Post Of The Week – Saturday 23rd January 2016

1) Identification In Crowds

This article explains some of the work by John Drury at Sussex University.

It takes as its starting point the idea that people in crowds are not mindless or deindividuated but are rather adopting the identity of the crowd, an identity which can change as events unfold. John Drury’s research interest has moved from looking at protests and demonstrations to looking at how crowds form and behave in emergencies. There are some interesting connections here to the work we do on identification as a type of conformity.


2) Pupils with mental health problems face ‘stigma and discrimination’

This comes from Scotland but could reasonably be thought to apply to the rest of the UK.

It relates closely both to the work Josh has been doing via the UK Youth Parliament and also to our work on attitudes to mental illness.


3) The First Boy Diagnosed As Autistic

This BBC article tells the story of Donald Grey Triplett. He was the first boy to have been diagnosed as autistic by Leo Kanner.

He is still alive and well, living independently in a small town in Mississippi. When we study autism in the context of the development of a sense of self and Theory of Mind, we think about whether the development of Theory of Mind is a matter of nature or nurture and whether a Theory of Mind can be taught. Triplett’s life story offers a powerful insight into this question.


4) We Should Teach Parents About How Babies Develop

In AS, we are close to finishing the Attachments topic. For the new course, we have focused more on caregiver-infant interactions and on animal studies of attachment, bringing into play the powerful evolutionary processes which shape attachment.

This article suggests that if we teach parents about psychological development in the first year of life, being a parent might be a happier and more fulfilling experience. That might mean transforming ante-natal classes which have hardly changed in a generation and thinking about ways of reaching parents online.


5) The Capacity Of Long Term Memory

When we study the multistore model of memory, we accept the assumption that we cannot know what the capacity of long term memory might be.

Human Memory Capacity is TEN TIMES MORE Than Previously Thought

However, these people are having a go at finding out, using microscopy and a developing understanding of synapses. The capacity of human memory, on this model, is huge.


6) Poverty, Brain Connectivity And Risk Of Depression

We used to look at psychosocial explanations of depression, focusing on studies linking it to poverty and deprivation.

Growing Up Poor Changes Brain Connectivity and Depression Risk

This piece of research takes that idea and seeks to understand the impact of poverty at the level of brain development. This is an example of how we cannot separate biological from psychological explanations.


7) A Couple On Eating

Two of the big ideas we have to grasp in the Eating Behaviour topic are mindful eating as an alternative to traditional dieting and that a calorie is not just a calorie.

This article relates to mindful eating, suggesting that eating well involves thinking about where, when, why and how we eat.

This TED-Ed video on carbohydrates clarifies what it is about them that worries nutritionists, relating to some of the claims by Peter Attia we consider as part of the course.


8) What Makes Us Social?

Here is the great Uta Frith talking about what makes us social.

You have to find the eighth video on the list from this group. In explaining what makes us social, she refers to her research on autism. As above with the work on Donald Grey Triplett, this offers us great insight into the question of whether autism is a matter of nature or nurture and whether a Theory of Mind can be taught. As with the work on attachment above, some of our understanding of that depends on what we know about non-human animals.


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