Passive-Aggressive Texts And Polygraph Machines: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

When it comes to text messages, a single full stop can be loaded with meaning. A simple “OK”, for example, might be fine by itself — but suddenly takes on a passive-aggressive tone when it becomes “OK.” Danny Hensel explores why this is the case at NPR.

Some people who have been infected with Covid-19 continue to have physical symptoms for months — and this can take its toll on their mental health. Recent research has suggested that between one third and one half of Covid “long-haulers” may experience mental health problems like anxiety, depression or fatigue, writes Emma Goldberg at the New York Times.

After we lose someone, our feelings of grief don’t follow the fixed timeline of discrete stages often depicted in popular culture. Instead, the course of grief can be messy and manifest differently for different people, writes Shayla Love at Vice.

The use of polygraph machines — also known as lie detectors — is “creeping into UK policing”, according to a story from Amit Katwala at WIRED.  In a recent study, few UK police forces would confirm or deny that they used polygraphs, and some appeared to be using them in “covert” or “investigatory” contexts. Yet a large body of research has shown that polygraphs are not a reliable way of telling whether someone is lying.

This year’s Breakthrough Prizes have been announced — and among the winners is molecular biologist Catherine Dulac, who identified the neural circuitry involved in parenting behaviour in rodents. Zeeya Merali has the details at Nature.

Humans love the concept of good versus evil — but seeing things in such black and white terms prevents us from really understanding what makes people do bad things. That’s according to psychologist Julia Shaw, this week’s guest on the BBC Science Focus podcast.

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