Psychology

Schizophrenia, as we all know, is one of the most dibilating psychological disorder. It was primarily conceived of as a behavioral disorder, characterized by socially inappropriate and bizarre behavior, but much attention has been focussed nowadays on the cognitive component and the cognitive pathology underlying schizophrenia and it is not unusual for it to be characterized as a thought disorder nowadays .

New research published in the March issue of Psychological Science suggests that efforts to advocate improved statistical practices in psychological research may be paying off.

Geoff Cumming, Fiona Fidler and colleagues at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia sought to examine whether guidelines set forth in 1999 by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Statistical Inference (TSFI) had been implemented in psychological research.

The authors analyzed articles from 10 leading international psychology journals from 1998 to 2006, focusing on three practices central to the statistical reform debate: Null hypothesis significance testing, confidence intervals and figures with error bars.

PsyBlog has recently posted an article on Cognitive Therapy (CBT) and how it is useful in Depression treatment. this therapy has been shown to be equally effective in Depression as is medication, though this woks in a top-down fashion in the brain (revealed by brain scans), while anti-depressants work in a bottom-up fashion. PsyBlog quotes the following irrational beliefs , as outlined by Beck, that are prominent in Depression.
* Over-generalization. Drawing general conclusions from a single (usually negative) event. E.g. thinking that failing to be promoted at work means a promotion will never come.
* Minimalization and Maximization.

I shed an invisible tear whenever I hear “correlation does not imply causation” which the otherwise excellent swivel (a website about correlations) emphasizes. Of course, there’s truth to it. It saddens me because:

1. It’s dismissive. It is often used to dismiss data from which something can be learned. The life-saving notion that smoking causes lung cancer was almost entirely built on correlations. For too long, these correlations were dismissed.

2. It’s misleading. In real life, nothing unfailingly implies causation. In my experience, every data set has more than one interpretation. To “imply” causation requires diverse approaches and correlations are often among them

Does orange juice taste sweeter if it's a brighter orange? A new study in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that the color of a drink can influence how we think it tastes. In fact, the researchers found that color was more of an influence on how taste was perceived than quality or price information.

"Perceptual discrimination is fundamental to rational choice in many product categories yet rarely examined in consumer research," write JoAndrea Hoegg (University of British Columbia) and Joseph W. Alba (University of Florida).

An experiment in which people eat soup from a bottomless bowl? Classic! Or mythological: American Sisyphus. It really happened. It was done by Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and nutritional science in the Department of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, and author of the superb new book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (which the CBC has called “the Freakonomics of food”). The goal of the bottomless-soup-bowl experiment was to learn about what causes people to stop eating. One group got a normal bowl of tomato soup; the other group got a bowl endlessly and invisibly refilled.

Can you judge a man's faithfulness by his face? How about whether he would be a good father, or a good provider?


Is morally-motivated choice different from other kinds of decision making? Previous research has implied that the answer is yes, suggesting that certain sacred or protected values are resistant to real world tradeoffs. In fact, proposed tradeoffs between the sacred and the secular lead to moral outrage and an outright refusal to consider costs and benefits (e.g."You can't put a price on a human life").

Previous theory in moral decision making suggested that if people are guided by protected values, values that equate to rules like 'do no harm', they may focus on the distinction between acting/doing harm versus not acting/allowing harm, paying less attention to consequences.

Three new studies by a University at Buffalo psychologist offer the first known evidence that some people anxiously expect that they will be rejected by others because of their physical appearance, and that this sensitivity, if not mitigated, has serious implications for their mental and physical health.

"Appearance-based Rejection Sensitivity: Implications for Mental and Physical Health, Affect, and Motivation" by Lora Park, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, UB College of Arts and Sciences, reports on three of Park's studies and is currently in press for publication in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Nobody questions that the color of our eyes is encoded in our genes. When it comes to behavior the concept of "DNA as fate" quickly breaks down -- it's been long accepted that both genes and the environment shape human behavior. But just how much sway the environment holds over our genetic destiny has been difficult to untangle.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a clever way to sort one from the other: They compared the social behavior of children with Williams syndrome -- known for their innate drive to interact with people -- across cultures with differing social mores. Their study, published in a forthcoming issue of Developmental Science, demonstrates the extent of culture's stamp on social behavior.