Prescribing of hyperactivity drugs is out of control

A New Scientist review raises the same hue and cry I have been voicing in posts here and in my worklife:

“Now, amid reports of rare but serious side effects, leading researchers and doctors are calling for a review of the way ADHD is dealt with. Many prescriptions are being written by family doctors with little expertise in diagnosing ADHD, raising doubts about how many people on these stimulants really need them. Just as worrying, large numbers of children who do have ADHD are going undiagnosed.

Both trends could lead to problems with drug dependency, argue specialists in addiction.”

Device warns you if you’re boring or irritating

“A device that can pick up on people’s emotions is being developed to help people with autism relate to those around them. It will alert its autistic user if the person they are talking to starts showing signs of getting bored or annoyed.

One of the problems facing people with autism is an inability to pick up on social cues. Failure to notice that they are boring or confusing their listeners can be particularly damaging, says Rana El Kaliouby of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ‘It’s sad because people then avoid having conversations with them.'” (New Scientist)

British ‘replication’ of the Stanford Prison Experiment

“Back in December 2001 British social psychologists Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher conducted a replication of Philip Zimbardo’s classic Stanford Prison Experiment. Fifteen male participants were divided into ‘prisoners’ and ‘guards’ and kept in a specially constructed ‘prison’ for eight days, in order to explore “theoretical ideas about the psychology of power and resistance, tyranny and order”. The whole experiment was filmed by the BBC and broadcast in the BBC2 programme “The Experiment”. The study was controversial, not only from an ethical standpoint, but also because it challenged many of the original Stanford findings, and Reicher and Haslam had to devote a fair amount of energy to defending themselves.” (Psychology and Crime News)

Is language changing your personality?

Do bilinguals have two personalities? A special case of cultural frame switching: “Four studies examined and empirically documented Cultural Frame Switching (CFS; Hong, Chiu, & Kung, 1997) in the domain of personality. Specifically, we asked whether Spanish–English bilinguals show different personalities when using different languages?”

The answer appears to be yes, at least with respect to dimensions of extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. (Science and Consciousness Review)