Three genes determine your child’s academic achievement

11 October 2012
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Kevin Beaver of Florida State University has identified that three genes DAT1, DRD2 and DRD4 predict levels of academic achievement. So does this mean that we are soon to be condemned to a world in which our lives are determined at birth, populated by genetic elites and a DNA underclass? The vision of our future depicted in the 1997 film Gattaca (pictured) highlights the age old struggle between nature and nurture, predetermined potential and the benefits and disadvantages afforded to us by our environment. The 1994 book “The Bell Curve” argues for accepting the determinist view and...

A whole new way of thinking about memory consolidation theory

10 October 2012
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A recent study at the UCLA has demonstrated that there is persistent activity within the entorhinal cortex during sleep, and charted the sequence of neurone influence through differing areas of the brain.  “The big surprise here is that this kind of persistent activity is happening during sleep, pretty much all the time.” “This is a whole new way of thinking about memory consolidation theory. We found there is a new player involved in this process and it’s having an enormous impact” Mayank R. Mehta, UCLA (The whole article is available on Nature Neuroscience) Read...

Mental health workers depressed by discrimination from managers

07 October 2012
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Findings from the study, funded by the UK Department of Health, shows that mental health workers suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression and emotional exhaustion from prejudiced interaction with managers, and to a lesser extent from patient visitors, than from discrimination from patients. “Aggression from relatives and other visitors is, like aggression from managers, viewed as reflecting badly on the procedures and fairness of the organisation. However, aggression from patients is not readily attributed to failings in the organisation,”  Professor Stephen Wood, University of...

An end to zero tolerance in American schools?

05 October 2012
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School districts across the US have moved towards smarter disciple programmes and away from mandatory expulsions, in an attempt to tackle student discipline. The American Psychological Association reports that the zero tolerance policy has led to an increase in bad behaviour and has not reduced violence nor promoted learning. The new approach employs restorative practices, which enable students to better understand the consequences of their actions and develops inter student and teacher student relationships. Subscribe to our free online seminar on mental health welfare in schools here. Read the...

Obesity leads to permanent physiological changes in the brain.

04 October 2012
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A recent study, run by the American University’s Centre for Behavioral Neuroscience, showed that subjects who became obese through high sugar and fatty diets, suffered permanent changes to their hippocampus, resulting in a heightened appetite and memory impairment. “What I think is happening is a vicious cycle of obesity and cognitive decline,” Read more here

Low Pay Stresses Workers The Most

19 September 2012
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From Forbes Magazine: Nearly three quarters (73%) of American workers are stressed out on the job, and the No. 1 reason is low pay, according to a new study by Harris Interactive for Everest College. The study was conducted by phone among 898 adults, 18 years old and up, between June 21 and July 1. Read more

Childhood trauma hikes the risk of impulsive and addictive behaviour

18 September 2012
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New research from the University of Cambridge suggests a traumatic upbringing during childhood can lead to personality traits such as impulsivity or compulsiveness. Impulsivity or compulsiveness, in turn, are linked to an increased risk of addiction. In the study, Cambridge researchers aimed to identify risk factors that make a person vulnerable to developing drug dependence. They examined 50 adults with cocaine dependence together with their biological brothers and sisters who have never abused drugs. All participants underwent extensive assessments of their personalities, including their ways...

Robots teaching how to know if somebody is trustworthy

11 September 2012
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An unusual new study of college students’ interactions with a robot has shed light on why we intuitively trust some people and distrust others. While many people assume that behaviors like avoiding eye contact and fidgeting are signals that a person is being dishonest, scientists have found that no single gesture or expression consistently predicts trustworthiness. Read more