Weekly INT Boost – The WEIRDos of Scientific Research


Say hello to Nalu, Take This co-executive director Shannon Gerritzen’s precious beastie.

Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health-related articles you may have missed this week. As for team Take This, we’re ramping up for our next conventions – it’s almost August, which means PAX West is practically around the corner. We have an AFK room to prepare!

Onto the news:

Spot the WEIRDo

“Heine and Norenzayan argued that what we think of as science is all too often ‘WEIRD’ science: Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic. Between 2003 and 2007, 96 per cent of experimental volunteers in the leading psychology journals were WEIRD; 68 per cent of papers relied exclusively on US subjects; and in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67 per cent of total subjects were US psychology students.”

Aeon asks how you get good results when your experimental population is practically uniform, and that’s an excellent question.

What Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud would (probably) say about Pokemon Go

“Everyone has their personal motivations, the collection mechanics they love and hate. But beyond those individual tastes, is there a reason that all humans seem inclined toward amassing items? Why do we like collecting things?”

Wishing you could have your Pokemon Go habits analysed? GamesRadar+ takes a stab how Freud and Jung’s theories might apply.

Treating PTSD With Virtual Reality Therapy: A Way to Heal Trauma

“‘My mission is to drag psychology kicking and screaming into the 21st century,” Rizzo said, noting that virtual reality offers a unique opportunity for clinicians and clients alike: to be immersed in the environment that evokes the original trauma, rather than relying on the patient’s imagination. Rizzo has created 14 virtual “worlds” for patients, and clinicians can add custom elements, including helicopters, clouds, small-arms fire and missiles.”

If you’ve ever wondered what VRT looks like today, ABC News has the answer.

Apple’s ResearchKit has turned the iPhone and Apple Watch into powerful tools for mental health testing

“For example, depressed patients stay in bed. Clever researchers can demonstrate changes in activity using these tools,” Johnson said in an email. “Anxious patients move more erratically and may have altered sleep patterns. Clever developers can notify the patient about the change, and present the user with a survey using ResearchKit that helps understand the why of what the data are showing.”

ResearchKit’s potential is only starting to be explored, and as The Daily Dot shares, it’s already making waves in the psychology community.

How Japan came to believe in depression

“Everything in his life seemed to be disintegrating – the world was becoming a strange place, and his relationships were failing him. Finally, another doctor gave Torisugari a diagnosis: depression. He had never heard of it. There was nothing unusual about this. Up until the late 1990s in Japan, “depression” was a word rarely heard outside psychiatric circles.”

BBC News tracks the recent history of the perception of depression in Japan.

The Immortal Myths About Online Abuse

1. False: You can’t fix abusive behavior online.
Yes, you can. Most small communities on the web don’t have major problems with abuse, because they are well managed and well moderated. But the majority of marginalized people endure abuse online because the bigger social networks and media platforms are so bad at preventing abuse that it’s become part of the everyday online experience for millions of people.”

Back in May, Anil Dash tore up the many arguments for ignoring online abuse for his Humane Tech blog. Given this week’s events, it’s a good time for a refresher.

And with that, we’re off. Remember to take good care of yourself this weekend. I’ll be sneaking in a bit of Chime Sharp and Final Fantasy XIV, but it’s finally summery here, so some beachside Pokemon Go might be in the cards, instead. What will you be playing this weekend?

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