Post Of The Week – Sunday 10th September 2017

1) Mindfulness In Schools

In both Year 2 groups, we spent the first lesson looking at the findings and conclusions of research projects from last summer. From each of them, there are implications for student well being. Furthermore, staff training earlier in the week focused on staff and student well-being. This article is relevant to this context. It looks at research into the effect of mindfulness in schools. The meta-analysis shows that there is a small effect of MBIs on helping children to feel good and improve their thinking skills but no clear effect on behaviour or academic outcomes. It is striking that so little is known about something which is so important. No research has been done into the effectiveness of mindfulness for different age groups. There is nothing about any negative consequences of mindfulness. However, a huge study is underway to address these issues. The MYRIAD study will report in 2021. There is some video about this here.


2) London Riots

As part of our work on social influence, we will be looking this term in Year 1 at how theories about types of conformity can be used to explain why people take part in riots. One type of conformity is identification: this occurs when an individual adopts a role as a member of a group. In a riot, people have to decide quickly which side they are on and act and think accordingly. This article  talks about the emergence of a shared identity as members of rival gangs joined together to target the police. One problem with this type of research is that it appears to condone criminal behaviour. The article deals with this issue.


3) Bigorexia

In our course, we look at the biological and psychological explanations of anorexia nervosa, a condition which affects mostly females. This article explains how some of the behaviours of adolescent males in relation to dieting, exercise and muscle development look remarkably like the clinical characteristics of anorexia nervosa.


4) Nature, Nurture And Marmite

This article  uses a recently published piece of research to explore what we do and don’t know about nature and nurture.


5) The Trial And Error Approach To Mental Health Treatment

This article and accompanying podcast explains what this is and how we might work to get around it.


6) Mental Health Apps For Adolescent Mental Health

As well as mindfulness dealt with above, developing apps for young people to help them access mental health support is seen as a way of supporting well-being. This article reviews evidence for the effectiveness of these apps and finds it wanting.


7) Latest Research On Working Memory

I’ve been working on an exam question specifically on the idea that the working memory  model is out of date. This article is an effective rebuttal to that criticism. It shows how brain imaging is being used to understand different phases of development of working memory.


8) Optogenetics

This video explains the process.


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