Summer is a busy time, and so you might have missed some interesting psychology titbits. So if you haven’t been keeping up with the latest psychology news, check out these five articles with some interesting implications.
1. Study supports treatment for Parkinson’s disease – This study, published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology suggests that Asparagine endopeptidase (AEP), an enzyme which degrades proteins, could be a new drug target for treating Parkinson’s disease. Testing done on mice found that an excess of AEP triggered neuronal loss and significant motor impairments, which are characteristic of Parkinson’s disease. This means that inhibition of AEP may be a successful way to treat the disease.
2. Report finds students should not be graded on emotional intelligence – For this report, focus groups studied students’ formation of grit, growth-mindset, and sense of belonging. Researchers also aimed to study teachers’ role in this emotional and social growth. Results of the study suggested that fostering social and emotional growth is very important for students, but that data about these topics is difficult to gather. It was clear that these types of development benefitted students’ learning, however, it was not possible to determine which of the factors were most influential. As a result, the study concluded that teachers should attempt to integrate these types of learning in their classrooms, but that students should not be graded in these areas.
3. Your brain is an important muscle in determining body strength – When exercising, many assume that strength training is only related to the muscles you are targeting, however, a recent study found that the nervous system also plays an important role. The study measured neuromuscular adaptations formed during both high and low-load resistance training. Results suggest that more neural adaptations occur in high-load training, which could be why this type of workout leads to greater increases in muscle strength.
4. Brain cells may inspire new drugs for weight loss – Feeding behaviour is controlled across the hypothalamus, brainstem, and limbic system. This recently published study examined the role of neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus which contribute to the brain’s regulation of food intake. Two neurons specifically DRNVgat and DRNVGLUT3 are activated by changes in energy balance. Testing on mice during this enquiry, suggests that these neurons could be targeted by medications. This new type of weight loss drug would utilise receptors on these neurons to decrease hunger. This drug could prove to be a valuable tool in treating obesity.
5. Can you really hear well when eavesdropping – A recent enquiry studied how auditory capabilities differ when a subject is looking at the source of a sound and when their gaze is directed elsewhere. For example, how well can you really hear and focus on the conversation at the table next to you, while gazing at your date in a busy restaurant? Early results have suggested an increased reaction time when participants attempted to identify sounds that did not come from their line of sight. This suggests that it is more difficult to hear and comprehend when gaze and auditory attention are misaligned.