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Rebecca Spizzirri
Attends The Graduate Center and John Jay College, City University of New York
Lives in New York, New York
2,652 followers|152,329 views
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Law designed to protect victims may be backfiring, according to recent research by two sociologists.
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Shameless plug for my advisor's recent publication in Science!  She was also featured on a podcast regarding the findings: http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/03/podcast-falling-through-earth-ancient-bacteria-human-guts-and-1000

#childabuse   #childneglect   #childmaltreatment   #detectionbias   #cps    #trauma   #science  
Abuse from generation to generation? Parents who were abused as children are thought more likely to abuse their own children. Widom et al. compared reports from parents, from children, and from child protective service agency records gathered on the same families and on matched controls. They observed different findings depending on which information they used. Increases in sexual abuse and neglect relative to controls were reported by children o...
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Re: moderation and mediation.  That's one of our team's next steps, and it just so happens to be the one I'll be focusing on in my dissertation. :)
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On March 11, 2005, Kevin Berthia wanted to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Briggs talked him out of it. The two met recently to discuss what happened that day.
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Gender differences seen in trainees' confidence, knowledge.
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A reminder for both patients and providers: exercise reduces anxiety. 

#anxiety   #mentalhealth   #psychology   #selfcare  
  Stressed out? You're in luck. Exercise has been associated with a decline in anxiety and a boost in happiness. Specifically, regular exercise has been shown to decrease the likelihood of dev...
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"Genetic influences on autism are estimated to be between 74-98%, a Medical Research Council study of 258 twins suggests."
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Twin studies are very helpful.
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Have her in circles
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Consciousness is a whole-brain pattern

> As a whole, the present findings provide strong evidence in support of global theories of awareness, in which the conscious perception of a stimulus is associated with whole-brain dynamic alterations in functional connectivity. Such results may explain why awareness is a unitary phenomenal experience, and suggest the means by which information at the focus of attention is broadcasted across the cerebral cortex.

More: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/213466/
Full article: http://goo.gl/fuTznH h/t +David Arnold 

// When philosophers talk about consciousness, they're talking about the uniquely qualitative character of one's inner mental life. Philosophers call it "the hard problem", and seriously worry (in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals!) that science is fundamentally under-equipped to explain this ineffably special process. They dream up all sorts of fancy examples involving swampmen and zombies and colorblind neuroscientists to try to defend this worry. I've argued many times that philosopher's discussion of consciousness is nonsense. http://goo.gl/D2c4sY

Thankfully, scientists don't pay attention to philosophers and aren't seduced by their clever arguments. Scientists know that whatever consciousness is, we're going to learn about it by studying the brain. The last few decades have seen radical advances not just in brain imaging, but also in our understanding of how complex networks behave over time. 

For scientists, consciousness is awareness (what philosophers dismissively call "the easy problem"). When scientists talk about consciousness, they're thinking about the coherent experience one has of the world. I see a person drumming, and I hear the sound of their drums, and I feel the beat pounding in my chest. These are distinct streams of input, but I experiences them as of a coherent and integrated world. 

So this raises a question: is there a special part of the brain that performs this integration, the way some parts of your brain are dedicated to language or vision? Is consciousness a localized module in the brain, or is it a whole-brain process? The scientists in this study think they've answered the question, and the answer is holistic: consciousness is a whole-brain process. 

Scientists have identified lots of regions in the brain associated with various cognitive functions. In this study, the researchers monitored hundreds of key regions while subjects performed a simple perceptual task: to determine whether a small disk flashed for just a few hundred miliseconds on a screen and, if so, how confident they were that it had. With this data they were able to analyze the connectivity of the brain during conscious awareness. 

For instance, they were able to compare cases where subjects correctly responded to a no-target scenario, with ones where subjects strongly believed a disk had flashed when it hadn't. In these cases, subjects were presented with the same stimulus (no disk) but had different conscious experiences. Cases where subjects reported seeing the disk corresponded to a breakdown in the modularity of the brain. In other words, during instances of conscious awareness, the brain is overall more integrated and its components are less isolated and segregated. 

Consciousness is not simply another function of the brain; consciousness is the coordinated integration of the brain. Awareness happens not because of local changes in neural connectivity, but because of global changes in the overall connectivity of important areas of the brain. We haven't solved all the mysteries of consciousness, but in a very general sense we have a pretty good idea of how it works. 

Consciousness is a special function, but not a function beyond the reaches of science to study and explain. Notice that these studies don't address the qualitative subjective experience of consciousness; a pedantic philosopher would object that the scientists don't technically know what the experience "was like" from the perspective of the subject. But the pattern of neural activation in cases of false reports leave little doubt that the experience is structurally analogous to actual cases of detection, and little room to continue worrying that there's some critical dimension (or substance) that scientists have mistakenly left out. 

For the sake of completeness, notice also that these high-level changes in network integration can be observed by monitoring only a few hundred major clusters of activity in the brain. There's nothing here that comes close to the scale of quantum integration people like Tegmark have suggested are employed in conscious integration. Tegmark's view is a generalization of Tononi's integration theory for quantum systems. The authors of this brain study claim its results support Tononi, but itmakes Tegmark's more radical views seem unlikely. 

You might say that the science of networks is proving things that we didn't even think were possible for science to study. It's a great time for people interested in understanding how the mind really works. 
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Young people in the countryside have more guns, fewer doctors, and are more isolated than their urban counterparts—and a new study says they're killing themselves in greater numbers.
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The social isolation of rural life is likely a factor...
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People with anorexia nervosa and with body dysmorphic disorder have similar abnormalities in their brains that affect their ability to process visual information, a new UCLA study reveals.
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"The 150 NHS patients in the trial had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or a related mental health problem. They all had severe paranoia, which had persisted despite medication.

Six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) focused upon reducing worry reduced the severity of persecutory delusions, the researchers found.

The patients were much happier and less fearful of other people after therapy. These effects lasted at least six months.

A study participant commented, 'The breakthrough was that I was able to, with the help of my psychologist, come up with a strategy – that is, when worry is gripping me I would say 'Excuse me worry, I need to interrupt you because…'. I sometime worry about people trying to harm me but now I can interrupt my worry and do something else'.

Professor Daniel Freeman at the University of Oxford, the study leader, said 'We know that worry brings implausible ideas to mind, keeps them there, and stirs up fears. It is one factor that causes paranoia. We’ve translated this knowledge into a new treatment. The clinical trial convincingly shows that teaching people how to limit worry has a major impact on long-standing fears about other people. Brief, targeted, and active psychological help makes a real difference for patients with paranoia.'"

#mentalhealth   #psychosis   #psychology   #CBT   #recovery  
Just six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can substantially reduce psychiatric patients' levels of worrying, reducing the severity of delusions of persecution.
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It seems to me that, if convicted, this would be quite a precedent to set.  I'll be following this sad story through to the verdict.

#mentalhealth   #psychology   #forensicpsychology   #suicide   
A Massachusetts teenager was facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter after allegedly encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself. Conrad Roy, 18, died of carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting i...
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People who provide gay-to-straight conversion therapy are committing fraud if they describe homosexuality as a mental disorder that can be cured, a state judge said Tuesday in a ruling a civil rights group predicted would deal a serious blow to the treatment's future across the nation
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Have her in circles
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Currently
New York, New York
Previously
Urbana, Illinois - Gurnee, Illinois
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Work
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I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Education
  • The Graduate Center and John Jay College, City University of New York
    Clinical Psychology, 2012 - present
    M.A. in Psychology, 2014; Ph.D. in progress
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Psychology & Philosophy, 2008 - 2012
    B.S., 2012
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Female