The Neuroskeptic reviews an interesting paper on how people can often rate their own mood according to how they perceive mood in other people.
Researchers have found a new Narcolepsy gene association – DNTM1 (paper freely available here).
The Pulvinar Nucleus, Gray’s Anatomy, 20th Edition, 1918, Public Domain
The authors of a meta-analysis of fMRI studies in depression in the American Journal of Psychiatry have developed an elegant hypothesis. On the basis of their analysis they suggest that people with Depression have higher baseline activity in the Pulvinar nuclei in the Thalamus. These nuclei are thought to be involved in attention. Thus the authors argue that people with Depression will be more likely to attend to negative stimuli. They then argue that a depletion in Dopamine levels interferes with the Cortical-Striatal-Pallidal-Thalamic circuit to the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. In the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex, negative stimuli could be reevaluated. Thus in this model people with Depression would be more likely to attend to negative stimuli and less able to reappraise and contextualise the negative stimuli. This clear hypothesis easily allows for further testing.
There’s an interesting write-up by Ed Yong in Discover Magazine about a gene SRGAP2 which has been duplicated during human evolution. As SRGAP2 is involved in brain development, this duplication may be a critical event in human evolution and possibly took place during the transition from Austrolopithecus to later species. What is also interesting is that this duplication was missing from the Human Reference Genome possibly due to difficulties in the assembly of genomes (see here also).
Dr Barbara Oakley has an interesting piece on the Occupy movement at Psychology Today and discusses whether well-intentioned movements can have unexpected effects.
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