1) Romanian Orphanages
One criticism of the English And Romanian Adoptees study is that it only deals with the children who were adopted, not those left behind. It therefore gives a more optimistic picture of recovery because the children picked for adoption may have been more resilient. This article describes research done on children who have been in Romanian orphanages more recently. It researches patterns of brain development. The effects of institutional care are significantly negative but can be reversed.
2) Lebet’s Research
We look at this in the context of the debate about free will and determinism. This article looks at possible interpretations of Lebet’s findings. The key idea of Lebet is that there is evidence of brain activity before we make a conscious choice to carry out an action, suggesting that actions which we think of as chosen are really determined by brain activity of which we are not aware or which we do not fully control.
3) The Medical Model
I have been thinking about the medical model and about ideas about diagnosis and abnormality this week, focusing on what we do and don’t know. This piece by Akiko Hart explores some of the complexity of this. In understanding psychological disorder, we tend to think of the brain as somehow separate from the body. This article explains what the best way to think of the brain might be.
4) Emotional Eating
When we study explanations for food preferences and psychological explanations for obesity, we look at the idea that some food preferences and eating behaviour are socially learnt. This piece of research seems to confirm this. “Emotional eating” refers to using food to deal with negative emotions. Research using data on twins suggests that it is no more likely to be shared by MZ than DZ twins.
5) Nature, Nurture And Noise
This YouTube video from a few years ago explains something about why concordance rates for disorders in MZ twins are not 100%. We tend to explain this with reference to the environment. Here, Kevin Mitchell uses randomness during development to explain differences between MZ twins.
6) What causes insomnia?
A video from TED-Ed. Useful for several references to things which we do.
7) What does running do to your brain?
Several reasons here for thinking that exercise is good for you. There are some references to mindfulness.
8) Facing Your Fears
Behavioural therapies are based on the idea of confronting your fears, either directly and all at once or a bit at a time. This article explains the neuroscience behind this. Extinction of a fear depends on activation of a memory associated with the fear.
9) Aaron Beck
This piece from Jonathan Sacks, formerly Chief Rabbi of the UK, explains the work of Aaron Beck in its Jewish context. Aaron Beck is still speaking about therapy. Here he is talking about defeatist beliefs in people with psychosis. This was published on Friday.