Post Of The Week – Sunday 1st April 2018

1) Problem Gambling

This extract of You And Yours on Radio 4 features Henrietta Bowden-Jones who also features in the audio on the gambling webpage. It focuses on a case of  a woman who lost a very large amount of money through online gambling. Three points emerge. Firstly, the personal account does not include reference to any particular cognitive distortions such as blaming the machine for a loss which feature in Griffiths’ research. Rather, problem gambling seems to take place in an irrational haze. Secondly, Henrietta Bowden-Jones refers to several pathways into problem gambling, with two such pathways being genetic and based on co-morbidity with other psychiatric disorders. Thirdly, she speaks of the use of Nandrolone for some patients. Mark Griffiths has a bit more to say about preventing problem gambling here.


2) Apps For Depression

This article from the Mental Elf features the research I wrote about last week. The effects are promising but there are problems. The effect of digital placebo means that just by being online, an app can be seen to be effective. The pace of change of digital apps makes it hard to set up RCTs quickly enough to judge their effectiveness. By the time the study has reported, the app has move on.


3) Transforming Mental Health In Autism

This article looks at what is being done to adapt treatment for mental disorders to meet the needs of people with autism. It is interesting that systematic desensitisation is on the list, with VR therapies being offered as alternatives.


4) And Also On Autism….

We use failure to diagnose autism in women as an example of beta-bias. This extended piece from the BBC explains the distinctive experiences of several women with autism.


5) Definitions Of Abnormality

We used the controversy over internet gaming disorder as a focus for understanding some of the issues of defining abnormality. Here is a statement from the Media Psychology And Technology division of the APA. They argue that the research here is incomplete and the utility of such a definition is limited. Also on definition, this opinion piece of the BMJ questions the way we think about psychological disorder.


6) Dopamine As Pleasure Chemical

This article succinctly explains why it is wrong to think of dopamine as a pleasure chemical.


7) Archaeology And Ancient Genomics

As we’ve covered the Biological Approach in Year 1, I’ve been pointing out that old school evolutionary explanations of, for example, food preference which were necessarily speculative and therefore not falsifiable, are being replaced by explanations which are based on analysis of DNA. This article explains some of the problems which have arisen in this research. The argument between archaeologists and geneticists to some extent mirrors the argument between holism and reductionism with which we deal in Psychology.


8) Women In Milgram’s Study

Here’s a link explaining a film made about Milgram’s female participants. It contains some surprises.

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