Post Of The Week – Thursday 29th November

1) Driving And Risky Behaviour In Adolescence

Along with all of Year 12, I went to Plymouth Pavilions today to watch a presentation about road safety. The presentation, from Learn 2 Live was hard hitting and at times harrowing. The adolescent brain, and in particular the way in which adolescents deal with social situations, is a current and interesting area of study. In A2, we spend some time on Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s research – see the post below. Here’s an excerpt of a lecture she gave earlier this month to the Royal Society where she deals specifically with driving behaviour.

You can see the whole lecture here.

2) Two Great TED Talks

There have been two TED talks go online this week which relate directly to what we do.

First, here’s Peter Doolittle talking about working memory.

Part of this is about the model we study but perhaps more important are his reflections at the end on how we think and learn.

Next is this talk from Suzana Herculano-Houzel on what is so special about the human brain,

I won’t spoil your fun by telling you her conclusion but it’s highly relevant to some of what we do.

3) Anitdepressants

In this video, people who take antidepressants talk about their experiences.

When we look at antidepressants in A2, we focus in particular on the claim that these drugs do something but what that “something” is remains unclear. We also look at the contrast between biological and psychological therapies. This video offers some personal insight into both of those ideas.

4) Michael Marmot And Amazon

If you are in my General Studies group, you will know about this already.

This article relates to a Panorama documentary about working for Amazon. There’s a link to the programme at the bottom of the page. From a Psychology point of view, this programme is interesting because Michael Marmot’s research into workplace stress is something we study. You can find out about his Whitehall study here and more about his current work here. In this programme, Sir Michael refers to the finding that high demand and low control jobs are particularly bad for people’s health. You can listen to a BBC Radio programme about his ideas here.

5) Soda Again

We look at attempts to limit or ban the sale of high sugar soft drinks as part of our Eating Behaviour module. Here, Jeremy Paxman interviews Coca Cola’s Europe president.

6) Smoking: Adverts, Quitting, Relapsing

Smoking is in the news because of some debate about cigarette packaging. That is dealt with here, including a reference to research from the BMI.

This blog post tells us something about quitting and then relapsing.

There is now good evidence that some drug based interventions work to help people stop smoking. The problem is that people who quit often take up smoking again within six months. This article explains some of the options to prevent relapse which are currently being explored.

7) Cricket And Depression

Depression has been in the news following the return of Jonathan Trott from the England team’s tour of Australia. Here, Mike Brearley, former captain of England and now a psychotherapist, writes knowledgeably and sensitively about the condition.

8) Alzheimer’s And Diabetes: Insulin Resistance

This article from New Scientist looks at the link between these two conditions. The link between them is insulin resistance. In our course, we look at insulin resistance as an explanation of obesity and at how excessive insulin arises from eating the wrong sort of food. This article explains how insulin resistance leads to changes in the brain which affect functioning and memory.

9) All In The Mind – 25th Anniversary

This programme looks at 25 years of understanding the brain. Loads of interesting references.

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