Post Of The Week – Thursday 3rd October

1) Dancing Statistics

The British Psychological Society has just produced these videos to explain statistical concepts.

AS students have seen the correlation one already. The others are also worth watching, although less directly relevant to the questions you will need to answer in the exams.

2) Reverse Engineering Dating Websites

When we study the formation of relationships, we look at the filter model of Kerckhoff and Davis. Essentially, this starts with a field of availables with whom we could potentially have a relationship and explains how we filter out people until we reach a field of desirables. We filter out people who are different from us on social/demographic variables: we simply do not meet people who are not like us on many of these variables. We next filter out people who are not like us in values and attitudes. Finally, we filter out people whose needs do not complement our own. Dating websites are an interesting application of this theory because they sort potential dates for people based on these criteria.

In this video,  Amy Webb talks about her experiences of using these websites and how she developed and adapted her own filters. Her lecture is an amusing and uplifiting meditation on love, family and ingenuity. Great stuff.

3) False Memory

Last week’s post contains a link to Elizabeth Loftus’ TED lecture. This news story is on the same theme.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24286258

The exhibition to which this article refers will be in Penzance until January. It might be worth a visit if you are down that way.

http://www.newlynartgallery.co.uk/?FalseMemory

You might like to look at this website curated by the artist A.R. Hopwood.

http://www.falsememoryarchive.com

Finally on Memory, here is a link to a BBC World Service programme which features Elizabeth Loftus and more on the idea of false memories.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fx887

4) Why Grit, Not IQ, Predicts Success

This is a link to an article and video featuring Angela Duckworth. She is an American psychologist researching what makes people successful learners. She focuses on grit, the ability to persist in the face of disappointment or setback.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/09/26/angela-duckworth-grit/?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

If you are going to succeed in A Level Psychology or anything else which is complicated or challenging, you will need to be persistent and show grit. Beyond this, from a Psychology point of view, this video is interesting for the research methods used. Angela Duckworth is moving from an interview method – just asking people about their experiences – to more sophisticated ways of measuring grit.

Here she is again at TED.

5) Public Health Interventions On Alcohol Addiction

For the Addictive Behaviour topic in A2, it is difficult to define and evaluate public health interventions for addictive behaviours. Currently, we look at advertising bans.

This article focuses on screening patients in primary care for risk of harmful levels of drinking. In other words, someone turning up to a doctor’s surgery or some other healthcare setting is given a questionnaire to fill in if there is a suspicion that alcohol is a problem. If necessary, they can then be given brief behavioural counselling.

http://www.thementalelf.net/mental-health-conditions/substance-misuse/primary-care-interventions-for-alcohol-misuse-us-preventative-services-task-force-recommendations/

Such counselling seems to be effective in the short term but is of more dubious value in the longer term. It will be interesting to see if this is put into practice in the NHS.

6) Stigma Again

In the summer, the BBC’s “It’s A Mad World” broke new ground in its portrayal of mental health and mental illness. Please see previous post. Now it appears that Channel 4 will be doing something similar. This post describes some of the controversy surrounding the title: “Bedlam”.

http://sectioneduk.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/can-stigma-be-challenged-by-evoking-negative-steretypes-bedlam/

For me, this relates to a troubling issue in relation to the Time To Change campaign. The assumption there is that any talk about mental health which addresses stigma is a good thing. My issue, in part prompted by an excellent Year 13 research report I have read this week, is that we need to be careful about promoting good talk and discouraging bad talk. This extends to the title which a programme uses.

Here’s a link to the Maudsley Hospital website which explains a bit more.

http://www.slam.nhs.uk/media/news/bedlam-our-new-channel-4-series

7) Depression

This article from the Huffington Post is a good summing up of many issues relating to depression.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/depression-help_b_4018957.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Here’s Kevin Breel talking about his experience.

Powerful and emotional.

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