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“It’s depressing,..We were definitely depressed,” he repeated

I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT: why do people persist in believing things that just aren't true? The New Yorker asks. Alternatively, a BBC Future author offers up some beguiling and subtle solutions in The best way to win an argument.
posted by quin on Jun 21, 2014 - 61 comments

Looking at us looking at animals

Why are humans so fascinated with other animals? Looking to psychology and evolution to find out.
posted by rcraniac on May 20, 2014 - 13 comments

Meet the Super Taskers

Many people who say they can multitask show a cognitive deterioration when trying to perform more than one task at once. But according to Psychology Today, there are a small group of people who can actually multitask flawlessly.
posted by reenum on Mar 25, 2014 - 53 comments

That's when you started graphing everything.

The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13. [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Dec 21, 2013 - 4 comments

Math with Bad Drawings

Headlines from a Mathematically Literate World [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 4, 2013 - 32 comments

a bumpy guide to mate selection & other life choices

"Young ladies, indelibly fix this shape of head in your memories. Any man who will make a natural, kind and true husband will have a head in outline from a side view like this." Phrenology Diagrams from Vaught's Practical Character Reader (1902). Full 268-page book available in the LOC's Internet Archive.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 9, 2013 - 26 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

Brain games are bogus

"Brain training games don't actually make you smarter." Looking at recent meta-analyses and replication attempts of studies showing increased cognitive abilities gained from brain-training games, the New Yorker article comes to the conclusion that the results are suspect and these games haven't been shown to improve cognitive abilities broadly. Currently, brain training is a multi-million-dollar business.
posted by tykky on Apr 9, 2013 - 61 comments

the squidgy 1.5kg lump of pink stuff in our heads

NeuroBollocks: Debunking pseudo-neuroscience so you don't have to.
posted by cthuljew on Mar 31, 2013 - 18 comments

Windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth, Australian study finds

Sickness being attributed to wind turbines is more likely to have been caused by people getting alarmed at the health warnings circulated by activists, an Australian study has found. Complaints of illness were far more prevalent in communities targeted by anti-windfarm groups, said the report's author, Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University. His report concludes that illnesses being blamed on windfarms are more than likely caused by the psychological effect of suggestions that the turbines make people ill, rather than by the turbines themselves. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 19, 2013 - 77 comments

Folk Neuroscience

Folk Neuroscience: how inaccurate neurological concepts have become cultural staples.
posted by Scientist on Mar 6, 2013 - 52 comments

People full of shit, both liberal and conservative, most of the time.

False memories of fabricated political events [ABSTRACT]. In the largest false memory study to date, 5,269 participants were asked about their memories for three true and one of five fabricated political events. Each fabricated event was accompanied by a photographic image purportedly depicting that event. Approximately half the participants falsely remembered that the false event happened, with 27% remembering that they saw the events happen on the news. Political orientation appeared to influence the formation of false memories, with conservatives more likely to falsely remember seeing Barack Obama shaking hands with the president of Iran, and liberals more likely to remember George W. Bush vacationing with a baseball celebrity during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. A follow-up study supported the explanation that events are more easily implanted in memory when they are congruent with a person's preexisting attitudes and evaluations, in part because attitude-congruent false events promote feelings of recognition and familiarity, which in turn interfere with source attributions. [FULL TEXT PDF AVAILABLE HERE] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 13, 2013 - 78 comments

the end of history illusion

Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 6, 2013 - 34 comments

"Where sex is work, sex may just work differently" & "the WEIRDest people in the world?"

When sex means reproduction, certain proclivities may simply not be part of cultural models of sexuality: "Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality... [T]he Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."" [more inside]
posted by flex on Dec 9, 2012 - 83 comments

The flawed science surrounding Diederik Stapel

Press Release The Levelt, Noort and Drenth Committees have published their joint final report of the investigation into the massive academic fraud by Diederik Stapel, a social psychologist, who is known mainly for his work on social priming. English translation of the full report [pdf]. [more inside]
posted by srboisvert on Nov 28, 2012 - 11 comments

Skill-Luck Continuum

"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
posted by vidur on Nov 20, 2012 - 16 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

For Lsson Plans, Study Help, or Quick Reference

Are you the type of person who, when flipping through a book or scanning a website, immediately searches for the diagrams or charts because you'd rather absorb the information visually than have to read a bunch of text? If so, then you are probably a visual learner and you may find Useful Charts helpful. The goal is to present useful information in the form of study charts so that students, teachers or simply those interested in increasing their general knowledge can absorb the information quickly and visually.
posted by netbros on Oct 4, 2012 - 9 comments

Grape Apes: The Origins of Morality

Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2012 - 36 comments

Discobolus and The Thinker

Study shows those who think analytically are less likely to be religious: Why are some people more religious than others? It may come down to whether they rely more heavily on an analytical or intuitive thinking process, at least according to a new study [abstract; supplementary materials] performed at the University of British Columbia and published in the journal “Science.” [more inside]
posted by troll on Apr 27, 2012 - 133 comments

Falling STAR*D?

Falling STAR*D?: It is common practice for psychiatrists to switch depressive patients between different antidepressants if their current drug does not evince a symptomatic response. Despite clinical wisdom supporting this, little empirical, controlled evidence exists to direct “switching” protocols (e.g. if a patient with Z characteristics is on drug X, is it usually better to switch to drug A, B, or C? Will switching help at all?) in the psychopharmacological treatment of depression. The NIMH-funded STAR*D (Sequenced Alternatives to Relieve Depression) study aimed to address these questions of treatment direction in a very large (n>4000), “real-world” sample using a multi-phase treatment plan with different drugs (and cognitive therapy) at every step to maximize chances of eventual remission. Overall, the NIMH reported that about 67% of patients eventually achieved remission, with few differences in effectiveness between different types of treatment at each step. However, researchers and commentators have raised concerns regarding inconsistent reporting of outcomes, after-the-fact changes in study design and analysis, and other issues that may have inflated, partially invalidated, or misrepresented widely reported treatment outcomes. These inequities may also have implications for the secondary moderator analyses (i.e. does trait A predict switching to X or Y is better?) that were a major reason for the study. [more inside]
posted by Keter on Jan 14, 2012 - 12 comments

Fat: The Gift that Keeps On Giving

The Fat Trap (NYT pop review): Overweight individuals in Western nations (and, increasingly, beyond) face interpersonal and institutional stigma for their bodies*. Oftentimes, these stigmas are predicated on the belief that being overweight is a moral failure, that being overweight is usually a result of laziness, decadence, and/or characterlogical poor impulse control. However, an emerging consensus among obesity researchers points toward strong, common physiological and individual genetic factors as causative for heightened BMIs in the modern world and the general failure of dieting to produce BMI outcomes. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine (paywalled) adds to this body of evidence, suggesting that chemical messengers held to contribute to altered "efficient" metabolism and increased hunger in the wake of low-calorie dieting are (on average) significantly elevated up to a full year (if not longer) following a substantial drop in weight from dieting. [more inside]
posted by Keter on Dec 28, 2011 - 173 comments

2061

On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

Carl Jung

Carl Jung: Taking inner life seriously. An eight-part series on the thought of Carl Gustav Jung from the Guardian's How to Believe series (previously.) Jung's relationship with his patient, student, and rumored lover Sabina Spielrein, and his mentor Sigmund Freud is the subject of a new film, "A Dangerous Method." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Sep 16, 2011 - 14 comments

The Menace Within

The participants in the Stanford Prison Experiment are revisited 40 years after their experience.
posted by reenum on Jul 11, 2011 - 57 comments

You all need to have your heads examined

The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

"Here, eat this root."

The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 15, 2011 - 278 comments

"Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink." Charles Bukowski

Full Bladder, Better Decisions? Study says controlling your bladder decreases impulsive choices.
posted by Fizz on Mar 7, 2011 - 34 comments

The Soul Niche

Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it. It all depends how you think it.
posted by 0bvious on Feb 4, 2011 - 17 comments

Anxiety and test-taking

A study just published in Science finds that students who briefly write about their testing anxieties do better on the subsequent test. The abstract at Science, and a podcast interview with Sian Beilock, one of the study authors.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 14, 2011 - 14 comments

Should have seen this one coming, too.

Following the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology's decision to publish Daryl Bem's writeup of 8 studies (PDF) purporting to show evidence for precognition (previously), researchers from the University of Amsterdam have written a rebuttal (PDF) which finds methodological flaws not only in Bem's research, but in many other published papers in experimental psychology. Could this prove to be psychology's cold fusion moment? [more inside]
posted by yourcelf on Jan 8, 2011 - 21 comments

A Real Science of Mind

A Real Science of Mind Neurobabble piques interest in science, but obscures how science works. Individuals see, know, and want to make love. Brains don’t. Those things are psychological — not, in any evident way, neural.
posted by shivohum on Dec 27, 2010 - 21 comments

You saw this post coming

An eight-year, extremely large study (p = 1.34 × 10-11) has found statistically significant results that point towards a human capability for precognition. Reviewers for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology are puzzled by the paper but cannot find any flaws in its methodology. Is this confirmation of the fluid nature of time? Or is it simply another candidate for the Journal of Irreproducible Results?
posted by shii on Nov 11, 2010 - 100 comments

The Dalai Lama at Stanford

The Dalai Lama on changing minds only through compassion and respect. He spent several days at Stanford recently, and this session focuses on the neuroscience of compassion. Watch it in full here.
posted by philipy on Oct 21, 2010 - 56 comments

Believing is seeing, seeing is hearing

Is seeing believing? BBC Horizon looks at sensory perception, illusions and the interplay of our different senses. (Full program for UK viewers here). Makes you feel like you've entered The Twilight Zone. [more inside]
posted by philipy on Oct 18, 2010 - 16 comments

Study: Lesbian Parents Raise Better-Behaved Kids

A nearly 25-year study has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers. Results were published this month in Pediatrics: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract. Free PDF. Scribd). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2010 - 98 comments

"No matter what ideas the human mind generates, they must never be quashed."

New Scientist Special Report: Living in Denial. Includes articles by Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 28, 2010 - 37 comments

Me Tarzan. You Jane. He Skeptic.

This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 25, 2010 - 86 comments

The "Still-Face" Experiment

The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2010 - 22 comments

DSM-5

At midnight tonight, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a proposed draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Feb 9, 2010 - 58 comments

(glowing) prairie voles illuminate the human condition

Monogamouse
Prairie voles have many vasopressin receptors in the reward centres of their brains. It seems as though these are wired up in a way that causes the animal to take pleasure from monogamy. (previously 1|2)
posted by kliuless on Jan 9, 2010 - 20 comments

he of the weird al hair and santa claus beard

R.Sapolsky on the uniqueness of humans in relation to the rest of the animal world (via)
posted by kliuless on Dec 20, 2009 - 28 comments

Psychological Science?

"Research has shown that numerous psychological interventions are efficacious, effective, and cost-effective. However, these interventions are used infrequently with patients who would benefit from them, in part because clinical psychologists have not made a convincing case for the use of these interventions ... and because clinical psychologists do not themselves use these interventions even when given the opportunity to do so." In Psychological Science in the Public Interest, psychologists Timothy Baker, Richard McFall, and Varda Shoham argue that clinical psychology needs to embrace its status as a science in order to save itself as a profession. If that's too long, Walter Mischel -- yes, the marshmallow guy -- writes an accompanying editorial. : "The disconnect between much of clinical practice and the advances in psychological science is an unconscionable embarrassment..."
posted by escabeche on Oct 26, 2009 - 16 comments

Aaron Beck & Cognitive Therapy

The psychoanalytic mystique was overwhelming. It was a little bit like the evangelical movement.” How Aaron Beck and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped increase empiricism in psychotherapy.
posted by Non Prosequitur on Oct 9, 2009 - 53 comments

Wait, wait, I almost have it!

Why do we get "tip of the tongue" moments?? We’ve all experienced the tip of the tongue moment where we wanted to say something but just couldn’t remember the word. But what causes this momentary lapses in vocabulary?
posted by CaptKyle on Jun 12, 2009 - 43 comments

Gleaming the Time Cube

Pascal Boyer explores the field of crackpottery in his article How I found glaring errors in Einstein's calculations. "For some time now, I have been an avid reader and collector of webpages created by crackpot physicists, those marginal self-styled scientists whose foundational, generally revolutionary work is sadly ignored by most established scientists. These are the great heroes, at least in their own eyes, of alternative science." [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on May 22, 2009 - 46 comments

X-Phi

Philosophy’s great experiment. "Philosophers used to combine conceptual reflections with practical experiment. The trendiest new branch of the discipline, known as x-phi, wants to return to those days. Some philosophers don’t like it." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 4, 2009 - 45 comments

"Our whole approach is based on the idea that science matters at the FDA"

The Economist on Drugs -- Scientists in North America, Europe and Israel are studying the use of MDMA, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and other banned psychoactive substances in treating conditions such as anxiety, cluster headaches, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are supported by private funds from a handful of organisations: the Beckley Foundation in Britain; the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in America. [related]
posted by kliuless on Dec 28, 2008 - 43 comments

Neural Correlates of Hate

Brain's 'Hate Circuit' Identified. "People who view pictures of someone they hate display activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a 'hate circuit', according to new research by scientists at UCL (University College London)."
posted by homunculus on Oct 29, 2008 - 34 comments

I Contain Multitudes

First Person Plural. "An evolving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves—all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one self bind another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 25, 2008 - 27 comments

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