Post Of The Week – Wednesday 16th January, 2019

1) Food

This follow up episode to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s series last spring is worth watching. It has a similar blend to the original programmes: campaigning on food marketing and labelling alongside a personal story about the battle to lose weight. There was reference to evolutionary explanations of food preference, focusing on the combination of fat and sugar. There was also a reference to emotional overeating. We saw through the personal story that food preference and losing weight are both bound up with complex issues of loss and well-being. The cognitive and social learning explanations on which we focus do not perhaps take sufficient account of that. The programmes also revisited the issue of socio-cultural context. This piece from the BPS deals with this context powerfully, exploring connections between food choice and poverty.

Also on food, this piece about using electrical stimulation to curb food appetite offers some useful insights into psychological explanations of obesity. People told that they were receiving treatment ate less and reported lower cravings than those who were not told this. This looks like a straightforward case of placebo but it may be more complex than that. People who believe that they have overeaten because their treatment has failed have less reason to blame themselves and therefore engage less in disinhibited eating.


2) Screen Time

There has been much debate in the media about the negative effects of screen time. This article sets the record straight, explaining what has been wrong with much of the science. The original article on which this is based is here.


3) Why We Dream

Here are some theories presented by TED ED


4) Twinstitute

Here is the second episode of the series. I enjoyed it. There is no great complexity here but, rather like the practicals we do, offer a good insight into experimental procedures and how science works.


5) Mindfulness Based CBT In Health Care Settings

We’re going to be doing some work in Year 1 in a couple of weeks on mindfulness in a school setting as part of a practical. This piece of research demonstrates its effectiveness in healthcare settings.


6) Nature And Nurture

This is an intelligent review of three recent books on the topic, two of which by Plomin and Mitchell I have blogged about before. The final section on evolutionary psychiatry is interesting.


7) Psychiatry Wars

This is almost a year old but beautifully and compassionately written by Jim Lucey. It’s about old battles in Psychology. I sometimes wonder if in making us look at biological and psychological explanations separately, our course is making us revisit battles long since fought. Jim Lucey explains why the war should be over.

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