“Neuroscientists from Norway set out to answer this question in their recent PLOS ONE study, examining how a night forgoing sleep affects brain microstructure. Among their findings, sleep deprivation induced widespread structural alterations throughout the brain.”
“My hypothesis,” says first author Dr. Torbjørn Elvsåshagen, “would be that the putative effects of one night of sleep deprivation on white matter microstructure are short term and reverse after one to a few nights of normal sleep. However, it could be hypothesized that chronic sleep insufficiency might lead to longer-lasting alterations in brain structure. Consistent with this idea, evidence for an association between impaired sleep and localized cortical thinning was found in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, mild cognitive impairment and community-dwelling adults. Whether chronic sleep insufficiency can lead to longer-lasting alterations in white matter structure remains to be clarified.”
Facilitated communication, a technique that is supposed to allow communication with nonverbal people with autism, is in the news again. The best overview of this topic remains the PBS documentary Prisoners of Silence. The empirical case against facilitated communication is overwhelming, yet belief persists.
“New research finds happier people live longer, on average, while angry ones are more likely to die early.”
Given all the attention the Association for Psychological Science has given the issue of replication, it was surprising to see their flagship journal Psychological Science received a grade of D.
Originally posted on Replication-Index:
The replicability rankings below are based on post-hoc power analysis of published results. The method is explained in more detail elsewhere. More detailed results and time trends can be found by clicking on the hyperlink of a journal. The ranking for the average replicability score in 2010-2014 and 2015 is r = .66, indicating that there are reliable differences in replicability between journals. Movements by more than 10 percentage points are marked with an arrow.
|3||JEP: Human Percpetion and Performance||COG||0.72||0.71||B|
|4||Judgment and Decision Making||COG||0.66||0.70||B|
|5||J. Experimental Psych: Learning, Memory, Cognition||COG||0.69||0.70||B-|
|6||JPSP: Personality Process & Individual Differences||PER||0.56||0.70||B↑|
|7||Journal of Memory & Language||COG||0.67||0.69||C|
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I am convinced that meditation has benefits, but could meditation also have negative consequences? A study just published in Psychological Science suggests that mindfulness meditation might increase susceptibility to false memories. Here is the abstract:
“The effect of mindfulness meditation on false-memory susceptibility was examined in three experiments. Because mindfulness meditation encourages judgment-free thoughts and feelings, we predicted that participants in the mindfulness condition would be especially likely to form false memories. In two experiments, participants were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness induction, in which they were instructed to focus attention on their breathing, or a mind-wandering induction, in which they were instructed to think about whatever came to mind. The overall number of words from the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm that were correctly recalled did not differ between conditions. However, participants in the mindfulness condition were significantly more likely to report critical nonstudied items than participants in the control condition. In a third experiment, which tested recognition and used a reality-monitoring paradigm, participants had reduced reality-monitoring accuracy after completing the mindfulness induction. These results demonstrate a potential unintended consequence of mindfulness meditation in which memories become less reliable.”
Given that meditation does resemble suggestive states, such as hypnosis, I am not completely surprised by this finding. Perhaps, meditation should be supplemented with exercises in critical thinking.