Post Of The Week – Saturday 25th March 2017

1) Virtual Reality

This week, as part of the phobias lessons in Year 1, we had a look at some video showing VR being used to treat PTSD. I explained that the video was quite old and that I hadn’t seen much about this recently. This article, from which the video above is drawn, was published  this week. There’s an obvious point. It’s not just systematic desensitisation which asks people to imagine themselves into a situation. That’s certainly a part of CBT where client and therapist analyse events and plan new approaches. By making those situations immediate via virtual reality, underlying psychological issues can be addressed.


2) Overestimating The Effectiveness Of Psychotherapy

This article from the BPS Digest explains some of the problems with meta-analysis and randomised controlled trials in the assessment of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Meta-analysis suffers from heterogeneity of studies which are included while RCTs focus on the process of therapy at the expense of the relationship between client and therapist. Therapy works not because of what it is but how it is done. While we are on issues of research, here is a piece about the limitations of meta-analysis. This piece looks at problems of replication in Psychology and proposes some solutions, including peer review in two stages and the need to pre-register studies. This study is an example of an observational, non-randomised approach which delivers positive findings about the effectiveness of psychotherapy for adolescents..


3) A Couple On Memory From TED-Ed

Here’s a video about why we forget. Early accounts of forgetting based on decay, interference and the absence of cues rely on inferences. This video offers an account from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience.


Also from TED-Ed, and with a similar perspective is this piece about the hippocampus and HM.


4) Two Views Of Depression

With its being about to start Depression as a sub-topic in Year 1, this video and this article explain what depression is like for people close to those who are depressed. This article does something similar. This article picks up on the issue of male suicide, explaining that we know less about male than female mental health since men are less likely than women to participate in studies. There’s an issue of beta-bias here.


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