Post Of The Week – Saturday 31st January 2015

1) Morality – Story Of Now

When we look at Kohlberg’s theory of moral understanding, a criticism is that in looking at how people respond to hypothetical scenarios, Kohlberg misses out a whole raft of elements in the process of making a moral choice. In recent years, Psychology has become interested in working out what those elements might be.

This interactive video from BBC Connected Studio fills in some of the detail. It’s a fascinating way to present content, giving us an idea of what interactive resources for Psychology and other disciplines might look like in the future. It contains a link to some video footage of Milgram’s study which we will look at later in the term.

2) The Effects Of Misdiagnosis

Here’s a link to Miss Croft’s blog.

This is about misdiagnosis. It’s timely for me as A2 students have just been looking at classification and diagnosis of depression. It reminds us that diagnosis is not a neutral act but has consequences for a patient’s self-esteem and well being.

3) Early Bird Is Back

It was a privilege last year, if slightly disconcerting, to teach students who had been signed up to the Early Bird Study as children. Now Early Bird is back, with researchers at Plymouth University getting new funding to follow up the original participants. Here is a news story.

Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings.

4) A Day In The Life Of A Clinical Psychologist

We are at the time of year when people are starting to think about careers and applications. If you are attracted by the idea of clinical psychology, this article offers a balanced and helpful view. The linked articles are also very good.

5) The Disappointment Circuit

A feature of depression is that people dwell on negative events and show less resilience than people without depression. Antidepressants appear to alleviate this tendency.

This article is interesting because it explains why. It explains the findings of research into the lateral habenula, centre of the “disappointment circuit”. The focus is on how serotonin modulates and adjusts the functioning of this circuit. The lead researcher put it like this. “We may now have a precise neurochemical explanation for why antidepressants make some people more resilient to negative experiences.” Biological and psychological come together.

6) Things Getting Better

We sometimes refer in lessons to the idea that as a result of psychological research, life has got better, particularly for vulnerable people. Here is a link to a follow up story on the girl with mental illness from Torquay who was kept in a police cell because no bed could be found in a mental health unit. Her mother speaks poignantly about her condition.

Children’s homes are largely a thing of the past. Children whose parents cannot look after them are placed in foster care settings. The problem is that care in smaller scale settings often means that siblings are split up.

The Czech twins study tells us clearly the importance of sibling bonds in overcoming the effects of privation. In the process of taking care of some vulnerable children, these bonds are disrupted.

7) Science In The Media

We’ve been looking at correlational analysis as a method of researching stress. We have been careful to notice that correlation does not prove causation.

This fallacy is one of several identified by Dorothy Bishop in her analysis of what the media gets wrong in reporting science. There’s a good argument here for greater scientific and statistical literacy.

8) E-Therapies For Eating Disorders

There is substantial evidence that CBT is effective for eating disorders. There is substantial evidence about the effectiveness of online therapies for a number of conditions. E-therapies for eating disorders should therefore be effective. This article, however, suggests that they are not.

The problem seems to be with the quality of the online resources. Just because something is online does not mean that it is any good: we know that from education. The power of online resources is that they can gather large amounts of data about an individual which can then be used to personalise treatment. The resources which exist at the moment do not do that.


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