Post Of The Week -Saturday February 27th 2016

1) That Milgram Study Again

Here’s an account of the study related to Milgram’s procedure which has been reported in a couple of places in the media over the last week.

What’s useful here is the explanation of the procedure: what was being measured and how this relates to Milgram’s  ideas about obedience. Milgram thought people who obeyed in this sort of setting were entering an agentic state which involved some sort of switching down of their critical faculties. This study offers a neural correlate of that.


2) VR Therapy For Depression

In the old version of the A Level, we used to watch some video about virtual reality therapy for phobias. More recently, we have looked at some video about virtual reality therapy for depression.

Depression Successfully Treated With 24 Minutes Of Innovative Type of Therapy

This piece is about virtual reality therapy for depression. The claims for success are striking but plausible.


3) Psychiatry And Anti-Psychiatry

The debate arising from the Stephen Fry documentary on the BBC continues: see last week’s post.

Here is Allen Francis’ contribution to the debate. The article is oddly edited so that some paragraphs are repeated. It talks sense though. How we understand psychological conditions is dictated by what we can do about them. This is a counter-intuitive claim but is relevant at a time when funding is short and prescription is out of control. We medicalise psychological disorders because for most people, drug treatment is all they can access.


4) Language Delays In Autism

One in four children with autism speak few or no words. This article explains a piece of research which looks at brain activity in people with autism processing complex language tasks.

This gets interesting because it points to one piece of brain functioning which may be mark out people with autism. The article is good on showing what we need to find out next.


5) Highway To Addiction

This article explains some of the latest research into addiction and brain function.

No mention of reward pathways and dopamine but a lot of interesting ideas about how addictive substances mess with your brain. If we know what these are, we can set about helping people to deal with addiction.


6) What Makes Us Fat

Here is Sadaaf Farooqi talking to an invited audience of students about research into obesity.


7) Three Mysteries Of Human Evolution

Including a bit on big brains.

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