This Blog Has Moved

on Saturday, 12 November 2011
Now here

The Genetic Origins of Psychopathy

on Thursday, 25 August 2011

Florida State University's College of Criminology and Criminal Justice has recently published a study into the genetic origins of psychopathic personality traits, with some interesting results. 

The study focused on adoptees who had one or more psychopathic biological parents, and determined that there is a genetic link for such traits. Interestingly, however, it seems to be exclusive to the male side: for males, having a criminal biological father increased the probablility of being on the extreme end of the psychopathic personality trait scale by a factor ranging between 4.3 and 8.5; however, female adoptees were unaffected by having a biological criminal father, and there was no association between having a criminal biological mother and having psychopathic personality traits. 

Kevin M. Beaver, Meghan W. Rowland, Joseph A. Schwartz and Joseph L. Nedelec (2011). The genetic origins of psychopathic personality traits in adult males and females Journal of Criminal Justice

Find the full article here

Cash Prizes for Students from Santander

on Thursday, 18 August 2011

Anyone who knows me (or reads my blogs) will know I'm a big fan of Formula 1. In general, I'm a Ferrari girl, but it's nice to see Button & Hamilton teaming up with Santander to promote their latest competition in which students can win cash prizes. 

The bank are giving away £50 per hour for thirty days, as well as five cash prizes of £1,000. All you need to do is visit their Facebook page to find out more, and open a Santander Student Current Account. What's more, even if you're not one of the winners, Santander will give you £240 worth of free gadget insurance and a £1,000 overdraft to tide you through uni. 

Find out more here.

This post is sponsored by Santander 

Shame and Blame in Juvenile Offenders

on Sunday, 24 July 2011

The relationship between child abuse and juvenile delinquency is already well-established, but a recent study at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School aims to discover the cognitive and emotional processes behind this relationship.

112 adolescents were studied, with results showing that those who converted shame into blame of other people, rather than recognising it as an emotion centering on themselves, showed more delinquent and violent behaviour than those who expressed their sense of shame without trying to transfer it elsewhere. Thus the conversion of shame into blame seems to contribute to pathological outcomes in relation to trauma, and the study recommends that clinicians bear this in mind when working with juveniles who are displaying delinquent behaviour.

Jason Gold, Margaret Wolan Sullivan and Michael Lewis (2011). The relation between abuse and violent delinquency: The conversion of shame to blame in juvenile offenders Child Abuse & Neglect

Find the full article here

Children's Ability to Draw Human Figures Does Not Measure Intellectual Ability

on Saturday, 28 May 2011

A study at the Department of Psychology in the University of Otago, New Zealand, has shown that children's ability to draw humans has no relation to their level of intellectual ability. Previously, the two were thought to be linked, and children's intelligence levels were scored partially on this test. Being someone who can't draw for toffee, I'm quite happy to discover that it doesn't necessarily mean I'm intellectually lacking...!

Find the full article here

Emma Willcock, Kana Imuta and Harlene Hayne (2011). Children’s human figure drawings do not measure intellectual ability Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

Picture from here

Pilot Study: The Survivor to Thriver Program

on Sunday, 15 May 2011
picture from here

Researchers from East Carolina and Houston Universities have piloted an online program set up to help rape victims suffering from PTSD. They point out that 15-20% of women have been raped, and almost a third report rape-related PTSD, depression or anxiety. However, very few people seek formal help, suggesting that alternative ways to reach such individuals are needed.

The Survivor to Thriver Program is based online and was tested over seven weeksby five college women with rape-related PTSD. At the end of the study, four of the participants reported that their PTSD symptoms had been reduced. All five reported lower vulnerability fears, and four reported reductions in related negative cognitions. Results imply that the program might be worth further development; the paper discusses how this could be done and how clinicians can use it in treating rape-related PTSD.

Heather Littleton, Katherine Buck, Lindsey Rosman and Amie Grills-Taquechel (2010). The From Survivor to Thriver Program: A Pilot Study of an Online Program for Rape Victims Cognitive and Behavioral Practice

The Presence of Spirits in Madness

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Today I discovered an interesting paper by Wilson Van Dusen, on patients in mental hospitals who see and hear voices that they attribute to spirits.

Van Dusen managed to converse with the hallucinations as well as with the patients themselves, thus giving himself an idea of common traits within such voices and visions. He defined two orders, lower and higher, and described the differences between the two:
All of the lower order are irreligious or anti-religious. Some actively interfered with the patients' religious practices...The lower order seems incapable of sequential reasoning... The rarer higher order seldom speaks, whereas the lower order can talk endlessly. The higher order is much more likely to be symbolic, religious, supportive, genuinely instructive, and communicate directly with the inner feelings of the patient. 
It's an interesting paper and definitely worth reading. Download it here.

Wilson Van Dusen (1984). The Presence Of Spirits In Madness Swedenborg Foundation, N.Y., N.Y. 10010