Treating depression with mindfulness

Many people use drugs to find relief for depression but there are alternative therapies and one recent one has been mindfulness-based cognitive thereapy (MBCT). A recent study by Kuyken et al. (2014) suggests that MBCT can be just as effective as drug therapies. MBCT teaches people to focus on the present rather than worrying about […]

ECT effects demonstrated

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have used modern technology to show that there are demonstrable effects in the brain when electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)  is used. One of the criticisms of the technique is that it is not clear why it might have positive benefits – just because it works is not a […]

Useful sound bite

A popular way to criticise any research study is to suggest that the sample was limited – but, in order to make this an effective criticism, you need to explain why this is an issue. For example, if the sample was all men then you need to explain why that would make a difference to performance or […]

Skeptoid.com

If you haven’t discovered Brian Dunning at sceptic.com, try it. Regular podcasts are also printed on line – such as a recent one on right brain left brain. He claims the roots of this myth are from Roger’s Sperry’s work with split-brain patients. There was also a recent one on the fallibility of memory covering the […]

When will they learn

In light of recent CIA revelations the BPS digest has published an interesting research study that shows interrogation techniques that build rapport are more successful than torture. The study by Jane Goodman-Delahunty et al. (2014) involved interviewing 34 interrogators and 30 detainees, most of whom were suspected terrorists. Both interrogators and detainees were asked to recall a […]

MCB80x

MCB80x is a fantastic free, open, online Neuroscience course from HarvardX led by Professor David Cox – fantastic animations and interactive demos. You can sign up for the courses for free and there are also weekly brain picks on YouTube (for example). From next September AQA A level Psychology includes quite a hefty injection of […]

Ecological validity

A term beloved by students and all too often wrongly used. Consider this: Lab experiment – independent variable manipulated, DV measured in lab by experimenter. Field experiment – independent variable manipulated, DV measured in natural environment, participant may behave more ‘naturally’ because unaware of being assessed. Natural experiment – independent variable not manipulated by experiment, DV often measured […]

Genes, IQ and the media

I have been reading quite a few pieces recently that point a wagging finger at the media for oversimplifying psychological research and perpetuating myths. Here’s one. The Cognitive Genomics Lab aims to identify the genes underlying cognitive ability. A large multi-author group – 59 of them including the renowned geneticist Robert Plomin) have just published […]

Little Albert

It is one of the classic studies in Psychology – famous Behaviourist (John B Watson) demonstrated that an emotional response could be acquired through classical conditioning. His subject was a 9-month old infant called ‘Little Albert’. John B and his assistant Rosalie Rayner placed a cute white laboratory rat in front of the baby and at the same […]