Post Of The Week – Sunday 6th September 2015

1) Replication In Psychology

The debate is still rumbling on about the findings of the replication project which suggested that a high proportion of Psychology studies from a sample of 100 which were tested failed to be replicated with the same results. This is an intelligent contribution, with a particularly interesting example of fear conditioning in rats.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/opinion/psychology-is-not-in-crisis.html?_r=1

Part of the problem here is that science, and Psychology is part of that, claims to be nomothetic: it lays down laws. This is an idea which needs to be rethought. It is particularly relevant to the context of education. There is a body of research which claims to show what works in a classroom in order for students to learn more regardless of where they are and what they are studying. We need to be deeply suspicious about such claims. Their track record is not good.

2) Staff Well Being In The NHS

One of the paradoxes of attempts to change attitudes to mental illness and to challenge stigma is that people who work in health care often experience negative attitudes when they get ill themselves. This article explains that if we want health workers to show compassion to the people for whom they care, they need to experience compassion from those who work with and manage them.

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/aug/25/want-a-compassionate-nhs-then-make-sure-staff-are-happy?CMP=share_btn_tw

The NHS is about to spend £5 million on supporting the well being of its staff. Here is the link to a British Psychological Society press release about this.

http://www.bps.org.uk/news/bps-welcomes-action-health-nhs-staff

Here is what the NHS itself has to say.

http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/09/02/improving-staff-health/

Services in Scotland are run slightly differently. Here is an event in Scotland from this week which aimed to raise awareness of stigma and begin a conversation.

https://www.seemescotland.org/news/hundreds-join-together-in-landmark-scottish-stigma-event/

3) Using brain images to revaluate famous cases of brain injury

I have just been working on the cognitive approach for the new AS. The new specification asks us to look at the impact of cognitive neuroscience. Using brain imaging, researchers are able to move beyond describing what people can do when they perceive or remember or pay attention to something to describing what happens inside the brain when people do these things. One of the big ideas which has emerged is that because many areas of the brain are involved in, say, forming a memory, we need to stop seeing each system in isolation and begin to understand how systems interconnect.

http://digest.bps.org.uk/2015/09/using-modern-brain-imaging-to.html

This article makes a similar point. By understanding how connective tissue was disrupted in famous cases of brain injury, we can start to understand how different parts of the brain work together.

4) Faith Based CBT

For the purposes of our course, we tend to treat CBT as if it was one big thing. In reality, there are many different types of CBT which reflect different perspectives and which meet different needs. Some people use CBT within the context of religious faith. This link looks at whether using an exploration of faith as part of the delivery of CBT can be effective.

http://www.nationalelfservice.net/treatment/cbt/faith-based-cbt-for-depression-and-anxiety-review-highlights-a-lack-of-good-quality-evidence/

The evidence is of variable quality and conclusions are unclear.

5) Minimum Pricing For Alcohol

In our course, we have got interested in public health interventions in relation to smoking, particularly plain packaging. A similar argument is going on about alcohol. The Scottish Government is trying to impose minimum pricing for each unit of alcohol sold. This means that extra strength drinks would cost more, preventing people from harming themselves and developing addictions. This has been challenged in the courts. Here is what the Scottish Government has got to say.

http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/FM-comments-on-MUP-1c91.aspx

Here is a bit more context.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34133269

6) Simon Baron-Cohen – Why Autism Is More Common In Males

He is always good.

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