arguments are often messy. The parties involved in the [...]... Read more »
Neuman, Y. (2003) Go ahead, prove that God does not exist! On high school students’ ability to deal with fallacious arguments. Learning and Instruction, 13(4), 367-380. DOI: 10.1016/S0959-4752(02)00011-7
There are many factors that go into how a child learns to read, write, and spell. Phonological awareness in early childhood is a proven predictor of how well a child will progress in their literary performance. Today’s post explains the basics of phonological awareness and how to better develop it in young children. What is … Read More →... Read more »
Lonigan CJ, Farver JM, Nakamoto J, & Eppe S. (2013) Developmental Trajectories of Preschool Early Literacy Skills: A Comparison of Language-Minority and Monolingual-English Children. Developmental psychology. PMID: 23316767
Carson KL, Gillon GT, & Boustead TM. (2012) Classroom Phonological Awareness Instruction and Literacy Outcomes In the First Year of School. Language, speech, and hearing services in schools. PMID: 23275432
Chipere, N. (2013) Sex differences in phonological awareness and reading ability. Language Awareness, 1-15. DOI: 10.1080/09658416.2013.774007
Wagensveld B, van Alphen P, Segers E, Hagoort P, & Verhoeven L. (2013) The neural correlates of rhyme awareness in preliterate and literate children. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. PMID: 23523114
Researchers have found that higher belief in God positively affects the treatment strategy of the people with psychiatric disorders.
Journal of Affective Disorders
"Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm," David H. Rosmarin, PhD, McLean Hospital clinician and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.
In this study, researchers worked on 159 patients, recruited over a one-year period, and asked them about their belief on God and the expectations of the treatment outcome. Researchers also checked the levels of depression, wellbeing, and self-harm at the start and end of the treatment program.
Researchers found that the patients with “no” or only “slight” belief in God showed two times less response to the treatment strategies as compared to the patients with higher levels of belief in God. Moreover, “higher levels of belief were also associated with greater reductions in depression and self-harm, and greater improvements in psychological well-being over course of treatment,” Researchers wrote.
The study concludes: "... belief in God is associated with improved treatment outcomes in psychiatric care. More centrally, our results suggest that belief in the credibility of psychiatric treatment and increased expectations to gain from treatment might be mechanisms by which belief in God can impact treatment outcomes."
Rosmarin commented, "Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States — over 90% of the population — these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life. I hope that this work will lead to larger studies and increased funding in order to help as many people as possible."
Rosmarin DH, Bigda-Peyton JS, Kertz SJ, Smith N, Rauch SL, & Björgvinsson T (2013). A test of faith in God and treatment: the relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomes. Journal of affective disorders, 146 (3), 441-6 PMID: 23051729... Read more »
Rosmarin DH, Bigda-Peyton JS, Kertz SJ, Smith N, Rauch SL, & Björgvinsson T. (2013) A test of faith in God and treatment: the relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomes. Journal of affective disorders, 146(3), 441-6. PMID: 23051729
Men don't generally talk about placentas it has to be said. But today, in the name of blogging, I'm going to.I'm going to start by telling you how the placenta really is a marvel of biological engineering. An absolutely vital part of our existence in-utero that nourishes us and protects us during our earliest days living in the amniotic sac. Little wonder that whole nations have come to revere the placenta as mother, sibling even doubles of ourselves (see here). Although I have to say I do draw the line at placenta pate. Folding time @ Wikipedia The reason for all this appreciation of the placenta follows the publication of a paper by Cheryl Walker and colleagues* who, as part of the MARBLES initiative (don't you just love these acronyms), reported that looking for trophoblast inclusions (TIs) in the placenta "could serve as a predictor for children at elevated risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)".Trophoblasts by the way, are a specialised group of cells which play an important role in processes like embryo implantation. Trophoblast inclusions are abnormal cell cluster which form, "a distinctive microscopic placental morphological abnormality" linked to tissue folding described by some of the same authors in earlier work in this area**.In the most recent paper, the authors detail the blinded examination of 117 placentas (used of course) from "at-risk" siblings of children already diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with 100 control specimens for the frequency of TIs. Whereas control placentas had no more than 4 TIs, the at-risk sibling placentas "had an eight-fold increased odds of having two or more TIs" according to accompanying press.Prediction values, as in blinded prediction of those at-risk siblings compared to controls were reported according to the number of TIs identified. In other accompanying press literature on this study, a figure of 90%+ accuracy is reported "to identify without prior knowledge which of the placentas came from the younger sibling of a child with autism, and which from another study participant who did not have autism in the family". This however was offset by corresponding issues with sensitivity. The implication for this work being that examining placentas might yield either important information about the subsequent risk of a child developing autism or an ASD and/or lead to new clues about the prenatal environment linked to cases of autism.I highlighted the previous paper by some of the authors in this area and note how in that study they were actually looking at archived placental tissue from those who were subsequently diagnosed with ASD (n=13). Indeed in that study, TIs were reported as present in 5 of the 13 samples from participants with ASD (38%) compared with 8 of 61 controls (13%). You can perhaps see from these figures that we are probably not talking about an all-or-nothing relationship when it comes to TIs 'predicting' autism or not.There's no doubt that the Walker results are interesting and potentially informative if reproducible bearing in mind I'm still a little unclear on the hows and whys of TIs and autism risk. Sure, the authors speculate that this might be part and parcel of some of the genetic landscape of autism, given the link between TIs and chromosomal disorders***, but that might not be the whole story**** (thanks Natasa) and with some interesting knock-on effects***** (open-access). Please note I am not making links between any specific infection, autism and TIs at this point.I'm very interested in this whole area of pregnancy and gestation as perhaps being critical times for autism, sorry the autisms; recognising that this area of investigation might not cover every case of autism - think regression for example. I'm minded also to take you back to the Barker hypothesis (see this post) and think whether or not one might extrapolate some of the work on placental functioning****** to overlap with autism risk? Just thinking out loud as others eminently more qualified than I already have.----------* Walker CK. et al. Trophoblast inclusions are significantly increased in the placentas of children in families at risk for autism. Biol Psychiatry. April 2013.** Anderson GM. et al. Placental trophoblast inclusions in autism spectrum disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2007; 61: 487-491.*** Kliman HJ. Structural abnormalities in the placenta. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2012; 12(Suppl 1): A3.**** Banks J. et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infection of mouse trophoblasts. Infection & Immunity. 1982; 38: 368-370.***** de la Torre E. et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infection modulates trophoblast cytokine/chemokine production. J Immunol. 2009; 182: 3735–3745.****** Henrikson T. & Clausen T. The fetal origins hypothesis: placental insufficiency and inheritance versus maternal malnutrition in well-nourished populations. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 2008; 81: 112–114.----------Walker, C., Anderson, K., Milano, K., Ye, S., Tancredi, D., Pessah, I., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Kliman, H. (2013). Trophoblast Inclusions Are Significantly Increased in the Placentas of Children in Families at Risk for Autism Biological Psychiatry DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.03.006... Read more »
Walker, C., Anderson, K., Milano, K., Ye, S., Tancredi, D., Pessah, I., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Kliman, H. (2013) Trophoblast Inclusions Are Significantly Increased in the Placentas of Children in Families at Risk for Autism. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.03.006
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