The fourth and final special section recognizing the 25th anniversary of APS is published in the January 2014 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science.
The special section, like those that came before it, examines the evolution of psychological science over the last quarter century. The special section articles span a variety of topics, including psychotherapy for children and adolescents, treatments for mental illness outside the therapist’s office, the effects of insulin on brain function, measuring experiences of pleasure and pain, and understanding familial risk for depression.
John R. Weisz
Early testing of clinical treatments for children and adolescents has moved from the use of quasi-experimental studies to the use of rigorous randomized control studies. As we move into the “implementation era,” researchers are beginning to ask whether evidence-based treatments outperform care-as-usual techniques, and if not, why? Many evidence-based treatments may underperform compared with alternative treatments because of the types of studies used to test these treatments. A deployment-focused model in clinical research (i.e., one that tests treatments in the types of settings and with the types of patients they were designed to treat) may be more effective in future examinations of treatment efficacy.
Come listen to John R. Weisz give the invited talk “Mod Squad for Youth Psychotherapy: Transdiagnostic Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, and Misconduct” at the 26th APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA, USA.
Bethany A. Teachman
Twenty-five years ago, it was assumed that face-to-face interaction was necessary for successful treatment of mental illness, but this view has recently begun to change. The burgeoning field of ehealth has provided new ways to reach people in need of mental health care. Early studies of Internet-based treatments suggest that for some people, such treatments can be just as effective as traditional methods of care. Although there are still many questions to be answered about edelivery systems for mental health care, this approach is a promising way to meet growing mental health needs.
Come listen to Bethany A. Teachman give her Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology Presidential Address and speak as part of the “Using the Internet as a Laboratory for Research in the Real World” symposium at the 26th APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA, USA.
Early studies of the brain suggested that its processes were not affected by insulin, but we now know that they are. Studies in the mid 1980s were the first to show that insulin indeed crosses the blood-brain barrier, and by the late 1980s, the tide was turning on our views relating to insulin and the brain. We now know that insulin modulates synaptic plasticity and neuronal regulation in the hippocampus, and that it seems to regulate hippocampal memory processes. Studies showing cognitive impairment on hippocampus-mediated tasks in people with insulin resistance further cement the importance of insulin in brain processes. The acceptance of insulin as a regulator of neural function demonstrates how far our understanding of the role of insulin in the brain has come in the last 25 years.
The measurement of pleasure and pain can be difficult because people cannot physically share their personal experiences of either. One common way to measure sensory experiences is with category scales that rate them, for example, on a scale from 0 to 10. Although this type of measurement may work to assess changes in individual pain or pleasure, it cannot be used to compare people’s experiences. One advancement that has allowed the measurement of sensation across groups has been to link two independent sensory modalities (such as pain and light) and then use one of them as a standard against which to observe variation in the other. Such new methods of comparison are gaining ground, but we still have a long way to go in the next 25 years.
Ian H. Gotlib, Jutta Joormann, and Lara C. Foland-Ross
Major depressive disorder is one of the most prevalent and debilitating mental illnesses in the world. Research examining depression has led to increased understanding of the psychological and biological correlates of this disorder. The past 25 years have seen improvements in our grasp of the social, cognitive, neurological, and genetic factors that make some children more likely than others to develop depression. Recent research is integrated with previous studies to examine evolving views on the role of family history
Come listen to Ian H. Gotlib speak as part of the “Genes, Brain, and Environment: Biological Pathways to Psychopathology” symposium at the 26th APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA, USA.