Post Of The Week – Thursday February 21st, 2019

1) Some Follow Up To Our Mindfulness Practical

Our work in the Year 1 practical showed the benefit of meditation and exposure to a biodiverse environment in helping people manage stress. This article looks at issues of access to green space, focusing in particular on access to national parks. This article summarises research about the long term impact of experiencing depression in childhood. It emphasises the importance of preventative approaches to promote well-being. This article looks at a different route to protection against depression: eating fruit and vegetables.

 

2) Biological Explanations Of Autism

In the Year 2 course, we look at how autism is explained as a lack of theory of mind. This article explains what is known about the genetic basis of autism. As with research in relation to other conditions, a large number of genes are implicated, some of which are related to other conditions. This article looks at what is known about the pre-frontal cortex in the development of autism, with some reference to genetic variants.

 

3) Explaining The London Riots

In this article, Reicher, Drury and Stott, three leading social psychologists, explain the causes of the riots in London in 2011.

 

4) Lactase Persistence

We look at lactase persistence as part of our study of evolutionary explanations of food preference. This article from the BBC explains current thinking.

 

5) Night Owls And Larks

This article looks at the impact of the circadian rhythm on functioning and well being.

 

6) Navigation Skills

We use Eleanor Maguire’s study of the brains of taxi drivers as evidence of brain plasticity, focusing on the hippocampus. Those who learn the knowledge have larger hippocampi than those who do not. This article explains research which finds that young people with strong navigation skills do not have larger hippocampi. This does not by itself challenge Maguire’s key contention that learning depends on adaptation of the brain. It does however make us think about how the hippocampus works with other parts of the brain when we learn to navigate.

 

7) Brain Organoid

This is from TED-Ed.

 

8) Thinner Brains And Working Memory

In Year 1 soon, we’ll be looking at how cognitive neuroscience explains what happens inside the brain when we perceive something, pay attention to it or remember it. This article gives an example of this, explaining how success on working memory tasks is related to cortical thickness.

 

9) Consciousness

Here is another piece from TED-Ed.

 

 

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