Recent Posts

Review of “Hurtful Words: Association of Exposure to Peer Verbal Abuse with Elevated Psychiatric Symptom Scores and Corpus Callosum Abnormalities”

Review of “Hurtful Words: Association of Exposure to Peer Verbal Abuse with Elevated Psychiatric Symptom Scores and Corpus Callosum Abnormalities” Jessica Lyles This study by Teicher and his colleagues (2010) was designed to examine the effects that verbal abuse from peers had on brain structures (particularly the corpus callosum) and psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety, substance use, etc.). Previous research the authors had conducted showed that parental verbal abuse had a significant impact on children’s symptoms ratings in areas such as depression and anger-hostility (Teicher et al., 2006; Anderson et al., 2009). They also cite the fact that research shows that children who are victims of abuse from peer have decreased rates of psychological symptoms and maladaptive behaviors such as increase chances of engaging in fights. While the first purpose of this study is to examine whether there are elevations in psychiatric symptoms due to verbal abuse, it is also to examine diffusion tensor imagining to determine if the verbal effects white matter since they had seen this in previous research with parental verbal abuse (Choi et al., 2009). Teicher, Samson, Sheu, Polcari, and McGreenery (2010) obtained their sample from a multi-study database of young adults (N = 1,662) who responded to an advertisement for childhood memories. The participants were divided into different groups. The first group (n = 848) involved individuals who were not exposed to any sexual abuse, physical abuse (both parental and peer), or domestic violence in their childhood. A another group (n = 707) included participants who also did not experience verbal abuse from their parents in addition to what the first group did not experience. The final group (n = 63) was created for the purpose of performing the diffusion tensor imaging. These individuals did not have exposure to abuse and physical violence similar to the other groups and they also had not reported history of axis I or axis II disorders. The participants all differed on the level of exposure they have to peer verbal abuse. The participants were...

read more

A New View: Treatment Adherence from a Marketing Perspective

A New View: Treatment Adherence from a Marketing Perspective K. Thurlow The problem of non-adherence is wide-spread across ages and illnesses and can be easily considered a health concern (Howren, 2013). According to Lopez-Larrosa (2013; page 286), adherence to treatment is typically defined as “the context in which the individual’s behavior agrees with the health-related recommendations.” Approximately 50 percent of patients do not adhere to prescribed medication regimens. Non-adherence has been associated with increased mortality risk, hospitalization rates and healthcare costs (Jihara et al, 2014). Medication non-adherence has been estimated to cost upwards of $300 billion annually in avoidable medical spending in the USA (Howren et al, 2013). In their article, Why People Do Not Always Follow the Doctor’s Orders, marketing professors Makarem, Smith, Mudambi, and Hunt explore treatment adherence from a consumer point of view, comparing commonly used adherence interventions and general marketing strategies. Makarem et al begin with a discussion of the literature, focusing on a call for research emphasizing the need to focus on consumers’ social problems and challenges such as health and nutrition, specifically related to the concepts of hope and perceptions of control. Despite the fact that an operational definition of hope is not provided until 4 pages later on page 461, the authors note that while psychology has been reluctant to engage in hope-related research, marketing research has and found that it affects consumer coping styles, as well as decisional ability, risk perception, information processing, and product evaluation. Makarem et al encourage a more individualized approach to health behaviors since consumers are motivated by different emotional and cognitive factors, as well as differing lifestyles, and expectations of daily regimens. It is noted, however, that a framework of the processes related to adherence has yet to be developed, which should include factors related to health status, behavioral intentions, motivation, perceptions/locus of control, complexity of medication regimen, and beliefs about illness severity. Makarem et al do not attempt such a feat in this study, instead focusing on predictors of health...

read more

Cultural Differences in First Impressions

Cultural Differences in First Impressions A review of: Noguchi, K., Kamada, A., & Shrira, I. (2014). Cultural differences in the primacy effect for person perception. International journal of psychology: Journal international de psychologie, 49(3), 208-10. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24821510 – By Bailey Correll Why this article? This article brings awareness to the differences in various cultures, ethnicities, and nations. The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Mercer School of Medicine’s Diversity Statement both directly reference the need to understand and accept various aspects of different cultures. Knowledge of various cultures is useful to practitioners and to individuals. Practitioners need to be familiar with patterns of social acceptance in order to assist individuals with persistent mental illness in remaining in society. Introduction In order to effectively sort through the plethora of social interactions encountered on a daily basis, people often make assumptions about others. These assumptions are called social perception biases. This article focuses a particular social perception bias called the primacy effect. The primacy effect is simply the grossly exaggerated weight of a first impression. North Americans and East Asians have been shown to process social situations differently. The value these two groups place upon first impressions may be another example of those differences. North Americans have a tendency to focus on dispositional factors when another’s behavior falls into question. North Americans employ schematic-style perception and processing. North Americans assign stimuli to a schema, and use the existing knowledge of that schema to predict the stimuli’s behaviors. N. Americans tend to explain away any information that does not fit into the schema to which the stimuli has been assigned. East Asians typically focus on situational factors instead. East Asians tend to focus on stimuli and the world as a whole; these people focus on interactions between the specific stimuli and the specific situation to predict events. E. Asians are more likely to take into consideration the context of most stimuli and modify any previous judgements. Hypotheses This study hypothesized that Japanese participants would rate a target person...

read more

The Effects of Anesthesia on Cognition and Brain Structure Following Early Childhood Surgery

A Review of: Backeljauw, B., Holland, S. K., Altaye, M., & Loepke, a. W. (2015). Cognition and Brain Structure Following Early Childhood Surgery With Anesthesia. Pediatrics, 136(1). doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3526 by Chase Grosse   Purpose of the research: Research in a variety of animal models have demonstrated that exposure to anesthetic used in human surgeries result in widespread neuron death, alteration in dendritic structure and long-term learning and memory impairments for the animal (Backeljauw, Holland, Altaye, & Loepke, 2015). Due to these findings in animal models it is plausible that exposure to anesthetic in childhood, a sensitive period for neurodevelopment, may affect human in a similar manner. Thus, childhood exposure to anesthesia may result in lifelong deficits of memory and cognition. Previous works to show the connection between early childhood exposure to anesthesia, and cognition and structural changes have resulted in inconclusive findings. Several studies have found an association with learning, language, or behavioral deficits while others found no results (Backeljauw et al., 2015). The authors found no current data regarding the structural effects of early childhood anesthetic exposure. Yet the available data on animal models have shown neurostructural, neurobehavioral, and cognitive changes. The authors believe the discrepancy between animal models and within human studies are due to the way outcomes were measured in previous studies, e.g., diverse assessment measures including group testing, individually administered tests, and school records. Additionally, previous studies did not adjust for a variety of confounds, e.g., cognitive performance, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), anesthetic exposure duration, and handedness. Thus, the current study set out to address issues with previous research to determine whether surgical anesthesia used in otherwise healthy children before the age of four had an effect on cognition, language, and brain structure. How they did it: Volunteers of an existing language development study with a history of surgery with anesthesia before their fourth birthday were matched to unexposed control subjects for age, gender, handedness, and SES. Researchers reviewed and quantified anesthesia exposure and excluded inoperative events, i.e., hypotension, bradycardia, or...

read more

What psychological factors need to be considered when examining willingness to donate to disaster victims?

By: Kelsey Caitlin Hewitt A review of: Zagefka, H., Noor, M., Brown, R., Hopthrow, T. and de Moura, G. R. (2012), Eliciting donations to disaster victims: Psychological considerations. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 15: 221–230. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-839X.2012.01378.x An intriguing question in literature is how do donors decide which cause to choose (Zagefka, Noor, Brown, Hopthrow, and de Moura, 2012). The current study aimed to study the factors with individual decision making on donations to disaster victims. Zagefka et al. (2012) presented a narrow topic with the appeal of donating to disaster relief. When gathering previous research the aim is to provide a baseline. The amount of information presented in the current study was overwhelming. Numerous factors could predict the amount a person donates such as social media awareness and emotional connection. In the present study, it explored the interplay between three potential predictors of donations, namely the perceived extent of the victim’s Need, the Impact of a potential donation, and Amount donated by others (Zagefka et al., 2012). There were a total of four predictions in the introduction, which included face valid variables. In sum, it first hypothesized that a higher perceived need for help would lead to a greater willingness to donate. Second, they expected that a higher perceived impact of a potential donation would be associated with a greater willingness to donate. Third, they hypothesized that if people assume that others will donate, money, they would be less inclined to donate themselves. Lastly, they expected a negative effect of donations by others on willingness to donate in the present context. Overall, they established a satisfactory rationale and the need for a study representing different scenarios and asking participants to justify their choices. It should be noted that this study placed particular emphasis in Asian social psychology due to the growing number of disasters in Asia at the time of the study. Two hundred and nineteen British students participated which allowed for more than enough participants in each cell. Data was collected in 2005, at...

read more

Review of: Coy, B., O’Brien, W. H., Tabaczynski, T., Northern, J., & Carels, R. (2011). Associations between evaluation anxiety, cognitive interference and performance on working memory tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(5), 823–832. doi:10.1002/acp.1765

Reviewed by Lauren Lee There is a well-established “robust and reliable” body of research that links poorer performance on cognitive tasks with evaluation anxiety. Cognitive Interference Theory (CIT) proposed by Sarason and associates attempts to explain that association, using the term negative off-task self-dialogue to describe the interference caused by distraction (Sarason, 1984;Sarason, Sarason, & Pierce, 1990, 1995). This line of research is supportive of Beck’s cognitive view of anxiety as caused by a person’s increased likelihood of reacting to a threat, while underestimation their own problem solving abilities, paired with an over estimate of the threat posed. Many studies comparing levels of negative off-task dialogue with evaluation and off-task thoughts support CIT; however their used of correlational methods to compare the groups invites critique as establishing a link between variables without proving directionality of the relationship. Working from Sarason’s theory, Eysenck and Calvo (1992) pursued the impact of negative off-task self-dialogue on working memory and subsequently their performance on cognitive tasks by priming the system used in assessing new information needed for cognitive tasks. Central Executive, an essential component of CIT, has 3 primary functions: inhibition, task switching, and encoding of incoming information. Additionally, it may serve as a relay to other auditory and visual processing systems. Coy et al. (2011) uses the verbal linguistic mentation model to explain the stronger association between verbal memory and negative off-task self-dialogue by interfering with the phonological loop of the working memory system. Due to this overload, the central executive processes will also be impacted downstream. Also proposed is that visual stimuli, because processed separately from verbal information, will be less effected by the negative off-task self-dialogue. Although Beilock et al., (2007) found data supportive of CIT, connecting evaluation anxiety to impaired phonological processing, central executive function, they were not able to establish to what extent the negative off-task dialogue or how much the stereotype threat presented, impacted performance. while no experimental research has evaluated the link between evaluating anxiety and all three functions of working...

read more

Article Review: An Exploration of the Drive for Muscularity in Adolescent Boys and Girls

The following is a review of McCreary & Sasse’s (2000) article, “An Exploration of the Drive for Muscularity in Adolescent Boys and Girls” by Kelsey Winters. The authors discuss the differences in weight-related behaviors between adolescent males and females. While girls tend to focus on thinness, boys are more inclined to focus on gaining weight and appearing bulkier. “28%-68% of adolescent boys are trying to gain weight” (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). The authors further remark that boys primarily want to become more muscular. The authors then go on to discuss the consequences of striving for muscularity. These include: engaging in binge eating; anabolic androgenic steroid use; weight-related health problems; and the assumption that striving for muscularity will result in low levels of self-esteem and high levels of depression (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). Overall, the authors of this study were curious about whether gender will moderate the association between the drive for muscularity and psychological outcome measures (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). McCreary and Sasse developed a Drive for Muscularity scale. In creating the measure, the authors polled a group of weight-training enthusiasts, asking about factors that motivate them, as well as how they felt after missing a session (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). In addition to this, the authors analyzed content of various weight-training magazines. From this, the authors developed a list of motivators, which they asked both men and women to review in order to determine the face validity. The result was a 15-item Drive for Muscularity Scale. This study had 197 high school students from Ontario, Canada, 101 girls and 96 boys. The age range was 16 to 24 years, with the average age being 18 years old. The authors used a pencil-and-paper survey to determine demographic information from the participants, as well as several questionnaires. The first questionnaire was the Drive for Muscularity Scale the authors developed which measured the attitudes and behaviors that reflect the degree of people’s preoccupation with increasing muscularity (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). Next, the authors used behavioral indicators...

read more