Psychology Digest on Flipboard

By Hugo Alves | The best cognitive science and psychology articles from all around the web.

Empathy, neurochemistry, and the dramatic arc

Paul Zak, professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University in California, is one the founding pioneers of …

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard H Thaler review – why don’t people pursue their own best interests?

Professor Richard Thaler is a bit lazy, prone to procrastination and likes his booze: his observations, not mine. He is also the president of the American Economic Association, a role held in the past by such luminaries as Milton Friedman, JK Galbraith, Gary Becker and Amartya Sen.

That a person …


Art Markman, PhD: Why Do People Engage in Extreme Rituals?

It is pledge season at fraternities and sororities all over the US. New initiates into these groups spend a chunk of their first semester engaging in …

Fraternities and Sororities

When Photographers Are Neuroscientists - Issue 26: Color

In the summer of 1867 American photographer Carleton Watkins hauled a mammoth wooden camera through the wilderness of Oregon, taking pictures of the …


The Stock Market on Hormones

Those crazy kids and their raging hormones, always getting themselves into trouble—reckless driving, excessive drinking, staining the family way, to …


For Couples, Time Can Upend the Laws of Attraction

After decades of studying the concept of “mate value,” social scientists finally have the data necessary to explain the romantic choices in “Knocked Up” and “Pride and Prejudice.”

The flabby, unkempt Seth Rogen is no one’s dream date, especially when he’s playing the unemployed guy in “Knocked Up” …


How common drugs affect empathy and risk taking

Two drugs commonly used to treat depression and Parkinson's have been shown to directly impact moral decision-making when it comes to harming oneself and others.

After taking the serotonin-enhancing antidepressant citalopram, healthy volunteers were willing to pay twice as much to prevent harm to …


This cognitive bias explains why we constantly misunderstand other people

Years of research suggests that we tend to hold other people to different standards than we hold ourselves.

For example: Your coworker turns in a project late, and you assume he's a slacker. The next week, you turn in a project late, and you tell yourself it's because you were preoccupied with …


How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression

A study finds that wild environments boost well-being by reducing obsessive, negative thoughts.

“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: What would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?” wrote Henry David Thoreau in The Atlantic in 1862.

Thoreau extolled (and extolled …


Is this a revolution in brain science?


“Brain drain” is taking on new, and promising, meaning in the wake of two studies published this month that could help revolutionize how …

The Brain

Can you teach people to have empathy?

Empathy is a quality that is integral to most people's lives - and yet the modern world makes it easy to lose sight of the feelings of others. But


Baby Geniuses: How Surprises Help Infants Learn

A new study explores how 11-month-olds expand their knowledge by playing with unpredictable objects.

When babies encounter a new object, their method of making its acquaintance tends to involve banging it against the nearest hard surface or shoving as much of it in their mouths as possible. While …

Johns Hopkins University

Neuroscience: The hard science of oxytocin

As researchers work out how oxytocin affects the brain, the hormone is shedding its reputation as a simple cuddle chemical.

In April 2011, Robert …

Medical Journals

The Introverted Face

People put serious weight on judgments of character based on facial structure alone.

People whose faces are perceived to look more "competent" are more likely to be CEOs of large, successful companies. Having a face that people deem "dominant" is a predictor of rank advancement in the military. …


When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function

Some researchers believe that the microbiome may play a role in regulating how people think and feel.

By now, the idea that gut bacteria affects a person’s health is not revolutionary. Many people know that these microbes influence digestion, allergies, and metabolism. The trend has become almost …

The Brain

Marketing has discovered neuroscience, but the results are more glitter than gold

Marketing has discovered neuroscience and the shiny new product has plenty of style but very little substance. “Neuromarketing” is lighting up the eyes of advertising executives and lightening the wallets of public relations companies. It promises to target the unconscious desires of consumers, …

Life Sciences

Your Porn Addiction Isn’t Real

The brains of those ‘addicted’ to porn bear no neurological resemblance to those of other well-documented addictions while watching it, says a new study. Why the word needs to change.

The last time neuroscientists Nicole Prause (Liberos LLC at UCLA) and Vaughn Steele (Mind Research Network) …


Why Your Students (And You) Need Daytime Naps: How Napping Can Dramatically Improve Learning & Memory - InformED

If you hold onto one useful fact today, let it be this: The brain doesn’t need to be conscious to be productive. In fact, it’s often at its most …


Science is broken. These academics think they have the answer.

Splashy science frauds usually spark conversations about the fact that science sometimes fails. But what often gets missed are the decidedly less …

Scientific Research

Can you win this game? Behavioral economics says no

The inventor of behavioral economics explains how to play the ultimatum game. Photo by Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Let’s play the ultimatum game. …


8 Things Inside Out Teaches Viewers About Emotions, Memory and the Mind

Memories are never fully deleted

Inside Out has officially become Pixar’s most successful original film — and also the most educational.

The animated blockbuster goes into the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) as she moves across the country with her family — and her emotions: …


Why We Speak

An evolutionary biologist argues that humans started talking because they needed to negotiate.

Sometime around 120,000 years ago in the desert near Oued Djebbana, in what is modern-day northern Algeria, a human acquired some small seashells. The shells were from a species known as Nassarius …


Humor Can Improve Your Life: 5 Secrets Backed By Research

• Humor is our brain’s way of rewarding us for correcting errors in our thinking. It improves our mood because it takes brainpower to decode the joke and having to think kills bad feelings. Humor can make you more persuasive because humor mentally disarms people.

Women find funny guys attractive …


How You Lie Depends On Where You're From

How can you tell if the kangaroo is lying? (Photo: mcfarlandmo/Flickr)This is a universal truth: human beings are terrible at spotting liars. Say …

Lie Detectors

Picture This? Some Just Can’t

Certain people, researchers have discovered, can’t summon up mental images — it’s as if their mind’s eye is blind. This month in the journal Cortex, the condition received a name: aphantasia, based on the Greek word phantasia, which Aristotle used to describe the power that presents visual imagery …

The Brain

Moral Suspicion Trickles Down the Corporate Ladder

New research finds that a high-ranking supervisor’s unethical misdeeds can trickle down to tarnish the reputations of the upstanding rank-and-file …


Racism’s Psychological Toll

Our screens and feeds are filled with news and images of black Americans dying or being brutalized. A brief and yet still-too-long list: Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride. The image of a white police officer straddling a black teenager on a lawn in McKinney, …


Tell It About Your Mother

In 1900, Sigmund Freud, a Viennese specialist in nervous disorders, Began treating the 18-year-old daughter of a rich acquaintance. Freud, who was 44, was just beginning to practice psychoanalysis, a form of therapy that would become known as ‘the talking cure.’ The girl, whom Freud would later …


Did Evolutionary Rules Shape The Reddit Button Ecosystem?

One again the Internet has come together for a viral global cyber event — The Button. I am talking about the mysterious Lost-esque button on Reddit …

Game Theory