Post Of The Week – Saturday 13th February 2016

1) The Mirror Test

When we study the development of the sense of self in A2 Cognition And Development, we refer to the mirror test. 15 month old children sitting in front of a mirror will remove a red dot from their forehead, suggesting that they understand that the person in the mirror is “them”. 9 month old children cannot do this.

This article describes a study which suggests that there is a cultural bias in this research. Children in non-western cultures tend to do badly on it. The article suggests that there might be more than one sense of self: a visual identity and a self as a physical object.


2) D Is For Diagnosis

Ann York is a psychiatrist.

Here, she talks about her experience of diagnosis both as a psychiatrist and as a patient. Fascinating and frank.


3) The Sirtfood Diet

This article looks at the science behind a diet currently enjoying popularity.

The diet claims to have a scientific basis. Eating food which interacts with sirtuin proteins enables the body to repair itself more quickly and changes metabolic rate. The article points out that the evidence for the success of this diet is limited. It goes beyond this to suggest that proving the effectiveness of diets would involve the use of randomised controlled trials which are impossible to organise. Much of what we know now comes from self-report studies with weak methodologies. The article suggests that we need to think beyond dieting to understand more about the impact of environmental changes and of a more thoughtful approach to eating. That echoes some of the observations we have made during the Eating Behaviour topic this year.


4) Autism Risk Index

This is complicated but might be significant.

Researchers devised a way of measuring the ability to focus visual attention in children. They called this the Autism Risk Index. They then compared scores on this measure with a more general measure of autism characteristics. The correlation was high. This shows that an objective measure based on a physical characteristic can be developed to play a strong role in the development of autism.


5) Rigour

We’ve done a lot of practical work this year, particularly in AS. We try to do things properly.

This article suggests that doing things properly is very difficult in a research climate where there is such pressure to publish significant findings. The comments section at the bottom is interesting too, with comments on the nature of qualitative data and the status of Psychology as a science.


6) Valentine’s Day Tomorrow

Here’s a round up of articles on Relationships from The Conversation. Some of these are relevant to the Relationships topic in A2, including a piece on pair bonding.


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