Post Of The Week – Saturday April 15th, 2017

1) Therapygenetics

This lecture from Thalia Eley explains what has been done to understand the genetic basis for who benefits from therapy. She deals with the limitations of candidate gene studies: I have now included a reference to this on the depression webpage. There’s a fascinating story here about what has been found so far and what might be found in the future. I’ve been working in the last couple of weeks on how to reinforce core concepts in the run up to the exams: meta-analysis, significance, replication, genotype. Understanding these concepts enables you to make sense of what Thalia Eley is saying. You can see the point of learning them.

 

2) The Brain Takes a Guided Tour of London

In the localisation topic in Year 2, we look at work by Eleanor Maguire’s team at UCL on brain plasticity. This article describes one new piece of research from this camp, looking at activity in the hippocampus in navigation tasks.

 

3) Is Mental Illness Real?

This article takes a question commonly asked on Google and uses it to explore what is and isn’t known about mental disorders. It reminds us that definitions and approaches are still contested and that different levels of explanation in Psychology remain valid.

 

4) Risk Factors In Binge Drinking

When we look at risk factors in the development of addiction, we look at the idea that impulsivity is genetically determined and can be measured through imaging the brain. This article looks at how this is being studied in relation to binge drinking. It shows how new approaches to using fMRI techniques have led to new insights into how such behaviour is initiated and controlled.

 

5) Gut Bacteria

When we were looking at the cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression, I was struggling to find a good way of explaining why we still need a biological approach. This summary of what is known about the impact of gut bacteria on psychological functioning represents a good response to that question.

 

6) The Benefits Of Bilingualism

This TED-Ed video uses concepts of lateralisation, localisation and plasticity to explain why knowing another language is good for your brain.

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