Post Of The Week – Thursday 15th August

1) Memory

I thought it would be good to write something about memory this week to continue to redress the bias towards A2 in previous posts. Here’s Sebastian Seung talking about the connectome in a TED lecture. This represents a way of thinking about memory radically different from the older theories we study in the AS course.

Also on Memory, here’s a programme about the case of Henry Molaison, referred to in text books as HM.

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/06/187328826/the-patient-who-let-us-peek-inside-a-brain-in-present-tense

The research done on him has done much to shape our understanding of how memory works, particularly the idea of multistore model. Listen and enjoy.

2) The Genetics Of Mental Health Disorders

This article suggests that there are links between different mental health disorders at the level of genetics. Traditionally in Psychology, we assess the influence of genes by looking at how conditions are shared between twins or between other family members. This article explains how DNA from a huge number of participants is used to establish the genetic basis of conditions. The links between different conditions are quite surprising.

http://theconversation.com/schizophrenia-bipolar-disorder-and-depression-share-genetic-roots-study-16955

This might make us question the way in which mental health disorders are categorised. It may not make sense to categorise as different illnesses conditions which have the same underlying genetic base. Here’s a further contribution to the debate about classification and diagnosis.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2011/12/06/the-network-of-mental-illness/#.Ug0p7RYihg8

3) Time To Talk?

We’ve spent a lot of time recently on the idea of it being good to talk about mental health. That however begs the question of whether there is a good or a bad way to talk about it. Rick Warren is an American pastor whose son committed suicide a few months ago. This article looks at the controversy surrounding the way he has chosen to speak about this. Have a look for yourselves, follow the links and see what you think.

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/09/does_rick_warren_think_atheism_is_a_mental_illness/

4) Assessing Recovery

Much of the research we look at in relation to treatments for mental disorders focuses on the idea of an outcome. You might have thought that there was a standard way of measuring whether someone has got better after a period of mental illness. The answer is in here.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735813001086

5) The Psychodynamic Approach

We tend to criticise Freud’s ideas about the mind, which form the basis of this approach which we study in AS, as unscientific and beyond scrutiny. This piece of research suggests that it may be possible to use brain imaging to map the processes which Freud talks about.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23922440?dopt=Abstract

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