FRIDAY BITES – 01/03/2013

It’s that time of the week again, and it’s time for another Friday Bites. Let’s get to it…

General

A brilliant week for Mental Health, the last discriminatory law which limited the rights of those with mental health problems has been abolished!

Can treating prisoners like people, and not making jails so tough, lead to lower rates of re-offending and fewer criminal behaviours? It seems so.

Parents who give their children a certain type of praise, are setting them up to prefer challenges and be more resilient to failure.

Something that most people (especially Psychology students) already knew: antidepressants alone do not treat depression, an experts opinion.

An eye-opening piece about the Mount Mihara suicide epidemic in Japan, a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

We are getting ever closer to building an artificial brain, exciting! There seems to be more news and research around this topic every week, which illustrates the rapid pace of progress in this field. It’s only a matter of time!

Bad Science

A good week for good science. A new journal called BMC Psychology pledges ‘to put less emphasis on interest levels’ and publish repeat studies and negative results. For more on bad science (not reporting negative findings, inflated claims etc), check out the work of Dr. Ben Goldacre. In particular, his brilliant TED Talk. Social Psychology has recently suffered from bad scientific practice, when it was discovered a prominent social psychologist had committed scientific fraud on an enormous scale.

Autism

Autism is one of the areas at the very heart of Psychology right now, the progress in research and understanding of the condition is remarkable and so exciting. The University of Birmingham Child and Infant Lab also some has very exciting research going on too, take a look! New research shows that children with Autism become more social in the presence of animals rather than toys, so that would explain why animal therapies (horse, dolphin, dog etc) seem to have such a positive effect on children with Autism.  Girls also seem to be protected somewhat against Autism, with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed with the condition. Grammar, and sometimes general language and communication, isn’t something children with Autism find easy, but a new method called Free Speech seeks to tackle this; and does it quite remarkably.

Language

Staying on the topic of language, there has been a massive breakthrough in the understanding speech motor control. The fact that this study was published in Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal, tells you that this is indeed a significant breakthrough.

Animals

Chimps enjoy solving puzzles and brainteasers! Dog’s also seem to understand the perspective of humans (see: theory of mind) better than was previously thought.

Exams (aaaarrrrgghhhlksda;sk;d;ngsdgn!!!)

And finally, it’s almost exam time (good luck everyone!) so here are the best ways to study and revise. Here is a good article about what it takes to be generally smart, life is not just about exams! But whatever you do, don’t deprive yourself of sleep, it’s really bad for you!

Happy Friday everyone!

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