Post Of The Week – Thursday 21st November

1) Eye Witness Testimony – The Innocence Project

When we looked at the importance of Elizabeth Loftus’ research, we mentioned its application to cases of misidentification of criminals. The Innocence Project in the United States campaigns to exonerate prisoners who have been wrongly convicted of crimes. This exoneration often involves DNA evidence.

I used to use this website in lessons but don’t do so now. Some of the crimes which are dealt with are violent and upsetting: it is not fair to demand that people learn about these in the formal setting of a lesson. If you feel up to it, have a look at this link here.

http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/Eyewitness-Misidentification.php

The video is troubling but ultimately uplifting. You can use this page as a starting point for finding out much more about eye witness misidentification.

2) Bedlam

The last episode is on this evening. These programmes have attracted some negative comment from some people who are living or working with mental health issues . This blog on the final programme gives a very positive view on the experience of participating. After some initial scepticism, I find myself agreeing with much of what is said here.

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/channel-4-bedlam-episode-4-breakdown

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/bedlam

3) More About Soda

Sugary drinks have had a bad rap in the lessons we have done on Eating Behaviour for A2. We’ve looked at the link to insulin resistance and at the debate about legislation and taxation. Here’s something else to add to the mix.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24579-sugary-drinks-tinker-with-vital-proteins-in-the-brain.html#.UoT-AXC8Cy4?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=twitter&cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2012-GLOBAL-twitter

This tells us both about the effects of these drinks but also about the range of mechanisms which are activated when we eat or drink something. The message which emerged from the lessons was that we are only just starting to understand the full range of these mechanisms, some of which lead us to eat more or to stop eating, but that if we can understand them better, we can help people make better choices to enhance their health.

4) Frontiers For Young Minds

http://kids.frontiersin.org/scientists/

This is designed for people much younger than A Level students but it’s worth a look. It shows that some serious Psychology people are thinking about how to make Psychology ideas more accessible.

5) New Thinking On Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is not part of our course but this article is worth a look.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/15/schizophrenia-common-illness-conditions-mentally-ill

The article suggests that schizophrenia used to be thought of as one thing which affected a very small number of people very severely. It is now thought of as a number of things which affect a much larger number of people, some less significantly than others. That may be a familiar story to people who have recently been looking at autism as part of the A2 course.

6) Antidepressant Use

http://blackdogtribe.com/news-features/antidepressant-use-rise-rich-countries-oecd-finds?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

This article comes from the Black Dog organisation in Australia and explains some of the current pattern in use of antidepressants. Broadly, the issue is that more are being prescribed at a time when there is less certainty about effectiveness. There’s a link to a Guardian story from the UK at the bottom of the page. Both articles show how complex the debate about antidepressants is. Prescriptions may be on the increase because more people are coming forward for treatment or because drug companies are getting better at selling them.

7) Genes, Intelligence And Education

I have posted previously about this particular controversy. This post from Marc Smith, also a Psychology teacher, clarifies and defuses some of the controversies in this area. This is helpful for getting us to think about nature-nurture in a more subtle and sophisticated way than was once the case in Psychology.

http://psychologyineducation.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/genes-should-we-fear-them/

Have a look at the comments which have been posted.

8) Attention To Eyes And Autism

We have been thinking a lot about autism this week. The question we keep struggling with is whether you can teach someone to have a theory of mind. The issue we have missed is about early diagnosis. Researchers are working on the idea that the earlier someone is diagnosed, the more successful any intervention is likely to be.  Here’s a piece of research tweeted by Simon Baron-Cohen today.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12715.html

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