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I’m a lecturer in psychology specialised in cognitive neuroscience. My research investigated brain development in young people who struggle in school.

Neurodiversity refers to variation in our mental functions. Here is why you should care about it.

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What is neurodiversity?

Traditionally, psychology and psychiatry have employed a medical model that characterises deviations from the norm as “disorders”. According to this model, there is some deficit that makes people who meet the diagnostic criteria for mental disorders different. A lot of the research has focused on identifying these deficits, e.g. finding a core deficit in autism related to social processing. Further, most traditional treatments were aimed at curing the deficit to make people “normal”. There has been backlash against this characterisation from advocacy groups of…


Do you always have 20 browser tabs open? Do engage in several Slack conversations while writing a report and listening to the radio? Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day and feel like you got nothing done? Perhaps, this book on focussing more deeply will help.

The Book

Bailey, C. (2018). Hyperfocus: How to work less and achieve more. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan Ltd.

Review

The constant pinging of notifications and the zombie-eyed look that we see in other people as they are staring at their screen has many people longing for a solution. This is also reflected on the shelves of the popular science and self-help sections that are filling with ever more guides to tame distraction, increase mindfulness, and rebuild our relationship with technology. In my view, these books either provide a manifesto against attention-hogging technology (Cal Newport’s Deep Work), explain the science of attention (Gazzaley & Rosen’s…


I’m doing the one-paper-per-day challenge. Some papers will be hot off the press, others will be classics. Some will be relevant to what I’m working on at the moment, others will be from other areas. Each month I discuss my favourite paper here.

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Vos, M., Rommelse, N. N. J., Franke, B., Oosterlaan, J., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hoekstra, P. J., … Hartman, C. A. (2021). Characterizing the heterogeneous course of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity from childhood to young adulthood. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-021-01764-z

Background

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects around 5% of children. It…


Conducting research with children and young people warrants some special consideration, especially when drafting information sheets. Here are some practical tips for writing clear and comprehensive information sheets to allow young participants to make informed decisions.

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Guidelines

The British Psychological Society published some guidance for ethical research with human volunteers (BPS link). The guidelines contain a whole section on conducting research with children and young people. It’s well worth reading the whole section if you are conducting research with young people, but here are the most important points from a practical perspective:

  • children and young people should receive full information
  • the…


Do you stand in the way of your success? Your views about your abilities may influence how you learn, work, and treat other people. The groundbreaking research on mindsets discussed in this book shows you how to fulfil your potential.

The Book

Dweck, C (2017): “Mindset — Change the way you think to fulfil your potential”, updated edition. New York, NY: Random House.

Review

The idea of the growth mindset has been hugely influential, especially in education. Therefore, I wanted to get back to the original book to get some more information on this theory. The basic idea of the fixed mindset vs…


From wellness to game design, the concept of flow seems to be everywhere. But what does it actually mean? Here is a summary and discussion of the book that introduced the concept.

The Book

Csikszentmihalyi, M (1990): “Flow — The psychology of happiness”. New York, NY: Harper-Collins.

Review

I read this book because both the author and the book are quite influential in positive psychology. In fact, I had come across the central concept of flow many times when reading books on various topics, including education, game design, and mindfulness. Naturally, I was curious to get to the source and learn more about…


I’m doing the one-paper-per-day challenge. Some papers will be hot off the press, others will be classics. Some will be relevant to what I’m working on at the moment, others will be from other areas. Each month I discuss my favourite paper here.

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Vandewouw, M. M., Choi, E., Hammill, C., Arnold, P., Schachar, R., Lerch, J. P., … Taylor, M. J. (2020). Emotional face processing across neurodevelopmental disorders: a dynamic faces study in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 10(1), 375. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-01063-2

Background

Research on psychiatric disorder has undergone a paradigm shift in…


Have you ever felt like you are churning through task after task but did not feel like you were getting anywhere or accomplishing anything? According to this book, we need to consciously choose what we want to focus on rather than just ticking off item after item on our endless to-do lists. Since reading this book, I integrated a daily highlight in my workflow. This helped me to be both productive and find time for my passion projects.

The Book

Knapp, J & Zeratsky, J (2018): “Make time: How to focus on what matters every day” Sydney, Australia: Currency Press

Review

This book…


Listen, I’m sure that you are a decent human being, that your parents and friends love you, and that you are blessed with many talents. But, I’m also pretty sure that your essays suck. That’s because essay writing requires dedicated work and practice. Unless you are a seasoned pro who regularly flexed their writing muscles by writing on various topics in various styles, your writing is probably not as good as it could be. …


If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through Instagram, you probably have BJ Fogg to thank for it. His pioneering work on behaviour design has been hugely influential in Silicon Valley. I was intrigued to read an overview of his work in this book and use his insights for self-improvement.

The Book

Fogg, B.J. (2020). Tiny Habits: How starting small makes lasting change easy. London, UK: Virgin Books

Review

I’m in two minds about this book. On one hand, I found a lot of useful advice. The approach to habit building in this book is novel and not just a rehashing of ideas that…

Dr. Joe Bathelt

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