1) The Men Who Made Us Thin
When I first saw this programme advertised, I didn’t think it would have much to do with the research we cover in the A2 course. That’s not right. The second episode last week looked specifically at the idea that we can eat what we like provided we burn off the calories through exercise. That’s an idea we’ll return to as part of the course and which is disputed by much of the contemporary research. For those of you who were participants in the Earlybird study or who remember the assembly Year 11 had about it in 2011/2, there’s an appearance from Professor Terry Wilkin.
One of the researchers working in this area is Robert Lustig. You can find out about his views here.
It’s worth clicking on the link to the response from John Sievenpiper to hear a slightly different view. Lustig’s research is dealt with in this article by Gary Taubes in the New York Times.
2) Bad Driving – What Are We Thinking?
There’s nothing here we study directly but this is a nice example of a range of theories being applied to something many of you will try to learn alongside your studies during sixth form.
There is plenty of good material on Headquarters, the Guardian’s Psychology blog. Click on the link and see what else is being published.
3) More On Outcomes For Depression
This link here summarises a meta-analysis of psychological therapies.
You can read the details for yourself but the big idea is that they work. In the text books we use, there is reference to one or two studies which illustrate effectiveness for each of the therapies. It’s good to have something which draws together the findings of many studies. By way of contrast, here is an article which paints a pessimistic picture of the state of drug treatments for mental disorders.
Maybe the tide is turning back in favour of psychological approaches.
4) Mental Health And Stigma
This article by Professor Graham Davey from Sussex University relates to the issues which we looked at in research projects in the summer term and which appear elsewhere on this blog.
I like this article because it offers a coherent picture of the many different factors which lead to stigma and reminds us how difficult it is to break down such stigma. Graham Davey is a good person to follow if you use Twitter. There’s a button for this at the bottom of the article. He does a regular blog summarising recent research and news stories which you can find here.
This article emphasises the point about the problem of stigma further.
5) A Mouse, A Laser Beam, A Manipulated Memory
As with the talk from Sebastian Seung last week, this gives you an idea of where memory research is going which contrasts with the older research we look at as part of our course. You don’t need to remember the details of how Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu carried out their study. You do however need to think about what this tells us about what memory is and where we might find it in the brain. You also need to think about the ethical and therapeutic implications of this research.
6) Psychology As Science
This is an idea we look at as part of the A2 course and which underpins much of what we do in AS. It’s had an airing on the internet this week.
Here’s an interesting defence of experimental psychology and the methods which underpin it.
7) A Couple Of Things On Addiction
Here’s a news report on the NHS Stop Smoking website which we look at as part of the addiction topic.
I like football so I found this article interesting.
8) Virtual Reality Therapy
As part of the AS course, we look at therapy based on the behavioural approach. Systematic desensitisation involves exposing people gradually to the things of which they are afraid, either in their imagination or in real life. In recent years, work has been done to develop virtual reality as a means of therapy, exposing people to the things of which they are afraid in a virtual environment. In the lesson, we look at how soldiers suffering from PTSD have benefited from such therapy.
Here’s a link to what that research is looking like right now.
Here’s an earlier report.
Here’s a recently published piece of research on using VR for social phobia.