The psychology of natural disasters

31 October 2012
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The recent storms to hit the US are a reminder to think about the psychological consequences of natural disasters and how they effect children and families.  Survivors tend to look for leadership and stability in the wake of this sort of shocking change to their environment. Children need to understand the event and be returned to a reassuring routine. Read more about disasters in the school context here Read more from the American Psychology Association

What’s it like to have ADHD?

30 October 2012
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A recent study, by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh, asking children how they feel about ADHD and possible treatment has identified that the children feel that their medication helps them control their reactions and gives them time in which to think before acting. The children also said that they wanted additional treatment options, however: long waiting lists for children’s behavioral treatments means that there is currently little alternative by rely on prescribing drug treatments. “One of the messages that children have is that they want more treatment options outside of medication,...

The menstrual cyle mood myth dispelled?

29 October 2012
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A recent study led by Gillian Einstein evaluated the results of 47 previous research projects into mood and menstrual cycle: “Taken together, these studies failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome in the general population.” The study did not look at those suffering with PMDD but highlights how negative mood may be falsely associated with the menstrual cycle whilst in fact having other causes. Read the report here

Puppies maybe cute but are too young to empathise

28 October 2012
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A recent Swedish study into yawning responses in dogs found that whilst older dogs tended to yawn and become tired, contagiously, when handlers yawned, puppies under seven months had no such response. This indicates that  empathy in dogs does not develop until late in their 1st year. Children do not demonstrate the same response until around four years of age. Read more here

The brain’s face recognition centre identified?

27 October 2012
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Routine tests on an epilepsy patient led Dr. Josef Parvizi of Stanford School of Medicine to discover an area of the brain, which when stimulated caused his patient to lose the ability to see faces in the normal way. This exciting discovery could pave the way to treating people suffering from face blindness (Prosopagnosia). Read more here

Parents overestimate their children’s happiness

26 October 2012
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  It has long been recognised that parents tend to exaggerate their children’s intellectual, social and sporting abilities but a recent study indicated that parents are also inclined to see their children as less anxious and more optimistic  than they really are. Kristin Lagattuta’s research indicates that adult’s interpretations of children’s happiness can not be trusted but hopes that it will lead parents to be better attuned to their children’s emotional difficulties. Read more here

Music to eat macaroons by

25 October 2012
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Crossmodal perception research at Oxford University has shown how our olfactory perception can be influenced by the sound. For example, eating a piece of toffee whilst listening to the sound of birds might seem sweeter than when eating the same toffee accompanied by the sound of waves on the beach. Read more on how sound and taste are linked here

The secret behind computer game addiction?

24 October 2012
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The success of the simple puzzle game Tetris may be down to the brain’s desire for tidiness. The Zeigarnik Effect, whereby unresolved problems stick in the mind, even if they are forgotten immediately afterwards, may hold the key to why so many millions of hours have been spent, across the globe on games like Tetris. The same phenomena can also be identified in the prolific expansion of online games such as the Sims: taking advantage of our natural desire to tidy up lose ends. Read more on the BBC here

The psychology of football

20 October 2012
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Richard Lee, professional footballer, author and well read, amateur psychologist attributes his positive approach to the power of psychology. He is an active promoter of the use of psychotherapeutic tools in the sport and an advocate of the “psychology of football.” “At times of crisis of confidence, personal doubt or injury, especially recurring injuries, the kind of mental processes I’ve been able to put in place really do help” Richard Lee, Brentford FC goalkeeper Read more here

Can young blood refresh the brain cells other elixirs cannot reach?

19 October 2012
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We have all heard the legends of vampers, living for centuries on the blood of young women. Now, researchers form Stamford University have shown that not only can brain cell growth in old adults be promoted by the infusion of blood from adolescents, but that these changes are directly linked to improved memory and further tests have demonstrated improvement of recall in subjects. At the moment the tests have been restricted to mice but the medical and social impact of these results should be interesting. Read more here 

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