September 18, 2006

"Physical Activity Moderates Time-of-Day Differences in Older Adults' Working Memory Performance"

"Experimental Aging Research
Issue: Volume 32, Number 4 / October-December 2006
Pages: 431 - 446
URL: Linking Options

Physical Activity Moderates Time-of-Day Differences in Older Adults' Working Memory Performance

Julie M. Bugg A1, Edward L. DeLosh A1, Benjamin A. Clegg A1

A1 Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA


Based on a synthesis of the literature on time of day and physical fitness effects on cognition, the current study examined whether physical activity moderated time-of-day differences in older adults' performance on a working memory task. Sedentary older adults' working memory performance declined significantly from morning to evening, whereas more active older adults performed similarly across the day. This interaction did not extend to performance on a simple reaction time task. A novel explanation based on the selective effect of mental fatigue on executive control processes is proposed."

September 14, 2006

"Balance and dyslexia: An investigation of adults’ abilities"

European Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue: Volume 18, Number 6 / November 2006
Pages: 909 - 936

Balance and dyslexia: An investigation of adults’ abilities

Jamie L. Needle A1, Angela J. Fawcett A1, Roderick I. Nicolson A1

A1 Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK


Balance ability in dyslexia is an issue of considerable theoretical and applied significance, but the literature currently lacks consensus. This study applied objective measures to established balance tasks. 17 dyslexic adults and 20 controls matched for age and IQ undertook the heel-to-toe balance test for 1 minute. Further “dual task? tests were also undertaken in which the subject had to balance while undertaking secondary cognitive tasks (counting, slow choice reaction, fast choice reaction). Two factor analyses of variance revealed significant between-group balance differences in the dual task conditions. 24–82% of the dyslexic group showed balance impairment, depending on the criterion chosen. At the group level, the results are directly consistent with the Nicolson and Fawcett (1990) automatisation deficit hypothesis, but the considerable within-group heterogeneity deserves further investigation.

March 30, 2006

"Study Casts Doubt on Claims That Conservative Students Face Discrimination in Classes "

Thursday, March 30, 2006
From The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Study Casts Doubt on Claims That Conservative Students Face Discrimination in Classes


A study showing that conservative and liberal students do equally well in courses with politically charged content casts doubt on conservative activists' claims that liberal faculty members routinely discriminate against their conservative students.

The study found no difference in the grades conservative and liberal students receive in sociology, cultural anthropology, and women's-studies courses. It also found that conservative students tend to earn higher grades than their liberal classmates in business and economics courses.

Titled "What's in a Grade? Academic Success and Political Orientation," the study was conducted by Markus Kemmelmeier, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada at Reno, who was the lead author; Cherry Danielson, a research fellow at Wabash College; and Jay Basten, a lecturer in kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

The researchers published their paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin last October, but it has attracted little attention, even as activists like David Horowitz continue to press state legislatures to adopt a so-called academic bill of rights to make college campuses more "intellectually diverse" and more tolerant of conservatives.

Mr. Kemmelmeier's study follows two others, published within the past seven years, that found that conservative students tended to earn slightly lower grades in majors such as sociology and anthropology. The professor, who describes his politics as slightly left of center, says he did not undertake the study to contribute to the ongoing discussion of political bias on college campuses, but to address ongoing questions in social psychology about the choices people make regarding their interaction with organizations and what personal characteristics contribute to their success within those organizations.

The earlier studies are "consistent with what Horowitz might suggest -- that conservative students are actually not doing all that well in fields that are thought more left-leaning," says Mr. Kemmelmeier. But there's a problem with that argument, he says: The students' performance "has nothing to do with bias" on the part of their professors.

In a four-year longitudinal study that began in the late 1990s, he surveyed 3,890 students at a major public university in the Midwest. Asked to describe their political orientation, 2.7 percent identified themselves as far left, 34.6 percent as liberal, 42 percent as middle of the road, 20 percent as conservative, and 1.2 percent as far right.

Mr. Kemmelmeier then compared the transcripts of a variety of students taking the same courses, specifically courses taught in the economics department and the business school (which Mr. Kemmelmeier considered "hierarchy-enhancing," or conservative) and those taught in American culture, African-American studies, cultural anthropology, education, nursing, sociology, and women's studies (which he considered "hierarchy-attenuating," or liberal).

He found that in the latter courses, students' political orientations had no effect on their grades -- which, the study says, suggests that disciplines such as sociology and anthropology "might be more accepting of a broad range of student perspectives," while economics and business classes "appear to be more sensitive to whether student perspectives are compatible with those of the academic discipline."

In economics and business classes, the study found, conservative students earned better grades. It also found that conservative students were likely to graduate with higher GPA's in those courses than liberal students who entered college with similar SAT scores.

According to the study, conservative students might have an advantage over their peers in such courses because the conservative students might view the courses as more relevant to their future careers and therefore might be motivated to work harder.

Also, the study notes, conservative students might be "more comfortable" with such subjects "because making money is more likely to be a personal goal for them than for liberal students." Moreover, in economics and business courses, "teaching methods and classroom structure might be more amenable to conservative than liberal students, for example, by emphasizing competition over cooperation."

But the study's authors say that liberal students are unlikely to face discrimination from conservative faculty members in such courses. To discriminate against liberal students, professors would need to know the political views of individual students in what are typically large classes; it's unlikely that professors would know their students that well, Mr. Kemmelmeier says. He adds that many professors who teach big courses don't grade their students' papers themselves -- teaching assistants do.

Mr. Kemmelmeier and his colleagues acknowledge that instructors sometimes do grade students to reward or punish them for behavior not at all related to their academic performance.

Still, he does not deny that conservative students -- and sometimes liberal students -- feel sidelined by their professors' views, if those views are openly expressed. "I'm not yet clear that this means the professor will really grade them down," Mr. Kemmelmeier says. "I find it plausible, but I’ve seen no evidence of it." "

March 22, 2006

"Attachment and adolescent depression: The impact of early attachment experiences"

"Attachment & Human Development

Volume 7, Number 4 / December 2005

409 - 424

Linking Options

Attachment and adolescent depression: The impact of early attachment experiences

Samantha K. Shaw A1 and Rudi Dallos A2

A1 University of Bristol, UK
A2 University of Plymouth, UK


Bowlby's (1969/1982) ideas of attachment as an interactional system provide the basis for an understanding of the development of adaptive and maladaptive working models of the self and other. More specifically, attachment theory can offer an in-depth understanding into the development of a depressotypic self-schema. Attachment theory is set alongside research into adolescent depression in order to illustrate the importance of the primary attachment relationship in protecting adolescents in our society from developing depressive symptomatology. Therefore, current research in adolescent depression is viewed through the lens of attachment theory. This view is complemented by an exploration of the role of culture in the production of gender differences in depression. Thus, a tripartite model of adolescent depression, including the individual, family relationships, and socio-cultural factors is offered as being of potential value for clinicians and researchers in this area.


Adolescents, depression, attachment, culture, gender "

"Clinical implications of the development of the person"

"Attachment & Human Development

Volume 7, Number 4 / December 2005

381 - 392

Linking Options

Clinical implications of the development of the person

Gerhard J. Suess A1 and June Sroufe A2

A1 Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
A2 Private Practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


The Minnesota longitudinal study of parents and children from birth to adulthood provides both a theoretical framework and a host of empirical findings that can serve to bridge the gap between research and clinical application. Key among these findings are: (a) the ongoing impact of early relationship experiences throughout the years, even with later experience and circumstances controlled; (b) the cumulative nature of experience and its continual impact with current context; (c) the important role of adult partner relationships; (d) the increasingly active role of the persons themselves in their own development; and (e) the interplay between experience, representation, and ongoing adaptation. These findings, and the theoretical structure underlying them, suggest the need for complex, comprehensive intervention that begins early, with a focus on altering the quality of parent – child relationships. At the same time, additional components, including couples therapy and efforts to alter the child's inner constructions of experience, are clearly suggested. One must attend to forces maintaining children on maladaptive developmental pathways once established, as well as understanding the factors that initiated such pathways.


Transactional intervention, attachment based intervention, Minnesota Longitudinal Study, research-based practice"

"Discovering pattern in developing lives: Reflections on the Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood"

"Attachment & Human Development

Volume 7, Number 4 / December 2005

369 - 380

Linking Options

Discovering pattern in developing lives: Reflections on the Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood

Brian E. Vaughn A1

A1 Auburn University, Alabama, USA


The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation was initiated in the mid-1970s as a short-term longitudinal study of infants at elevated risk for abuse and neglect. At the outset, the project leaders intended to characterize the infant, the caregiving environment, and the larger social milieu of the family in as comprehensive a manner as possible so as to test explicitly posed hypotheses about pathways leading from the child, the caregiving environment, and the social milieu to abuse or neglect. Paradoxically, only a minority of infants recruited to the study were ultimately abused or neglected over the 36-month period for which funding had been provided, but it proved possible to identify several antecedent indicators that predicted their outcome. It was also evident from the data that developmental casualty was elevated in this sample and the frequencies of suboptimal outcomes in social, emotional, and behavioral domains were greater than expected for less stressed samples. The study had yielded a wealth of information about infants and families from this at-risk sample and it was clear that the sample must be followed into childhood so as to describe the trajectories of developmental successes and casualties that were already apparent in the first 24 months of data. Alan Sroufe joined the project leaders in this endeavor and the childhood data supported the study of the sample into adolescence and now into adulthood. At this point, children of the original sample of infants are now being assessed using many of the protocols and procedures used with their parents. The study has produced hundreds of published reports about risk and its consequences, as well as about positive adjustment to life in a socio-cultural milieu that frequently can be non-supportive or even dangerous. This essay is a reflection on some accomplishments of the Minnesota study as these have helped shape how developmental scientists think about social and emotional development and more generally about how theory has guided the conceptual, empirical, and measurement plans for the study from its beginning.


Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation, attachment behavior, attachment security, organizational perspective, secure base"

February 2, 2006

Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood

L. Alan Sroufe

Attachment & Human Development
Issue: Volume 7, Number 4 / December 2005
Pages: 349 - 367

Attachment, continuity, developmental process, early experience and development, developmental organization

Continue reading "Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood" »