Saturday, 12 July 2014

Link feast

Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week:

Why sports psychologists couldn't save Brazil's World Cup hopes
Angela Patmore argues that the Brazilian team were given flawed advice - they were encouraged to relax, rather than trained to increase their mental resilience.

Open message to the European Commission concerning the Human Brain Project
Nearly 600 neuroscientists have signed an open letter criticising the European Commission's ambitious €1 Billion Human Brain Project for being too narrow in its focus. The Project (which aims to create a computer simulation of the human brain) has published its official response as a pdf.

On the emptiness of failed replications
Many scholars have called for more emphasis and status to be given to replication attempts in psychology. Here, Harvard psychology professor Jason Mitchell argues that replication attempts are largely pointless. His essay has provoked several responses, including from Pete Etchells, Tom Stafford, and Neuroskeptic.

Babies' Minds
Listen again on BBC iPlayer as Claudia Hammond explores the latest research on infant cognition and brain development.

Beyond a joke: how to study laughter scientifically
Find out what happened when Sophie Scott asked a comedy audience to wear "special hats, [and] breath belts round their middles".

Praise them!
"Everyone thinks that too much praise can turn children into entitled monsters," says Carlin Flora, introducing her Aeon essay, "but the science isn’t nearly that simple."

Blood test for Alzheimer’s "no better than coin toss"
NHS Choices with a sober analysis of the research behind sensational media reports that said a new blood test could identify the start of dementia with high accuracy.

‘Wisdom of the crowd’: The myths and realities
Philip Ball summarises research that tells us when crowds are smart and when they're dumb. To boost group intelligence, he says, add new members who are as different as possible from the current set.

The Fault in Our DNA 
Science writer David Dobbs reviews Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance:  "a deeply flawed, deceptive and dangerous book."

The Myth of the Alpha Male
Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman explains there are two ways to commanding respect as a man: one is via dominance, the other is via prestige. And it's the latter, associated with altruism and kindness, that leads to long term popularity and success.


Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Research Digest said...

This is a cool observation. To think that motivating yourself is better with using "you" actually makes lots of sense to me. First off I would like to say, that I do this sometimes. The reason I think referring to yourself in second person helps, is that it gives us a sense of acceptance! We as humans need recognition from other to motivate us, that comes in the statement of "you did a great job today". If you told yourself the same thing, its easier to believe. If you state "I did a great job today" it may feel as if your giving yourself undeserved praise.

Research Digest said...

Are you familiar with Joiner's Interpersonal Theory of Suicide? It lists three conditions of distress usually found prior to suicidal ideation and acts: thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness and the acquired capacity to inflict self harm. I think that studying suicidal behavior needs to redirect to focusing on assessing the distressors leading to intolerable psychache (Schneidman) and interventions leading to perceptions and behaviors consistent with belonging, purposefulness, sense of worth and self-efficacy and far, far away from DSM created "diagnoses".

Kipling WIlliams' work on ostracism (cyberball) also fits well within Joiner's framework, as does C Fred Alford's work on whistleblowers' narratives (huge, huge rate of suicidality - no one has measured actual completed suicides).

By addressing the above distressors, a sense of clinical control and efficacy may also enhance the willingness of clinicians to engage with people trying to deal with overwhelming distress instead of focusing solely on suicide risk and prediction, which will never go anywhere as long as sufferers know that "help" involves incarceration, the loss of civil rights and probable loss of job/career and other essential quality of life factors.

Research Digest said...

I agree that in labor and or construction jobs there is a midlife dip in your emotional and well-being in the work place. I am in my late thirty's and have been a laborer for nineteen years. My coworkers are in the same situation and everyone is exhausted. Most of us have been doing the same job since we started. I notice that when we first started we would help each other all the time and now it's a sometimes thing. In our early twenty's we were young and physically fresh or you can say fit. We were not married, we didn't have any children. Now most of us have children and wives that keep us busy when were home. I also believe the statement about "recovering in the early forties" because I occasionally get driving jobs that are less demanding on the body and expect to see more as more guys retire.

Research Digest said...

It does make sense that during the midlife age period people would be competing for jobs in the bottleneck, which also explains the decrease in job satisfaction because a big part of coping with stress is having social support and if every time you go to work you deal with competition and no support from your peers that could begin to make you dissatisfied. Which raises the question, is there a better way to deal with that bottleneck so that workers do not become dissatisfied with their job?

Research Digest said...

Only don't do that too much, otherwise you'll end up talking about yourself in the third person.

Actually.... there was a finding that sadder/depressed/lower-status people tended to use more self-referential words like "I", as assessed by word-counting programs, in such a way that it was all considered worthy of publication and all that. Could it be that third-person self-references are making up for a significant part of the lower rates in the use of the first person, rather than a difference only in a less "introspective" focus? A curious commenter can't help being somewhat intrigued.

Research Digest said...

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Research Digest said...

The reason why people would be sadder/depressed/feeling inferior when using "I" is because when you say that you're automatically putting pressure on the word. Usually when people say "I", they're either drawing attention to themselves/affirm themselves; or they're trying to motivate themselves. In both cases there's a fear of failure; and then guilt for not being able to live up to own expectations. The more you repeat the word, the more fear increases.

It is easier to analyse someone else because there's less pressure involved. It is also comforting that the attention doesn't fall on us but the other person. So when we say "you", we picture that situation.

Research Digest said...

"We as humans need recognition from other to motivate us" Actually... not quite..Rather than recognition I would say support and appreciation and these can be seen in the behaviour of the people around you. Even if people say "You did a great job" they might not mean it. Their behaviour makes you certain.

But it is acceptance as you said. It's easier to accept someone else than our own person. And when we accept the people around us we can find acceptance for ourselves as well.

Research Digest said...

Surely suicide is a symptom or feeling trapped and depressed with no way out.
A long term solution to a temporary problem comes to mind. Suicide is about a way out of a intolerable situation not about dying.

Research Digest said...

This is a good observation and conclusion. "You" is better than "I". I think this has some social conformity too. When I'm using "YOU"....somebody other than myself is cheering or motivating us. This makes us mentally strong.

Research Digest said...

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