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  • September 17, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 2 views

Does Your Cat Sniff New Food?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates which feline behaviours show that cats find food tasty. Photo: FreeBirdPhotos / ShutterstockThere are certain things we can take for granted when feeding the cat: the pitiful miaows that become increasingly strident, the anticipatory purring when you move towards the cat food, and the way the cat wraps herself around your leg as if you’re her best friend ever. But when you put the food down, is there any guarantee she will eat it? Cat food manufacturers have team........ Read more »

Becques, A., Larose, C., Baron, C., Niceron, C., Feron, C., & Gouat, P. (2014) Behaviour in order to evaluate the palatability of pet food in domestic cats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science , 55-61. info:/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.07.003

  • September 17, 2014
  • 06:29 AM
  • 8 views

Autoimmune disease risk and eating disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We were set up. The cops were waiting for us.""We observed an association between eating disorders and several autoimmune diseases with different genetic backgrounds. Our findings support the link between immune-mediated mechanisms and development of eating disorders".So said the paper by Anu Raevuori and colleagues [1] (open-access) based on an analysis of over 2300 people "treated at the Eating Disorder Unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital between 1995 and 2010" compared with nea........ Read more »

Raevuori A, Haukka J, Vaarala O, Suvisaari JM, Gissler M, Grainger M, Linna MS, & Suokas JT. (2014) The increased risk for autoimmune diseases in patients with eating disorders. PloS one, 9(8). PMID: 25147950  

  • September 16, 2014
  • 02:50 AM
  • 58 views

The schizophrenias (plural)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A micropost if you will, to draw your attention to the paper by Javier Arnedo and colleagues [1] mentioning the concept of 'the schizophrenias' (plural). Some media coverage of this paper can be found here and here. The crux of the paper is that although currently unified by a diagnostic label, schizophrenia seems to be comprised of various conditions: "caused by a moderate number of separate genotypic networks associated with several distinct clinical syndromes"."... dogs and cats living t........ Read more »

Javier Arnedo, Dragan M. Svrakic, Coral del Val, Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Helena Hernández-Cuervo, Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium, Ayman H. Fanous, Michele T. Pato, Carlos N. Pato, Gabriel A. de Erausquin.... (2014) Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies. The American Journal of Psychiatry. info:/doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14040435

  • September 15, 2014
  • 04:50 PM
  • 70 views

Religion And Morality: Belief Isn't Better

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

It's no secret that when it comes to what the public thinks, atheists are usually at the bottom of the "nice" list. A survey in 2006 found that atheists were the least trusted minority group in America. Similar studies find that atheists are mistrusted and are seen as more immoral than their religious counterparts. But are these views justified? A new study by Hofmann et al. (2014) suggests they aren't, and this conclusion is consistent with other available data.... Read more »

Gervais WM, Shariff AF, & Norenzayan A. (2011) Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101(6), 1189-206. PMID: 22059841  

Hofmann W, Wisneski DC, Brandt MJ, & Skitka LJ. (2014) Morality in everyday life. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6202), 1340-3. PMID: 25214626  

  • September 15, 2014
  • 04:01 PM
  • 40 views

Humanized FoxP2 and the timing of habits

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

Last week, Elizabeth Pennisi asked me to comment on the recent paper from Schreiweis et al. entitled “Humanized FoxP2 accelerates learning by enhancing transitions from declarative to procedural performance”. Since I don’t know how much, if anything, of my answers […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

Schreiweis, C., Bornschein, U., Burguiere, E., Kerimoglu, C., Schreiter, S., Dannemann, M., Goyal, S., Rea, E., French, C., Puliyadi, R.... (2014) Humanized Foxp2 accelerates learning by enhancing transitions from declarative to procedural performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1414542111  

  • September 15, 2014
  • 12:58 PM
  • 67 views

The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from pri........ Read more »

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014) Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies. The American Journal of Psychiatry. info:/10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14040435

  • September 15, 2014
  • 09:49 AM
  • 44 views

Great Apes Share Our Ability to Predict Goal-Oriented Actions

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Within a year after birth, human infants develop the ability to direct their attention to the anticipated goal of another person’s movement, before it has occurred.  So, for example, our […]... Read more »

  • September 15, 2014
  • 08:13 AM
  • 62 views

Pupils benefit from praise, but should teachers give it to them publicly or privately?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

There's a best practice guide for teachers, produced by the Association of School Psychologists in the US, that states praise is best given to pupils in private. This advice is not based on experimental research - there hasn't been any - but on surveys of student preferences, and on the rationale that pupils could be embarrassed by receiving praise in public.Now, in the first study of its kind, John Blaze and his colleagues have systematically compared the effect of public and private praise (al........ Read more »

Blaze JT, Olmi DJ, Mercer SH, Dufrene BA, & Tingstom DH. (2014) Loud versus quiet praise: A direct behavioral comparison in secondary classrooms. Journal of school psychology, 52(4), 349-60. PMID: 25107408  

  • September 15, 2014
  • 04:57 AM
  • 57 views

How to increase children’s patience in 5 seconds

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

A single act increases adults’ compliance with researchers. The same act makes students more likely to volunteer to solve math problems in front of others. Moreover, it makes four-year-olds more patient. What sounds like a miracle cure to everyday problems is actually the oldest trick in the book: human touch. How do researchers know this? […]... Read more »

  • September 15, 2014
  • 04:47 AM
  • 48 views

Zinc and copper and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Li and colleagues [1] looking at serum copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels in a group of participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the source material for today's post. Highlighting how "mean serum Zn levels and Zn/Cu ratio were significantly lower in children with ASD compared with normal cases... whereas serum Cu levels were significantly higher" the continued focus on the metallome in autism carries on at a pace. I should at this point out that I'm not in........ Read more »

  • September 14, 2014
  • 06:57 PM
  • 57 views

JUST PUBLISHED: The Dance of Communication: Retaining Family Membership Despite Non-Speech Dementia

by Mark Rubin in The University of Newcastle's School of Psychology Newsline

As the majority of people in developed countries will be touched in some way by dementia in the 21st century, current ways of interacting in dementia care may no longer be acceptable. In particular, when people with dementia appear uncommunicative, their retained awareness and ability to interact is often dismissed or overlooked. Facing social isolation and further decline, many languish with unmet needs for human interaction. However, the intimacies of family interaction in dementia care settin........ Read more »

  • September 14, 2014
  • 10:03 AM
  • 54 views

Sound Aggression

by Rodney Steadman in Gravity's Pull

Maybe it was all the Who noise that made the Grinch so aggressive. Recent research out of Bulgaria suggests a link between noise pollution and displaced aggression.... Read more »

  • September 12, 2014
  • 11:47 AM
  • 63 views

Insulin, growth hormone and risk of schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Overall, the present findings suggest that metabolic and hormonal disturbances such as effects on insulin and growth hormone may represent a vulnerability factor to develop mental disorders". That was the conclusion reported by van Beveren and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "disruption of insulin and growth factor signaling pathways as an increased risk factor for schizophrenia"."Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars"Drawing on data derived from participants taking part in&n........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2014
  • 11:18 AM
  • 83 views

Psychologists have compared the mental abilities of Scrabble and crossword champions

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Completed Scrabble (left) and crossword grids (image from Toma et al 2014).Every year, hundreds of word lovers arrive from across the US to compete in the American Crossword Puzzle tournament. They solve clues (e.g. "caught some Z's") and place the answers (e.g. "sleep") in a grid. Meanwhile, a separate group of wordsmiths gather regularly to compete at Scrabble, the game that involves forming words out of letter tiles and finding a suitable place for them on the board.Both sets of players have ........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2014
  • 12:45 PM
  • 87 views

The Origami Brain and a new marker for Schizophrenia

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Anyone who has seen pictures or models of the human brain (like the one above) is aware that the outside layer, or cortex, of the brain is folded in an intricate pattern of “hills”, called gyri, and “valleys”, called sulci which give the brain it’s distinctive look. It turns out that the patterns of cortical folding are largely consistent across healthy humans, broadly speaking. However, disturbances in cortical folding patterns suggest deeper disturbances in brain structure and functi........ Read more »

Nanda P, Tandon N, Mathew IT, Giakoumatos CI, Abhishekh HA, Clementz BA, Pearlson GD, Sweeney J, Tamminga CA, & Keshavan MS. (2014) Local gyrification index in probands with psychotic disorders and their first-degree relatives. Biological psychiatry, 76(6), 447-55. PMID: 24369266  

  • September 11, 2014
  • 10:42 AM
  • 55 views

The illusion that gives you sensations in a rubber tongue

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Our sense of where our bodies begin and end usually feels consistent and reliable. However psychologists have been having fun for decades, exposing just how malleable the body concept can be.You may have heard of the "rubber hand illusion" (video). By visibly stroking a rubber hand in time with stroking a participant's hidden real hand, you can induce for them the feeling of sensation in the rubber hand.The rubber hand illusion is thought to occur because the brain tends to bind together informa........ Read more »

Michel, C., Velasco, C., Salgado-Montejo, A., & Spence, C. (2014) The Butcher’s Tongue Illusion. Perception, 43(8), 818-824. DOI: 10.1068/p7733  

  • September 11, 2014
  • 09:55 AM
  • 88 views

Treating autism in the first year of life

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I had been waiting y'know. Waiting a while for the paper by Sally Rogers and colleagues [1] to finally appear quite a few days after the media headlines about 'reducing', 'reversing' and even 'eliminating' the signs and symptoms of autism in early infancy had appeared. Personally, I prefer the New Scientist headline: 'Early autism intervention speeds infant development' given the text of the paper. I should perhaps also add the words 'for some' to that sentence as you will hopefully see...I........ Read more »

S. J. Rogers, L. Vismara, A. L. Wagner, C. McCormick, G. Young, & S. Ozonoff. (2014) Autism Treatment in the First Year of Life: A Pilot Study of Infant Start, a Parent-Implemented Intervention for Symptomatic Infants. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. info:/10.1007/s10803-014-2202-y

  • September 11, 2014
  • 04:42 AM
  • 78 views

Omega-3 fatty acids rescues Fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results demonstrate that n-3 PUFAs dietary supplementation, although not a panacea, has a considerable therapeutic value for FXS [Fragile X syndrome] and potentially for ASD [autism spectrum disorder], suggesting a major mediating role of neuroinflammatory mechanisms".A view @ Wikipedia That was the conclusion reached by Susanna Pietropaolo and colleagues [1] who "evaluated the impact of n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome ........ Read more »

Pietropaolo S, Goubran MG, Joffre C, Aubert A, Lemaire-Mayo V, Crusio WE, & Layé S. (2014) Dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids rescues fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 119-129. PMID: 25080404  

  • September 10, 2014
  • 11:49 AM
  • 63 views

Are Deaf Dogs and Blind Dogs just like other Dogs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do dogs that are deaf and/or blind have specific behavioural traits? New research sets out to investigate – and finds they are very similar to dogs with normal hearing and vision.Photo: Amy Rene / ShutterstockNo one knows exactly how many dogs have hearing or vision problems. Congenital deafness and/or blindness occur in several breeds. In some cases this is related to coat colours – for example the double merle gene in Australian Shepherds is linked to deafness and blindness– and at........ Read more »

Farmer-Dougan, V., Quick, A., Harper, K., Schmidt, K., & Campbell, D. (2014) Behavior of Hearing or Vision Impaired and Normal Hearing and Vision Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Not the same but not that different . Journal of Veterinary Behavior. info:/

  • September 10, 2014
  • 09:40 AM
  • 81 views

Midi-chlorians gave Jedi knights their power. Is there something like this on Earth?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

A strange and provocative paper by Alexander Panchin and colleagues proposes an unorthodox new idea called the “biomeme hypothesis”, which posits that the impulse behind some religious rituals could be driven by mind-altering parasites.... Read more »

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