Psychology

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Psychology

Children ruin everything

A study discussed over at Live Science confirms what I have always suspected: An eight-year study of 218 couples found 90 percent experienced a decrease in marital satisfaction once the first child was born. “Couples who do not have children also show diminished marital quality over time,” says Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology at…

Neurological diseases can be strange in that they often have additional personality effects. If someone gets a cold, they sneeze a bunch but are basically the same person they were before the cold. In contrast, meningitis can include mental status and personality changes in its early stages — including irritability and sleepiness. When a disease…

A Holiday Post about Lying

My suspicion is that many of you went home for the holidays, and my suspicion is that many of you were not entirely honest with your relatives while you were there. While it is not my intention to encourage this behavior — I, of course, am totally honest all of the time 😉 — you…

The Science of Magic

There is a fascinating review in Nature Reviews Neuroscience this month about the cognitive science of magic tricks — authored by both scientists and practicing magicians (sadly behind a subscription wall). The article attempts to list and describe in neuroscientific terms the techniques that magicians use to trick their audiences. The authors break down these…

Sorry for the light blogging everyone. It has been a busy, busy week. Some of you may have caught Janet Hyde’s latest paper looking at data from the No Child Left Behind Act and math performance in the US. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, states are required to test children for a variety…

I often rant about bad coverage of the psychology of sex differences, so it is always satisfying to see an article that really has their facts straight. Amanda Schaffer and Emily Bazelon, writing in Slate, have an excellent article reviewing Louann Brizendine’s The Female Brain and Susan Pinker’s The Sexual Paradox. They take both authors…

A lot of people have read The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. In the book, he gives an example of a group of people forced to estimate the weight of a cow. (This was actually an experiment that geneticist Franics Galton attempted.) When you do this, you find that the accuracy of the average…

Psychobabble solicitaiton

PsyBlog is soliciting your favorite psychobabble. Head over there to give your favorite instance of the complete misinterpretation of psychology in pop culture. My favorite is number one on their list of examples: “Their brains lit up in the scanner.” Brain activity is not phosphorescent. There is euphemism, and there is a point where the…

Lots of people get mad behind the wheel, but who are the people likely to try and kill you at the intersection? A CSU psychologist found that road rage correlates with large numbers of bumper stickers: Szlemko and his colleagues quizzed hundreds of volunteers about their cars and driving habits. Participants were asked to describe…

The Psychology of Evil

I am in blood Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er. Strange things I have in head that will to hand, Which must be acted ere they may be scann’d. — MacBeth Act III, Scene 4, Lines 162-166 I have a book to put on…