Guest post by Patrick Rabbitt, commenting on an article that claimed that simple reaction time is slower now than in the Victorian era. Mundane differences in equipment sensitivity may be responsible... Read more »
Michael A. Woodley, Jan te Nijenhuis, & Raegan Murphy. (2013) Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time. Intelligence. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2013.04.006
I am thrilled to announce that this month I am joining a new top-notch science blogging team at Scitable, Nature Education’s award-winning science education website! (But don’t worry, friends. I will continue to post here about animal physiology and behavior every Wednesday). Next week, Scitable will be launching eleven new blogs covering topics like neuroscience, genetics, oceanography, physics and more. I will be co-authoring an evolution blog called Accumulating Glitches together with Se........ Read more »
Johnson, J., Trubl, P., Blackmore, V., & Miles, L. (2011) Male black widows court well-fed females more than starved females: silken cues indicate sexual cannibalism risk. Animal Behaviour, 82(2), 383-390. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.018
Five to seven million companion animals arrive at animal shelters in the US each year, and about half of these are animals being surrendered by their owners. Why do people surrender their pets? To find out, a new study by Jennifer Kwan and Melissa Bain compared dogs being relinquished at three Sacramento animal shelters to those dogs that were there simply to receive their vaccinations.The experimenter spent time at the shelters during the hours when relinquishments could take place, and w........ Read more »
Kwan, J., & Bain, M. (2013) Owner Attachment and Problem Behaviors Related to Relinquishment and Training Techniques of Dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 16(2), 168-183. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2013.768923
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
We have likely all heard the saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”. According to new research, we are more likely to shoot that unlucky messenger when they are an outgroup rather than ingroup member. While that makes sense (sort of) it’s an intriguing article. And likely a depressing article for those who would like to promote [...]
The “hoodie effect”: A domestic variant of the turban effect
The hypercorrection effect: Correcting misinformation and false belie........ Read more »
Esposo SR, Hornsey MJ, & Spoor JR. (2013) Shooting the messenger: Outsiders critical of your group are rejected regardless of argument quality. The British Journal of Social Psychology. PMID: 23316747
The Irish poet Brendan Behan is, I think, credited with the phrase: "There's no bad publicity except an obituary". One wonders how appropriate this phrase might be to the 'diagnostic Bible' (except that it isn't) which is DSM-V which is poised to make its entrance into the World in the coming days.The real Homer @ Wikipedia Indeed, the story of DSM-V even before it hits the diagnostic shelves of all good psychiatric bookshops, has the makings of an epic piece of poetry or literature, o........ Read more »
Ian B Hickie1, Jan Scott, Daniel F Hermens, Elizabeth M Scott, Sharon L Naismith, Adam J Guastella, Nick Glozier, & Patrick D McGorry. (2013) Clinical classification in mental health at the cross-roads: which direction next?. BMC Medicine, 126. info:/
Researchers have found that the size of the frontal lobes of the brain is not the only crucial factor of human intelligence.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Frontal lobes, as the name suggest, are present at the front of each cerebral hemisphere - either of the two symmetrical halves of the front part of the brain.
Researchers have reported in the new study that size of the brain’s frontal lobe is not the onl........ Read more »
People who ostracize – ignore or exclude – others incur psychological costs. Researchers who recently explored whether people suffer psychological costs when they comply with social directives to ignore or exclude cause others reached that conclusion. The pressure to ignore or exclude someone has become an “all too common” experience, and the authors noted [...]The post Ostracism Hurts: The Psychological Costs of Ignoring or Excluding Others appeared first on Psychol........ Read more »
Legate N, Dehaan CR, Weinstein N, & Ryan RM. (2013) Hurting you hurts me too: the psychological costs of complying with ostracism. Psychological science, 24(4), 583-8. PMID: 23447557
Can fluent presenters makelearning feel too easy?
Eloquent and engaging scientific communicators in the mould of physicist Brian Cox make learning seem fun and easy. So much so that a new study says they risk breeding overconfidence. When a presenter is seen to handle complicated information effortlessly, students sense wrongly that they too have acquired a firm grasp of the material.
Shana Carpenter and her colleagues showed 42 students a one-minute video of a science lecture about calico ........ Read more »
Carpenter, S., Wilford, M., Kornell, N., & Mullaney, K. (2013) Appearances can be deceiving: instructor fluency increases perceptions of learning without increasing actual learning. Psychonomic Bulletin . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-013-0442-z
In their 1968 book Pygmalion in the Classroom, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson presented their groundbreaking research that showed teacher expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies. If two students start the school year at the same achievement level, the student the teacher is told is a high achiever will make more gains than the student the teacher believes is [...]... Read more »
Sorhagen, N. (2013) Early teacher expectations disproportionately affect poor children's high school performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 465-477. DOI: 10.1037/a0031754
All it takes is an antenna on a headband. If you've got a breathless video report on the dangers of wireless internet connections, that will help your case. It doesn't take much, though, to turn an ominous hint into a real headache.
Some people consider themselves sensitive to electromagnetic fields. They report symptoms such as burning skin, tingling, nausea, dizziness, or chest pain, and they blame their malaise on nearby power lines, cell phones, or WiFi networks. A recent Slate arti........ Read more »
Witthöft, M., & Rubin, G. (2013) Are media warnings about the adverse health effects of modern life self-fulfilling? An experimental study on idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF). Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74(3), 206-212. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.12.002
by Liz in Science of Eating Disorders
I have been fascinated and perplexed by reports of the seemingly invigorating and anxiety reducing effects of bingeing and purging (purging by self-induced vomiting). Personally, I cringe at the idea of self-induced vomiting and have always wanted to avoid vomiting at all costs, including during food poisoning. The insight from recent blog entries and the subsequent comments has made an impact on me. I see that the motivation to engage in bingeing/purging (b/p-ing) behavior ........ Read more »
Avena, N., Rada, P., Moise, N., & Hoebel, B. (2006) Sucrose sham feeding on a binge schedule releases accumbens dopamine repeatedly and eliminates the acetylcholine satiety response. Neuroscience, 139(3), 813-820. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.12.037
Understanding workplace demands on our emotions is one of our popular topics. Recent research combines two issues we've reported on previously: surface acting, the form of emotional labour that involves expressing emotions you don't genuinely feel, and affect spin, a measure of the variability of a person's emotional experiences. The paper suggests that overall, surface acting places greater demands on people high in affect spin.Daniel Beal and colleagues ran their study with 64 restaurant serve........ Read more »
Beal, D., Trougakos, J., Weiss, H., & Dalal, R. (2013) Affect Spin and the Emotion Regulation Process at Work. Journal of Applied Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0032559
PowerPoint is often maligned but new research shows a courtroom PowerPoint effect that is nothing to dismiss! When Plaintiff attorneys used PowerPoint slides, mock jurors thought the Defendant was more liable for the alleged behavior. When the Defense used PowerPoint slides, the Defendant was less liable in the eyes of the mock jurors. Seriously? Because [...]
Patent litigation and wonder in East Texas
Chicago attorney explains to Court: “Personally, I like large breasts.̶........ Read more »
Park, J., & Feigenson, N. (2013) Effects of a Visual Technology on Mock Juror Decision Making. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27(2), 235-246. DOI: 10.1002/acp.2900
How do organisms evolve into individuals that are distinguished from others by their own personal brain structure and behaviour? Scientists in Dresden, Berlin, Münster, and Saarbrücken have now taken a decisive step towards clarifying this question. Using mice as an animal model, they were able to show that individual experiences influence the development of new neurons, leading to measurable changes in the brain. The results of this study are published in Science on May 10th. The DFG-........ Read more »
Britta Grigull. (2013) Experience leads to the growth of new brain cells. Max Planck Institute for Human Development. info:/
As part of our objective and subjective rationality model, we want a focal agent to learn the probability that others will cooperate given that the focal agent cooperates () or defects (). In a previous post we saw how to derive point estimates for and (and learnt that they are the maximum likelihood estimates): , […]... Read more »
Suicide rates have fallen among farmers
Among the various risk factors for suicide, psychologists have recognised for some time that a person's occupation plays an important part. Suicide rates have tended to be unusually high in professions that provide ready access to guns, drugs, or open water, such as in farming, medicine, dentistry and maritime careers.
A new analysis has examined whether this still holds true. Stephen Roberts and his colleagues accessed the UK suicide rates for dozens ........ Read more »
Escape from Camp 14 is deeply disturbing, and I highly recommend it. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine HardenEscape from Camp 14 is a chilling tale of Shin Dong-hyuk's escape from a North Korean prison camp. What is so interesting about Shin Dong-hyuk's story as written by Blaine Harden is that he was born inside this North Korean prison camp. Apparently they allow breeding between prisoners as a reward for 'good behavior.'Escape from Camp 14 reveals the obscene violations of human rights that occur........ Read more »
Lee YM, Shin OJ, & Lim MH. (2012) The psychological problems of north korean adolescent refugees living in South Korea. Psychiatry investigation, 9(3), 217-22. PMID: 22993519
Nodding syndrome.Ever heard of it? Well, up until a few days ago I hadn't. That is before coming across articles on the topic by Richard Idro and colleagues* (open-access) and Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige and colleagues** (open-access). Whilst not specifically my line of expertise or interest, I was intrigued to read about how nodding and other symptoms of the epileptic variety, at least in some cases, seemed to be precipitated by food and showed a potential nutritional angle.Curving spacetime&........ Read more »
Herbert, M., & Buckley, J. (2013) Autism and Dietary Therapy: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Journal of Child Neurology. DOI: 10.1177/0883073813488668
Cooperation is a puzzle because it is not obvious why cooperation, which is good for the group, is so common, despite the fact that defection is often best for the individual. Though we tend to view this issue through the lens of the prisoner’s dilemma, Artem recently pointed me to a paper by Joanna Masel, […]... Read more »
In my last post, I mentioned a hypothetical relatively-average psychologist (caveat: the term doesn’t necessarily apply to any specific person, living or dead). I found him to be a bit strange, since he tended to come up with hypotheses that … Continue reading →... Read more »
Cornwell, R., Palmer, C., Guinther, P., & Davis. H. (2005) Introductory Psychology Texts as a View of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology’s Role in Psychology. Evolutionary Psychology, 355-374. info:/
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