Post Of The week – Sunday, November 27th 2016

1) Milgram’s Recordings

It’s clear from standard text book accounts of Asch’s study that Asch interviewed his participants and used those interviews to draw conclusions about why people conform. What is less obvious is how Milgram used interviews with his participants. This article explains how analysis is now being done of these interviews to understand better how and why people either obeyed and resisted. There were two common themes. Some focused on the learner, invoking the golden rule of doing to others what you would have them do to you, other focused on themselves and the law. You can see a clip of one participant here.

There are more clips here.


2) Brain Stimulation

This article from PBS explains what is and isn’t known about Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. No large scale RCTs have been carried out which means that the FDA (Federal Drugs Administration) has not licensed tDCS devices for clinical use. However, the devices are commercially available. That is a worry.


3) Placement Students

Here is a blog post from Psychology undergraduates working in one of the labs at Kings College, London as part of their degree. It shows what opportunities are available and what you need to be able to demonstrate in order to take them.


4) Nature-Nurture

Here’s a fine article exploring this theme. It refers to some of the research on obesity we will be looking at the week after next.


5) Adolescent Brain

Claudia Hammond talks about the adolescent brain in this week’s All In The Mind. Understanding why people become ill both by looking at genetic data and brain images represents an important step forward. We often know about genes which make people vulnerable and we know about abnormalities in brain structure and function. This research, which focuses on myelination, combines both.


6) Male And Female Brains

We noted when working on issues and debates that the biological approach, with its focus on the difference between male and female brains, is guilty of a form of alpha bias. This article combines two ideas we have looked at: alpha bias and brain plasticity. It suggests that accounts of the difference between male and female brains has not taken account of the advances made in understanding the brain’s plasticity. Once we understand the contribution of plasticity, we can remove alpha bias. Along similar lines, this article looks at a evidence about mental rotation of the sort you do in geometry. It suggests that women’s performance in this task is affected by the ability to control emotions. That sounds like a socio-cultural construct, not a biological fact.


7) Autism And The Senses

It has been known for a while that people with autism experience sensory difficulties. This article looks at how the link between touch and the social difficulties of autism has been researched.


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