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.