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Nasal spray delivers new type of depression treatment A nasal spray that delivers a peptide to treat depression holds promise as a potential alternative therapeutic approach, research shows. This peptide treatment interferes with the binding of two dopamine receptors -- the D1 and D2 receptor complex. The research team had found that this binding was higher in the brains of people with major depression. Disrupting the binding led to the anti-depressant effects.
How To Be Patient In the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, the main character, Siddhartha, tells Kamala, a beautiful courtesan: "From the moment I made [the resolution to learn about love from the most beautiful woman] I also knew that I would execute it...when you throw a stone into the water, it finds the quickest way to the bottom of the water.read more
American Psychological Association Seeks Applicants for the APA Excellence in Librarianship Award
How Body Language Lets Us Down Body language can be so seductive. It can also be terribly misleading. It can be lead us astray in the bedroom, in politics, in the marketplace, and in everyday life. It can also be nearly useless in airport screenings.read more
Electric 'thinking cap' controls learning speed Caffeine-fueled cram sessions are routine occurrences on any college campus. But what if there was a better, safer way to learn new or difficult material more quickly? What if "thinking caps" were real? Scientists have now shown that it is possible to selectively manipulate our ability to learn through the application of a mild electrical current to the brain, and that this effect can be enhanced or depressed depending on the direction of the current.
Why Hierarchy Stifles Creativity Hierarchies are great sometimes, just not necessarily for finding great ideas.read more
Sleep Deprivation: The 10 Most Profound Psychological Effects Lack of sleep may feel horrible, but what is it really doing to the mind and brain?→ Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick" Related articles:Why the Sleep-Deprived Crave Junk Food and Buy Higher Calorie Foods The Miracle and Mystery of Sleep: 12 Remarkable Psychological Studies Hidden Caves in the Brain Open Up During Sleep to Wash Away Toxins Later School Start Times Improve Sleep and Daytime Functioning in Adolescents Offline Learning: How The Mind Learns During Sleep
Something else for women to fret about: A greater risk of Alzheimer's More women than men suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
Do Binaural Beats Work? In the hunt for more control over your mental states, many people are turning to the idea of binaural beats in a bid to create desired mental experiences, increase creativity, treat depression and anxiety, lose weight, quit smoking and even become lucid while dreaming. This is something that, surprisingly, hasn’t got the biggest presence on […]
The Brain Is NOT a Computer Stuck on Top of a Body There is a major fallacy in neuroscience about the brain that of all things has ascended to the status of belief –that the brain is a computer stuck on top of a body, that it is an experimental machine that anticipates, guesses, and self corrects. But, in fact, the brain operates in an entirely different fashion. read more
Fear of Math: How Much is Genetic? A new study finds two ways that genetic factors are important in the fear of math.→ Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick" Related articles:The Genetic Predisposition to Focus on the Negative Genetic Trigger Discovered For Most Common Form of Mental Disability and Autism Fearful "˜Memories' Passed Between Generations Through Genetic Code Higher Risk of Mental Illness for Those With Older Fathers How Just One Night's Poor Sleep Can Hurt a Relationship
This column will change your life: where heaven and Earth collide 'We're in the territory, here, of the ineffable: the stuff we can't express because it's beyond the power of language to do so'I was in Milan, alone, for work, with time to kill, so I bowed to tourist cliche and went to see the Last Supper. The only slot available was early on Sunday, and just after sunrise the city was deserted; I reached the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie as the priest was welcoming the first worshippers. Minutes later, I was escorted, with 20 others, through security doors to the dim convent hall where Leonardo's painting fills one wall. The hour added something otherworldly to the atmosphere. None of us seemed fully awake; the silence felt tangible. I'm aware this was a boringly predictable location in which to feel the spine-shiver of something beyond words (transcendent? divine?). But I did, and powerfully. I'm no expert, but maybe there's a reason this particular picture of some guys eating some bread is more celebrated than any other.There is a name for spaces such as this: "thin places", a Celtic Christian term for "those rare locales where the distance between heaven and Earth collapses", as Eric Weiner puts it in his spirituality travelogue, Man Seeks God. They've been called "the places in the world where the walls are weak", where another dimension seems nearer than usual. They might be traditionally religious spots, but they needn't be: Weiner's personal list includes Istanbul's Blue Mosque, but also Hong Kong airport and a hole-in-the-wall Tokyo bar. The Irish origins of the phrase won't surprise anyone who's stood on windswept Donegal cliffs or watched dolphins off the Sheep's Head peninsula, when thought falls away and only a luminous quality remains.Non-religious people, like me, seek non-religious explanations for what's going on, and psychologists have tried to help. Perhaps it's related to "emotional residue", which describes the way we can't help thinking of rooms previously occupied by sad people as having a sad vibe. In Milan, was I imagining the residual raptures of 15th-century Christians? In her book The Power Of Place, the science writer Winifred Gallagher even suggests that electromagnetic fields, generated by certain kinds of rock, might make some locations feel strange. She quotes one neuroscientist speculating that mystical visions at a Coptic church near Cairo might have been related to seismic activity nearby.Maybe. But I'm not sure I want to know what brain scans tell us about thin places, or how people respond to psychology questionnaires right after visiting the Grand Canyon. We're in the territory, here, of the ineffable: the stuff we can't express because it's beyond the power of language to do so. Explanations aren't merely useless; they threaten to get in the way. The experience of a thin place feels special because words fail, leaving stunned silence. "Anybody who goes through life with open mind and open heart will encounter these moments of revelation," writes Roger Scruton, the philosopher. "Moments that are saturated with meaning, but whose meaning cannot be put into words."My Milanese moment was swiftly punctured. I'd rented an audioguide handset, and on my way out left it in a tray marked "audioguide return". Inexplicably, this enraged the attendant, who yelled at me for not handing it to her instead. "Why you do that?!" I was back to ordinary life with a jolt. Outside, the sunlight was bright; the traffic was building. With the Last Supper fading into memory, I went to find some breakfast."¢ oliver.burkeman@theguardian.comFollow Oliver on Twitter.Health & wellbeingPsychologyLeonardo da VinciOliver Burkemantheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Coping when not entering retirement together Either by choice or because they lost their jobs in the economic downturn, many couples must coexist, if only temporarily, in different phases of life.
Texting: At What Point Can It Be Harmful? Talking is better than textingread more
Verbal Abuse of Children: What Can You Do About It? What can be done when parents, who are supposed to be nurturing their children, instead treat them destructively with raging and use them as pawns to fight their own battles? read more
Animals could help reveal why humans fall for optical illusions | Laura and Jennifer Kelley Understanding whether different species are prey to the same illusions could provide clues about how evolution shapes visual perceptionVisual illusions, such as the rabbit-duck (shown above) and café wall (shown below) are fascinating because they remind us of the discrepancy between perception and reality. But our knowledge of such illusions has been largely limited to studying humans.That is now changing. There is mounting evidence that other animals can fall prey to the same illusions. Understanding whether these illusions arise in different brains could help us understand how evolution shapes visual perception.For neuroscientists and psychologists, illusions not only reveal how visual scenes are interpreted and mentally reconstructed, they also highlight constraints in our perception. They can take hundreds of different forms and can affect our perception of size, motion, colour, brightness, 3D form and much more.Artists, architects and designers have used illusions for centuries to distort our perception. Some of the most common types of illusory percepts are those that affect the impression of size, length or distance. For example, Ancient Greek architects designed columns for buildings so that they tapered and narrowed towards the top, creating the impression of a taller building when viewed from the ground. This type of illusion is called forced perspective, commonly used in ornamental gardens and stage design to make scenes appear larger or smaller.As visual processing needs to be both rapid and generally accurate, the brain constantly uses shortcuts and makes assumptions about the world that can, in some cases, be misleading. For example, the brain uses assumptions and the visual information surrounding an object (such as light level and presence of shadows) to adjust the perception of colour accordingly.Known as colour constancy, this perceptual process can be illustrated by the illusion of the coloured tiles. Both squares with asterisks are of the same colour, but the square on top of the cube in direct light appears brown whereas the square on the side in shadow appears orange, because the brain adjusts colour perception based on light conditions.These illusions are the result of visual processes shaped by evolution. Using that process may have been once beneficial (or still is), but it also allows our brains to be tricked. If it happens to humans, then it might happen to other animals too. And, if animals are tricked by the same illusions, then perhaps revealing why a different evolutionary path leads to the same visual process might help us understand why evolution favours this development.The idea that animal colouration might appear illusory was raised more than 100 years ago by American artist and naturalist Abbott Thayer and his son Gerald. Thayer was aware of the "optical tricks" used by artists and he argued that animal colouration could similarly create special effects, allowing animals with gaudy colouration to apparently become invisible.In a recent review of animal illusions (and other sensory forms of manipulation), we found evidence in support of Thayer's original ideas. Although the evidence is only recently emerging, it seems, like humans, animals can perceive and create a range of visual illusions.Animals use visual signals (such as their colour patterns) for many purposes, including finding a mate and avoiding being eaten. Illusions can play a role in many of these scenarios.Great bowerbirds could be the ultimate illusory artists. For example, their males construct forced perspective illusions to make them more attractive to mates. Similar to Greek architects, this illusion may affect the female's perception of size.Animals may also change their perceived size by changing their social surroundings. Female fiddler crabs prefer to mate with large-clawed males. When a male has two smaller clawed males on either side of him he is more attractive to a female (because he looks relatively larger) than if he was surrounded by two larger clawed males.This effect is known as the Ebbinghaus illusion (see image), and suggests that males may easily manipulate their perceived attractiveness by surrounding themselves with less attractive rivals. However, there is not yet any evidence that male fiddler crabs actively move to court near smaller males.We still know very little about how non-human animals process visual information so the perceptual effects of many illusions remains untested. There is variation among species in terms of how illusions are perceived, highlighting that every species occupies its own unique perceptual world with different sets of rules and constraints. But the 19th Century physiologist Johannes Purkinje was onto something when he said:Deceptions of the senses are the truths of perception.In the past 50 years, scientists have become aware that the sensory abilities of animals can be radically different from our own. Visual illusions (and those in the non-visual senses) are a crucial tool for determining what perceptual assumptions animals make about the world around them."¢ This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.NeurosciencePsychologytheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
As military sex cases end, more calls for change Advocates for women said the results of two recent cases were more proof the military justice system needs an overhaul.
Is homework making your child sick? Children on both ends of the economic spectrum may face health risks, including depression and anxiety.
Contrarians bully journal into retracting a climate psychology paper | Dana Nuccitelli After threats of frivolous libel and defamation lawsuits, a journal will retract an academically sound paperGiven that fewer than 3 percent of peer-reviewed climate science papers conclude that the human influence on global warming is minimal, climate contrarians have obviously been unable to make a convincing scientific case. Thus in order to advance their agenda of delaying climate solutions and maintaining the status quo in the face of a 97 percent expert consensus suggesting that this is a high-risk path, contrarians have engaged in a variety of unconventional tactics.* Funding a campaign to deny the expert climate consensus.* Harassing climate scientists and universities with frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests.* Engaging in personal, defamatory public attacks on climate scientists.* Flooding climate scientists with abusive emails.* Illegally hacking university servers and stealing their emails.* Illegally hacking climate science websites* Harassing journals to retract inconvenient research.That final tactic has evolved, from merely sending the journal publishers a petition signed by a bunch of contrarians, to sending journals letters threatening libel and defamation lawsuits. Although to date all editors involved have resisted such unwarranted intimidation, an online journal is on the verge of retracting a paper due to worries about lawsuits.NASA Faked the Moon LandingThe story begins with the publication of a paper titled NASA Faked the Moon Landing"”Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science. The paper was authored by Lewandwosky, Oberauer, and Gignac, and published in the journal Psychological Science in 2012. Using survey data from visitors to climate blogs, the paper found that conspiracy theorists are more likely to be skeptical of scientists' conclusions about vaccinations, genetically modified foods, and climate change.This result was replicated in a follow-up study using a representative U.S. sample that obtained the same result linking conspiratorial thinking to climate denial.Suffice it to say climate contrarians didn't like the conclusions of this paper. Ironically, many contrarian bloggers and blog commenters came up with a variety of conspiracy theories about the Lewandowsky paper. As Lewandowsky and John Cook later wrote,"These range from "global climate activist operation" to "ringleader for conspiratorial activities by the green climate bloggers," to Stephan Lewandowsky receiving millions of dollars to run The Conversation."The contrarians had inadvertently provided fertile material for further research, which John Cook began to harvest, collecting all of the blog conspiracy theories about their conspiracy theory paper into a spreadsheet. That catalog became the basis for a follow-up paper.Recursive FuryLewandowsky, known for his creative publication titles, came up with another doozy for the follow-up paper: Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation. The paper, authored by Lewandowsky, Cook, Oberauer, and Marriott, was published in the journal Frontiers on 18 March 2013. That study concluded,"...many of the [conspiratorial] hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12 [the NASA paper], some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere's response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future."Stepping back for a moment to take stock of the situation, it's really not surprising that climate contrarians as a group would tend to exhibit conspiratorial thinking. After all, 97 percent of climate experts and climate research contradicts their beliefs. When you're a non-expert who doesn't want to believe the conclusions of 97 percent of experts, how do you justify that position, psychologically? Writing those experts off as being part of a conspiracy is probably the easiest avenue to take.Frontiers Bails OutHowever, nobody likes being called a conspiracy theorist, and thus climate contrarians really didn't appreciate Recursive Fury. Very soon after its publication, the journal Frontiers was receiving letters from contrarians threatening libel lawsuits (Graham Readfearn has some details). In late March 2013, the journal decided to "provisionally remove the link to the article while these issues are investigated." The paper was in limbo for nearly a full year until Frontiers finally caved to these threats.In its investigation, the journal found no academic or ethical problems with Recursive Fury. However, the fear of being sued by contrarians for libel remained. Frontiers explains (emphasis added),"In the light of a small number of complaints received following publication of the original research article cited above, Frontiers carried out a detailed investigation of the academic, ethical and legal aspects of the work. This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear and therefore Frontiers wishes to retract the published article. The authors understand this decision, while they stand by their article and regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors."The University of Western Australia (UWA: Lewandowsky's university when Recursive Fury was published – he later moved to the University of Bristol) also investigated the matter and found no academic, ethical, or legal problems with the paper. In fact, UWA is so confident in the validity of the paper that they're hosting it on their own servers.After nearly a year of discussions between the journal, the paper authors, and lawyers on both sides, Frontiers made it clear that they were unwilling to take the risk of publishing the paper and being open to potential frivolous lawsuits. Peter Sinclair has a video of Lewandowsky discussing the contrarian academic censorship strategies.It's unfortunate that the Frontiers editors were unwilling to stand behind a study that they admitted was sound from an academic and ethical standpoint, especially since UWA concluded the paper would withstand a legal assault. This series of events should be a wake-up call to editors and publishers that they must remain resilient to organized campaigns by the blogosphere. Academics can no longer be confident that the Frontiers staff will stand behind them if they publish research in the journal and are subjected to similar frivolous attacks. Frontiers may very well be worse off having lost the confidence of the academic community than if they had called the bluffs of the contrarians threatening frivolous lawsuits.Fortunately, several journals and organizations have stood up against this type of contrarian bullying. The journal Environmental Research Letters easily withstood the campaign against our consensus paper, and the Australian Psychological Society has been very supportive of Lewandowsky and his team, as has the Association for Psychological Science. These groups offer a good example for journals to follow when subjected to organized bullying from contrarians trying to censor sound but inconvenient research.Climate changeClimate change scepticismPsychologyClimate changeDana Nuccitellitheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Happiness is Contagious and Powerful on Social Media Study of over one billion status updates finds that positive emotions are more contagious than negative.→ Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick" Related articles:"Is the Internet Good/Bad For You?" and Other Dumb Questions Social Rejection Triggers Release of Natural Painkillers in the Brain 4 Dark Sides To The Pursuit of Happiness PsyBlog is on Twitter, Facebook...and now Google+ The Body Map of Emotions: Happiness Activates the Whole Body