Post Of The Week – Saturday 13th May, 2017

1) Freud’s Birthday

Here’s a video via TED-Ed exploring some of the key principles of Freud’s theory.

 

2) Placebos

It’s obvious from randomised controlled trials that some people get better even though they receive only a placebo treatment. The effect of thinking that a treatment will do some good is positive. This article looks at something odder: people who are told that their treatment is a placebo also get better. This appears to be down in part to the process of classical conditioning but also says something important about the doctor patient relationship.

 

3) 7 Mental Health Myths

With the last week having been Mental Health Awareness Week, this link is a timely reminder that some of the things that people believe about their own mental health are not true.

 

4) Uta Frith On Autism

Uta Frith explains some key concepts in the study of autism, moving on from the Sally-Anne study to explain how the definition of autism has been broadened and different aspects of mentalising and focus on detail have been researched. Great stuff.

 

5) Genetic Explanation For Anorexia Nervosa

One of the problems with biological explanations of anorexia nervosa is that we know that anorexia nervosa has a genetic basis but, other than one tenuous connection to the metabolism of cholesterol, we don’t understand what the key genes are and what they do. This study is really important because it identifies a gene on Chromosome 12 which is connected  not only to symptoms of psychosis but also to BMI and insulin-glucose metabolism. This therefore represents an important stage in connecting genes to a biochemical process leading to a set of symptoms.

 

6) From Protoscience To Proper Science

This article focuses on problems of replication and bias. There’s a particular problem of hindsight bias: identifying a significant finding from a broad range of data and then building a research narrative around that after the event. That is certainly something we encounter in school and which has been part of my experience of Psychology ever since I started doing it. It is, I think, a consequence of writing research reports at the end of the research process.

 

7) Ways Of Studying The Brain

This shows how brain imaging is being extended and developed in order to understand the brain of new born babies. This article from Cambridge shows how schizophrenia is now being researched through state of the art brain imaging. It is interesting here how the analogy of the brain as a computer is still used to understand the complexity of schizophrenia.

 

8) Digital Phenotyping

This term is used in this article to explain what Tom Insel is doing now.

 

9) Understanding The OCD Brain

Here is one of a series of three videos from Cambridge. Great stuff.

 

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