1) RCTs One the things that has been bothering me for a while with RCTs (randomised controlled trials) is how it is possible to justify giving participants randomly allocated to a control group an inferior intervention. I was taught in week 1 of my Psychology Of Education masters degree course that this was not acceptable […]

1) Stress And Depression I’ve not had time to listen to more than a fraction of this but it sounds really interesting. Carmine Pariante from King’s College London explores the links between stress and depression. This is important for what it tells us about the relationship between nature and nurture as well as about the […]

1) Mental Illness In South Asian Communities We will be looking at cultural bias as part of the Year 2 course this year. We’ll look at ethnocentrism: judging other cultures by the standards and values of one’s own culture. We’ll also be looking at cultural relativism: the idea that standards and values can only be meaningful and […]

1) Surgery Ban Last week, I was working on biological explanations of obesity. I was looking for a news story I dimly remembered about people with obesity being denied surgery unless they could lose weight. I hunted around on the internet and found something. As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered as this has […]

1) ADHD Nation This is a review of a new book about ADHD. It’s got many elements of a Psychology story: problems of definition and diagnosis, the influence of drug companies on academic research, biological and psychological approaches working first to complement each other but then in opposition. The review quotes the start of the […]

1) The Safety Of Interventions For Smoking When I started teaching the addictive behaviour option in 2012, drug treatments for addiction seemed dangerously experimental. This article shows how far we have come. It reports on a large scale, multi-centre RCT looking at the risks associated with bupropion, varenicline and NRT as interventions for smoking. There […]

1) Counting The Calories Still It’s become common in research into dieting and obesity to suggest that a calorie is not just a calorie. In other words, the type of food we eat is as important in determining whether it will make us put on weight as how much we eat. That does not mean, […]

1) Autism, Sense Of Self And Autobiographical Memory The idea that autism is connected to a lack of Theory Of Mind has been around for about 30 years. “Theory Of Mind” refers to the ability to understand the connection between the thoughts and actions of others. Theory Of Mind depends on sense of self. You […]

1) Genes For Obesity The story about genes for obesity is similar to other stories in Psychology. We know obesity runs in families but can’t yet say which particular genes are involved. That is changing though as more sophisticated genetic analysis comes on stream. We’ve known about the variant of FTO gene for a while […]

1) Turning Protest Into Powerful Change In the social change sub-topic, we look at how consistency, commitment and flexibility in the face of new evidence work to enable a minority to influence a majority. We look also at the role of majority social influence through normative and informational influence and at the role of authority figures. […]