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  • January 16, 2011
  • 04:32 PM

P is happy and N is sad – a biological universal?

by Maria Wolters in Speech and Science

Twitter has been abuzz recently with news of a paper that claims to have found universal sound correlates of happiness and sadness: Auracher, J., Albers, S., Zhai, Y., Gareeva, G., & Stavniychuk, T. (2011). P Is for Happiness, N Is for Sadness: Universals in Sound Iconicity to Detect Emotions in Poetry Discourse Processes, 48 (1), [...]... Read more »

  • January 15, 2011
  • 11:43 AM

Of autistic mice and men

by Jon Brock in Cracking the Enigma

Studies looking at potential environmental and genetic causes of autism are pretty much always correlational. They may identify risk factors, but they can only ever show that people exposed to a particular risk factor are more likely to have autism. They don’t show whether it actually causes autism. Eating ice cream is a risk factor for getting sunburnt, but (unless you get your ice cream and your sunscreen mixed up) there’s no sense in which ice cream causes sunburn. Even if we are confiden........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2011
  • 04:53 AM

Autistic Children In The Media

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Emory University's Jennifer Sarrett offers an interesting although sadly brief analysis of the way in which autism is treated in the mass media: Trapped Children.She examines media depictions of children with autism, first in the 1960s, and then today. In those 40 years, professionals radically changed their minds about autism: in the 60s, a lot of people thought it was caused by emotionally distant refrigerator mothers; nowadays, we think it's a neural wiring disorder caused by deleted genes.Y........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2011
  • 08:03 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Keep them from going with the immoral flow!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This isn’t a ‘feel good’ post about research into how we are driven to do good. Instead, it’s a post about how we don’t mind doing bad if it’s easier than doing (the more difficult) good. Those folks who advertise with the ‘easy’ button know a good thing when they see it. And it’s an [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Christian religious concepts increase racial prejudice
Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: On caffe........ Read more »

Teper, R., & Inzlicht, M. (2010) Active transgressions and moral elusions: Action framing influences moral behavior. Social Psychological and Personality Science. info:/

Johnson, E. (2003) MEDICINE: Do Defaults Save Lives?. Science, 302(5649), 1338-1339. DOI: 10.1126/science.1091721  

  • January 14, 2011
  • 07:19 AM

Performance Anxiety? Try Writing About It.

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

Choking under pressure can happen to the best of us. Students with test anxiety often perform below their abilities, and baseball pitchers can let ruin a perfect game. But a new study published in Science suggests that taking a few … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 03:54 PM

Is Erythropoetin (EPO) a Candidate Drug for Depression?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Erythropoetin (EPO) is a naturally produced hormone that controls erythropoiesis (red blood cell production).  It’s been commercially available in the U.S. since 1989 and is used commonly used to combat anemia associated with chemotherapy treatment in cancer.  In addition to its effect on red blood cells, EPO appears to play a key role in the brain response to neuronal injury and some role in the healing of wounds.EPO is infamous because of its use by cyclists and other athletes for ........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Help Jurors Detect (or Protect) Holes in Expert Analysis

by Dr. Kevin Boully in Persuasive Litigator

by: Dr. Kevin Boully Infamous rock singer Courtney Love is in trouble again. Unless you’re her lawyer (or one of her forgiving fans)1, you are probably wondering what Love’s troubles have to do with your persuasive advocacy. Fair question. The Hole lead singer’s 2009 Twitter tirade against fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir made her a defendant in a defamation lawsuit that may be headed for trial in early February.2 Most importantly, Ms. Simorangkir has reportedly retained a social media ........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:52 AM

Dog Exhibits Mutual Exclusivity Bias

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Pilley & Reid (2010) describe the incredible Chaser: A border collie who knows over 1,000 words. But does he really have a mutual exclusivity bias?... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:49 AM

Dog exhibits mutual exclusivity bias

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0


Pilley & Reid (2010) describe an experiment where a border collie was trained to learn proper nouns for objects.  After 3 years of training, the dog had learned over 1,000 proper names and showed no sign of slowing.  Experiments were run to test whether the dog understood the difference between nouns and commands and whether the . . . → Read More: Dog exhibits mutual exclusivity bias... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:22 AM

When it's moving, it's hard to see it changing.

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Change blindness is a phenomenon whereby people fail to detect sizable changes in a visual scene. This can occur even when they are actively trying to locate the change (Simons & Ambinder, 2005). If you are unaware of this phenomenon, you can go to UBC's psychology department where they have some interesting video examples. In a new study, Suchow & Alvarez (2011) demonstrates a novel visual illusion whereby motion induces failure to detect change - or what they call 'silencing'. Look at the........ Read more »

Suchow JW, & Alvarez GA. (2011) Motion Silences Awareness of Visual Change. Current biology : CB. PMID: 21215632  

Simons, D., & Ambinder, M. (2005) Change Blindness. Theory and Consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 44-48. DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00332.x  

  • January 13, 2011
  • 05:05 AM

What makes revenge sweet?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Does it matter if the punished don't understand what they did wrong?
 'To bring him back to a more just sense of what he owes us, and of the wrong that he has done to us, is frequently the principal end posed in our revenge, which is always imperfect when it cannot accomplish this.' Adam SmithWhat makes revenge satisfying? Is it merely ensuring the transgressor receives their just deserts, or is it also about ensuring that they understand the error of their ways. Mario Gollwitzer and col........ Read more »

Gollwitzer, M., Meder, M., & Schmitt, M. (2010) What gives victims satisfaction when they seek revenge?. European Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.782  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 11:43 PM

Self-reflection In the Brain

by Colin Clark in Mens Rea

How do you know how well you're doing when you perform a task? Let's make it really easy -- let's say I quickly flash a word in front of your eyes, and you have to say what that word is. Now how confident are you that you got it right?Making this kind of decision falls into the realm of metacognition, or thinking about thinking. It's something that we do all the time -- "Am I remembering that ... Read more »

Fleming SM, Weil RS, Nagy Z, Dolan RJ, & Rees G. (2010) Relating introspective accuracy to individual differences in brain structure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1541-3. PMID: 20847276  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 09:45 PM

Chimpanzee Warfare?

by Dan Bailey in Smells Like Science

The Chimpanzees who live at the Ngogo site deep within Uganda’s Kibale National Park spend their days foraging and feeding, wrestling and playing, grooming and socializing. But every 10 to 14 days a group of males gathers and moves away from the rest of the group. They form a single-file line as they walk purposefully toward the edge of their territory, eventually striking out into the territory of a neighboring group of chimpanzees. They move in atypical silence, scanning the underbrush and ........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2011
  • 03:53 PM

Lemur Week: Numerical Cognition and Hidden Grapes

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Behold! The second installment of the Science Online Lemur Cognition series. If you missed the first installment, you should check out the cyborg lemurs of the Duke Lemur Center.

There's some pretty good evidence that numerical cognition emerged fairly early in the primate lineage, at least, if not significantly earlier in evolution. Most of the work on numerical cognition in non-human primates, however, has focused on a handful of monkey and ape species. The prosimian suborder of primates, how........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Pain: what does guilt have to do with it?

by Hayzell in

Feelings of guilt are familiar to people who suffer from chronic pain. In this post I hope to update you on what science has to say about this all too common feeling.
What is guilt exactly?
Guilt is a complex emotion, and scientists have many views of it, depending their area of expertise. Researchers Kubany and Watson [...]... Read more »

  • January 12, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Voir Dire Tip: Are you ‘transported’ by a good story?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

As a kid, I loved a good story, especially scary or suspenseful ones. And I still do. It’s just that now I tend to listen to them on my iPod while driving or flying across the country.  As a trial consultant, it’s part of the job to help craft a case narrative into a really good [...]

Related posts:The story of the numbers behind the story
You’re not too old for a story (but you might be too young!)
Voir dire lesson: “I don’t believe everything I hear”
... Read more »

Mazzocco, PJ, Green, MC, Sasota, JA, & Jones, NW. (2010) This story is not for everyone: Transportability and Narrative Persuasion. . Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(4), 361-368. info:/

  • January 12, 2011
  • 06:01 AM

When genes matter for intelligence

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Image credit: Aleksandra Pospiech One of the interesting and robust nuggets from behavior genetics is that heritability of psychological traits increases as one ages. Imagine for example you have a cohort of individuals you follow over their lives. At the age of 1 the heritability of I.Q. may be ~20%. This means that ~20% of [...]... Read more »

Tucker-Drob EM, Rhemtulla M, Harden KP, Turkheimer E, & Fask D. (2010) Emergence of a Gene x Socioeconomic Status Interaction on Infant Mental Ability Between 10 Months and 2 Years. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 21169524  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 02:00 AM

Links between alcohol consumption, our perception of others and increased levels of aggression

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Effects of acute alcohol consumption on the perception of eye gaze direction From Journal of Psychopharmacology This article explores the link between alcohol and increased aggression by assessing differences in how people look at others. The study uses a gaze perception task to monitor the response of participants to stimulus faces to gauge if they [...]... Read more »

Penton-Voak, I., Cooper, R., Roberts, R., Attwood, A., & Munafo, M. (2010) Effects of acute alcohol consumption on the perception of eye gaze direction. Journal of Psychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1177/0269881110385599  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 11:14 PM

Cleanternet vs The HPV Vaccine, A Cost Benefit Analysis

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

This video was made in... Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 02:50 PM

Chinese Mothers, American Anxieties and the Nature of Parenting

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Over the weekend I read Amy Chua's paean to "Chinese parents" in The Wall Street Journal with morbid fascination. What felt morbid was Chua's "Mommie Dearest" anecdote about battling with her 7-year-old because the little girl couldn't master a difficult piano piece (which involved threatening to ...Read More
... Read more »

QUINN, N. (2003) Cultural Selves. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1001(1), 145-176. DOI: 10.1196/annals.1279.010  

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