Psychology Digest

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

Complaining Is Terrible for You, According to Science

Steeping yourself in negativity has seriously terrible consequences for your mental and physical health.<p>Why do people complain? Not to torture others with their negativity, surely. When most of us indulge in a bit of a moan, the idea is to "vent." By getting our emotions out, we reason, we'll feel …

Emotions

Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared?

I WAS one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department. For more than a dozen years, I worked on a busy rig in a tough neighborhood where rundown houses caught fire easily and gangs fought with machetes and .22s. I’ve pulled a bloated body from the bay, performed CPR on a baby and …

Women's News

People Are Pretty Bad at Reading Faces

Why humans are quick to judge expressions—and often get them wrong<p>T<i>he truth</i> <i>was written all over her face</i>. <i>The eyes are the window to the soul</i>. From our clichés, you would think that we could read faces like they were … well, open books. In fact, the skill has more in common with dancing, or writing …

The Brain

Why It Feels Like People Are Looking at You (and Why They’re Actually Not)

Posted February 9, 2016<p>By Andy Luttrell<p>I’m sure you’ve had this experience. You do something that seems so embarrassing, it consumes all of your …

Horses can recognise human emotion, new study shows

Psychologists have shown for the first time that horses are able to distinguish between positive and negative human facial expressions<p>Look angry and a horse is likely to give you a sideways glance: using its left or sinister side. Its heart rate will increase, too. And both are indications that a …

Emotions

Why people cheat

When Lance Armstrong was found guilty of doping a few years ago, the sports world was aghast. For almost a decade, he had dominated cycling so thoroughly that the thought of anyone else winning bordered on ridiculous. Few had guessed that he had done it by cheating, and many found it hard to …

Life Sciences

How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off

THEY learn to read at age 2, play Bach at 4, breeze through calculus at 6, and speak foreign languages fluently by 8. Their classmates shudder with envy; their parents rejoice at winning the lottery. But to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, their careers tend to end not with a bang, but with a …

Parenting

Men Are Better At Maps Until Women Take This Course - Issue 32: Space

Sheryl Sorby, a professor of engineering education at Ohio State University, was used to getting A’s. For as long as she could remember, she found …

Ohio State University

The Drug That Killed Michael Jackson Is Helping Us Unravel the Mystery of Consciousness

Using the powerful anesthetic propofol, researchers have begun to pick apart how human brain activity gives rise to consciousness.<p>Although doctors …

Consciousness

Can Our Minds Live Forever?

The soul is the pattern of information that represents you—your thoughts, memories and personality—your self. There is no scientific evidence that …

The Brain

The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain—And Almost Lost His Mind

The brain surgery lasted 11 and a half hours, beginning on the afternoon of June 21, 2014, and stretching into the Caribbean predawn of the next day. …

The Brain

Seeing the Spectrum

A new history of autism.<p>The world is unpredictable and disorderly. Sometimes your train is late; sometimes it rains when it’s not supposed to; the drugstore doesn’t have the brand of dental floss you like. Boundaries are violated and rules are ignored. The green spinach on your plate touches the …

Psychology

The Mysterious Link Between Autism and Extraordinary Abilities

Scientists are still puzzling out how savantism relates to a person’s likelihood of being on the spectrum.<p>“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,” Rex Lewis-Clack croons, his head joyfully bobbing in time with the Duke Ellington standard. The 20-year-old musician accompanies himself on a …

Psychology

The neuroscience of violent rage

Violent rage results from the activation of dedicated neural circuitry that is on the lookout for existential threats to prehistoric lifestyles. Life …

The Brain

Facebook and How UIs Twist Your Words

Can a UI affect our interpretation of others?Continue reading on Medium »

Facebook

Can You Spot a Liar?

Probably not. But here are some techniques grifters use, courtesy of Maria Konnikova and her new book about con artists.<p>In November, I came across a story that made absolutely no sense to me. A 33-year-old consultant named Niall Rice gave $718,000, little by little, to two Manhattan psychics who …

Psychology

What Quality Education Should Teach You, According to a Harvard Scientist

Harvard’s great biologist/psychologist <b>Steven Pinker</b> is one of my favorites, even though I’m just starting to get into his work.<p>What makes him great …

Education

Baltimore psychologist pioneers team using psychedelics as ‘sacred’ medicine

William Richards, who began studying psychedelics in Germany in 1963, is convinced LSD and psilocybin drugs can transform people’s lives for the better<p>Baltimore is known to many as the heroin capital of the US. If William Richards has anything to do with it, it may also become the nation’s most …

Psychology

Why We Keep Playing the Lottery - Issue 4: The Unlikely

To grasp how unlikely it was for Gloria C. MacKenzie, an 84-year-old Florida widow, to have won the $590 million Powerball lottery in May, Robert …

How We Learn Fairness

A pair of brown capuchin monkeys are sitting in a cage. From time to time, their caretakers give them tokens, which they can then exchange for food. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that capuchin monkeys prefer grapes to cucumbers. So what happens when unfairness strikes—when, in exchange for …

Computer Science
Bias

The surprising perks of being easily embarrassed

Feeling foolish and awkward can be good for you in unexpected ways, boosting your sex appeal, social status and more.<p>A few days into my first job, a colleague walked into my team’s office to complain about a “situation” with the toilet. I won’t go into the messy details; let’s just say that …

Psychology

Purity, Disgust and Donald Trump

What has Donald Trump tapped into that other Republican candidates are missing? I posed this question to some of my best sources.<p>Jonathan Haidt, the author of “The Righteous Mind,” emailed me his response.<p>Many American voters, Haidt wrote,<p>perceive that the moral order is falling apart, the country …

Republicans

Possessed by a mask

Every human culture has used masks for ritual disinhibition, shaming and play. Is being online the ultimate masquerade?<i>By Sandra Newman</i>Read at Aeon

Psychology

When Television Is More Than an “Idiot Box”

Around the world, TV educates while it entertains. It can teach the internet a few things, too.<p>F<b>or decades, millions of Indian children</b> have come …

The Incredible Thing We Do During Conversations

When we take turns speaking, we chime in after a culturally universal short gap.<p>One of the greatest human skills becomes evident during conversations. It’s there, not in what we say but in what we don’t. It’s there in the pauses, the silences, the gaps between the end of my words and the start of …

Science

Beards, Why?

What facial hair says about personality and perception<p>Paul Ryan: House speaker, Wisconsinite, Republican standard-bearer, and now, lumber-sexual? In an Instagram post late last month, the congressman unveiled a spray of chestnut stubble across his face. “I’m the first Speaker to sport a beard in …

Facial Hair

I was terrified when my mind detached from my body – this is depersonalisation

On holiday with my family, I looked in the mirror and saw a stranger. Somehow, my brain can pull me apart and put me back together again<p>You’re staring straight ahead. Somehow your awareness peels away from you, in slow motion. It’s like you’ve cracked in two, and one half is facing the wrong way. …

The Brain

If Santa's workshop was run by behavioral economists

<b>GWEN IFILL:</b> Now for a little holiday spirit.<p>We start with a look at a few gifts, apps and tech toys that can nudge you and others toward better …