Post Of The Week – Saturday 16th December, 2017

1) Crowds

This radio programme from the BBC World Service explores the sociology and psychology of crowds.  It features Clifford Stott, who we see in the reconstruction of the Milgram procedure in the Year 1 course. It looks at the crowd as a source of social identity and also at the role which crowds play in social change.


2) Milgram And Followership

A paper has come out this week which analyses interviews carried out with some of Milgram’s obedient participants following their participation in one of his obedience procedures. There’s a summary of the main ideas here in the BPS Digest and a link to the original paper. Richer and Haslam’s interpretation of the outcomes of Milgram’s procedure is that participants engaged with the procedure as a piece of science and went along with the study because they wanted to contribute to the greater social good by engaging in a piece of science. These arguments are laid out here. The new research argues that in these interviews which immediately followed the procedure, the participants hardly mention science and the importance of the study at all. This sounds like good news for Milgram’s agentic state theory. Less good news though is the fact that 72% of participants said at least once in the interviews that the participants did not think that the learner had been harmed. How we then interpret Milgram’s findings is therefore thrown up in the air. Haslam and Reicher say that they will respond.


3) How Is Your Lifestyle Affecting Your Brain?

This article looks at what is known about how sleep and exercise affect how our brains work.


4) The Influence Of Early Attachment

We’ve been working in Year 1 over the past few days on the influence of attachment on later relationships. This paper takes a different line, looking at how insecure attachment has been linked to the development of psychosis. Quite how insecure attachment is linked to the symptoms of psychosis is a matter for further research. Earlier research has linked insecure attachment specifically to the development of paranoia.


5) “I Have This Thing Called Autism”.

This link to the Washington Post carries a video from a 9 year old boy explaining his experience of autism. This represents a useful introduction. We’ll be looking at autism next term in Year 2 Cognition And Development.


6) Heritability Of Childhood Behaviour

In Year 2, we’ve revisited many times the idea of comparing concordance rates for MZ and DZ twins in order to establish the extent to which a particular behaviour or condition is heritable.

This video explains this method and also focuses on the difference between twin studies and DNA based evidence in understanding the genetic basis of child behaviour problems. This is further researched in this blog post.


7) Imagining Physical States

With dieting coming up in Year 2, this article looks at the effect of imagining physical states on subsequent behaviour. If you imagine yourself full, you will subsequently eat less.


8) The Genetic Basis Of Depression

This article asks the question of how effects of genetics and rearing each contribute to the transmission of risk for major depression from parents to children. The answer is that the effects are additive: nature and nurture.


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