Retail Ruses And Accent Attitudes: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help patients with Parkinson’s control their movement — but a new study has found that it also prevents some people from being able to swim. Nine patients — including two former competitive swimmers — were no longer able to keep afloat after receiving implants for DBS, reports Jennifer Walter for Discover. Past research has found that DBS can also disrupt other learned motor skills, such as golfing.


A ketamine-based intervention could help heavy drinkers cut down on their alcohol consumption, reports Kelly Servick at Science. Researchers gave drinkers a single dose of ketamine, with the aim of disrupting the associations they had formed between the sights and smells of beer and the reward they got from consuming it. Months later, the participants were drinking far fewer pints.


“All humans have biases – simplified ways of thinking when we need to process our thoughts quickly. Accent is no exception: we all have automatic associations with accents based on people we’ve met during our lives. It’s only when we rely on these simple stereotypes to judge unrelated traits, like intelligence or competence, that our cultural baggage becomes discrimination.” At The Conversation, Devyani Sharma writes about her research into people’s perceptions of different British accents — and how these attitudes can lead to prejudice against those who are already marginalised.


Being hungry doesn’t automatically make us more angry, despite the popular belief in “hanger”, writes Benedict Carey at The New York Times. Research has found that people only become hangry in circumstances where they (mis)interpret the unpleasantness of huger as a feeling of annoyance towards others. And, as we reported recently, even very hungry people remain surprisingly helpful and co-operative.


A study out this week led to a bunch of outlets proclaiming that one in four teenagers are “addicted” to their phones — but the real story is much more nuanced than that. At New Scientist, Clare Wilson explores why so much of the media coverage got it wrong.


Writing lecture notes out by hand may have benefits over computer-based note-taking, writes Claudia Hammond for BBC Future. Studies have shown that students who write their notes are better at explaining the concepts they are learning about, seemingly because pen-and-paper note-taking involves a deeper form of cognitive processing than simply typing out a lecturer’s words verbatim.


Finally, it’s Black Friday today, and whatever you think about the day, there’s no denying the fact that it has become firmly established on this side of the pond in recent years. But if you want to wise up to the tricks used by retailers to get you to buy, look no further than this explainer from BBC Bitesize.

Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattbWarren), Editor of BPS Research Digest