Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Live animals versus fancy toys - which do toddlers prefer?

Ignoring WC Fields' advice to "never work with children or animals", a team of researchers in the USA has done both at once in a research paper that compares children's interest in live animals against their interest in toys.

Older children have an obvious affinity for animals, betrayed through their love of pets and zoos. That very small children share this affection for creatures is  usually taken as a given, but in fact it's an issue that's been subject to surprisingly little systematic research, particularly when it comes to real live animals as opposed to mere pictures.

Vanessa LoBue and her colleagues began by filming 38 toddlers (average age 24 months) as they played alone freely in a room that contained 14 "highly attractive" toys on the floor, including fire trucks and a ball, and two caged live animals: a tan Sentinel hamster and a blue and red Beta fish, each located on a shelf on opposite sides of the room. Each child's parent sat quietly in the corner during the 10-minute play session. The main finding here was that the toddlers initiated significantly more interactions with the two animals versus the two most popular toys - the doll and aeroplane. They also gestured more frequently at the animals, mentioned them more often and asked more questions about them.

A second study was similar, but this time there were four toys and four animals: the fish and hamster, plus a black Tarantula and an orange and black California Mountain King snake. Also, after the first five minutes play time, each child's parent was allowed to play with them. Thirty-eight new toddlers took part (average age 28 months) in this study and again they initiated more interactions with the animals than the toys, as did the parents. Both children and parents displayed slight caution in their interactions with the spider and snake, consistent with past research suggesting infants have an evolved fear for these creatures.

An obvious criticism of the research is that the animals were animated while the toys were inanimate. LoBue and her team acknowledged this, but they pointed out the cages were small and the animals were chosen for their relative inactivity. For instance, the hamster mostly sleeps in the day-time, which was when the testing occurred. The spider barely moved.

In a final study, the researchers sacrificed some of the realism of the set-up in favour of greater experimental control. This time toddlers were presented with a series of pairs of stimuli - a real caged animal alongside a toy version of that same animal, which was attached to the shelf. The animals used this time included the hamster and fish from before, plus a green gecko. Consistent with the findings from free play, the children spent more time interacting with the live animals. And when their parents joined them, they spent even more time interacting with the real animals, which suggests parents facilitate their children's preference for living creatures.

"Future research would be important in discovering why both children and adults show more interest in live animals than other objects," the researchers concluded, "and whether there are any potential benefits that can be gained by children's avid interest."

_________________________________ ResearchBlogging.org

LoBue, V., Bloom Pickard, M., Sherman, K., Axford, C., and DeLoache, J. (2013). Young children's interest in live animals. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31 (1), 57-69 DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2012.02078.x

--Further reading--
Animal-sensitive cells discovered in the human brain
Three-year-olds show a bias for spotting snakes in a striking posture

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 chances to win The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Moods & Relationships

We have five copies to give away of The Face of Emotion How Botox Affects Our Moods and Relationships by Eric Finzi, kindly donated to the Digest by Palgrave Macmillan. New Scientist called the book "a provocative and insightful contribution" to the debate about emotional regulation.
From the publishers: "William Shakespeare famously wrote that 'a face is like a book,' and common wisdom has it that our faces reveal our deep-seated emotions. But what if the reverse were also true? What if our facial expressions set our moods instead of revealing them? What if there were actual science to support the exhortation, "smile, be happy?" Dermatologic surgeon Eric Finzi has been studying that question for nearly two decades, and in this ground breaking book he marshals evidence suggesting that our facial expressions are not secondary to, but rather a central driving force of, our emotions."
For your chance to win a copy, simply tell us what you'd say to a friend or colleague to convince them that they should read the BPS Research Digest. The writers of our five favourite answers will each receive a copy of the book. The competition closes Friday evening. Please leave an email address (or weblink) for us to contact you. Good luck!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Holmes Herbert

Né  Horace Edward Jenner
30 juillet 1882 - 26 décembre 1956
Né en Grande Bretagne à Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
6" (1m83)

Noms alternatifs : H.E. Herbert | Holmes E. Herbert




Holmes Herbert débute sa carrière tout jeune comme artiste de cirque et apparait dans des spectacles de blancs déguisés en noirs (Minstrel Shows). Dans les années 1900 alors âgé d'une vingtaine d'années, il tourne déjà dans le circuit des théâtres provinciaux. Par la suite sa carrière courra de 1915 à 1952 et il apparaitra dans 230 films.


Moving Picture World 1919
Holmes Herbert émigre aux Etats-Unis en 1912. Il était le premier fils de Ned Herbert (Né Edward Jenner), un acteur et comédien du théâtre anglais. Holmes Herbert quant à lui n'a jamais tourné dans son pays d'origine. Grand admirateur de Sherlock Holmes, il prit son nom de famille comme prénom d'artiste. Malheureusement il ne joua jamais le rôle de son héros bien qu'il apparaisse dans les années 40 dans 7 des 14 films tournés par Universal avec Basile Rathbone et Nigel Bruce basés sur les aventures du héros créé par Conan Doyle.

En 1918 il obtient un rôle dans A Doll's House (La maison de Poupée) un film tiré du livre d'Henrik Ibsen. Le parlant lui permettra comme tant d'autres compatriotes comme Reginald Denny ou Roland Young d'incarner des messieurs typiquement britanniques. Il pousse même la chansonnette dans The Ship from Shanghai 1930 en interprétant "Sailing, Sailing Over the Bounding Main".

Homme de belle prestance, Holmes Herbert apparait bien souvent en smoking dans le rôle de celui qui récomforte de manière désintéressée une héroïne désespérée.

En 1915 il débute sa carrière en tête d'affiche puis la poursuivra dès l'apparition du parlant dans des rôles de support dans de nombreux classiques comme Captain Blood (1935), The Charges of the Light Brigade (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Foreign Correpondent (1940) ou d'excellents rôles comme celui de l'inspecteur à la voix douce dans The Thirteen Chair (1929) un rôle qu'il reprendra dans un remake en 1937. En 1931 il incarne le Dr Lanyon, le confident et meilleur ami du Docteur Jekyll dans Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde avec Fredric March.

Avec Lois Wilson, Picturegoer 1924


Parmi les actrices avec lesquelles il tourne citons Pola Negri, Florence La Badie, Margaret Livingston, Alice Brady, Ethel Barrymore, Mae Murray, Dorothy Dalton, Lois Wilson, Corinne Griffith, ...















De ses films muets qu'il est possible de voir, je retiens particulièrement :
The Enchanted Cottage (dans le rôle du Major aveugle) avec Richard Barthelmess
A Woman of the World (dans le rôle de Granger, le chantre de la moralité) avec Pola Negri
Daddy's Gone A Hunting (dans un petit rôle qui est resté gravé dans mon esprit) de Frank Borzage
The Charlatan (dans le rôle du mari spolié de sa femme et de sa fille qui devient diseur de bonne aventure)
Tous ces films m'ont donné envie d'en savoir un peu plus sur cet acteur peu connu.


Dans les années 40 la plupart de ses rôles ne seront plus crédités mais il se débrouillera toujours pour faire un maximum d'impression avec un minimum de texte.

Sa seconde femme est Beryl Mercer, une autre actrice de seconds rôles célèbre des années 30 pour avoir entre autres incarné la mère de James Cagney dans Public Enemy (1931).
En 1930, lune de miel au Del Monte Lodge à Pebble Beach, California
avec Elinor Kershaw (Veuve de Thomas H. Ince décédé en 1924)

Marié 3 fois 
Elinor Ince (1930 ? - ?, divorcé)
Beryl Mercer (décédée en 1939, 1 enfant, Joan)
Joan Agnes Bartholomew (jusqu'à sa mort à elle, en 1955)

Décédé à l'âge de 74 ans à Hollywood, enterré au Forrest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery de Glendale en Californie.

Biographie sur Imdb
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0378555/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 

Moving Picture World 1919
Sources : divers sur le web. IMDB, Answer, Internet Archives, etc...



Peu d'informations sur Holmes Herbert, aucun article ne lui est consacré dans les différents livres que je possède. Son nom n'est même pas mentionné dans les index ...Si vous avez des informations à son sujet que vous désirez transmettre, n'hésitez pas !

Extreme fear experienced without the amygdala

There's a female patient, known in the research literature as S.M., who's been dubbed the "woman with no fear". She has severely damaged amygdala on either side of her brain and consequently is left unmoved by snakes, spiders, horror films, haunted houses and real-life knife attacks. She doesn't even have a sense of personal space. But when S.M. inhaled carbon dioxide for a new study, she was far from calm. Within seconds, she groped desperately for the air mask and cried for help. After researchers removed the mask, S.M.'s entire body went rigid, her toes and fingers flexed taut, toward the ceiling. Her skin was flushed, her eyes wide like a scared animal. Thirty-seconds after the ordeal, she began to calm, finally releasing the experimenter's hand. Later, she recalled the experience she'd had was of panic - "the number one, worst" feeling ever.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure found deep on either side of the brain. So many studies have shown it to be involved in learning and experiencing fear, it's become shorthand to refer to it as the brain's "fear centre", even though it's also involved in positive emotional processing. The apparent fearlessness of S.M., who lost her amygdala to Urbach-Wiethe disease (a rare genetic disorder), had previously supported this caricature. But now things have gotten a lot more complicated*. Carbon dioxide inhalation causes unpleasant suffocating feelings and it triggers panic in those susceptible to it. But if S.M. has no "fear centre", how and why did she get so scared and panicky after inhaling?

To check this was no anomaly, Justin Feinstein at the University of Iowa and his colleagues also tested two other patients with bilateral amygdala damage (a pair of identical twins, A.M. and B.G.). These patients also had panic attacks and experienced fear when they inhaled carbon dioxide. They and S.M. said these fearful feelings were entirely novel to them. It's notable too that this wasn't a one off. The patients' panic reaction occurred all over again during a repeat of the carbon dioxide procedure.

And yet, when the researchers performed the carbon dioxide inhalation with 12 healthy controls, 9 of them exhibited no panic and they reported far less fear than the patients. Three of the controls did panic. The amount of subjective fear and panic reported by these panicky controls and the patients was equivalent, and their physiological signs were similar, such as raised heart-rate. The only difference between the patients and the panicky controls was that the former didn't show any signs of anticipatory anxiety when they saw the apparatus being prepared.

So we have a situation where three out of three patients with bilateral amygdala damage (who are usually fearless) panicked and experienced more fear than nine of the twelve amygdala-intact controls. What's going on? Feinstein and his team think that CO2 inhalation acts on "interoceptive" receptors that project directly to the brainstem and other sites that "underlie fear and panic", whereas other fear-stimuli, like scary films or dangerous animals, are "exteroceptive in nature, mainly processed through visual and auditory pathways that project to the amygdala". The patients were completely unfazed when the procedure was repeated with normal air, supporting the idea that the carbon dioxide played a specific role in provoking fear.

This still leaves the mystery of why the amygdala-damaged patients were more disturbed by the carbon dioxide inhalation than most of the controls. Here the researchers' interpretation is bold. They suggest that an intact amygdala might normally serve to inhibit panic. This isn't as revolutionary as it seems. Feinstein's team point to a study from ten years ago that found patients with panic disorder had amygdala atrophy. So, if we consider this brain structure as the "centre" of anything, perhaps it should be as the centre of calm!

This new study also raises some deep, almost philosophical questions. If the amgydala-damaged patients usually live a life that's entirely fear-free, how did they know to describe their feelings during the inhalation as extreme fear or panic? Can we be sure they really felt fear the way that the rest of us do? The researchers have previously reported that S.M. references fear and anxiety appropriately in conversation, and she can recognise fear in others, so perhaps she does have a solid understanding of the concept. Finally, what do these findings say about the neural correlates of the subjective sense of fear and panic? At the very least it seems the amygdala is not necessary for the conscious experience of fear.
_________________________________

ResearchBlogging.org Justin S. Feinstein, Colin Buzza, Rene Hurlemann, Robin L. Follmer, Nader S. Dahdaleh, William H. Coryell, Michael J. Welsh, Daniel Tranel, and John A. Wemmie. (2013). Fear and panic in humans with bilateral amygdala damage. Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3323

*Please note, this isn't the first documented case of fear in a patient with bilateral amygdala damage. In a 2002 diary study (pdf), one such patient reported normal daily experience of anxiety and fear, but impaired recognition of other people's fearful expressions. S.M. (in the current study) is impaired at recognising fear in static images of faces but she can recognise fear in people's voices and from dynamic displays of fearful faces. One obvious question mark over the 2002 study is the reliance on self-report of fear. 


Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Charlatan - George Melford - 1929


Holmes Herbert ...
Count Merlin aka Peter Dwight
Margaret Livingston ...
Florence Talbot
Rockliffe Fellowes ...
Richard Talbot (as Rockcliffe Fellowes)
Philo McCullough ...
Dr. Walter Paynter
Anita Garvin ...
Mrs. Paynter
Crauford Kent ...
District Attorney Frank Deering (as Craufurd Kent)
Rose Tapley ...
Mrs. Deering
Fred MacKaye ...
Jerry Starke
Dorothy Gould ...
Ann Talbot

60 minutes
Titre Français : Le devin


Florence Talbot est poussée par l'une de ses amies, Madame Deering, à consulter un voyant très en vogue. Le Count Merlin, c'est son nom, la reçoit séance tenante dans son cabinet car il attend ce moment depuis fort longtemps. En effet il se trouve que Florence est son ex-femme enfuie une quinzaine d'années auparavant avec Richard Talbot.
Florence se montre d'abord très sceptique mais les "révélations" du comte font bien sûr mouche. Au travers de sa boule cristal, Merlin alias Peter Dwight revoit ce pan de sa vie où le couple heureux travaillait dans un cirque, Florence comme acrobate et lui comme clown. Un soir Florence disparait brutalement de sa vie en emmenant leur petite fille, le laissant effondré...
Invité spécialement chez les Talbots qui organisent une soirée pour les curieux, il revoit enfin sa fille à laquelle il prédit beaucoup d'amour. Le soir avant le repas il surprend le docteur Paynter dans la chambre de Florence qui prétend avoir la migraine. Il comprend que Florence projette de s'enfuir avec Paynter et de quitter son mari.
Après le repas Peter sort le grand jeu en faisant disparaitre la personne qui possède une certaine carte qui n'est autre que Florence. Or le tour de passe passe tourne mal car Florence ne reparait pas mais sera retrouvée morte dans l'arrière de l'armoire magique. Aussitôt les soupçons du procureur Deering se portent sur le charlatan qui n'est pas du tout prêt à se laisser arrêter et qui a plus d'un tour dans son sac ....


Un petit joyau d'équilibre et de suspens qui tient en haleine durant les 60 minutes que dure ce film.
Le décors où reçoit le voyant est particulièrement somptueux : des tentures immenses, des rideaux, une ambiance mystérieuse et orientale, des flammes, etc sans parler du personnel vêtu comme dans les mille et une nuits. Holmes Herbert est presque méconnaissable et semble avoir lu dans une boule de cristal toute sa vie. la moustache et la barbiche lui donnent un petit air exotique et ses beaux yeux paraissent plus perçants que jamais.
Margaret Livingston est une habituée de ce genre de rôles de garces qu'elle incarne toujours de belle manière. Ici son caractère est assez complexe, dans le fond elle vit quand même depuis plus de 15 ans avec Talbot et semble une mère aimante. On se doute par contre qu'elle ne va pas emmener sa fille cette fois-ci. Celle-ci maintenant adulte sous les traits de Dorothy Gould est éprise de Jerry/Fred MacKaye. Dans une scène on voit qu'elle se jette dans les bras de Richard Talbot/Rockliffe Fellowes son père depuis 15 ans et qu'elle semble l'aimer sincèrement.
Chacun des protagonistes apporte une touche personnelle humaine.
Le docteur est incarné par Philo McCullough, un acteur qui a une carrière cinématographique qui court sur plus de 50 ans. Crauford Kent a une jolie ressemblance avec Holmes Herbert ce qui sera exploité dans le film ...
Le scénario est tout à fait surprenant, on ne s'ennuie pas une seconde à suivre les revirements qui s'enchainent de belle manière. Rien n'est si évident et les apparences jouent contre Peter. De rebondissement en rebondissement on apprendra la vérité tout en passant un excellent moment !
Un film édité chez Grapevine Video que l'on trouve facilement.

On reconnait Bernard Siegel dans le rôle de Rasha, l'assistant du comte Merlin. 

Link feast

In case you missed them - 10 of the best psychology links from the past week:

1. Entire catalogue of psych journals from Taylor & Francis is free to access now through to end of Feb.

2. Wray Herbert reports on an intriguing and troubling new study on inattentional blindness - 83 per cent of radiologists failed to noticed a gorilla on the lung (yes, gorilla).

3. February's Psychologist magazine is out now and includes a fascinating free article on the benefits that can arise from brain injury (see also).

4. "Psychology may be simultaneously at the highest and lowest point in its history" The human story behind the serious doubts plaguing the field of social priming research in psychology (see also).

5. Fancy becoming one of the Replicators mentioned in that last article? Grants of up to $2000 are available for attempts to replicate "Important Results in Social Psychology”.

6. How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova - the Guardian had a review and podcast.

7. Video blog about the mind body problem. Joe LeDoux interviews Ned Block (and then sings)

8. "Dear Prof Smith" or "Hey Rebecca!" What's the correct email etiquette? Useful advice for students from Tom_hartley.

9. The latest Naked Neuroscience podcast is online and asks (among other things): "Why are researchers punching into people’s skin if they are on a quest for knowledge about the brain?"

10. A date for your diary: 50 years after Milgram's infamous experiments, the 2013 Obedience to Authority conference takes place in Canada in August.
_________________________________

 
Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Drunk eyewitnesses are more reliable than expected

Imagine you are on a jury: would you trust the testimony of a drunk eyewitness? In a surprising new study, Angelica Hagsand and her colleagues report that drunk witnesses performed just as reliably as sober witnesses at recognising a criminal in a line-up.

One hundred and twenty-three students (60 per cent were women; average age 25) were split into three groups - one third drank orange juice for 15 minutes; another group spent the same time drinking enough orange juice mixed with vodka to reach a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .04 per cent; the final group drank enough vodka and orange to reach a BAC level of .07 per cent. This last value is just below the legal drink driving limit in the UK and USA, and is approximately equivalent to an average-sized man drinking two or three shots of vodka in that time.

Five minutes after they'd finished drinking, the participants watched a five-minute video of a man kidnapping two women at a bus stop, shot from the perspective of a witness. Close views of the man's face were available for a total 31 seconds during the film.

A week later, the participants were invited back and completed a surprise identification task. In a sober state, they saw an 8-man line-up on a computer screen that either did, or did not, feature the kidnapper who they'd seen in the film. The test administrator didn't know which condition participants were in, nor whether the culprit was present. Each participant had to say whether the culprit was in the line-up, answering either "yes", "no the culprit is not present" or "do not remember".

Although better than chance, overall performance was poor, consistent with a great deal of past research showing the limited accuracy of eyewitness memory. Crucially, for both the culprit-present and culprit-absent conditions, there was no difference in accuracy across the different participant groups. This result held even after excluding participants who answered that they could not remember.

In fact, although not a statistically significant difference, the most intoxicated (.07 per cent BAC) participants actually achieved a higher accuracy percentage than the controls in both the culprit-present (47.1 per cent vs. 38.5 per cent) and culprit-absent (56.3 per cent vs. 41.7 per cent) line-up conditions. These results contradicted the researchers' expectations. Based on alcoholic myopia theory (a loss of memory for peripheral details), they predicted that the intoxicated participants would match the controls when the culprit was present, but would make more incorrect identifications when he was absent.

The results also clash with the common sense beliefs of the general public that drunk witnesses will be less reliable than sober witnesses. Given how common it is for witnesses to crimes to be intoxicated, there's been surprisingly little research on how alcohol affects eyewitness performance. Sure, this study has its limitations - the alcohol levels used were only moderate and the crime wasn't a real event - but it makes a welcome contribution to a neglected research area.

_________________________________ ResearchBlogging.org

Angelica Hagsand, Emma Roos-af-Hjelmsäter, Pär Anders Granhag, Claudia Fahlke, and Anna Söderpalm-Gordh (2013). DO SOBER EYEWITNESSES OUTPERFORM ALCOHOL INTOXICATED EYEWITNESSES IN A LINEUP? The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context: http://www.usc.es/sepjf/images/documentos/Volumen_5/hagsand%20et%20al.pdf

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.