Post Of The Week – Saturday June 16th, 2018

1) The Genetics Of Depression

There are two articles here. This one just out from the EDIT Lab looks at a paper published last year. It focuses on 44 genetic variations associated with depression. It makes the claim that “depression is largely a disorder of the brain”. In our course, we are encouraged to think of it primarily as a disorder of thought. This article from Thalia Eley makes some similar points about another research paper.

 

2) Bowlby On Evacuation

Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation suggests that early and prolonged separation from a mother or mother substitute has a serious negative effect on psychological development. This idea is normally traced back to how work with 44 thieves published in  (1944). This letter to the British Medical Journal in 1939 suggests that he was beginning to understand the problem right at the start of World War Two. The numbers are different – separation of six months or more in the first five years – but the idea is there.

 

3) The Stanford Prison Experiment

Some new evidence has come to light about how this was conducted. It is dealt with in this article here. There are really two issues. One is that the guards were coached in their roles by Zimbardo and by his research assistants. This has emerged from a tape of a conversation which has now been published by Stanford. The other is that the research was never properly peer reviewed. There is a longer treatment of these issues here.

 

4) CBT And Suicide

The hardest thing to understand about CBT is that it is structured: people tend to think of it as a rambling conversation about what someone is thinking. Here, Judith Beck writes about the use of CBT in suicide prevention, describing the strategies which are used. There is a clear focus on the present and the future but also a hint of the past, with letters and photographs in a scrap book as part of a Hope Kit.

 

5) Storm And Stress

This two part series looks at adolescence. It considers whether rates of mental illness amongst adolescents are really increasing and at what we know about brain development in adolescence.

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