Post Of The Week – Sunday 3rd January 2016

1) 0 To 3 Years

This radio programme features David Willetts who used to be a government minister. In it, he explains why we have got it wrong if we as a society invest a high proportion of our resources into children in the first three years of their lives.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06sggdk

I’ve been thinking again about the theories of Bowlby as to the influence of early childhood on later relationships. Much of the evidence about the importance of 0 to 3 years is misrepresented. The more we understand about the plasticity of the brain, the more we realise that we can recover at any age from difficult experiences.

 

2) Why Are There So Many Neurotransmitters?

We’re about to do some biopsychology for the first time in AS. One of the things we’ll look at is the idea of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. This begs the question of why, if neurotransmitters can be divided into these two categories, we need more than two neurotransmitters, one to switch on the brain and one to power it down. Several people have a go at answering this in this Reddit stream,

https://www.reddit.com/r/neuro/comments/2i7l5b/why_so_many_neurotransmitters/

 

3) Policing Crowds Without Force

This video explains the work on Clifford Stott on crowds. The core idea is that of the legitimacy of authority. The majority of a crowd, be that a crowd at a football match or people protesting about something, will see the police as legitimate authority figures provided the correct steps are followed and procedures observed. That means that if trouble starts, it will be a small minority who start it which can be more easily dealt with. This therefore becomes an interesting extension of the work on obedience which we cover in AS. This research is dealt with at greater length in this radio programme.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06sgxjk

 

4) Is Psychology A Voodoo Science?

This blog started two and a half years ago on the assumption that it would be possible to collect together a few news items about Psychology in any one week. What’s changed in that time is the amount of news items which appear with some relevance to what we do. I am no longer scratching around for material.

http://www.newstatesman.com/2015/12/psychology-voodoo-science

This article points out the volume of psychology which is reported in the news and then questions the value of much of the research. Having spent quite a bit of the last few days thinking about what we now understand about the importance of childhood attachments and about what we now understand about depression and OCD, I know what I think about the claim that Psychology is just “voodoo science”.

 

5) Ruby Wax on Mindfulness

Here’s Ruby Wax promoting her new book and talking sense about what stress does to us.

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