Post Of The week – Saturday 9th January, 2016

1) Brains And Guts

This TED Talk explores the complexity of the systems inside our guts which help us regulate what we eat. It explains this in the context of big brain theory, an idea we explore as an evolutionary explanation of eating behaviour in A2. We can understand the relationship between gut and brain as an interaction between two neural systems, with one one inside our brains able to overrule the one inside our guts.


2) Dieting

In connection with the above, we spent time this year in the A2 eating behaviour course focusing on the idea that a calorie is not just a calorie. The difficulty is that now that we realise we cannot just focus on calories in order to create a healthy diet, scientists cannot agree about the level of harm of some food groups.

This article deals with the controversy about carbohydrates plus one or two more.

On a similar theme, here is a link to the book by Tim Spector (see below) has written a book called The Diet Myth. He explains some of the issues in this article here.

What’s interesting is the challenge to the line of argument fthat refined carbohydrates are the problem. Spector argues that the key to understanding how we process food are the microbes inside our guts. Back to 1) above.

It must be something to do with the time of year but this article is about why we accumulate fat and why it is difficult to lose. Leptin, it turns out, plays an important role in this process. Gain weight in the form of fat and your body gets used to the increased leptin. Reduce fat intake so less leptin is in circulation and bad stuff happens. Leptin isn’t quite as lovely as the early research suggested.


3) Tim Spector On Epigenetics

He’s got some interesting things to say about how and why twins are different here.

Here’s the link to his book.


4) CBT And Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis has dropped out of our course, although A Level still includes something on the psychodynamic approach. CBT is still central.

This article has something interesting to say about the comparison between the two. The core idea is to understand what each is on its own terms rather than assume that it will be possible to say which is better as if we were comparing washing powder. There are interesting similarities between the two of them. It’s always worth remembering that Aaron Beck, one of the originators of CBT, trained in psychoanalysis. Here’s a link to the Guardian article on which this is all based.

Here’s another piece about psychoanalysis.

There’s always been evidence that psychoanalysis works. This article proves the point.


5) BPS Research Digest

Always worth a look. Some repetition of what is here but also, amongst other things, an interesting piece on Robert Trivers of parental investment theory fame.


6) Hillary Clinton On Autism

Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States. She has an autism plan. In fact, she has had one for a while but has changed her mind recently about how to think about autism.


7) Fairness

In the Relationships topic in A2, we have been interested in how the maintenance of relationships depends on fairness and equity. People like relationships where, compared to their partner, what they get out of the relationship is a fair return for what they put into it. It’s claimed that over-benefitting, getting more than your fair share, is a factor in the breakdown of relationships.

This article explains how we learn about fairness. It offers an explanation in particular of why we sometimes reject what it terms “advantageous inequity”. This, it turns out, depends on where you live and what you are doing.



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