Post Of The Week – Thursday 5th December

1) Social Understanding And Social Lives

Here’s a link to the book which has just won BPS Book Of The Year award.

We’ve just finished looking at the development of a sense of self and theory of mind in A2 Cognition And Development. Reading students’ essays this week has left me with the impression that for the A Level course, we tell a relatively simple story about the development of a sense of self and an understanding of others. You can tell just from the brief review here how researchers are starting to develop this simple story and to understand much better the social and cognitive processes which lead us to become who we are.


2) Milgram

Milgram’s study is one of the most famous in Psychology but is now coming under increasing scrutiny. Gina Perry has researched Milgram’s study and has done much to undermine the myths which surround his study. You can hear an interview with her here. You need to wind about 18 minutes into the programme.

The radio documentary she made a few of years ago for Australian Radio is here.

You can visit her website here.

There’s something unexpected about Kohlberg here too.


3) Sparticl

This looks interesting, a website about science aimed at teenagers. It might be a bit young for A Level students but it’s got an interesting section on body and brain.


4) A Nasal Spray For Autism

This article reports a study which gave people with autism small doses of the hormone oxytocin via a nasal spray. Changes in brain pattern were seen in response to the presentation of images of faces.

Some interesting comments from Uta Frith and Simon Baron-Cohen, two of the big names in this field.


5) A Couple Of Things On Genetics

This short article by Jeremy Dean reports on research which shows that fear responses to particular stimuli can be passed genetically from generation to generation. It takes you into the controversial area of epigenetics.

See also

This article by David Dobbs  is  much longer and takes you into some really deep ideas about the value and limits of genetics.

Both of these show the different directions in which the old debate about nature and nurture is going.


6) What We Currently Know About Mirror Neurons

For those of you thinking of going to university, here is a full blown academic article about mirror neurons and what we currently know. You’ll need to be brave.


7) Accuracy Of Early Memory

In similar vein to 6), here is an article about childhood memory. You can just read the abstract to get an idea of what it is about.

When we looked at the work of Loftus, we touched on the controversy about early memories, particularly of abuse. Two of the authors of this article, Catriona Morrison and Martin Conway, are people you have come across before in the Memory topic. The article concludes that memory of events early in our lives tends not to be as strong as we might assume intuitively.


8) Drug Use And Depression

This article looks at the link between a commonly used but illegal drug which I won’t name in case the school network filters this blog and mental illness. Worth reading to emphasise the point that a statistical association does not imply cause and effect.


9) CBT And Depression

When we look at treatments for depression, we consider the value of CBT for people with depression for whom drug treatments have not been effective. We use this article here.

Here’s the latest from the same research team, explaining why CBT represents value for money.


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