Post Of The Week – Saturday 6th December, 2014

1) Pre-Frontal Cortex, Limbic System And Criticism From Your Parents

In A2, we have just finished looking at biological explanations of social cognition. The big idea is that the limbic system organises our emotional responses while our prefrontal cortex inhibits and regulates them. Adolescence is the time when these systems reorganise themselves. This means that adolescents’ ability to think logically precedes their ability to think socially.

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/teen-brain-shuts-hears-moms-criticism/

This article looks specifically at how adolescents process criticism from a parent. It suggests that when faced with negative criticism, the pre-frontal cortex becomes under-active. This means that the ability to understand the parent’s point of view and to inhibit a negative response becomes reduced. The article goes on to suggest some problems with the study. It also suggests that neuroscience gives us a reason for something that instinctively as sons or daughters, mothers or fathers, we all know about.

2) Psychology At A Level

We’re coming round to the time of year when people are starting to make A Level choices. Psychology is not one of the facilitating subjects identified by the Russell Group universities. This piece of analysis suggests that people with Psychology A Level have as good a chance of accessing prestigious A Level courses as anybody else.

http://www.lkmco.org/article/what-level-subjects-do-russell-group-universities-prefer-23092013

If you want to know more about facilitating subjects, click on this link here.

http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/informed-choices/

3) A Simple Trick To Improve Your Memory

When we look at strategies for memory improvement in AS, the techniques we look at – acronyms, acrostics, method of loci – are essentially about how we put items into our memory. This ignores the fact that the problems we have with our memories may not be about putting them in but about taking them out. That is why testing is so important. Tom Stafford explains the issues here.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141202-hack-your-memory-learn-faster

This is why I base our course around quizzes. For revision, go back and redo them.

4) Smoking Cessation

We look at interventions for addictive behaviour here. The Mental Elf website has put all of its smoking cessation posts under one heading here.

http://www.thementalelf.net/tag/smoking-cessation/

There’s a particularly interesting recent piece on helping people quit smoking after they have been in hospital. The evidence is that if they are given some sort of biological intervention when they leave as well as access to counselling and support, significant numbers of them will be able to quit. This should remind us that we move on from the general question of what works to the particular circumstances of individuals in order to understand the effectiveness of interventions.

5) Psychology And Common Sense

http://digest.bps.org.uk/2014/12/10-of-most-counter-intuitive-psychology.html

This article from the BPS Digest deals both with the idea that Psychlogy is just what everyone knows dressed up in fancy language and with research which goes against what we might typically think to be the case.

6) All In The Mind

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04svjbn

A good All In The Mind this week, including an item on intensive CBT for people suffering from PTSD and an intriguing study into the effects of using a phone while driving.

7) Autism And Visual Memory

Explanations of autism suggest that something fundamental has gone wrong with the brain which means that many areas of processing do not work. An example of such an approach is intense world theory, which suggests that at some fundamental level, the brain cannot sort what is important information from what isn’t. T

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-52214-001/

This article looks at visual memory in high functioning people on the spectrum. Their visual memories work just fine. That means that we might need to look at something specific rather than something general if we want to understand what in the brain causes autism.

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