In case you missed them – 10 of the best psychology links from the past week:
2. Brilliant article by Joseph LeDoux on the benefits to anxious people of “pro-active avoidance”. “When avoidance prevents one from dealing with life, it is maladaptive. But when avoidance is proactive and part of active coping and agency, it helps the person control the accelerator, brakes, and the track switches. It is a useful adaptive activity.”
4. Power failure! The Digest covered a paper this week that claimed the majority of neuroscience studies are underpowered because they have samples that are too small. It’s an important issue and here is some more reaction and coverage: several neuroscientists commented at Ed Yong’s blog; Matt Wall on his blog is sceptical about the ability to predict how much power you need; Jon Simons said on his blog he believes it’s a landmark paper; and lead author Kate Button wrote a guest post at the Guardian about the problems of low power.
6. Brain training games “are bogus” claimed an article in the New Yorker. A key meta-analysis mentioned in that article was featured on the Digest in February. Coincidentally, Sue Gathercole, a leading researcher into working memory brain training, was at the British Psychological Society annual conference this week. She acknowledged that so far transferable benefits have proven elusive, but she said the important point was what to do about that. Her team are working on new virtual reality exercises that aim to encourage children to apply their working memory gains flexibly in new contexts.
Looking ahead to next week: Sunday evening in Glasgow, author and psychologist Charles Fernyhough is talking about memory; On Tues, Steve Pinker and Howard Gardner are in conversation at the Harvard Museum of Natural History; On Thurs in London, The University of Westminster has a day of free fun psychology lectures for students featuring Catherine Loveday et al.
Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.