Post Of The Week – Wednesday 9th January 2019

1) The New Prescription For Happiness

In Year 1 in a few weeks, we will do a practical comparing different approaches to reducing stress: mindfulness and walking in green space. This article is therefore timely. It explores how people are using simple, everyday activities as a route to well-being as an alternative, or perhaps in addition to, standard therapies.


2) Twinstitute

This is a series from the van Tulleken twins based on the premise that twins make good experimental participants. You can allocate one twin to each condition on the assumption that they are identical and that individual differences will therefore have little effect on the outcome. In last week’s episode, they did a study on diet and exercise which is close to a study we look at in Year 2. This week’s looks interesting: sleep deprivation. We do that in Year 2 as well.


3) Screen Time

A study about screen time was published last week. Different media outlets took different approaches to interpreting what the data means. Here is the BBC and The Guardian. As with much else in Psychology, this hinges on what is cause and what is effect.


4) Genetic Basis For Depression

When we were looking at biological explanations for anorexia nervosa in Year 2, we saw how genetic variants linked to anorexia are linked to other things too. There’s a similar story here in this research about depression. People who experience depression early in adolescence have genetic variants associated with ADHD and schizophrenia. This suggests that they experience problems with perception and interaction which lead to isolation which lead to depression. Understanding the psychological aspect of conditions is therefore important in understanding how genes for a particular disorder work.


5) Attention To Food

We’ve been looking at why diets fail in Year 2 this week. Part of the problem with people on diets is that they notice food more and therefore end up eating it. This research finds that this is the case too with people who are overweight or obese. Perhaps this is to do with the fact that they are on a diet, perhaps it tells us something deeper about how they function.


6) Self-Esteem

When we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we look include esteem needs. We’ve done some research into worry this year in Year 2, correlating worry with another variable. We’ll do something similar in Year 1 towards the end of this academic year. This article by Will Storr looks at how the focus on the self which is at the heart of humanistic psychology might damage individuals and society as a whole.


7) Genes As Predictors

Here is Kevin Mitchell saying something important about nature-nurture, “genes for” and the idea that we can predict how individuals behave on the basis of genetic information.


8) Britain’s Fat Fight

We used these programmes as an induction task in Year 1 this year. There is a final programme following up the earlier series tomorrow.

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