Post Of The Week – Sunday, 26th June 2016

1) Robert Cialdini On Social Psychology

Here’s Robert Cialdini explaining what social psychology, and in particular social influence research, is all about.


2) The Personality Myth

This programme from NPR explores personality through several personal stories. In thinking about nature-nurture and free will and determinism, these stories are rather important.


3) Recovering From Depression

This article reports research on coping mechanisms for depression. Seeking therapy is not one of them but having at least one close friend is.


4) The Magic Of fMRI

I don’t like magic tricks and never have done. I don’t watch Derren Brown programmes. This article both explains how he uses Psychology as part of his act and how a study using a dummy fMRI scanner has been used to make participants think that thoughts have been implanted into their minds. This has therapeutic implications.


5) Electronic Cigarettes Could Have A Huge Effect

Marcus Munafo explains current thinking on e-cigarettes in this Conversation article. There is no direct reference to biological interventions in our new course. The most interesting aspect of this article is that it identifies other chemicals apart from nicotine in cigarettes as part of the process of addiction. It means we need to think differently about these biological explanations.


6) Was Asperger A Nazi?

This article by Steve Silverman explains some of the complexities of Asperger’s heritage. It is easy to dismiss Asperger as a Nazi sympathiser. To do so obscures some of the complexities surrounding his work and the times in which he lived.


7) Brain Training And Placebo

We have seen several times that the claim that the brain can be trained in order to improve working memory is controversial. This article looks at a study which identifies the placebo effect as a possible confounding variable. Participants who think they are in a study about brain training will tend to do better than those who do not. The researchers devised a procedure where participants’ beliefs about the study for which they were volunteering were manipulated. There are several Research Methods concepts in here to practise.


8) Psychiatric Conditions In Siblings Of People With Autism

This article describes research tracking the siblings of people with autism. Psychiatric conditions are surprisingly common amongst them. This might give us some clues about what causes autism: a genetic “something” which can lead with environmental triggers to autism but also a range of other conditions.




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