Post Of The Week – Thursday 28th November 2019

1) Grand Theft Auto

If you play video games, you are probably familiar with the claim that they lead to violent acts. This article looks at the problem using qualitative data, examining the perspective of the participants. It is the value systems which these games represent rather than the violence within them which seems to be harmful.


2) Theory Of Mind

We’ll be looking at this in the spring term in Year 2. In particular, we look at the sue of false belief tasks where the ability to judge what someone else is thinking even when that is wrong is assessed. There is some debate about whether animals have a theory of mind. This is dealt with in this article. It is complicated but a good example of how experiments in Psychology progress. You can watch a video about this research here.


3) Milgram

We were thinking in Year 1 before CCW about Milgram’s study, particularly the question of whether the participants guessed that the shocks were not real. This article looks at research from Gina Perry and colleagues which suggests that the participants most likely to obey all of the instructions were also more likely to believe that the shocks were fake. Perry therefore challenges Milgram’s claim about the agentic state. Far from denying responsibility, the participants seem to have been weighing up the probability of harm to the learner against the cost of the study not continuing. There’s a bigger question about how Milgram debriefed his participants. The article explains that some participants were debriefed and interviewed immediately at the end of the study. There are examples of this in the documentary which Milgram made at the end of the study which is here.

However, Gina Perry found evidence that many were not debriefed until months later. Please see here.


4) Nature-Nurture

A couple of important articles about nature-nurture. This one looks at educational achievement. There’s an important point from Kevin Mitchell about how the extent of genetic influence depends on the quality of environment. This piece by Uta Frith and Kevin Mitchell explores the interactionist perspective, using dyslexia as an example. We are not born with an ability to read. Instead, brain systems which have evolved for other purposes are used to develop reading. Our ability to read depends on an interaction between nature and nurture.


5) Brain Plasticity

When we look at brain plasticity in Year 2, we use as evidence a case of a boy who had half of this brain removed. This article offers further insight into such cases. There is also a remarkable piece of video showing a scan of such a brain.


6) Psychological Treatment of Depression in Primary Care: Recent Developments

Here is Pim Cuijpers and his team with a very large scale meta-analysis. The main message is that CBT and related therapies work and that counselling is less effective than these therapies.


7) Mental Illness Jar

The diathesis-stress model is based on the idea of a genetic vulnerability which is triggered by harmful events in the environment. That begs a question about what people should do if they know they are at risk from such events. This blog contains some of the answers.


8) Green Space

With our work on the effects of biodiversity coming up next term in Year 1, this research is useful. It shows that what participants do and whether they are alone or with someone matters less than them actually being in green space and taking control for themselves.


9) Myths And Misconceptions About Evolution.


10) The Endocrine System


11) Hunger

Several important aspects of the system for controlling food intake are discussed here.

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