SciAmMind on team success and kids on drugs

The latest edition of Scientific American Mind has just been published, and as is customary, two of the feature articles are freely available online.

The first is on the psychology of teams and how science is attempting to understand what makes a successful and productive working party.

The article describes effective team learning strategies and how emotions help groups bond during work.

These researchers trained college students to assemble transistor radios either alone or in groups of three. A week later the subjects were tested with their original group or, for people who received solo training, in newly formed groups. Members of groups that had trained together remembered more details, built better-quality radios and showed greater trust in fellow members’ expertise. People in newly formed groups were less likely to have the right mix of skills to complete the task efficiently and knew less about one another’s strengths.

The second article looks at the controversial topic of prescribing psychiatric drugs to children and evidence that the use of psychiatric drugs alters the growing brain.

This is weighed up against the evidence that in children with serious mental illness, an untreated disorder may alter the growing brain.

It’s a difficult topic because it often boils down to picking the lesser of two evils, although, because of lack of research, it’s often not easy to tell which will have the least negative effect for any given child.

It’s a fascinating article on one of the major issues facing psychiatry today.

There are also articles on expertise and the role of mirror neurons in stroke recovery in the full edition, as well as all the regular features.

Link to article ‘The Science of Team Success’.
Link to article ‘Kids on Meds — Trouble Ahead’.

One Comment

  1. Malgwyn
    Posted June 4, 2007 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Going back and looking at my 20 year reunion in Colorado greatly enlightened me about the effects on my peers of the Ritalin type of drugs. They are all dead. I knew them because the school herded everyone that didn’t quite fit in into bogus psychological testing that inevitably classified us as depressed, depersonalized or whatever was in vogue. Of the 20 kids, 19 are dead. My parents stood up for me and refused to allow or pay for any medication.
    There are pockets of the country where the Psychological community has far too much control, and are rewarded financially for heavily perscribing the latest medications.
    I don’t think the drugs are good long term solutions for any mental state. Even the newer SRRS’s seem to flatten the personality and reactions to stimuli that makes the consumer seem odd to others. You’ve got problems, everyone thinks you’re weird, and there are these side-effects; you don’t feel like having sex, food is bland, this doesn’t make long term living seem that desirable.
    The Psychological models that dominated the 20th century are not looking so good.
    The pharmaceutical companies are out of control, and motivated by the most base predatory capitalism, and corrupt. Doctors are more than happy to have professional football cheerleaders sashay into their offices pushing the latest tweak to Viagra. I have to ask my doctor to tell me if he is being rewarded for proscribing a drug. Imagine my confidence when he says they pay him for a trip to Hawaii every year to explain it’s effects.


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