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Posts archived in Miscellaneous

For those of you who missed Cara’s presentation on covering research methods content practically and effectively at the ATP conference a couple of weeks ago, or would simply like to see it again, please click on the link above.

If you are looking for an interesting introduction to research methods, here’s one from the Royal Society.

We’ve been celebrating the recent release of the 3rd edition of the AS AQA Complete Companions Student Book written by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan, and The Research Methods Companion written by Cara Flanagan.

Mike Cardwell


The 3rd edition of the A2 Exam Companion is out already and will be followed by the A2 Student Book mid July, and the AS Exam Companion and the AS and A2 Mini Companions in the Autumn.

Cara Flanagan


Watch our short film clip below to hear more about the new publishing.





Update Spring 2012

Click on the screen to watch clip

To find out more or to place an order for any of the Complete Companions resources, please email me at claire.beatt@oup.com.




The UK-based charity Science about Science aims to equip people to make sense about the scientific and medical claims in public discussions. Part of your study of psychology has similar aims – to teach you to make educated assessments of information presented to you.

Sense about Science gets particularly annoyed by the things said by celebrities. So every year they publish some of the claims made by people who know very little. For example the US reality TV personality Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi said: “I don’t really like the beach. I hate sharks, and the water’s all whale sperm. That’s why the ocean’s salty.” No Snooki, the ocean is not salty because of whale sperm. And Simon Cowell also made the bad science list in 2011. Read these and more here.

You might also be interested in some of their other publications, such as this one about peer review.

In the last month a report appeared in the Daily Mail entitled ‘Putting baby in nursery could raise its risk of heart disease because it sends levels of stress soaring‘. This conclusion is based on a report by Aric Sigman, a psychologist who has previously been attacked by Ben Goldacre for his bad science (see here). Sigman’s day care claims have come in for a blistering attack by Bishopblog ‘How to become a celebrity scientific expert’. It’s a great example of why we need to understand science – because it means we are less gullible.

In brief Sigman bases his conclusions on accepted research that has shown that children in day care have raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But he then assumes that such increased levels later have negative consequences. In fact some research suggests that increased cortisol levels may lead to reduced fearfulness, a positive consequence. And further, the link between cortisol and heart disease is based on studies of people over 65 so it is mistaken to assume that children with raised levels of cortisol are more at risk of heart disease. However, it’s a very appealing newspaper title and has led to lots of comments from parents on the ill effects of day care.

The moral of the story? Don’t believe all your read. Always ask questions.


Free posters

Free posters now available from OUP to brighten your classroom – you can start teaching from this straight away or use it as a revision tool with students.

The pictures are from the new AS Visual Companion.

The sales team who visit your school should have the posters.

Or you can write directly to Fiona.mccollum@oup.com and ask for one.

Interesting range of online experiments involving bio-motion here

Guess what! Antisocial men are less likely to get married when compared to less antisocial men. Why was this hypothesis so striking, had nobody asked women whether they would prefer a more or a less antisocial partner? Anyway, this was a nicely done twin study, and it showed that antisocial behaviours are also reduced by marriage – with a positive correlation between quality of marriage and size of antisocial behaviour reduction. Interesting? Rocket science? You decide.

An Examination of Selection vs Causation via a Longitudinal Twin Design S. Alexandra Burt, PhD; M. Brent Donnellan, PhD; Mikhila N. Humbad, MA; Brian M. Hicks, PhD; Matt McGue, PhD; William G. Iacono, PhD. Does Marriage Inhibit Antisocial Behavior? Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2010;67(12):1309-1315

There’s a useful presentation on experimental design to be found here

But equally interesting is the software that has been used to produce it – you can have a play here – it’s really easy to use, and you have to agree the presentations look pretty slick..

I was wondering – this could be used for a quick class experiment: Ask one group to present information using powerpoint (i.e. in a linear fashion), ask another to present the same info using the more hierarchical prezi software, to see if the way in which information is organised affects recall in independent groups of subjects?