Psychology Science

The APA is not the only solution

The problem might really be that the APA has no real competition. It’s a monopoly held up by the government, who designates the DSM as the bible for mental health when it gives out payments only for approved diagnostic codes. Clinicians ought to continue to develop alternative methods of diagnosis and treatment. Paired with modern data analysis, we can prove that there’s something better than the existing bureaucracy.

Psychiatry is failing those with personality disorders – New Scientist – New Scientist

A workable diagnostic system is needed, because sticking with the status quo is not an option

IF DOCTORS sent patients with angina home with nothing but a prescription for a painkiller to control chest pain, they would be sued for malpractice. Sadly, that is a fitting analogy for what happens all too often to people with personality disorders.


Philosophy Science

Why do we cry?

A related question answered by Leonard Peikoff was why we cry at joyful occasions. His answer: we perceive the beauty of life in context with the knowledge that it is not always so. If you feel that complex mix of joy and sorrow welling up in the coming weeks, take my advice: let the tears flow. That’s how nature made us.

CultureLab: Tragic tears: Why we are the only animals that cry

WE ARE the only animals who shed tears from emotion. But why? And what parts of the brain govern our impulse to weep? In Why Humans Like to Cry, Michael Trimble looks to neuroscience, art and evolution for answers.

His basic argument is that there is a set of neural systems in the brain that respond selectively to emotional stimuli and, specifically, tragedy. By this, he means the individual experience of loss, whose co-evolution with language and culture led to – or at least aided in – the birth of the art form of the same name, which deals with loss and suffering as essential aspects of humanity.

News Science

Strength training improves cycling sprints

I suspect a few people in my family will find this interesting.

Cyclists’ improvement of pedaling efficacy and performance after heavy strength training

The authors tested whether heavy strength training, including hip-flexion exercise, would reduce the extent of the phase in the crank revolution where negative or retarding crank torque occurs. Negative torque normally occurs in the upstroke phase when the leg is lifted by flexing the hip. Eighteen well-trained cyclists either performed 12 wk of heavy strength training in addition to their usual endurance training (E+S; n = 10) or merely continued their usual endurance training during the intervention period (E; n = 8). The strength training consisted of 4 lower body exercises (3 × 4-10 repetition maximum) performed twice a week. E+S enhanced cycling performance by 7%, which was more than in E (P = .02). Performance was determined as average power output in a 5-min all-out trial performed subsequent to 185 min of submaximal cycling. The performance enhancement, which has been reported previously, was here shown to be accompanied by improved pedaling efficacy during the all-out cycling. Thus, E+S shortened the phase where negative crank torque occurs by ~16°, corresponding to ~14%, which was more than in E (P = .002). In conclusion, adding heavy strength training to usual endurance training in well-trained cyclists improves pedaling efficacy during 5-min all-out cycling performed after 185 min of cycling.

Psychology Science

Dogs do not naturally distinguish objects by shape

Humans tend to classify objects by shape first and then use other aspects to further specify them and turn them into abstract concepts. Dogs start with size and then rely on texture. You and I see a marble and a basketball as two examples of balls. A dog would consider the marble to be more like a small, smooth coin. It would be hilarious to have a philosophical conversation with a dog with human-level consciousness.

Fetch! First clear evidence that dogs do not naturally distinguish objects by shape

Researchers have provided the first empirical evidence that the way in which dogs relate words to objects is fundamentally different to humans.


Do Math Problems Unconsciously

Only N=1, but I have noticed that while I am experiencing the aura effect during a migraine, I simultaneously have blind spots and in my vision and am able to keep reading. I cannot consciously see all the shapes of the letters of the words, but I can read them. For a while, I thought it was my brain being clever about filling in the gaps somehow. Now, I think perhaps some part of my brain still sees the words.

Researchers Show How We Can Do Math Problems Unconsciously

Can we actually read words and phrases and solve multi-step mathematical problems without our having consciously been aware of them? A team in the Psychology Department at the Hebrew University has conducted a series of experiments that give a positive answer: people can read and do math non-consciously.