Post Of The Week – Monday 26th November, 2018

1) Replication Crisis

We’ve been working in Year 1 on a correlational study. Some of the correlations turned out the way we expected based on previous research, some didn’t. This article explains the findings of the Many Labs 2 study. It aimed to replicate the findings of 28 important studies, with 14 replications coming up with the expected results. The standard reasons given for these failures do not apply here: small samples, inaccurate replications. As with our own work, the science seems to offer a pattern but there are things we need to understand better.

 

2) When Will We Solve Mental Illness?

When we looked at reductionism in Year 2, we used a video about research into eating disorders to explain how the focus in Psychology has moved in the last 20 years from biological reductionism to a more holistic approach. This article explains more about this process.

 

3) Orchids And Dandelions

We use the diathesis-stress model to explain disorder. People are born with a vulnerability which is triggered by an adverse effect in the environment. This article explains how this idea has been to some extent superseded by the idea of susceptibility. Some people are orchids: they are sensitive to the environment both good and bad. Others are dandelions: they grow as they will no matter what the environment is like. Understanding who falls into each category becomes important when deciding on therapeutic approaches.

 

4) IAPT – The Nomothetic Approach

In Year 2, we use the assessment of the effectiveness of CBT as an example of the nomothetic approach. Here are the latest figures from IAPT.

 

5) Childhood Obesity

We are starting in Year 2 to think about the influence of parents and peers on food preference. The assumption has been that obesity is socially learnt: children copy the food preferences of their parents. This article sets this argument in its socio-cultural context. Children become obese not simply because they copy their parents but because they live in areas of deprivation where access to takeaway food is easy. By contrast, this article looks at the influence of genes on children’s behaviour, focusing in particular on how parents moderate the influence of genes.

 

6) MDMA For Alcohol Dependence

Finding ways of treating addiction using drugs has been a focus of research for some time. All In The Mind this week features a report on the use of MDMA to treat addiction to alcohol.

 

7) Theory Of Mind

When we look at the development of social cognition, we look at the difference in the ability of children of different ages to understand the thoughts and beliefs of others. The research was done in the 1980s through telling children a story. This research shows that they now use films and MRI machines.

 

8) Free Will And Neuroscience

When we study free will, we look at evidence that brain activity precedes conscious awareness of an action. This suggests that actions which we think are voluntary are really determined by processes of which we are not aware. This article argues against this point of view.

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