Category: Weekly links

Chummy Chimps And Linguistic Legends: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

You’ve probably heard tales of people who are suddenly able to speak a language they didn’t know while hypnotised. It goes without saying that the evidence doesn’t really support these claims — but it’s interesting that linguistics seems to attract this sort of pseudoscientific idea. At Knowable Magazine, Charles Q. Choi discusses “fantastic linguistics” with historical linguist Sarah Thomason.  

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Thirsty Mice And Virtual Reality: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

For the first time, researchers have looked at what happens in the brain when people take the psychedelic drug salvinorin A, from the plant salvia divinorum. The team found that the drug disrupts the default mode network, a set of areas that are normally synchronised when we’re not engaged in any particular task, similar to the effects found for the “classical” psychedelic drugs like psilocybin. But the subjective effects of salvinorin A are quite different to the effects of those other drugs, leaving some researchers questioning how important the default mode network really is to the psychedelic experience. Daniel Oberhaus, who participated in the trial, has the story at Wired.

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Body Language And Spooky Science: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

If you want to get on a cat’s good side, it’s worth mastering the art of the “slow blink”. Cats “smile” by blinking slowly, and now researchers have found that they respond positively to humans who do the same. Participants who performed a slow blink were more likely to receive one from their cat, reports Sara Rigby at BBC Science Focus. Cats were also more likely to approach an experimenter who had just slow-blinked. 

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Conspiracy Theories And Winter Wellbeing: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

Displaying empathy towards others seems like an obvious virtue — but it can have a dark side, writes Richard Fisher at BBC Future. Empathising with a single, identifiable individual can divert time and money away from causes that could benefit many more people, for instance. And bad actors can harness our tendency to empathise with those who are similar to us in order to get us to act aggressively towards the out-group.


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Backpacks And Bird Brains: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

Many birds have impressive cognitive abilities such as good memory, tool-making talents, and problem-solving skills — yet they don’t have the part of the brain called the neocortex which is key to those abilities in mammals. But now researchers have discovered that a region of the pigeon brain called the pallium seems to be organised in a similar way to mammals’ neocortex, reports Virginia Morell at Science, suggesting it is responsible for bird cognition.

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Bee Brains And Eyebrows: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

You’ve probably heard of ASMR — or maybe experienced it yourself from watching videos of people doing things like whispering or rustling paper. But although such videos are incredibly popular, there have been surprisingly few studies on the phenomenon. Giulia Poerio explores what the research has revealed so far at The Conversation.


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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.

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Faces And Friendliness: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

A new study adds to the “nature vs nurture” debate about the fusiform face area, a region of the brain specialised for processing faces, reports Neuroskeptic at Discover Magazine. Researchers found that both blind and sighted people show activation of this area when touching models of faces, suggesting that visual experience, at least, isn’t necessary for the area to become specialised.

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Dream Diaries And Awkward Acronyms: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

Psychologists interested in dreams spend a lot of time analysing dream diaries — but what if they could have a computer do all that laborious work for them? That’s the promise of a new algorithm that uses text analysis to look for patterns in people’s dream reports, writes Charlotte Hartley at Science. The tool could help researchers understand how dreams differ in different populations, or how the content of dreams relates to wellbeing. Continue reading “Dream Diaries And Awkward Acronyms: The Week’s Best Psychology Links”

Mathematical Mistakes And Social Sharks: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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

We really struggle to wrap our heads around the idea of exponential growth, writes David Robson at BBC Future. Instead, we tend to rely on our intuitions and think of growth as linear even when it is not — which could help to explain why many people underestimated the dangers of coronavirus spreading. Researchers say that politicians and the media should be doing more to try and highlight the exponential nature of transmission in an attempt to correct this mathematical bias. Continue reading “Mathematical Mistakes And Social Sharks: The Week’s Best Psychology Links”