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Psychology & Neuroscience Archives | OUPblog

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Wenk Blog

How does food affect your mood?

Considerable evidence has linked an unhealthy diet to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. We now understand how chronic obesity ages us and then underlies the foundation of our death. Furthermore, obesity leads to body-wide chronic inflammation that predisposes us to depression and dementia. However, these are all the long-term consequences of our diet upon our body and brain.

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Sex, cars, and the power of testosterone

A red open car blasts past you, exhaust and radio blaring, going at least 10 miles faster than the speed limit. Want to take a bet on the driver? Well, you won’t get odds. Everyone knows the answer. All that exhibitionism shouts out the commonplace, if not always welcome, features of young males. Just rampant testosterone, you might say. And that’s right. It is testosterone. The young man may be driving the car but testosterone is what’s driving him.

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Afterwar – Episode 22 – The Oxford Comment

As 2.6 million men and women return home from war, the prevalence of veteran suicide and post-traumatic stress is something that is frequently discussed by civilians, politicians, and the media, but seldom understood. These changes extend beyond psychological readjustment, physical handicap, and even loss of life. The greatest wounds, in fact, may not even be visible to the naked eye. While the traditional dialogue concerning veteran assistance typically involves the availability of institutional services, military hospitals, and other resources, there is an increasing need to address what many call the “moral injuries” sustained by soldiers during combat.

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Wenk Blog

The role of marijuana in your coffee addiction

Does coffee enhance marijuana? A study published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience by neuroscientists from the Integrative Neurobiology Section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, has finally provided a definitive answer: Yes, No, and it depends.

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Does a person’s personality change when they speak another language?

During the first run of my Coursera course on the bilingual brain, a student asked whether changing languages leads to people changing personalities. Considerable discussion ensued about this on the forums. My initial answer was that language was a marker of a set of circumstances and as such was likely to be accompanied by a shift in context.

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Living with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is widely thought to be a disease of immune dysfunction, whereby the immune system becomes activated to attack components of the nerves in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. New information about environmental factors and lifestyle are giving persons with MS and their health care providers new tools…

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Can marijuana prevent memory decline?

Can smoking marijuana prevent the memory loss associated with normal aging or Alzheimer’s disease? This is a question that I have been investigating for the past ten years. The concept of medical marijuana is not a new one. A Chinese pharmacy book, written about 2737 BCE, was probably the first to mention its use as a medicine for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria, constipation, and (ironically) absent-mindedness.

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The Journals of Gerontology

Older adult’s social networks and volunteering

We know that volunteering is important for health and well-being among older people. While higher education is known to facilitate volunteerism, much less is known about the role of social networks.

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Employment and education for emerging adults

Complaints about “boomerang kids” or the lack of work ethic for younger generations isn’t uncommon. Yet over 80% of high school seniors have held at least one part-time job. And balancing schoolwork with a dead-end job is essential, as career prospects dissolve for young adults without an education.

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Is caffeine a gateway drug to cocaine?

Caffeine is the world’s most commonly abused brain stimulant. Daily caffeine consumption by adolescents (ages 9-17 years) has been rapidly increasing most often in the form of soda, energy drinks, and coffee. A few years ago, a pair of studies documented that caffeine consumption in young adults directly correlated with increased illicit drug use and generally […]

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Is chocolate better than exercise for the brain?

Everyone knows that aerobic exercise is good for the body, but is it always as good for brain? Furthermore, is exercise better than eating lots of chocolate for the aging brain? A recent study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience by a group of scientists from Columbia University and NYU gave a large daily dose […]

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Lament of an educator/parent

My seventeen-year-old son has just completed fifteen examinations in the course of two weeks. They varied in length – some in excess of three hours, with a half hour break before the next exam – and we are still feeling the fallout from this veritable onslaught.

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How digital natives spend their time

Who is an emerging adult? How often do young adults text? How long do they spend on the Internet everyday? Where do they watch television? Which social networks do they use? Ten years ago, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett published a groundbreaking examination of a new life stage: emerging adulthood, a distinct culture for people in their late teens and early twenties.

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Morten Overgaard on consciousness

Why are we conscious? How can it be that physical processes in the brain seem to be accompanied with subjective experience? As technology has advanced, psychologists and neuroscientists have been able to observe brain activity. But with an explosion in experiments, methods, and measurements, there has also been great confusion.

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