Category: Weekly links

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

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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”

Abstract Art And Pigeon Personalities: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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The world is designed for —  and by — extraverts, forcing introverts to try and adapt to society, writes Noa Herz at Psyche. But it’s unfair to place the onus on introverts, Herz argues, writing that simple changes could make work and educational settings more welcoming places for a group that makes up around a third of the population.


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Sex Differences And Happy Relationships: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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Researchers have reported on the unusual case study of a man, known as RFS, who could read letters but not numbers. When RFS saw numbers, they appeared as a jumbled up mess, writes Sam Kean at Science. Yet he could see the shape of an “8” once it was turned on its side, suggesting that the problem wasn’t a visual deficit, but something specific to number processing.

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

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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.


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Pregnancy Cravings And Cakes In Disguise: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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More journals have issued expressions of concern for papers authored by the psychologist Hans Eysenck. These are just the latest of many similar statements and retractions related to Eysenck’s work, particularly that which purported to find strong links between personality and cancer risk. But as Cathleen O’Grady reports at Science, it’s taken a long time to reach this stage: some researchers began raising concerns more than 25 years ago.  Continue reading “Pregnancy Cravings And Cakes In Disguise: The Week’s Best Psychology Links”

Hummingbirds And Helpful Rats: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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Rats are generally Good Samaritans: they help other rats in trouble, particularly when they’re in a group. But after their companions are given drugs which make them passive, the rats seem to lose their willingness to help, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce at NPR. The findings have similarities with the bystander effect in humans, where the presence of unresponsive bystanders can make someone less likely to help.

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Horror Movies And Loot Boxes: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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Being positive is all well and good — but when do messages of hope and happiness start to become toxic? At Cosmic Shambles, Dean Burnett discusses the problem of “toxic positivity”, when people are told that they can or should simply choose to be happy, even in the face of adversity. It often comes in the form of trite sayings like “think happy thoughts”, which can leave people feeling that their negative emotions are not valid.

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Optical Illusions And Problematic Peer-Review: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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Visual illusions occur because our brains construct stories about how things should look, based on our experiences and expectations, which don’t always match up with reality. And with a greater understanding of how we (mis)interpret the visual world, perhaps we can also come to understand the more complicated biases in our thoughts and behaviour that have led to the polarised political climate, writes Brian Resnick at Vox. Aside from being a great read, the story contains some really nice examples of visual illusions that I had never come across before. Continue reading “Optical Illusions And Problematic Peer-Review: The Week’s Best Psychology Links”

Sad Tweets And Horror Games: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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Why do some people automatically see a colour for each day of the week, or associate shapes with particular tastes? At Nautilus, Sidney Perkowitz writes about recent research into the origins of synaesthesia — and how the phenomenon could help researchers understand how consciousness emerges in the brain.

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Psychedelic Drugs And Social Distancing: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

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There’s been a lot in the media this week about the potential for psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions. At The Guardian, researcher Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the potential for psilocybin to treat depression, while at BBC Science Focus, Jason Goodyer talks to David Nutt in more detail about the group’s findings. And of course, earlier this week we reported on a study looking at how psilocybin alters levels of glutamate in the brain.

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