Category: Extras


Eye-catching studies that I didn’t get a chance to report on in full:

After parents “friended” their undergrad children on Facebook, there was no adverse effect on privacy but there was less conflict in their relationship

Existing evidence does not support strong causal claims about the unique importance of pretend play for development

“Why do girls freak out?” new study on an adolescent in-patient unit.

Violence is less common in YouTube content compared with TV; & where it exists, consequences are more realistic.

Contrary to previous reports, parents say they’re happier than non-parents.

Placing a zillion on a number line.

“In this review, we examine the consensus and controversy in the study of fibre pathway connectivity for language

Participants were willing to terminate the unattractive woman more frequently than the moderate or extremely attractive women.

Feel the fear but carry on anyway; acceptance-based therapy for fear of public speaking.

The implication is that using punitive measures to control persistent offenders is unlikely to be effective in an identifiable group of juvenile offenders.

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

A psychopath, a narcissist & a Machiavellian enter a room, who was perceived more favourably?

What is the most interesting part of the brain? (open access)

“Spending time on others increases one’s feeling of time affluence”

“Individuals can perceive suicidality from facial appearance with accuracy”

“Male sexual victimisation by women should be taken as seriously as that of women by men”

Brown-eyed men perceived as more trustworthy, mainly because of their rounder face-shape (see also)

Restless Legs Syndrome: a qualitative analysis of psychosocial suffering

Children’s and parents’ stereotypical views of scientists could put the children off science

About half the benefit of popular “z-drugs” for insomnia is due to the placebo effect

“Medical training is not an optimal environment for the psychological health of medical students”

Mediterranean diet associated with experiencing more positive/ fewer negative moods (cross-sectional study)

Police uniform colour makes no difference to aggression by, or against, police
Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

Sex differences in eye movement patterns. Believe it or not, when looking at a woman, women apparently scan the whole body, men focus more on the face!

Among participants who were older than 60 years, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death.”

a primary reason why men eat meat: It makes them feel like real men

A Bayesian account of ‘hysteria’ (open access article)

You are what you tweet: Personality expression and perception on Twitter

Evidence for prejudice against people with acne. “In terms of personality, the photographs in the ‘clear’ condition were given higher scores for potential friendship, attractiveness and overall positive personality features than the photographs in the ‘acne’ condition.”

You know how, when they’re talking, some people end every sentence like it’s a question? It’s called uptalk. A gameshow study found: “The more successful a man is, the less likely he is to use uptalk; the more successful a woman is, the more likely she is to use uptalk.”

The cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein: a description and preliminary analysis of unpublished photographs (open access article)

Are elder siblings helpers or competitors?

Chimps and orangutans have mid-life crises too.

cell phone conversations were rated significantly ruder than conversations between two audible speakers

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

The pursuit of happiness can be lonely.

Working memory training does not improve intelligence in healthy young adults.

The anti-Mozart effect? Fast and loud background music [by Mozart] disrupts reading comprehension.

Good for creativity: “simple external tasks that allow the mind to wander”.

Posing with your partner in your Facebook pic is a sign that you’re happy in that relationship.

Effect of weather on pedestrians “A 5°C increase in temp was associated with a 14% increase in pedestrians“.

Anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam increases people’s ruthlessness in moral-personal dilemmas.

Even 3-yr-olds won’t show you much sympathy if you’re making a fuss about nothing.

Reflections on being a memory expert on the witness stand.

Dogs evaluate humans on the basis of direct experiences only.
Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


10 Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

Huge new study examines links between mental illness and creativity.

Too close for comfort, or too far to care? Finding humor in distant tragedies and close mishaps.”

People rated narcissism as a less “dark” trait than Machiavellianism or psychopathy.

Do nappies (diapers) interfere with babies learning to walk?

Doing bad but looking good – How dark personalities are adept at making themselves look attractive.

Why humans are (sometimes) less rational than other animals.

People can approximate a person’s extraversion, dominance and neuroticism based on just their body odour.

Mixing an energy drink with an alcoholic drink increases motivation for more alcohol in students.

Participation in Mass Gatherings Can Benefit Well-Being” A longitudinal study at the Hindu Magh Mela festival.

People prefer more southern routes when travelling, and it’s not because the terrain is flatter.


Post written by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


10 Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

A case of maths synaesthesia (seeing formulas as geometric shapes).

In a new survey, females spent more time on Facebook, had more FB friends, and were more likely than men to use their profile pics for impression management.

It backfires when students sacrifice sleep time for extra study.

Another form of the Macbeth effect – students unfamiliar with video games were more attracted to hygiene products after playing a violent game.

Signing at the start of a form, rather than at the end, boosts people’s honesty.

Gossiping in the office catalyses friendships, but don’t over do it.

A possible explanation for why we enjoy watching sad films?

Taller football referees were better able to keep control of the game.

There are fewer gender differences in mate preferences in countries where there is greater gender equality.

Is pretend play really as important for children’s development as everyone usually claims?

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

Study 3 extends these results … and demonstrates how men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving

Robots with long hair assumed to be less suited to engineering and lifting tasks.

Smiling as a signal of low status? Smaller athletes and models for cheap clothing smile more than bigger athletes and models for exclusive clothing (pdf).

our findings show that human behavior in life-and-death situations is best captured by the expression “every man for himself.””

When mentally tired, people are more resistant to corny chat-up lines, but less resistant to subtle approaches.

Preservation of musical memory in an amnesic professional cellist.

Even mild mental illness linked with reduced longevity.

What’s it like to be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia?

Behavioral and neuroanatomical investigation of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.

Participants were fairly good [at finding their parked car]. “Only 14% made a substantial detour, most of them women”.

Reconceptualizing Obedience Within the Milgram Paradigm as Identification-Based Followership.

Do antidepressants change personality?-A five-year observational study

The readiness potential is not the neural correlate of the decision to move, a new study claims (pdf). The finding challenges the usual interpretation of Benjamin Libet’s 1980 classic study, that the conscious decision to move comes after the neural activity causing a movement.

The most influential people on Facebook are themselves less susceptible to influence.

Choking Under the Pressure of a Positive Stereotype: Gender Identification and Self-Consciousness Moderate Men’s Math Test Performance.

owners of dog breeds widely considered to be “aggressive” harbour more psychotic tendencies

Gentlemen Patrons Give More Tips to Waitresses With Red Clothes

Thus, from an early age, humans seem to have genuine concern for the welfare of others


Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

People like their bosses to have high emotional intelligence, even more than high IQ. Also: “participants favoured young, male bosses and old, female bosses over old, male bosses and young, female bosses.”

Using psychology to improve Powerpoint presentations (open access).

Sustained violent video game play was significantly related to steeper increases in adolescents’ trajectory of aggressive behavior over time

Percepts to recollections: insights about memory functioning from single neuron recordings in the human brain (open access).

Can people tell whether abstract art is hanging the right way up or not?

Watching the Biggest Loser diet TV show risks increasing obesity stigma.

Using horses as an animal model of human depression.

We prefer product packaging that’s rounded rather than straight-edged.

Anger really is linked with the colour red in our minds.

Younger people prefer “saving the best for last” more than older people.

Is low self-esteem a risk-factor for depression?

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

People look younger when they smile.

Narcissism comes in three different flavours – vulnerable, grandiose and aggressive.

We eat more when different food types are presented on a plate separately, rather than mixed in together.

The findings challenge society’s presumption that male teachers have better relationships with boys than women teachers“.

7-month-olds chunk items in memory.

What do Americans mean when they describe someone as “cool”?

Cognitive training increases openness to experience in older adults.

Having autistic traits is associated with having reduced belief in God.

The personalities of nations that are geographical neighbours are more similar than those that are far apart

Young Korean men with finger ratios indicative of more pre-natal testosterone exposure (short second digit relative to fourth digit) are more likely to choose the marine corps for their military service.

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.


Eye-catching studies that didn’t make the final cut:

Sounds like a good result for geeks – “A curious personality was linked to a wide range of adaptive behaviors including tolerance of anxiety and uncertainty, positive emotional expressiveness, initiation of humor and playfulness, unconventional thinking, and a non-defensive, non-critical attitude

Fusing eastern principles with the essence of cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy could be an exciting new treatment for people with emotional difficulties – a new study tested its effectiveness in an NHS trial.

Just when you finished painting all your walls blue, along comes this study: “we demonstrated that a brief glimpse of green prior to a creativity task enhances creative performance

Study of texting whilst walking finds that texters walk more cautiously, but they bump into door frames just as much as non-texters. My question – why were the non-texters bumping into things?

Apparently, focusing on your goals will increase your intention to pursue them, but reduce your persistence. Trouble is, deliberately not thinking about your goals will probably make you think about them more. So just don’t think, okay!

A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences.

Hmm, interesting – a prosopagnosic (who has trouble processing faces) performed like normal when averaging identity or emotion across a crowd of faces.

How attachment varies through the lifespan.

Thinking about Arabs and Muslims makes Americans shoot faster.

Prince Charles won’t like this one – Exposure to organic foods makes us less altruistic.

Maybe we can cancel out the effects and paint some big eyes on the walls of organic food shops. The presence of eyes led participants to put rubbish in the correct bins.

When we’re at war, we prefer our leaders to be older.

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.