Greying Hairs And Generational Amnesia: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

We all experience a phenomenon called “generational amnesia”, where we forget the ways in which previous generations shaped the world. And that makes it harder to solve global problems like climate change, writes Richard Fisher at BBC Future: if we think of the state of the world in our own youth as the “baseline”, then it’s harder to recognise long-term climate trends or declines in animal populations, for instance.


At The Guardian, Stephen Reicher argues that many decisions made during the pandemic were based on “folk psychology” rather than sound science.  He hopes that lessons can be learned so that the next crisis is handled better.


Researchers have found that greying hairs can become their original colour again. The small study showed that the point at which a hair turns grey often coincides with a period of stress, reports Diana Kwon at Scientific American — and that it can sometimes return to its previous colour during a particularly relaxing time.


Mongoose mothers living in the same colony all give birth at the same time, causing confusion as to which pup is their own. But this phenomenon seems to be adaptive: it ensures that the mongooses distribute resources fairly to all offspring, reports Mennatalla Ibrahim at Science.


“Cognitive flexibility” refers to the ability to adapt your behaviour and the way you think in a changing environment. And the skill is key to creativity, write Barbara Sahakian and colleagues at The Conversation, who argue that many of humanity’s greatest achievements have relied on people who are particularly flexible, rather than those with high IQs.


Would you rather date someone who is extremely altruistic, or someone who feels duty bound to prioritise the needs of those closest to them?  At Vox, Sigal Samuel talks to neuroscientist Molly Crockett about her work studying human morality.

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