Link feast
Our editor's pick of the 10 best psychology and neuroscience links from the last week or so : The Psychological Tricks Behind Pokemon Go's Success Nintendo's latest video game has become an overnight sensation. What ’s the appeal? Split Second Responses? At The Psychologist magazine, Peter Squires, Professor of Criminology and Public Policy at the University of Brighton, considers the research on police and guns, and calls for more psychological enquiry. Mystery of What Sleep Does to Our Brains May Finally Be Solved It's the brain's equivalent of housekeeping. The Mystery of Urban Psychosis Why are paranoia ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 23, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Altruistic people have more sex
People who perform regular altruistic acts like giving blood also  tend to have more sex. Viewed through the lens of evolutionary psychology, altruism takes some explaining. In a dog eat dog world, it seems like a risky, indulgent habit. Yet we are only alive today because our distant ancestors were successful at reproducing – and the fact many of us have inherited their altruistic tendencies suggests that being altruistic gave them some kind of survival or reproductive advantage. One idea is that altruism is advantageous because it is often reciprocated. Another is that altruism is a "costly signal&...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 22, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

You're more likely to be (unintentionally) plagiarised by someone who is the same sex as you
Look at some of the most high-profile plagiarism scandals, such as Joe Biden's supposed borrowing from Neil Kinnock , novelist Kaavya Viswanathan's "unintentional" plagiarism of  Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot ,  science writer Jonah Lehrer's lifting words from this blog , and this week, Melania Trump's echoing of phrases used previously by Michelle Obama (though a speech-writer has taken the blame for this). Notice a pattern? In each case, the alleged plagiarists copied others of the same sex. This is anecdotal of course and there are exceptions to the rule – for instance  Vis...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 21, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

It's easier to unintentionally plagiarise from someone who is the same sex as you
Look at some of the most high-profile plagiarism scandals, such as Joe Biden's supposed borrowing from Neil Kinnock , novelist Kaavya Viswanathan's "unintentional" plagiarism of  Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot ,  science writer Jonah Lehrer's lifting words from this blog , and this week, Melania Trump's echoing of phrases used previously by Michelle Obama (though a speech-writer has taken the blame for this). Notice a pattern? In each case, the alleged plagiarists copied others of the same sex. This is anecdotal of course and there are exceptions to the rule – for instance  Vis...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 21, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

We're more prone to unintentionally plagiarise from others the same sex as us
Look at some of the most high-profile plagiarism scandals, such as Joe Biden's supposed borrowing from Neil Kinnock, novelist Kaavya Viswanathan's "unintentional" plagiarism of Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot, science writer Jonah Lehrer's lifting words from this blog, and this week, Melania Trump's echoing of phrases used previously by Michelle Obama (though a speech-writer has taken the blame for this).Notice a pattern?In each case, the alleged plagiarists copied others of the same sex. This is anecdotal of course and there are exceptions to the rule – for instance Viswanathan is also a...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 21, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

There's a simple trick to reduce your mind wandering while studying
It happens to all of us – we're meant to be focused on the page in the book, but our mind is turned inwards thinking about other stuff (Must remember to charge my phone, What time did I say I'd meet Sarah?) Thankfully a new study in Memory and Cognition identifies a straightforward way to reduce how much your mind wanders off topic when you're studying. You just need to ensure the materials you're learning are in your sweet spot – not too easy and not too difficult.For one experiment, Judy Xu and Janet Metcalfe tested the ability of 26 students to translate 179 different English words into Spanish. For any that...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 20, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

If you do everything you can to avoid plot spoilers, you're probably a thinker
It's a vexing First World Problem – how to avoid people giving away, on Twitter or at the water cooler, the events of the latest Game of Thrones episode before you've caught it. Psychologists are beginning to study this modern scourge, albeit in the context of written stories rather than TV shows, but so far their findings have been contradictory – one study suggested that spoiled stories were actually more enjoyable (possibly because they're easier to process), while a later investigation found the precise opposite. Now a research team led by Judith Rosenbaum has entered the fray with a study in Psycholog...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 19, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Emphasising that science involves collaboration and helping others increases its appeal as a career
Scientific work is unfairly perceived by many people as a solitary, even lonely enterprise, concerned with abstracted goals rather than helping others. While some scientific work calls for a quiet room (at the least, noise-cancelling headphones), the reality is that the enterprise as a whole involves plenty of communal aspects, from collaboration and discussions to teaching and mentoring. In new research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers from the University of Miami have explored whether, by emphasising its communal goals, science could be made a more attractive career choice, especially to women ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 19, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

If you do everything you can to avoid spoilers, you're probably a "thinker"
It's a vexing First World Problem – how to avoid people giving away, on Twitter or at the water cooler, the events of the latest Game of Thrones episode before you've caught it. Psychologists are beginning to study this modern scourge, albeit in the context of written stories rather than TV shows, but so far their findings have been contradictory – one study suggested that spoiled stories were actually more enjoyable (possibly because they're easier to process), while a later investigation found the precise opposite. Now a research team led by Judith Rosenbaum has entered the fray with a study in Psycholog...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 19, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Songs like "Angel of Death" protect heavy metal fans from existential angst
Heavy metal band Black Label Society on stage Brazil, via Flickr/FockaListening to songs about death and dressing yourself in t-shirts featuring skulls and demons might seem like a strange way to combat existential angst. Nonetheless, a new study in Psychology of Popular Media Culture shows that listening to heavy metal helps fans of the genre deal with their own mortality. This is likely because to fans, heavy metal represents so much more than a genre, it embodies a way of life and a sense of identity. The results support and extend what's known as Terror Management Theory – the idea that we instinctively deal with...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 18, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Listening to songs like "Angel of Death" protects heavy metal fans from existential angst
Heavy metal band Black Label Society on stage Brazil, via Flickr/FockaListening to songs about death and dressing yourself in t-shirts featuring skulls and demons might seem like a strange way to combat existential angst. Nonetheless, a new study in Psychology of Popular Media Culture shows that listening to heavy metal helps fans of the genre deal with their own mortality. This is likely because to fans, heavy metal represents so much more than a genre, it embodies a way of life and a sense of identity. The results support and extend what's known as Terror Management Theory – the idea that we instinctively deal with...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 18, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Does target shooting make teenagers aggressive?
When the dust settles on the tragedy of the latest mass shooting, gun clubs usually see a spike in their memberships as people look to arm and defend themselves. At the same time, many others argue for greater gun controls, and from their perspective, recreational target shooting is very much part of the problem, not the answer.Anecdotally, this is borne out by the many killers who often turn out to have been target shooters. Indeed, in Germany after the teenage perpetrators of two spree atrocities, or their parents – in Erfurt in 2002 and in Winnenden in 2009 – were found to be shooting club members, the Germa...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 15, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Facial expressions of intense joy and pain are indistinguishable
Eyes shut tight, face contorted into a grimace. Are they ecstatic or anguished? Ignorant of the context, it can be hard to tell. Recent research that involved participants looking at images of the facial expressions of professional tennis players supported this intuition – participants naive to the context were unable to tell the difference between the winners and losers.From a scientific perspective, the problem with the tennis study is that the findings might have been affected by the players' physical exertion or their awareness of being on public display. To test the similarity of facial expressions of joy and pa...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 14, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Psychologists still don't know how the brain deals with blinks
If you were sat in a dark room and the lights flickered off every few seconds, you'd definitely notice. Yet when your blinks make the world go momentarily dark – and bear in mind most of us perform around 12 to 15 of these every minute – you are mostly oblivious. It certainly doesn't feel like someone is flicking the lights on and off. How can this be?A new study in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance has tested two possibilities – one is that after each blink your brain "backdates" the visual world by the duration of the blink (just as it does for saccadic eye m...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 13, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

When staff absenteeism seems catching, it could be the team culture that's sick
When the morning alarm carves us out of our slumber, restoring the previous night’s raspy throat and foggy head, we have a decision to make: get up and go, or call in sick. What happens next is influenced by workplace norms about whether absence is commonplace or exceptional, a current pulling us towards the office or letting us settle back into bed. But new research in Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processing from a Dutch-Canadian team, led by Lieke ten Brummelhuis, suggests this isn’t automatic: we’re more likely to fight against the tide when we care about our team, and when we know ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 12, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Why does copy-cat absenteeism afflict some teams more than others?
When the morning alarm carves us out of our slumber, restoring the previous night’s raspy throat and foggy head, we have a decision to make: get up and go, or call in sick. What happens next is influenced by workplace norms about whether absence is commonplace or exceptional, a current pulling us towards the office or letting us settle back into bed. But new research in Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processing from a Dutch-Canadian team, led by Lieke ten Brummelhuis, suggests this isn’t automatic: we’re more likely to fight against the tide when we care about our team, and when we know ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 12, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Huh? Study finds taboo billboards improve driving performance
By guest blogger Richard StephensThe 1994 Wonderbra© billboard campaign with its distinctive “Hello Boys!” catchphrase regularly gets a mention as one of most iconic advert series of all time. Its portrayal of super model Eva Herzigova clad only in black lacey pants and gravity-defying bra is said to have sent drivers veering off the roads. However a new study published in the esteemed journal Acta Psycologica suggests that attention grabbing billboard ads may actually have the opposite effect on driving performance.Michelle Chan and colleagues from the University of Alberta, Canada, were sufficiently conc...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 11, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Feminine-looking women scientists are judged less likely to be a scientist
A US investigation has found that men and women assume female researchers with more stereotypically feminine looks are less likely to be scientists and more likely to be school teachers or journalists. The superficial femininity or masculinity of male scientists, by contrast, was not related to observers' judgments about the likelihood that they were scientists. For both male and female scientists, those considered more attractive were thought less likely to be a scientist.The findings come from two studies that involved over 250 people recruited via Amazon's Mechanical Turk survey website looking at smiling head...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 11, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Link feast
Our editor's pick of this week's 10 best psychology and neuroscience links:This Is Your Brain on SilenceContrary to popular belief, peace and quiet is all about the noise in your head.The Most Terrifying Childhood Condition You’ve Never Heard OfChildhood disintegrative disorder, a rare and severe condition, rapidly melts away a child’s abilities. A new theory proposes that this little-known condition turns back the developmental clock.States of Mind: The Sky Is Wider (BBC Radio 4 drama developed in consultation with neuroscientist Anil Seth)When Ella is asked questions pointing her towards places and memor...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 9, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

The "imagined contact" intervention for reducing prejudice can backfire
If insights from psychology can reduce conflict between groups, it feels like we need that help now more than ever. A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology finds that a simple anti-prejudice intervention, grounded in research and advocated by many social psychologists, can backfire for some people. This sounds like a bad news story, but it isn't. The result adds to our understanding of when the intervention is likely to help and when to take extra care.The background to this is the important finding that when people from different social and cultural backgrounds spend time together, their prejudice ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 8, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Psychologists have identified the length of eye contact that people find most comfortable
It's a dilemma extremely familiar to anyone with social anxiety – for how long to make eye contact before looking away? The fear is that if you only ever fix the other person's gaze for very brief spells then you'll look shifty. If you lock on for too long, on the other hand, then there's the risk of seeming creepy. Thankfully a team of British researchers has now conducted the most comprehensive study of what people generally regard as a comfortable length of eye contact.For the research published in Royal Society Open Science, Nicola Binetti and her colleagues recruited nearly 500 visitors to the London Science Mus...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 7, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Is OCD fuelled by a fear of the self?
Most of us have unwanted thoughts and images that pop into our heads and it's not a big deal. But for people with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) these mental intrusions are frequently distressing and difficult to ignore. A new article in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy explores the possibility that the reason these thoughts become so troubling to some people is that they play on their fears about the kind of person they might be. The reasoning goes something like this: If, for instance, you or I  had a sudden mental of image of stabbing someone, we might find it strange and unpleasant, but &n...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 6, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Students of today are more afraid of growing up than in previous generations
In Western democracies, young adults are living with their parents for longer, spending more time in education and delaying having children  So much so that some commentators have suggested that we need a new term, such as "emerging adulthood", to describe the phase of life between late adolescence and true adulthood. Adding to this picture, a new cross-generational study in International Journal of Behavioural Development of hundreds of undergrads at two US universities finds that students today are more anxious about growing up and maturing than students from previous generations. April Smith and her colle...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 5, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Even a four-year-old can tell when you're contradicting yourself (and now they won't trust you)
"Yes Victoria, eating chocolate is unhealthy, but not when I eat it" – you might wonder just how long you can get away this kind of contradictory logic with your kids. If you'd asked Jean Piaget, one of the founding fathers of child psychology, he would probably have told you that you'll be fine until they're at least eight. After all, he'd observed that children younger than this age often describe things in contradictory ways, such as saying that a candle sinks because it's round, but that a ball floats because it's round.Recent research has largely backed up Piaget's view, but in a new study in Child Dev...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 4, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Link feast
Our editor's pick of the 10 best psychology and neuroscience links from the last week or so:The Brexit PollThe Psychologist canvassed psychologically-informed opinion on the EU Referendum result and what happens next.Who Are You Really? The Puzzle Of PersonalityNewly released TED talk by Professor Brian Little.The Complex Circumstances That Defined Your GenderScientists are only just getting to grips with the complicated interplay of genes, hormones and life experience that come to shape our identity (part of a new "sexual revolutions" series from BBC Future).Why We're DifferentA conversation with pioneering beha...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 2, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

How expert schmoozers trick themselves into liking their target
Big-wigs have much to gain from ingratiating themselves with even bigger ones, because having an in with important people sways decisions made in the executive washroom, on the golf course, or over plates of wagyu carpaccio. But ingratiators face a dilemma: no-one likes a suck-up, and people at the top of the food chain have plenty of practice in detecting and dismissing them.A new article in the Academy of Management Journal finds that company directors get around this dilemma by employing a clever psychological tactic – before meeting up with those they plan on winning over, they think about them in such a way that...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 1, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Pessimistic rats are extra sensitive to negative feedback
By guest blogger Mary BatesDepression is complex and influenced by many factors, but the way depressed people think is a likely contributor to the disorder. Depression is often associated with cognitive biases, including paying more attention to negative than positive events and recalling them more easily. People with depression also tend to ruminate over perceived failures and criticism, and they are extra sensitive to negative feedback.Analogous cognitive biases can be found in animals. Now, in a new study, researchers have demonstrated for the first time a link between pessimism and sensitivity to performance feedback i...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 30, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

The Bystander Effect is about more than the diffusion of responsibility
Inspired by the shocking murder of a woman in New York in 1964, reportedly in front of numerous witnesses who did nothing to help (although this was exaggerated), the Bystander Effect is a well-researched phenomenon that describes the diminishing likelihood that any one person will help as the number of other people available to help increases.The most popular and widely researched explanation is that people experience a diffusion of responsibility when in the company of other bystanders. We don't help the person who is being assaulted in a busy street because we assume that someone else will.But a new study in the Journal...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 29, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Money worries can enhance performance on some kinds of mental test
Poverty erects material barriers, but psychological ones too, from the conditions that exacerbate mental health problems, to inculcating children with the sense that they are second-rate. A stream of recent research has suggested that financial concerns can also tax your mind and prevent you from thinking clearly. But that may be too sweeping a conclusion, according to Junhua Dang of Lund University and his colleagues in Sweden and China. Their study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, suggests having money problems on the mind doesn’t always impair cognitive ability. In fact, it can even enhance it...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 28, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Are the benefits of brain training no more than a placebo effect?
If you spend time playing mentally taxing games on your smartphone or computer, will it make you more intelligent? A billion dollar "brain training" industry is premised on the idea that it will. Academic psychologists are divided – the majority view is that by playing brain training games you will only improve at those games, you won't become smarter. But there are scholars who believe in the wider benefits of computer-based brain training and some reviews support their position, such as the 2015 meta-analysis that combined findings from 20 prior studies to conclude "short-term cognitive training on t...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 27, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Beneath their sneering veneer, people prone to contempt are psychologically fragile
Contemptuousness is a distinct personality trait that you can measure with a simple questionnaire. That's according to Roberta Schriber and her colleagues who've devised such a test and described the character of typical contemptuous person – someone quick to judge when another individual (or a social group) has failed to live up to certain expectations – either morally or in terms of competence – and who responds by looking down on this person or group, with the aim of distancing themselves from them, and/or derogating them.The dispositional contempt scaleFrom Schriber et al 2016.In the Journal of P...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 24, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

There are three kinds of pedestrian – which are you?
You know that situation where you're walking across a train station concourse or a park and there's another person walking on a different trajectory that means if you both hold your course and speed, you're going to collide? Are you the kind of person who assumes the other guy will give way, or are you the polite one who slows down and lets the other person cross your path?A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance recreated this scenario by pairing up 20 participants – a mix of young men and women – and having one person in each pair walk diagonally from one corner ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 24, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

What makes our work meaningful? Do bosses really make it meaningless?
The media has used the findings to demonise bosses, but such coverage forgets an important point, writes Alex FraderaThere have been times in my life where work seemed pretty pointless, on occasion because the position was a prime example of what anthropologist David Graeber calls bullshit jobs – those that give no real value back to oneself or society. But I’ve more frequently experienced the sense that a job was at some times meaningless, and at others very worthwhile. That’s a theme picked up in Catherine Bailey and Adrian Madden’s new study published in MIT Sloan Management Review, where intervi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 23, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

A preliminary psychology of how we're moved by watching dance
This study makes a laudable though highly tentative first attempt to study what many may consider the hidden and unknowable connection between a dancer and her audience. "A dancer may dance without the aim to transmit anything to anyone, but follow an internal expressive intention, like an inner dialog" the researchers concluded. "S/he may dance just what's on her/his mind. Yet that intention will be visible in the dance, and grasped by a spectator. Thus what we like when we see a dance is not necessarily the beautiful – but especially the honest and authentic."_________________________________&nb...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 22, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Puncturing the myth of the tireless leader – if you're sleep deprived you're unlikely to inspire anyone
Sleep deprivation makes it harder for us to inspire others, or to be inspiredThere’s an archetype of the tireless leader who scorns slumber in favour of getting things done – Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, to name a few. But if you think you’re going to inspire anybody by routinely working through the night, you might want to think again. Research published recently in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that sleep deprivation has the specific effect of making it harder for us to charismatically inspire others. And in a double whammy, the research suggests that followers who ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 21, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Using a cocktail of magic and fMRI, psychologists implanted thoughts in people's minds
By guest blogger Vaughan BellCan you think a thought which isn’t yours? A remarkable new study, led by psychologist Jay Olson from McGill University in Canada, suggests you can. The research, published in Consciousness and Cognition, used a form of stage magic known as “mentalism” to induce the experience of thoughts being inserted into the minds of volunteers. It is an ingenious study, not only for how it created the experience, but also for how it used the psychology lab as both a stage prop and a scientific tool.Years before he was famous, stage illusionist Derren Brown wrote a book called Pure Effect,...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 20, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Your anxiety during public speaking is probably made worse by the audience members you look at
We already know from past research that people with social anxiety seem to have a bias towards negative social signals. For instance, they're more likely to notice a frown of disapproval than a smile, which of course only fuels their anxiety.But a lot of this research has been unrealistic, involving static photos of faces and the task of looking out for dots on a computer screen. A new Chinese study has ramped up the realism by asking dozens of participants – some low in social anxiety, some high – to give a three-minute impromptu speech over Skype to an apparently live audience shown onscreen. In fact the audi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 20, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Link feast
Our editor's pick of the 10 best psychology and neuroscience links from the last week or so:"We Are Complicit In Making These Groups All But Invisible"Martin Milton argues at The Psychologist that LGBT debate needs urgent progression in wake of the Orlando attack.Jerome S. Bruner, Who Shaped Understanding of the Young Mind, Dies at 100NYT obit.Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks To People (on iPlayer)Documentary telling the extraordinary story of Koko, the only 'talking' gorilla in the world, and her lifelong relationship with Penny Patterson, who taught her to communicate.Psychologists Grow Increasingly Dependent On Onl...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 18, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Do some homophobic men harbour a latent attraction to other men?
An example of imagery used in the study by Coeval et alThe idea that homophobia in men is a counter-reaction to their own unwanted attraction to other men has its roots in psychoanalysis – where's it's considered a psychodynamic defence – and is possibly supported by anecdotal evidence, most recently in reports that the perpetrator of the horrific homophobic massacre at an Orlando gay club was himself gay. But it's worth heeding the cautions on Science of Us yesterday where journalist Cari Romm noted that "internalized homophobia almost never manifests itself as violence" in her article headed The Myt...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 17, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

A small alcoholic drink could benefit business negotiations, study finds
It is a tradition in many cultures, especially in East Asia, for business negotiations to be accompanied by drinking alcohol. Motivated in part to wonder why this might be, Pak Hung Au and Jipeng Zhang, at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China, have tested the effects of a small cup of beer (350ml) on participants' bargaining behaviour.The study in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organisation involved 114 people playing a bargaining game in pairs, some of them after a cup of beer, others after non-alcoholic beer (a test of a placebo effe...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 17, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

The psychology of why we tip some occupations but not others
It's more about altruism than trying to win approvalWhy do I tip my taxi driver, but not my accountant? I mean, there’s a good reason I don’t - he would narrow his eyes at me and ask if I was feeling ok. But why, in general, do we tip in some service contexts and not others; is it simply due to a quirk of history or the result of broader psychological patterns? Cornell University’s Michael Lynn suspected the latter, and in his new study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, he outlines the evidence for various pro-tipping motives.Lynn presented a list of 122 American service occupations –...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - June 16, 2016 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Finding The Golden Thread of Consciousness"... the play is a lost opportunity to push ethical questions about human conduct up against the genuinely profound questions about the self raised by modern brain research," writes Vaughan Bell at The Psychologist, reviewing Tom Stoppard's new play The Hard Problem, showing at the National Theatre in London. Batgirl's PsychologistThe amazing story of Andrea Letamendi - the clinical psychologist whose once-secret love for comic books led to her being written into one story as Batgirl's th...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 31, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

There are two types of envy; only one is associated with schadenfreude
You watch with envy as your long-time colleague gets yet another performance bonus - something you've strived for but never obtained. Not long after, you see him trip over in the office in front of everyone. Do you find this situation pleasingly amusing? In other words, do you experience schadenfreude?According to an international team of research psychologists, your answer will likely depend on the specific kind of envy you feel toward your colleague. Niels van de Ven and his co-workers say there are in fact two types - malicious envy and benign envy. Both involve comparing yourself to someone who is better off in a way t...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 30, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Why you might want to beware the introvert on your team
Introverts have received a lot of positive press in recent years thanks to the run-away success of Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Cain tells us these are people who like their own space, but also happen to be empathic and sensitive and deep-thinkers. A new paper on peer appraisals by team-members bucks this hug-an-introvert trend.Amir Erez and his co-authors report that introverts tend to give especially low performance ratings to their team-mates who are extravert and over-bearing, even though these people's actual performance for the team might be the same as other team-mates with different personality...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 29, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

A face that could get away with anything
First impressions lead to a multitude of assumptions, and trustworthiness is one of them: faces with v-shaped eyebrows and frowning mouths are consistently judged as less trustworthy than others with ^-shaped brows and mouths with upturned corners (this may be related to the former betraying a hidden anger and the latter having positive undertones). Now a study by Brian Holtz suggests that a person's looks can colour perceptions, not only of how trustworthy their character might be, but of whether their actual deeds are fair and well-intentioned.In an ideal world, we’d trust people based upon what...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 28, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

No one noticed when this man's speech was fed to him by a 12-year-old. Welcome to the Cyranoid Illusion
In this study, the participants rated the personality and intelligence of the man and boy equally positively when they spoke as themselves. Yet when the man spoke the words of the boy, he was given more negative ratings. This is in spite of the fact the participants failed to adjust the difficulty of their questions in this condition, presumably so as not to patronise the man publicly.You can begin to see how the Cyranoid paradigm can illuminate issues to do with social stereotypes triggered by appearances and words, and the differences in people's responses in terms of their private thoughts and public actions. Another an...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 27, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

We're more likely to cheat when we're anxious
When we’re stressed out and feeling threatened, our priority becomes self-preservation. According to new research, this defensive mode even affects our morality, making us more likely to cheat and excuse our own unethical behaviour.Maryam Kouchaki and Sreedhari Desai demonstrated this through six experiments. In the clearest example, 63 student participants spent three minutes listening to either calm music, or in the anxiety condition, to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. Those freaked out by Hermann's definitive ode to unease declared they were more anxious at the end of the study, and they had threat on their mind ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 26, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Link Feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Why are men more likely than women to take their own lives?In the Guardian, Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman argue that suicide prevention programmes need to take sex differences into account.Introducing The Psychologist Magazine's First Ever Poetry Competition"There is no guidance other than to consider our publication and audience; come on what you know, pure discovery," says Editor Jon Sutton.Brain-branded Energy Drinks Might Make You Less SmartOver at Brain Watch, I took at look at the claims made by a supposedly cognition-en...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 24, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Why the risk of losing is more fun than an easy win
I've started playing in a higher division in my local table-tennis league. I'm winning games less, but enjoying the experience more. I'm far from alone in preferring the danger of possible defeat to the comfort of easy wins. Psychologically this is curious because, at whatever level, virtually everyone who plays competitive games finds winning more pleasurable than losing, and most people like to feel good at what they do. In a new study, Sami Abuhamdeh and his colleagues have shone a light on this understudied paradox of motivational psychology. The researchers invited 72 undergrads to play a sword-based video game on the...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 23, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs

Testing the American Dream - can the right mix of personality and IQ compensate for poverty?
We know that possessing certain personal traits can help people do better in life – by knuckling down, making the right connections or having the best ideas. A new study goes further and asks whether a person’s traits and their background interact, with personal qualities being more important for people of lower socio-economic status. If true, this would provide intellectual support for the “American Dream” – being smart or diligent might make some difference for the rich, but for the poor, it would make all the difference.Rodica Ioana Damian and her colleagues analysed a gargantuan US survey ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - January 22, 2015 Category: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Authors: Research Digest Source Type: blogs