Post Of The Week – Saturday 12th November 2016

1) “It’s important to talk about gender when we talk about mental health.”

This quote comes from this article. When we were looking at gender bias in Psychology in Year 2 a couple of weeks ago, we thought about the extent to which differences between the genders are ignored in the process of diagnosis and treatment. This is most obvious in the diagnosis of autism where differences in the presentation of the condition mean that females are less likely to be diagnosed. They tend to engage in repetitive behaviour less and such behaviour is less obvious in females than males. The same applies to depression and anxiety. Men will talk about their symptoms in a different way than women, meaning that they are less likely to be diagnosed. The article seems to identify the place for change as male attitudes. There seems to me to be a further question about beta-bias in the system of diagnosis and treatment. Male attitudes will change when the system changes.

 

2) PsychCrunch On Replication

This podcast from the BPS has some very sensible things to say about replication. It reminded me of the practicals we did as part of my Psychology degree more than 20 years ago. We assumed that if a finding did not replicate, it was somehow our fault. Brian Earp, the psychologist featured in this podcast, takes a more constructive view.

 

3) Money And Mental Health

We might want to understand depression and anxiety at a socio-cultural level. People become anxious and depressed when they feel marginalised and lack resources. This research bears this out. It looks at the effectiveness of IAPT for people with financial difficulties. It suggests that adding elements to the treatment programme which help people deal with financial difficulties would make them work better. In our course, we consider the implications of psychological research for the economy. This is more about the implications of the economy for psychological research.

 

4) Cognitive Bias Modification

Cognitive Bias Modification looks at the different ways in which people with an addiction process information related to the object of that addiction. It seeks ways to help people process information differently. This article looks at a meta-analysis of studies into the effectiveness of Cognitive Bias Modification. The outcomes are not favourable. The article explains that deciding which studies to include in a meta-analysis is difficult. There’s a specific dispute here about whether it is appropriate to count laboratory experiments based on false taste tests as randomised controlled trials. In Psychology, what we know depends on how we know.

 

5) Improving Maths And Reasoning Skills

This article about research from Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and colleagues looks at how people can be trained in maths and reasoning skills. We tend to think of ability in these areas as fixed. People think they are no good at Maths if they struggle at an early age. This suggests otherwise.

 

6) How Are Memories Formed?

This audio extract explains the role of the hippocampus and the strengthening of synaptic connections, two fundamental features of memory. The extract comes from this episode of All In The Mind.

 

7) Back To Gender ….

This article explains what researchers have found about differences between males and females in response to traumatic events. This concerns the insular cortex, an area of the brain which deals with pain and fear. This suggests that the experience of PTSD is different for males and females. That means they need different treatment.

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