Our round-up of the latest juicy tit-bits from the world of psychology:
The Greenfield saga continues. Recall that Baroness Susan Greenfield recently restated to New Scientist her fears that technology is harming children’s brains, and that Professor Dorothy Bishop subsequently wrote an open letter objecting to Greenfield’s claims, especially to the suggestion that technological changes are responsible for the rise in autism. [update: Bishop has just published an email exchange she’s had with an academic who defends Greenfield and is critical of her (Bishop’s) open letter].
Something we missed last week was Martin Robbins’ spoof blog post “Facebook will destroy your children’s brains“.
Susan Greenfield has since clarified her position in an interview with the Guardian: “I point to the increase in autism and I point to internet use. That’s all.”
This style of argument has now been immortalised as a Greenfieldism, as celebrated by this new website.
Unabashed, Greenfield has defended her techno-warnings this very morning, in a new article for The Independent [update: Neuroskeptic has attempted to engage in the debate that Greenfield has called for].
Thankfully a useful article at the Atlantic Wire highlights some actual research studies showing possible benefits and harms associated with Facebook use (written by Rebecca Greenfield: no relation to Susan we assume).
In other news:
The excellent Neurophilosophy blog by Mo Costandi has arrived at its new home on the Guardian, and kicks off with a post on attentional blindness.
Philip Zimbardo has given a TED talk on why boys are struggling.
A new post on the BPS Occupational Digest reports that the social networks of extraverts are bigger, but no more intimate.
Carol Tavris reflects on the psychology of smiling (in a review of a new book “Lip Service” by Marianne LaFrance).
Our own round-up of psych and social commentary on the English riots. Social psychologist Clifford Stott also appeared on the latest episode of Material World on BBC R4 to discuss the psychology of mobs.
The second episode of Channel 4’s excellent series “The secret life of buildings” is available on Channel 4 On Demand, focusing on the design of offices, factories and schools.
The latest episode of Horizon on the BBC focused on the psychology of colour perception (available on iPlayer for one month).
A new book tackles the puzzle of left-handedness.
Five myths about memory and why they matter in court (more excellence from Ed Yong’s blog).
“…a flurry of recent dream studies in people with disabilities are challenging our understanding of why we dream” – intriguing feature from New Scientist (requires free registration).
It’s 50 years since Milgram’s classic research on obedience to authority. Social psychologist Alex Haslam spoke to Material World about the research on BBC Radio Four. Look out for September’s issue of The Psychologist magazine, which will be a special issue on Milgram.
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