Post Of The Week – Saturday 11th January, 2020

1) Reductionism And Addiction

This article is about one researcher’s journey to understanding the complexity of addiction through her own experience of it. It’s sometimes difficult to understand how the focus on Psychology has become more holistic. This article explains it well. On a similar theme, here is Pim Cuijpers on preventing depression.

“Although improving the delivery and quality of treatment will undoubtedly reduce episode duration and recurrence risk, and thereby reduce depression burden, the effect is probably limited because treatment does not always improve long-term outcomes. To further reduce the burden, prevention of depression episodes is crucial. Unfortunately, so far preventive efforts have not succeeded in reducing depression burden either. This, we argue, arises from a lack of socially-embedded structural prevention efforts and the difficulty of reducing the impact of major determinants.”

In other words, you can treat people but if you really want to help them, you need to change the context in which they live.


2) Romanian Orphans

The latest research was covered in several different sources. The BBC ran a story. This is from King’s College London where the research was based and this is from one of the researchers in the brain imaging team. You can access the research report for free here. If you are feeling brave, read the discussion. It’s worth it to see how the researchers reflect on the limitations of their own work. It’s also worth it to see how the research has moved on from thinking about whether the effects of deprivation and institutionalisation can be reversed to thinking about how best this can be done.


3) Eating Disorders

We’ve been working hard on anorexia nervosa in Year 2 this week. Someone mentioned that cases are increasing. Here is the evidence. Here’s a piece in The Guardian with a useful summary of the genetic research we have been looking at in lessons here.


4) Three Big Things We Learnt About The Brain

Two of these are connected to things we do: sleep and plasticity.


5) Psychoanalysis

When we look at the psychodynamic approach, it is in some ways as a historical curiosity. This article looks at psychoanalysis’ fall from pre-eminence and how it is finding favour again.


6) Genotype And Phenotype

This article from Kevin Mitchell looks at the idea that humans don’t have many more genes than much simpler animals. It therefore challenges the idea of “genes for”, looking at the gap between genotype and phenotype.


7) Ecotherapy

This article looks at the benefits of activity in green space for mental health and well-being. It emphasises the importance of focused activity and the role of a therapist alongside a client working towards shared goals/


8) TV For Children

This article looks at how Psychology has shaped the way TV is made for children and what it tells us about how children think. It relates to the work we will do on Baillargeon’s research on infant cognition later in the term in Year 2.


9) Interactional Synchrony

This article describes some seriously clever research involving infants and adults having their brains scanned at the same time. It turns out that their brain patters fall into synchrony with each other.


10) Schizophrenia And Evolution

When we look at evolutionary explanations as part of the Biological approach, we consider the problem of evidence. Explaining current behaviour in terms of conditions at the time of the evolution of the human species is speculative. This article explains how a more rigorous, scientific approach has been taken to test evolutionary explanations of schizophrenia.

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