Psychopaths And Narcissists Have Hogged The Limelight, Now It ’s Time To Explore The Saintlier Side Of Human Personality, Say Researchers, As They Announce A Test of The “Light Triad” Traits
By Christian Jarrett Psychologists have devoted much time over the last two decades documenting the dark side of human nature as encapsulated by the so-called Dark Triad of traits: psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. People who score highly in these traits, who break the normal social rules around modesty, fairness and consideration for others, seem to fascinate as much as they appall. But what about those individuals who are at the other extreme, who through their compassion and selflessness are exemplars of the best of human nature? There is no catchy name for their personality traits, and while researchers ha...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 22, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Source Type: blogs

Brazilian Researchers Say Smartphone Addiction Is Real, And That It ’s Associated With Impaired Decision-making
By Emma Young Smartphone addiction (SA) is a controversial concept that is not recognised by psychiatry as a formal diagnosis. Critics say that a problematic relationship with one’s phone is usually a symptom of deeper underlying issues and that it is inappropriate to apply the language of addiction to technology. Nonetheless, other mental health experts believe SA is real and they’ve accumulated evidence suggesting it is associated with reductions in academic and work performance, sleep disorders, symptoms of depression and loneliness, declines in wellbeing – and an increased risk of road traffic ac...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 21, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Decision making Mental health Technology Source Type: blogs

How To Combat The “Illusion Of Causality” That Contributes To So Many Healthy People Taking Multivitamin Pills They Don’t Need
By Matthew Warren Millions of people around the world spend time and money on healthcare remedies that mainstream science considers ineffective (in the sense of being no more effective than a placebo), like homeopathy and acupuncture. A study published recently in Psychology and Health investigated how to address this issue in the context of multivitamins, which evidence suggests provide no benefit for healthy people – and may even cause harm in some contexts.  Despite this research evidence, huge numbers of healthy people take multivitamins because they appear to be helpful. Scientists refer to this as the &ldq...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 20, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Health Source Type: blogs

Episode 15: Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?
This is Episode 15 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here. http://traffic.libsyn.com/psychcrunch/201903313_PsychCrunch_Ep15_Mx3.mp3 Mindfulness is everywhere these days, but is it really as beneficial as it’s often made out to be? Our presenter Ginny Smith hears from clinical psychologist Dr Catherine Wikholm (co-author of The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?); she visits the Cambridge Buddha Centre to meet people who have taken up mindfulness meditation; and she discusses some of the latest mi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 19, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Podcast Source Type: blogs

First Study To Explore What It ’s Like To Live With Avoidant Personality Disorder: “Safe When Alone, Yet Lost In Their Aloneness”
By Christian Jarrett In the first study of its kind, researchers have asked people to describe in their own words what it’s like to live with Avoidant Personality Disorder – a diagnosis defined by psychiatrists as “a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation”. Like all personality disorder diagnoses, AVPD is controversial, with some critics questioning whether it is anything other than an extreme form of social phobia. To shed new light on the issue, lead author Kristine D. Sørensena, a psychologist, twice interviewed 15 p...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 18, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Mental health Qualitative Therapy Source Type: blogs

There Are Sex Differences In The Trajectory Of Depression Symptoms Through Adolescence, With Implications For Treatment And Prevention
This study has been following children from birth in the 1990s through to today, providing an overview of development from childhood all the way through to adulthood.  The team looked at participants’ scores on the short mood and feelings questionnaire from the ages of 10 to 22. This questionnaire measures depressive symptoms over the previous two weeks, asking participants to indicate whether statements like “I felt miserable or unhappy” are true for them. Over the 12 year time period, participants had been given the questionnaire on eight separate occasions (although not everyone had completed ever...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 15, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Developmental Gender Mental health Sex Source Type: blogs

In Later Life, We Become Less Aware Of Other People ’s Anger And Fear, But Remain Sensitive To Their Happiness
By Emma Young Most people find it easy to infer the emotional state underlying a scowl or beaming smile. But not all facial emotional signals are so obvious. Sensitivity to these less obvious emotional signals varies from one person to another and is a useful skill, improving relations with other people and benefiting psychological wellbeing. As well as varying between individuals, are there also shifts in this ability during a typical person’s life? And, if so, might these age-related changes be relevant to known high-risk periods for psychological problems and the onset of mental illness? A new study, published in ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 14, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Developmental Emotion Source Type: blogs

A New Study Supports Evolutionary Psychology ’s Explanation For Why Men And Women Want Different Attributes In Partners
By Jesse Singal When it comes to the heated subject of differences between how men and women behave, debate in psychology has centered on mate preferences and general interests. The available research shows that when it comes to (heterosexual) mating preferences, men are relatively more interested in physical beauty, while women are relatively more interested in earning capacity. As for general interests, men are more interested in physical things, while women are more interested in people. Even the staunchest evolutionary psychologists would acknowledge these are partially overlapping bell curves: There are plenty o...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 13, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Dating evolutionary psych Sex Source Type: blogs

Psychologists Love To Report “Marginally Significant” Results, According To A New Analysis 
  Figure 3 from Olsson-Collentine et al, 2019: “Percentage of p values (.05
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 12, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Methods Source Type: blogs

The Placebo Effect, Digested – 10 Amazing Findings
By Christian Jarrett The placebo effect usually triggers an eye-brow raise or two among even the most hard-nosed of skeptics. We may not be able to forecast the future or move physical objects with our minds, but the placebo effect is nearly as marvellous (Ben Goldacre once called it the “coolest, strangest thing in medicine”). The term “placebo effect” is short-hand for how our mere beliefs about the effectiveness of an inert treatment or intervention can lead to demonstrable health benefits and cognitive changes – an apparently incontrovertible demonstration of the near-magical power of mind...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 11, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Feature Source Type: blogs

A New Study Has Investigated Who Watched The ISIS Beheading Videos, Why, And What Effect It Had On Them
By Emma Young In the summer of 2014, two videos were released that shocked the world. They showed the beheadings, by ISIS, of two American journalists – first, James Foley and then Steven Sotloff. Though the videos were widely discussed on TV, print and online news, most outlets did not show the full footage. However, it was not difficult to find links to the videos online. At the time, Sarah Redmond at the University of California, Irvine and her colleagues were already a year into a longitudinal study to assess psychological responses to the Boston Marathon Bombing, which happened in April 2013. They realised that ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 8, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Media Mental health Terrorism Source Type: blogs

Here ’s A Simple Trick For Anyone Who Finds Eye Contact Too Intense
By Christian Jarrett We’re taught from an early age that it is polite and assertive to look people in the eyes when we’re talking to them. Psychology research backs this up – people who make plenty of eye contact – as long as it’s not excessive – are usually perceived as more competent, trustworthy and intelligent. If you want to make a good impression, then, it’s probably a good idea to meet the gaze of the person you’re talking to. However, following this advice is not necessarily straight-forward for everyone. It’s well-documented that mutual gaze can be emotionally ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 7, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Faces Perception Social Source Type: blogs

These Violent Delights Don ’t Have Violent Ends: Study Finds No link Between Violent Video Games And Teen Aggression
By Matthew Warren Claims that violent video games lead to aggression have been around since the days of Space Invaders. When young people are exposed to violent media, the theory goes, their aggressive thoughts become more prominent, leading them to commit acts of violence. But while several studies have found results that seem to back up this idea, the evidence is far from unequivocal. Now a study published in Royal Society Open Science has failed to find any association between the time spent playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour, adding to a growing body of literature that suggests that such a link has be...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 6, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Developmental Forensic Media Technology Source Type: blogs

Suppressed Thoughts Rebound, Which Could Explain Why Ultra-religious Teens Have More Compulsive Sexual Thoughts – And Are Less Happy – Than Their Secular Peers
By Christian Jarrett A well-known effect in psychology is that if you try to suppress a thought, ironically this can make the thought all the more salient – known as the “rebound effect“. What are the implications of this effect for highly religious teenagers who have been taught to believe that sexual thoughts are taboo? Before now there has been little research on the rebound effect in this context, but in a recent paper in The Journal of Sex Research, Yaniv Efrati at Beit Berl College, Kfar-Saba, Israel, presents evidence that the rebound effect could explain why orthodox Jewish teens have more co...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 5, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Religion Sex Thought Source Type: blogs

The Suppression Rebound Effect Could Explain Why Orthodox Jewish Teens Have More Compulsive Sexual Thoughts – And Ultimately Why They Are Less Happy – Than Their Secular Peers
By Christian Jarrett A well-known effect in psychology is that if you try to suppress a thought, ironically this can make the thought all the more salient – known as the “rebound effect“. What are the implications of this effect for highly religious teenagers who have been taught to believe that sexual thoughts are taboo? Before now there has been little research on the rebound effect in this context, but in a recent paper in The Journal of Sex Research, Yaniv Efrati at Beit Berl College, Kfar-Saba, Israel, presents evidence that the rebound effect could explain why orthodox Jewish teens have more co...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 5, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Religion Sex Thought Source Type: blogs

Your Romantic Partner Is Probably Less Intelligent Than You Think, Suggests New Study
By guest blogger David Robson It’s now well known that many of us over-estimate our own brainpower. In one study, more than 90 per cent of US college professors famously claimed to be better than average at teaching, for instance – which would be highly unlikely. Our egos blind us to our own flaws. But do we have an even more inflated view of our nearest and dearest? It seems we do – that’s the conclusion of a new paper published in Intelligence journal, which has shown that we consistently view our romantic partners as being much smarter than they really are.  The researchers, Gille...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 4, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Dating Intelligence Source Type: blogs

This Diary Study Just Happened To Be Taking Place When Disaster Struck, Providing A Rare Insight Into Vicarious Experience Of Traumatic Events
By Matthew Warren Major disasters clearly take a toll on the survivors who had the misfortune to go through them. But there is another group of people who can suffer mental and physical distress from disasters: those who experience them second-hand, through media coverage and conversation. After 9/11, for example, researchers found an increase in symptoms of depression and stress among Americans who hadn’t directly experienced the terrorist attacks.  But there have always been doubts about studies purporting to show evidence of vicarious distress. Because disasters occur randomly researchers are usually unable t...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - March 1, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Mental health Source Type: blogs

These Are The Pre-match Emotional Control Strategies That Higher-ranked Table Tennis Players Use More Than Lower-ranked Players
By Christian Jarrett In contact sports like boxing and rugby you can use your pre-match nerves to fuel your determination, speed and aggression. In contrast, in a sport like table tennis that involves fine motor control, nerves can also stifle your performance, making you stiff and clumsy. It seems obvious that learning to control your emotions prior to games should therefore be important to table tennis players (and competitors in other sports that require precision). Yet, surprisingly, as the authors of a new paper in the Journal of Personality point out, “to date, only a few studies have investigated the relation ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 28, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Sport Source Type: blogs

The Language You Speak Predicts Your Ability To Remember The Different Parts Of Lists
By Matthew Warren For decades, linguists have debated the extent to which language influences the way we think. While the more extreme theories that language determines what we can and can’t think about have fallen out of favour, there is still considerable evidence that the languages we speak shape the way we see the world in more subtle ways.  For instance, people are better at perceiving the difference between light and dark blue if they have dedicated words for those colours (like in Russian) than if they don’t (like in English). But it turns out it’s not just the words that we use: the way in wh...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 27, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Language Memory Thought Source Type: blogs

How Competitiveness Leads Us To Sabotage Other People ’s Personal Goals At The Expense Of Our Own
This study thus provided further support that the main purpose of sabotage was to ‘take the opponent down’ a notch; when this positional gain was plausibly realised, people relaxed their effort, even though their sabotaging act did nothing to advance their own individual goal.” Huang and her colleagues said their findings suggest that when we perform alongside other people who share similar goals to us, we can’t help ourselves from becoming competitive, which shifts our focus from bettering ourselves to defeating our “opponent”, and then relaxing our own efforts. “This is unexpecte...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 26, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Social Sport Source Type: blogs

Norwegian Clinical Psychologists Reveal The Complexities Involved In Working With Children And Teens Experiencing Gender Dysphoria
By Jesse Singal With the number of referrals to the UK’s only gender identity development service (GIDS, at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust) increasing sharply in recent years – a pattern seemingly mirrored in other European countries and the US (anecdotally, at least — many countries don’t keep comprehensive data the way the UK does) – debate has inevitably intensified over how best to help transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth. As some expert clinicians have pointed out, there has been a tendency for commentators, campaigners and the general public to adopt an ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 25, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Gender Qualitative Therapy Source Type: blogs

Massive Comparison Of Narrative Accounts Finds Ketamine Trips Are Remarkably Similar to Near Death Experiences (NDEs), Supporting The Neurochemical Model Of NDEs
Similarity in the most frequently used words in accounts of near death experiences (NDE) and ketamine trips, via Martial et al, 2019 By Christian Jarrett First-hand accounts of what it is like to come close to death often contain the same recurring themes, such as the sense of leaving the body, a review of one’s life, tunnelled vision and a magical sense of reality. Mystics, optimists and people of religious faith interpret this as evidence of an after life. Sceptically minded neuroscientists and psychologists think there may be a more terrestrial neurochemical explanation – that the profound and magical near d...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 22, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: biological Brain Magic Source Type: blogs

Young Adults With Better Navigation Skills Do Not Have Larger Hippocampi, Raising Questions About The Meaning Of The Famous Taxi Driver Studies
By Christian Jarrett The famous studies of London’s taxi drivers – showing they have larger hippocampi (the comma-shaped brain structure in the temporal lobes) than controls – have become a staple of undergrad psychology courses and a classic example of how your brain changes according to what you do with it. Many other studies have also implied an association between hippocampal size and navigational ability – for instance, people with Alzheimer’s, who have lost neurons in this brain structure, tend to experience problems finding their way around. For some time, then, an obvious, though tenta...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 21, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Source Type: blogs

Different Kinds Of Loneliness – Having Poor Quality Relationships Is Associated With Greater Distress Than Having Too Few
By Emma Young Loneliness not only feels bad, experts have characterised it as a disease that increases the risk of a range of physical and psychological disorders. Some national prevalence estimates for loneliness are alarming. Although they can be as low as 4.4 per cent (in Azerbaijan), in other countries (such as Denmark) as many as 20 per cent of adults report being either moderately or severely lonely.  However, there’s no established way of identifying loneliness. Most diagnostic methods treat it as a one-dimensional construct: though it can vary in degrees, someone is either “lonely”, or they&r...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 20, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Mental health Social Source Type: blogs

What Counts As Altruism? People Judge Good Acts Harshly When They Are Performed For Selfish Ends
People judge an ostensibly prosocial act, like raising money in a charity run, as less altruistic than neutral acts, if it’s done to feel good or impress others (or for other selfish motives) By guest blogger Rhiannon Willmot Philosophers have long debated what constitutes genuine altruism. Some have argued that any acts, no matter however charitable, that benefit both the actor as well as the recipient, are altruistically “impure”, and thus can’t qualify as genuinely selfless. For example, volunteering at a soup kitchen would no longer be considered altruistic if we received a hot meal in return fo...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 19, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: guest blogger Morality Source Type: blogs

Widely Used Neuroimaging Analyses Allow Almost Any Result To Be Presented As A Successful Replication, Paper Claims
Of 135 surveyed fMRI papers that contained claims of replicating previous findings, over 40 per cent did not consider peak activity levels within brain regions – a flawed approach that allows almost any result to be claimed as a successful replication (from YongWooK Hong et al, 2019) By Matthew Warren As the list of failed replications continues to build, psychology’s reproducibility crisis is becoming harder to ignore. Now, in a new paper that seems likely to ruffle a few feathers, researchers suggest that even many apparent successful replications in neuroimaging research could be standing on shaky groun...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 18, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Methods Replications Source Type: blogs

Should You Listen To Music While Doing Intellectual Work? It Depends On The Music, The Task, And Your Personality
People more prone to boredom performed better without background music By Christian Jarrett Given how many of us listen to music while studying or doing other cerebral work, you’d think psychology would have a set of clear answers as to whether the practice is likely to help or hinder performance. In fact, the research literature is rather a mess (not that that has deterred some enterprising individuals from making bold claims). There’s the largely discredited “Mozart Effect” – the idea that listening to classical music can boost subsequent IQ, except that when first documented in the 90s the ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 15, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Music Source Type: blogs

Try Something New Together – Research Shows Engaging In “Self-Expanding Activities” Rekindles The Sexual Desire Of Long-Term Couples
By Christian Jarrett People have a basic drive to learn and develop and to see themselves and the world in new ways. That’s according to the psychologists Arthur Aron and Elaine Aron, who refer to this as our need for “self-expansion”. It follows from their theory that any chance to self-expand should be rewarding, and that if you can self-expand while doing things with your romantic partner then your relationship will benefit. Previous research has hinted that this is the case, finding that when couples engaged in self-expanding activities together – anything that felt new, exciting, interesting an...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 14, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Sex Source Type: blogs

New Study Finds Strength Of Imagination Not Associated With Creative Ability Or Achievement
By Emma Young Imagination is sometimes claimed to be a uniquely human ability, and it has long intrigued psychologists. “Nevertheless, our understanding of the benefits and risks that individual differences in imagination hold for psychological outcomes is currently limited,” note two researchers who have created a new psychometric test – the Imaginative Behaviour Engagement Scale (IBES) – for measuring how much imagination a person has, and then used it to investigate whether, as some earlier work hinted, having a stronger imagination might aid learning and creativity.  According to Soph...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 13, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Creativity Source Type: blogs

Young Children With Thinner Brain Regions Have Better Working Memory
Associations between the thickness of different cortical areas and children’s age and working memory (digit span); via Botdorf & Riggins, 2018 By Matthew Warren Anyone who has stood in the supermarket aisle trying to remember their shopping list might have wished for a larger brain. But when it comes to memory, bigger isn’t always better. A study published in Neuropsychologia has found that young children whose cerebral cortex is thinner in certain areas also tend to have better working memory. A number of previous brain imaging studies already found that working memory – which we use for remembering...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 12, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Developmental Memory Source Type: blogs

People Who Are Most Fearful Of Genetically Modified Foods Think They Know The Most About Them, But Actually Know The Least
via Fernbach et al, 2019 By Jesse Singal There are few subjects where a larger gap exists between public opinion and expert opinion than people’s opinions on foods, like corn or wheat, that have been genetically manipulated to, for example, increase crop yields or bolster pest-resistance. Experts generally view so-called GM foods as totally safe to consume, while the public is suspicious of them — and this divide is massive. One Pew Research Center survey found that just 37 per cent of the American public believed GM foods are safe to eat, compared with 88 per cent of members of the American Association fo...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 11, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Decision making Educational Political Source Type: blogs

There Are Some Intriguing Differences Between The USA And Japan In How Emotions Influence Health
HAP feelings are high arousal, like excitement, and LAP feelings are low arousal, like calm – each differentially related with health and wellbeing outcomes in USA and Japan, from Clobert et al, 2019 By Emma Young Feeling good in an emotional sense helps to foster better physical health – at least that’s what’s been found in studies in the West. But “feeling good” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing in all cultures. In the US, people tend to report that being excited and experiencing other so-called “high arousal positive (HAP) states” is what makes them feel good. ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 8, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cross-cultural Emotion Health Mental health Source Type: blogs

First Study Of Its Kind Finds Healthy People Have A Distorted Sense Of Their Body Volume And Length
via Sadibolova et al, 2019 By Christian Jarrett How accurately or not we are able to judge the size of our own bodies and specific body parts is an important topic in clinical psychology because a distorted body image is thought to play part in eating disorders, body dysmorphia and other related conditions. However, research has until now been limited in always involving one- or two-dimensional judgments, with volunteers asked to estimated the length of various body parts, for instance, or asked to judge which of various 2-dimensional visual depictions of their body is most accurate. In reality, of course, we don’t j...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 7, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Perception Source Type: blogs

There ’s Another Area Of Psychology Where Most Of The Results Do Replicate – Personality Research
Of 78 previously published trait-outcome associations, around 87 per cent successfully replicated, from Soto, 2019 By Christian Jarrett While psychology has been mired in a “replication crisis” recently – based on the failure of contemporary researchers to recreate some of its most cherished findings – there have been pockets of good news for certain sub-disciplines in the field. For instance, some replication efforts in cognitive psychology and experimental philosophy or X-phi have been more successful, suggesting that results in these areas are more robust. To this more optimistic list we may now ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 6, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Replications Source Type: blogs

“The Self Is Not Entirely Lost In Dementia,” Argues New Review
By Christian Jarrett In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the “self” in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the “unbecoming of the self” or the “disintegration” of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption “that without memory, there can be no self” (as encapsulated by the l...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 5, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Memory The self Source Type: blogs

A Sense Of Self Can Survive The Memory Loss Of Dementia, Argue Review Authors
By Christian Jarrett In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the “self” in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the “unbecoming of the self” or the “disintegration” of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption “that without memory, there can be no self” (as encapsulated by the l...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 5, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Memory The self Source Type: blogs

Participants In This Study Successfully Down-regulated Their Amygdala Activity With The Help Of Neurofeedback
This study supports existing research showing promise for the application of rt-fMRI neurofeedback in the treatment of problems like PTSD, addiction and depression that are associated with heightened amygdala activation. The clinical potential of this technique, bridging the worlds of neurobiology and psychotherapy, is clear. That said, fMRI scanning is an expensive business, so it may be a while before a new world of personalised mental health interventions reveals itself. —Training emotion regulation through real-time fMRI neurofeedback of amygdala activity Post written by Eleanor Morgan (@eleanormorgan) for B...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 4, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain guest blogger Mental health Source Type: blogs

Rock-A-Bye Adult – Study Shows Grown-ups Enjoy Better Sleep And Memory Consolidation In A Rocking Bed
By Emma Young As every parent knows, gentle rocking helps a baby to fall asleep. Now a new study, published in Current Biology by researchers in Switzerland, shows that a rocking bed also benefits adults, extending the time that they spend in deep, slow-wave sleep, helping them sleep more soundly, and increasing their memory consolidation through the night. A related rocking study on mice, conducted by a team involving some of the same researchers, and published in the same journal issue, helps to reveal how rocking might have these effects.  Laurence Bayer at the University of Geneva and colleagues had previously fo...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - February 1, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Sleep and dreaming Source Type: blogs

Study Compares Trump ’s Personality With Other Populist Leaders And Finds He Is An “Outlier Among The Outliers”
Via Nai et al, 2019 By Christian Jarrett Talk of personality in politics is often dismissed as idle gossip, but politicians’ personalities inform their policy choices, shape their campaigning style and predict their chances of electoral success. In fact, there has been much speculation that personality may be key to understanding perhaps the biggest electoral shock ever – Donald Trump’s triumph in the 2016 US Presidential election. Many commentators have highlighted Trump’s unusually brash, extraverted and narcissistic personality and proposed that it may partly explain his appeal among some voters....
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 31, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Political Source Type: blogs

Are Criminal Profilers “Any Better Than A Bartender?” Not Necessarily, Suggests Review Of 40 Years Of Relevant Research
By guest blogger Tomasz Witkowski The profession of “criminal profiler” is one shrouded in secrecy, even giving off a hint of danger. Yet when the American psychiatrist James A. Brussel began profiling a particular suspect in the 1950s, law enforcement officers were not entirely inclined to trust him. However, it turned out Brussel accurately defined the suspect’s height, clothing and even religion. This spectacular success was the beginning of the profession of the profiler. The FBI formed its Behavioral Science Unit in 1974 to study serial predators. Since then, the art and craft of criminal profil...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 30, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Forensic guest blogger Source Type: blogs

Are Criminal Profilers “Any Better Than A Bartender”? Not Necessarily, Suggests Review Of 40 Years Of Relevant Research
By guest blogger Tomasz Witkowski The profession of “criminal profiler” is one shrouded in secrecy, even giving off a hint of danger. Yet when the American psychiatrist James A. Brussel began profiling a particular suspect in the 1950s, law enforcement officers were not entirely inclined to trust him. However, it turned out Brussel accurately defined the suspect’s height, clothing and even religion. This spectacular success was the beginning of the profession of the profiler. The FBI formed its Behavioral Science Unit in 1974 to study serial predators. Since then, the art and craft of criminal profil...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 30, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Forensic guest blogger Source Type: blogs

“Better Than A Bartender?” Not Necessarily, Suggests Review Of 40 Years Of Research On Criminal Profiling
By guest blogger Tomasz Witkowski The profession of “criminal profiler” is one shrouded in secrecy, even giving off a hint of danger. Yet when the American psychiatrist James A. Brussel began profiling a particular suspect in the 1950s, law enforcement officers were not entirely inclined to trust him. However, it turned out Brussel accurately defined the suspect’s height, clothing and even religion. This spectacular success was the beginning of the profession of the profiler. The FBI formed its Behavioral Science Unit in 1974 to study serial predators. Since then, the art and craft of criminal profil...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 30, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Forensic guest blogger Source Type: blogs

Researchers Explore A “Striking Phenomenon” In Young Children’s Thinking – Their Denial That Improbable Events Are Possible
By Christian Jarrett Sure, it’s unlikely that a girl would ride a hippo or that a boy would drink onion juice, but as adults, we know that it’s not impossible. However, and in contrast to adults’ reasoning, for some time researchers have noticed a “striking phenomenon” (to quote the authors of a new paper) in young children’s thinking  – that is, up to around the age of eight, they frequently assume that improbable events are actually impossible. In their paper in Developmental Psychology, Celina Bowman-Smith at the University of Waterloo and her colleagues have investiga...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 29, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Developmental Source Type: blogs

A Surprising New Way To Avoid Choking Under Pressure – Imagine You Have The Prize And Are Performing To Keep It
The mental technique is called “incentive reappraisal” and it’s reflected in changed activity in a key brain structure By Christian Jarrett Choking is a ubiquitous and extremely frustrating human weakness – as the stakes are raised, our performance usually improves, but only up to a point, beyond which the pressure gets too much and our skills suddenly deteriorate. Any new psychological tricks to ameliorate this problem will be welcomed by sports competitors, students and anyone else who needs to be at their best under high pressure situations. A fascinating paper in Social Cognitive and Affective N...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 28, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Sport Source Type: blogs

New Findings “Lend Confidence” To The Idea That Cortical Blindness Eliminates The Risk Of Developing Schizophrenia
Not a single case of schizophrenia has ever been reported in someone who is cortically blind, according to the authors of a new population-wide study into the phenomenon By Emma Young Various visual impairments and abnormalities, such as unusual eye movement patterns, blink rates and retinal problems, are more common than usual in people diagnosed with schizophrenia, suggesting these issues may contribute to the development of the condition. Yet paradoxically, since the 1950s, there have also been intriguing hints that people who are blind from birth or an early age are less likely to develop schizophrenia and other kinds ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 25, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Psychosis Source Type: blogs

There Are Some Important Differences In What Lay People And Psychologists Think The Main Personality Traits Mean
By Christian Jarrett Most personality research is today conducted in the context of the Big Five model that describes personality according to people’s scores along five trait dimensions: Openness-to-Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. While these trait terms have very specific (though not necessarily completely settled) meanings in personality science, they also have their own meaning in everyday talk, which raises the question of whether, when a lay person says someone is extraverted, or conscientious, or whatever, they mean the same thing that psychologists mean when they m...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 24, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Source Type: blogs

Blinded By Ideology: People Find It Difficult To Think Logically About Arguments That Contradict Their Politics
This study can’t contribute to the debate over whether liberals or conservatives are more likely to commit such errors, the researchers write, because the stimuli weren’t constructed to be equally polarising to the two “sides” (though some prior research suggest both tribes are equally vulnerable). It also doesn’t tell us what can be done about this sort of ill-formed reasoning. Though on that front, at least, Gampa, Wojcik, and their colleagues do have some ideas: “A takeaway from this research… may be that reasoners should strive to be epistemologically humble. If logical reason...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 23, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Political Thought Source Type: blogs

Your Perfect New Excuse For Ordering Unhealthy Food And Drink: “Altruistic Indulgence”
By Christian Jarrett On the way to meet your friend at a cafe you’re confident about sticking to your resolutions for healthier living. It soon goes awry though – no, not because of your weak willpower, but due to your excess empathy. Your friend orders first and plumps for the super indulgent Winter Warmer Chocca Mocha with added marshmallows. You follow suit, sensing that if you’d stuck with your original plans for a skinny coffee, you’d have made your friend feel awful. There is now a name for this behaviour: You just engaged in “altruistic indulgence”, the most appealing of excuses f...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 22, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Health Social Source Type: blogs

Teenagers ’ Lack Of Insight Into Some Of Their Abilities Has Implications For Career Counselling
By Christian Jarrett How much insight do you have into your own mental and emotional abilities, such as verbal intelligence, spatial cognition and interpersonal skills? Might your friends have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses than you do? In a new paper in the journal Heliyon, a team led by Aljoscha Neubauer explain that while such questions of self- vs. other-insight have already been looked at in the context of the main personality traits and general IQ, theirs is the first investigation in the context of more specific abilities. It’s an important issue for young people, they add, since choosing caree...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 21, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Occupational Source Type: blogs

Young Men Who Endorse The Masculine Ideal of Success Enjoy Greater Psychological Wellbeing
By Christian Jarrett Recently it’s been difficult to avoid the mantra that masculinity is toxic. There’s that viral Gillette advert encouraging men to be nicer (provoking a mix of praise, scorn and outrage); and the claim from the American Psychological Association (APA), in its promotion for its new guidelines on working with men and boys, that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful” – a message welcomed by some, but criticised by many others, including Steven Pinker who dubbed it “ludicrous&...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 18, 2019 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Gender Mental health Source Type: blogs