Magic Tricks And Brain Art: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

Recent work has cast doubt on many previously reported priming effects — but the kind of priming used by magicians may in fact work, writes Jennifer Ouellette at Ars Technica. Researchers used the gestures and verbal cues employed by illusionist Derren Brown to try and encourage participants to think of a 3 of diamonds when given the choice of any card from a deck. And it worked: participants picked that card 18% of the time, much higher than would be expected by chance.

Psychologist Stuart Ritchie has a new book out, Science Fictions, which explores the flaws, biases and outright fraud that undermines psychology and science more generally. He talks about the book with Shamini Bundell for this week’s Nature podcast.

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience has announced the winners of their “Art of Neuroscience” competition. The images are pretty cool, ranging from straightforward microscopy photos to the rather more abstract. Check them out at Scientific American.

Yet another study has concluded that playing violent video games doesn’t lead to aggression, reports Alex Hern at The Guardian. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies investigating the link between playing violent games and later aggression or violence. Although the team found an overall significant effect, this effect was so small to be meaningless from a practical perspective

It’s a common idea that pregnant women are biologically and evolutionarily hardwired to “nest” — tidy, decorate and so on — in the weeks and months before their child is born. But there’s no scientific evidence that that’s the case, writes Arianne Shahvisi at Psyche.  In fact, to claim that it has a biological basis obscures the much more likely explanation that “nesting” is the result of cultural stereotypes about the role of women in the home.

Having a “strategic mindset” could help you to achieve your goals, reports David Robson at BBC Worklife.  Researchers found that the kind of people who adapt and refine their approach when faced with obstacles are ultimately more likely to reach a goal, such as learning a new language or losing weight.

Most of us have been on the receiving end of a rude email from a co-worker — and can relate to the way it really gets under your skin. Impolite emails can lead workers to experience more negative emotions and even experience more stress when back at home. And now a study has shown that even “passive” rudeness — ignoring a co-worker’s request, for instance — can create stress. We should all think about improving our “netiquette”, write the researchers, Zhenyu Yuan and YoungAh Park, at Scientific American.

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