Cognitive therapy has dynamically improved the most neurologically impaired, poorly functioning schizophrenic patients. For the first time, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that a psychosocial treatment can significantly improve daily functioning and quality of life in the lowest-functioning cases of schizophrenia. The study appears in the October 3 edition of Archives of General Psychiatry.
Tag Archives | Cognitive Psychology
Susan, even at age 33, cannot sit still. She never could. Pegged by her teachers as the resident “problem child,” she spent most of her afternoons in detention for disrupting class and forgetting her homework assignments. As an adult, she still struggles to meet her work deadlines, and she has to fight the insatiable urge to dart out of meetings.
“Working memory” is what we have to keep track of things moment to moment: driving on a highway and focusing on the vehicles around us, then forgetting them as we move on; remembering all the names at the dinner party while conversing with one person about her job. Most psychologists explain working memory with a “controlled attention” model: one flexible system that directs the brain’s focus to stimuli and tasks that are important and suppressing the rest. The capacity of working memory, they say, is limited by our ability to attend to only one thing at a time.
Researchers have identified when an important milestone in infants’ development occurs: the ability to transfer knowledge to new situations. In a series of studies, the researchers found that 8-month-olds had trouble using newly acquired knowledge in a different circumstance, but 16-month-olds could do so.
Picture a menacing drill sergeant, a gory slaughterhouse, a devastating scene of a natural disaster. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that viewing such emotion-laden images immediately after taking a test actually enhances people’s retention of the tested material. The data the researchers gathered in recent studies are the first to show that negative arousal following successful retrieval of information enhances later recall of that information.
A person scanning baggage or X-rays stands a better chance of seeing everything they are searching for if they are not feeling anxious, according to a new laboratory experiment. Duke psychologists put a dozen students through a test in which they searched for particular shapes on a computer display, simulating the sort of visual searching performed by airport security teams and radiologists.
New scientific evidence challenges a popular conception that behaviors such as repetitive hand-washing, characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are carried out in response to disturbing obsessive fears. The study found that in the case of OCD the behaviors themselves (the compulsions) might be the precursors to the disorder, and that obsessions may simply be the brain’s way of justifying these behaviors. The original study is available for free for an unknown length of time; check the end of this report for a download link.
What does consciousness do? Theories vary, but most neurologists and cognitive psychologists agree that we need awareness for integration. That is, unconscious processing can take in one object or word at a time. But when it comes to pulling together disparate stimuli into a coherent, complex scene, consciousness gets to work.