1) Meet Your Microglia
This video from SciShow Psych is well worth watching.
When we study Biopsychology, we focus on neurons. There is a good reason for that. We have known about them for well over a hundred of years, we can detect their activity using EEG and can see them in post-mortem studies of the brain. Glia, cells which exist around neurons, have been known about for almost as long but are harder to study. As more is known about them partly as a result of improved ways of studying the brain, we can learn more about how they work and what happens when they don’t do what they are supposed to do.
2) Technology Panics
Amy Orben researches the impact of technology. In this video, she talks about the problems in this research area.
This links to the work we have been doing in Year 1 on social learning and friendship. Many of the positive aspects of friendship in times of separation such as those we have been experiencing have relied on the use of social media. Social media are often viewed negatively by people who do not understand the research well. I plan for next year’s Year 1 students to do a similar interview study to the one we have done this year, focusing specifically on social media.
This article first appeared a while ago but is worth reading in the context of the work we do in Year 2 on diets. It reminds us that the word “diet” does not in its original meaning relate to restricting particular foods and that looking at how people enjoy what they eat might encourage them to eat more healthily.
4) Selfie Culture
This article explains how the way people take selfies might reflect how different sides of the brain work.
5) Defining Mental Illness
This discussion from Radio 4 Start The Week covers essential concepts in our course. It features Lucy Foulkes whose article I linked to last week’s blog.
6) The Mozart Effect
In this short video, Claudia Hammond explains what research has shown about the effect of listening to Mozart’s music on cognitive ability. It’s a good example of how Psychology works: an initial finding from a small scale study which is then generalised inappropriately, meta-analysis which does not support initial findings, later work which shows that an effect for one variable can be applied to others, a later study which suggests that an effect is more complex than first thought.