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. […]

Confusion over Schaffer’s stages of attachment

The AQA AS specification requires students to know the stages of attachment as outlined by Rudolf Schaffer. There is some confusion about this because the various textbooks provide different versions. Background: The reason for the different versions is that Schaffer didn’t really provide a set of stages, in his book (1996) he outlined what Bowlby […]

Forming episodic memories

A BBC article describes two recent studies about the formation of episodic memories and the role of the hippocampus. The first study published this week recorded the activity of single cells at the moment an association was formed between two unrelated pictures – one of a person and another of a place, such as Clint Eastwood and […]

Stop maths anxiety

The new specifications (beginning September 2015) emphasise the importance of Maths skills in all science subjects. In fact the content is only slightly different from what is currently there but it appears to be creating anxiety. A piece on the BBC website discusses maths anxiety, a well-studied phenomenon. One thought is that increased levels of emotion […]

Free speakers

      Professor Bruce Hood has recently set up a fantastic resource for contacting speakers on psychology and other science subjects – many of whom will do it for free. is a platform which aims to help more academics engage with the public and to make it easier for organisers to find relevant experts to talk at […]