The Zimbardo myth

A recent post on the BPS digest looks at 10 of the most widely believed myths in psychology – specifically at research results that have been questioned. One of these relates to Zimbardo’s well-known Stanford Prison Experiment. The main conclusion Zimbardo drew from the study was that certain situations will cause people to behave in an anti-social […]

The three faces of Eve

Chris Costmore Sizemore died 24 July. Her life story became famous through the book written by her psychiatrists and the subsequent film which told the story of her multiple personalities – Eve White and Eve Black. She later was treated by other psychiatrists and experienced even greater fragmentation of her personality with over 20 ‘alters’. […]

Infant imitation work is wrong

A recent study by Janine Oostenbroek et al. (2016) suggests the results by Meltzoff and Moore, and others, are wrong. This new study is considerably more comprehensive. 64 infants were tested 4 times between the age of one week and 9 weeks, and tested on 11 different displays. There was no evidence of consistent imitation. For […]

Brain training program fined $2 million

A number of studies have failed to support the claims of brain training programmes (see here for example) and now the American Federal Trade Commission has fined one brain training company, Luminosity, $2 million for false claims about the benefits of their games for maximising your abilities and staving off the effects of dementia and memory […]

Paying homage to formal terms

This is one of my pet peeves – and something I have written about in various books. People get focus on ‘technical terms’ and fail to grasp the real meaning. Here is an example I just received in an email from a teacher: I am wrestling with task validity. It’s regarding a question evaluating the […]

Parametric and nonparametric tests

The new AQA specification includes parametric tests, therefore students no longer can justify a choice of test by saying it is ‘better than ordinal’ (which was possible when there were only nonparametric tests. A look at past AQA B mark schemes gives a clue about how this should be done: AQA B paper (June 2015 […]

Vlog 2

The topics this time are social learning, peer review, the sign test, measures of central tendency and dispersion and ethics. The video lists the things you may be asked to calculate in the AQA exam. Regarding standard deviation (SD) I recently had the following communication from AQA: Technically students could be required to calculate SD in […]

Body reading by people with autism

One of the popular explanations put forward for the basis of autism is a lack of theory of mind. A recent study (Peterson et al., 2015) suggests that people with autism may actually be quite ‘normal’ in terms of understanding the emotions of other people because they show quite reasonable abilities to understand body language. […]