Post Of The Week – Saturday 16th September, 2017

1) Researching E-Cigarettes

This article explores some of the issues with researching the effects of e-cigarettes. To understand the long-term harm, researchers need to find people who use e-cigarettes who have never smoked. That turns out to be difficult because they don’t want to volunteer to take part.


2) Contagious Behaviour

This article is a more academic take than the article in last week’s blog about riots. Specifically, it challenges the idea of “contagion”, the term used in the late nineteenth century by Gustav LeBon to describe the behaviour of crowds. Instead of contagion, it uses the idea of social influence through social identity to explain social influence. People adopted an anti-police identity and felt empowered by that identity when the police response was not what they expected.


3) Extreme Male Brain Theory And Autism

This article reports research which looks at the face shape of people with and without autism. The theory is that people with autism have more masculine faces. This can be explained by greater exposure to testosterone in the womb. This sounds interesting even though there is no direct evidence of these increased testosterone levels. The article also points out that the extreme male brain theory is challenged by people who see autism as “a disorder of sexual differentiation or androgyny”. The issue of autism and gender therefore becomes very complicated. We use in our course the idea that clinicians use the same diagnostic approach for males and females with autism even though there are gender differences in the way the condition is expressed. This is a good example of beta-bias. Issues of gender appear to extend further, relating to questions of fundamental cause.


4) Choose Psychiatry

For anyone considering psychiatry as a career ….



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