Psychology

Antipsychotics used to manage autism and intellectual disability behaviour can have serious side effects – new study

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Antipsychotic medication is typically licensed in the UK for people with serious mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. Sinead Brophy The Conversation But in recent years, some antipsychotic drugs have been prescribed more and more “off label”. That is, for a condition for which they do not have approval from the medicines regulatory agency to treat. Off label prescribing can be done under certain circumstances, such as when the prescriber believes it is in a patient’s best interests. For example, ... Read More »

Hitman threats and high-quality drugs: Journalist reveals dark web investigation

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Investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years wading through the deep, dark depths of the internet’s “evil twin”. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times The 48-year-old has chatted to hackers and was the target of a hitman and will later this month share her experiences in Brisbane at the launch of her latest book The Darkest Web. She said the idea of exploring the dark web came to her after researching Silk Road, an online black market platform used to ... Read More »

What if we have got it wrong on Alzheimer’s?

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Science is about getting it wrong, until you get it right. What if we’re refusing to admit we’re wrong about a horrifying disease? Liam Mannix The Sydney Morning Herald “The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away,” wrote astronomer Carl Sagan. But when your career and everything you’ve ever worked for is on the line, admitting you might be wrong is very hard to do. Despite decades and billions of dollars ... Read More »

Why Denmark dominates the World Happiness Report rankings year after year

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The new World Happiness Report again ranks Denmark among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed – a distinction that the country has earned for seven consecutive years. Marie Helweg-Larsen The Conversation The U.S., on the other hand, ranked 18th in this year’s World Happiness Report, a four-spot drop from last year’s report. Denmark’s place among the world’s happiest countries is consistent with many other national surveys of happiness (or, as psychologists call it, “subjective well-being”). Scientists like to ... Read More »

Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman?

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Most people will draw a man. Researchers investigate the consequences. Heather Murphy The New York Times This series of images emerged from a simple prompt: “Draw an effective leader.” Tina Kiefer, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, fell upon the exercise accidentally, while leading a workshop full of executives who did not speak much English. Since then it has been adopted by organizational psychologists across the world. In terms of gender, the ... Read More »

Lessons about risks of gambling piloted in British schools

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Thinktank trials scheme to teach children about problems that can ‘wreak havoc on people’s lives’ Sally Weale The Guardian Lessons about the risks of gambling have been trialled in secondary schools in an attempt to address high levels of gambling among school-age children. Around 25,000 children in the UK are currently classed as problem gamblers, with one recent survey finding that one in six 11-to-15-year-olds admitted to gambling in the last week. Yet according to the cross-party thinktank Demos, gambling is rarely included in ... Read More »

Sensory aspects of speech linked to language issues in autism

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Children with autism pay just as much attention to speech that doesn’t match lip movements as to speech in which sight and sound are coordinated, according to a new study1. Hannah Furfaro Spectrum Typical children prefer speech in which the sensory cues are in sync. Some people with autism have trouble learning to speak and understand words. Some people with the condition have minimal verbal skills or don’t speak at all. The new work suggests that these problems may be partially rooted ... Read More »

Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

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The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

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Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of Raising Simple. BecomingMinimalist Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful. I began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff ... Read More »

Should you send a text or email? Here’s some advice from Aristotle

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Suppose you want to get in touch with a friend. Once, your options for doing so might have been sparse: pick up the phone or write a letter. Alexis Elder The Conversation But these days, you have to decide: Should you call or text, use Snapchat, or reach out on Twitter, Messenger or Skype? Other considerations, whether it’s an old friend or new acquaintance, or whether you’re asking a favor or checking in, as well as your own conversational tendencies ... Read More »

AFL pokies ‘linked to spike in family violence’

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New research has revealed poker machine clubs owned by the AFL have been linked to an increase family violence. 9news The Monash University research obtained by The Herald Sun found the majority of AFL pokie machines were located in lower-socio economic areas. Using crime data from police, the report found family violence increased by 21.5 percent in north-western suburbs of Victoria where AFL pokies were placed. In contrast, north-western suburbs without the pokies showed a… AFL pokies ‘linked… Read More »

Five reasons why being kind makes you feel good – according to science

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Everybody can appreciate acts of kindness. But when it comes to explaining why we do them, people often take one of two extreme positions. Jo Cutler Robin Banerjee The Conversation Some think kindness is something completely selfless that we do out of love and care, while others believe it is just a tool that we cunningly use to become more popular and reap the… But research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a ... Read More »

The strange link between the human mind and quantum physics

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Nobody understands what consciousness is or how it works. Nobody understands quantum mechanics either. Could that be more than coincidence? By Philip Ball BBC “I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no real problem.” The American physicist Richard Feynman said this about the notorious puzzles and paradoxes of quantum mechanics, the theory physicists use to describe the tiniest objects in the Universe. But he might as well have been ... Read More »

Emotional intelligence: What it is and why you need it

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When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. Travis Bradberry World Economic Forum This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. Emotional ... Read More »

Science has a gambling problem

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Researchers and government agencies pay too little attention to pathological gambling. This must change. editorial nature Pathological gambling is thought to affect as many people as autism and schizophrenia. It disrupts employment, relationships and health, and places an enormous burden on the state. It is the only behavioural addiction formally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, appearing in the fifth edition of the organization’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) in 2013. And what is the contribution of science to ... Read More »

Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland

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Researchers to test fast-working spray containing naloxone, a treatment usually given to opiate addicts that blocks production of dopamine The Guardian Could gambling addiction be treated with a nasal spray? A group of Finnish researchers are launching a study to find out. The fast-working spray contains naloxone, which is commonly used as an emergency treatment for overdoses of opiates such as heroin, opium and morphine. It blocks the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure with a central role ... Read More »