Post Of The Week – Saturday 2nd December, 2017

1) All In The Mind

Two good things from All In The Mind this week. Firstly, there was a report on a scheme to make the films of the lives of people with dementia. Enabling them to preserve episodic memory in this way reduces anxiety and preserves a sense of self. Secondly, there is an interview with John Bargh. His work looks at unconscious processing and its effect on the decisions we make. That takes us into the issue of free will and Lebet’s research into brain processes which precede conscious decisions. If you listen to the podcast version, you can also heat John Bargh talk about the replication crisis.


2) Caregiver-Infant Interaction

We’ve been interested in Year 1 this week in caregiver-infant interaction, specifically the ideas of reciprocity and interactional synchrony. We have understood that interaction in terms of behaviour, for example in the still face experiment. This research goes beyond that, using EEG to analyse the brain activity of parents and infants as they interact and looking in particular at the effect of making eye contact. Remarkable neural synchronisation is achieved.


3) Mysteries Of Sleep

These programmes look interesting and will be broadcast over the next three weeks.


4) The Social Psychology Of Crowds

Here is Clifford Stott’s inaugural lecture at Keele University. He talks a bit about the influence of Milgram and Zimbardo and also about the concept of social identity.


5) Ads For Alcohol

When we looked at social change in Year 1, we looked at the problem of evidence. Because it is not possible to carry out experiments where one country is assigned to one condition and one to another, it is not possible to show that changes in regulations in, for example, tobacco advertising cause reductions in smoking. A similar argument about alcohol advertising is discussed here. The executive director of the industry body for breweries in Australia says that ” these relationships, and links, and associations [between advertising and consumption of alcohol] that you will hear about do not represent a causal relationship”.  Health campaigners want to restrict alcohol advertising and in particular the sponsorship of sport events.


6) Duration Of Long Term Memory

We study this in our Year 1 course, looking at how, for example, memories of school classmates persist into old age. This article looks more specifically at how childhood memories fade and in particular at how cultures differ in how early children develop memories.


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