Psychology

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Category archives for Psychology

Letters and numbers are often mentally grouped together; they’re both simple sets of symbols that are the building blocks for much more complex concepts, and mastering their relationships is a cornerstone of early education. But while illiteracy becomes a major social stigma almost immediately after a young person is introduced to letters, most people can…

From “quantum teleportation” to “Superconducting Super collider”, there’s nothing like an unusual word or intriguing turn of phrase to draw someone into a science story. Yesterday, the New York Times’ lead tech writer Nick Bilton took a shine to “charismatic megafauna,” after reading a post on The Thoughtful Animal about social cognition in polar bears.…

The Bright Side of the Blues

On The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer explores the cognitive consequences of depression and happiness, explaining that the way we feel has a huge impact on the way we think. First, Jonah shares an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine, in which he says the blues can be “a clarifying force, focusing the…

Coming Back for More

Good things are great, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Especially when you can’t get enough. On The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer introduces us to ChatRoulette, a website that allows you to get “rejected, propositioned and yelled at” by other live strangers with webcams. With a single click, users can dump…

Inspiring One Another

We inspire each other with our everyday actions and attitudes–monkey see, monkey do. On The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer describes an experiment in which individuals who observed their peers choosing carrots over cookies were more likely to make the same thoughtful choice themselves. Jonah explains that self-control “contains a large social component” and plays a…

The Buzz: Now and Later

Sometimes, present circumstances can belie the uncertainty of the future. On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong discusses experiments on “restraint bias” which show that many people overestimate their powers of self-control. He notes that “we’re generally bad at predicting the future,” arguing that those who feel the strongest are the most likely to risk…

How do we remember, collect, and recognize faces, and do sex and race have any role in how we process and treat faces, and ultimately people? On Collective Imagination, Peter Tu writes about how researchers can use differing theories of facial recognition to further developments in digital security technologies, citing that “this knowledge captured from…

The Buzz: Science in Sex

There’s no denying that sex is important for most creatures biologically. For humans, the biological imperative of sex has seeped into our psyches over thousands of years worth of evolution, making it more essential than we realize. On The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer reports on a new column in Mind Matters positing that love and…

(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Humans have voracious appetites–for food and drink, stability and comfort, emotional fulfillment. How we satisfy those appetites is the subject of several posts on ScienceBlogs this week. On Neurotopia, Scicurious discusses an fMRI study that looks at how certain brain regions are activated when we think about our favorite foods when we are hungry versus…

The Buzz: Even More Prozac Nation

As David Dobbs reports on Neuron Culture, the use of antidepressants in the US has nearly doubled in the last decade. David agrees with fellow neuroblogger Neuroskeptic in attributing the increase to a broadened definition of depression. But if Americans are becoming more depressed, there is hope on the other side of the coin as…