Anxious Dogs And Testosterone Myths: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

Keyboard for ideaOur weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web

Despite tantalising headlines and claims from tech companies, we’re a long way from having computers that can read our minds. At WIRED, Nicole Kobie looks at the more immediate potential of brain-computer interfaces: giving a voice to paralysed people.

A world-wide survey of dog owners has investigated how common anxiety-related behaviours are in different breeds, reports Michael Price at Science. About a third of all dogs displayed noise sensitivity (e.g. during fireworks and thunder), and many were scared of other dogs, strangers or new situations. But the pattern of anxiety varied between breeds: Labradors were barely ever wary of strangers, for instance, while Lagotto Romagnolos were particularly scared of loud noises.

How does stress affect our brains — and what can you do to tackle it? Barbara Sahakian, Christelle Langley and Muzaffer Kaser have the answers at The Conversation.

Lacking the words to describe an experience can leave us blind to its occurrence: this is known as a state of “hypocognition”, writes Kaidi Wu at Aeon. But as we learn or develop new language and wrap our heads around new concepts, Wu writes, we “give meaning to walks of life previously starved of recognition”.

Also at Aeon: Matthew Gutmann breaks down some of the myths about testosterone, writing that early studies on the effects of testosterone were fatally flawed — and that the hormone has been used at times as an excuse for men’s behaviour.

The culture we live in is undoubtedly a huge force on the kinds of decisions that we make in our lives. But other factors like advertising and the media have less of an impact than you might think, writes Tom Stafford at The Conversation.

Just a short round-up today, as most coverage this week understandably focuses on the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t forget that the team over at The Psychologist have published a collection of articles considering the virus from a psychological perspective, and are also compiling links to other stories from around the web.  You can read the growing resource here.

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