Post Of The Week – Saturday 5th March 2016

1) Cambridge Psychology

We are entering the time when Year 12 start thinking about destinations after  school. This video comes from Cambridge University. The course course content is here.

Prospective students

The video explains that you do not have necessarily to have studied Psychology A Level on this course but you do need to have studied academically challenging A Levels and to have grasped the basics of Maths and Biology. It also mentions the need to read around the subject and to have accessed some academic papers. Our course meets all of these criteria. The video gives you a good idea about what the study of Psychology might be like in any good Psychology department. The video mentions employability. Here is an article from a few years ago which deals with this.

http://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/experts-view-why-are-certain-grads-less-likely-to-be-unemployed

You can read here what the BPS is trying to find out about graduate recruitment at the moment.

http://www.bps.org.uk/news/lifelong-skills-gained-psychology-degree

 

2) p-Values

Here is a piece of video from Neurosceptic about what a p value is and isn’t.

 

3) Nature-Nurture

This is a fine article from Marcus Munafo from Bristol University.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2016/mar/04/genetic-denialism-is-unhelpful-genes-play-a-role-in-who-we-are

It makes many important points. There is an excellent explanation of heritability, with this link to explain how we can establish heritability estimates in populations but not individuals.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IWYdBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA92&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

There is an explanation of how Genome Wide Association Studies are different from candidate gene studies: the Caspi et al (2003) study of the serotonin transporter gene is an example of the latter. Munafo talks about findings from GWASs which show health outcomes being “in large part due to a very (very) large number of genes each having a very (very) small effect. ” There is also a link to a study about the genetics of obesity:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v518/n7538/full/nature14177.html

Munafo explains that there is still more to do with these studies to find genetic variation and rare genetic variants not covered by this method. Once we have a clearer idea of what genes are involved and what they do, we can do something about the environments in which people find themselves in order to prevent conditions developing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b071skp5

Here is a radio discussion featuring Marcus Munafo, Oliver James and some other luminaries.

 

4) Brain Differences In Autism

Here is a link to a piece of video about one part of the brain and its possible connection to autism.

https://spectrumnews.org/news/brains-social-river-carries-clues-about-autism/

 

5) White matter abnormalities in gambling disorder.

Here’s a piece on differences between controls and patients with gambling disorder in their white matter.

White matter abnormalities in gambling disorder.

Cause and effect is a problem: the differences may occur because people gamble too much. As with an article I blogged about last week, we have an account here of the biological basis of gambling behaviour without reference to dopamine and the reward pathway.

 

6) Theory And Experiment In Neuroscience

 

We’ve been thinking this week in AS about theoretical models within the cognitive approach. We have also been thinking about excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Both of these get an airing in this piece of video and related pieces in the same playlist. Neuroscience still needs theoretical models, it would seem.

 

7) E-cigarettes

The argument still rumbles on about these.

https://theconversation.com/were-unsure-if-e-cigarettes-are-harmful-but-it-still-makes-sense-to-restrict-them-55777

This article explains some of the uncertainty in relation to these, including surveys of public attitude to regulation.

By contrast, here is a news story from Bristol where the council is actively encouraging the use of e-cigarettes.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/E-cigarette-myths-bused-y-council-encourage/story-28861394-detail/story.html

 

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