Post List

Psychology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:08 PM

Three Cheers for Failure!

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Last week I vowed to pay more attention to replication in psychology experiments. Repeated experiments are an important test of whether a finding is "really out there" or an accident, so, as a number of psychologists have been saying lately to the public, it is kind of a problem that many ...Read More
... Read more »

Jennifer V. Fayard, Amandeep K. Bassi, Daniel M. Bernstein, & Brent W. Roberts. (2009) Is cleanliness next to godliness? Dispelling old wives’ tales: Failure to replicate Zhong and Liljenquist (2006). Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 6(2), 21-29. info:other/1539-8714

  • December 23, 2010
  • 05:13 PM

Magical thinking enhances creativity

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's tough being an atheist dad at Christmas. I mean, the kids love the all the stories, the sense of drama, the sense of community and of being part of something big. They also love to think they have a magical friend who cares about them and watches over them.

But I still feel awkward looking them in the eyes and telling them that Santa is real. I guess it's the incorrigible rationalist in me. Arty types probably have it easier.

Well, here's a study that I was hoping would salve my conscienc........ Read more »

Subbotsky E, Hysted C, & Jones N. (2010) Watching films with magical content facilitates creativity in children. Perceptual and motor skills, 111(1), 261-77. PMID: 21058605  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 10:59 AM

Depression Treatment Increased From 1998 to 2007

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A paper just out reports on the changing patterns of treatment for depression in the USA, over the period from 1998 to 2007.The headline news is that increased: the overall rate of people treated for some form of "depression" went from 2.37% to 2.88% per year. That's an increase of 21%, which is not trivial, but it's much less than the increase in the previous decade: it was just 0.73% in 1987.But the increase was concentrated in some groups of people.Americans over 50 accounted for the bulk of ........ Read more »

Marcus SC, & Olfson M. (2010) National trends in the treatment for depression from 1998 to 2007. Archives of general psychiatry, 67(12), 1265-73. PMID: 21135326  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:43 AM

What Makes a Face Look Alive? Video

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

No matter how good technology is, we can often tell the difference between a human face and an animated face. Being able to tell the difference allows us to pay ... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:43 AM

Top-down vs bottom-up approaches to cognition: Griffiths vs McClelland

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Two articles to be published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences debate the merits of approaching cognition from different ends of the microscope. The central issue is which approach is the most productive for explaining phenomena in cognition. Structured probabilistic takes a 'top-down' approach while Emergentism takes a 'bottom-up' approach.... Read more »

Griffiths, T., Chater, N., Kemp, C., Perfors, A., & Tenenbaum, J. (2010) Probabilistic models of cognition: exploring representations and inductive biases. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8), 357-364. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.05.004  

McClelland, J., Botvinick, M., Noelle, D., Plaut, D., Rogers, T., Seidenberg, M., & Smith, L. (2010) Letting structure emerge: connectionist and dynamical systems approaches to cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8), 348-356. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.06.002  

Zeil J, Hofmann MI, & Chahl JS. (2003) Catchment areas of panoramic snapshots in outdoor scenes. Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, image science, and vision, 20(3), 450-69. PMID: 12630831  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Vaccines are a pain: What to do about it

by Scott Gavura in Science-Based Medicine

As much as I support vaccines, I see the short term consequences. Vaccines can be painful. Kids don’t like them, and parents don’t like seeing their children suffer. That this transient pain is the most common consequence of gaining  protection from fatal illnesses seems like a fair trade-off to me. But that’s not the case [...]... Read more »

Taddio A, Appleton M, Bortolussi R, Chambers C, Dubey V, Halperin S, Hanrahan A, Ipp M, Lockett D, Macdonald N.... (2010) Reducing the pain of childhood vaccination: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline (summary). CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal , 182(18), 1989-95. PMID: 21098067  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 05:24 AM

Better than sex! US college students value self-esteem boosts more than bodily pleasures

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

'Because you're worth it!' L'Oreal's catchphrase taps into the narcissistic zeitgeist. But it also begs the question: Are we at risk of becoming obsessed with feeling good about ourselves? According to new research by Brad Bushman and his co-workers, not only do US college students have higher self-esteem than previous generations, they now value self-esteem boosts more than sex, food, receiving a salary payment, seeing a friend or having an alcoholic drink.

Bushman's team made their findi........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2010
  • 09:43 PM

Bad Metaphors Make for Bad Theories

by melodye in Child's Play

Imagine for a moment, that you have been thrown back into the Ellisonesque world of the 1980’s, with a delightful perm and even better trousers.  One fragile Monday morning, you are sitting innocently enough at your cubicle, when your boss comes to you with the summary of a report you have never read, on a [...]... Read more »

Ramscar, M.,, Yarlett, D.,, Dye, M.,, Denny, K.,, & Thorpe, K. (2010) The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and their implications for symbolic learning. Cognitive Science, 34(6), 909-957. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01092.x

  • December 22, 2010
  • 04:31 PM

Fetal Testosterone and Autistic Traits - Part V: Visuospatial Abilities

by Lindsay in Autist's Corner

Part of an ongoing series examining the empirical support for Simon Baron-Cohen's "extreme male brain" theory of autism... Read more »

  • December 22, 2010
  • 03:08 PM

Driving and distraction - California survey

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

An interesting survey of drivers in California provides some data about beliefs in the dangers of phone conversations and texting while driving as well as data about actual self-reported behavior.... Read more »

Strayer, D., Drews, F., & Crouch, D. (2006) A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 48(2), 381-391. DOI: 10.1518/001872006777724471  

  • December 22, 2010
  • 01:17 PM

Which is Worse? The Glass Ceiling or Cliff

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Things are not how they used to be: there are male nurses, Stay-at-home dads and female crane operators. Many people hold jobs that aren’t traditionally associated with their genders. However, ... Read more »

Brescoll, V.L., Dawson, E., & Uhlmann, E.L. (2010) Hard won and easily lost: the fragile status of leaders in gender-stereotype-incongruent occupations. Psychological Science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science/ APS, 21(11), 1640-2. PMID: 20876882  

  • December 21, 2010
  • 11:14 PM

How Strong Are Your Relationships? Drop a Few Mails Into This Analyzer, and Get an Estimate

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

"Most people are other people," Oscar Wilde wrote. "Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." You get the feeling, somehow, that he thought this was a bad thing. Seems likelier that it's just an inevitable fact about a species whose members ...Read More
... Read more »

  • December 21, 2010
  • 07:00 PM

Understanding Aggression from Low-Functioning Autistic Children

by Michael Long in Phased

Low-functioning autistic children tend to be most violent when they are anxious or excited.... Read more »

  • December 21, 2010
  • 02:49 PM

Fetal Testosterone and Autistic Traits - Part IV: Verbal Abilities

by Lindsay in Autist's Corner

Part of an ongoing series examining the evidence for Simon Baron-Cohen's "extreme male brain" theory of autism... Read more »

Lutchmaya, S., Baron-Cohen, S., & Raggatt, P. (2001) Foetal testosterone and vocabulary size in 18- and 24-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 24(4), 418-424. DOI: 10.1016/S0163-6383(02)00087-5  

  • December 21, 2010
  • 01:39 PM

What Mirror Images and Foreign Scripts Tell Us About the Reading Brain

by Livia Blackburne in A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing

Here’s a simple exercise. Count the number of times the letter ‘A’ appears in the sentences below. Easy enough, but, there's a catch. You have to do it without reading the words.


One day, after Little Red Riding hood woke up, mother called her into the kitchen and handed her a basket of cakes and pastries. “Take these to grandmother. She's sick, and perhaps these cakes will make her feel better.”

If you have been reading for years, you probably found it difficult, if not imp........ Read more »

Baker CI, Liu J, Wald LL, Kwong KK, Benner T, & Kanwisher N. (2007) Visual word processing and experiential origins of functional selectivity in human extrastriate cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(21), 9087-92. PMID: 17502592  

  • December 21, 2010
  • 07:06 AM

Paralysis deniers have subconscious insight into their disability

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Anosognosia is an intriguing neuropsychological syndrome in which a patient with one or more paralysed limbs denies they have anything wrong with them. In a new investigation, Aikaterini Fotopoulou and her colleagues have shown that some patients fitting this description have a residual, sub-conscious awareness of their disability.

The researchers recruited 14 brain-damaged patients with a completely paralysed left arm, half of whom denied their paralysis (ie they had anosognosia). Next, a........ Read more »

  • December 21, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Defining UX – and a Merry Christmas 2010!

by Simon Harper in Thinking Out Loud

As a positivist research scientist I've been struggling with the whole User Experience (UX) space for a long time, because to me it just seems a bit - well - 'fluffy'.... Read more »

Law, Effie Lai-Chong and Roto, Virpi and Hassenzahl, Marc and Vermeeren, Arnold P.O.S. and Kort, Joke. (2009) Understanding, scoping and defining user experience: a survey approach. Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, 1(1), 719-728. info:/10.1145/1518701.1518813

  • December 21, 2010
  • 02:00 AM

Love ballads leave women more open to romance

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

‘Love is in the air’: Effects of songs with romantic lyrics on compliance with a courtship request From Psychology of Music If you’re having trouble getting a date, French researchers suggest that picking the right soundtrack could improve the odds. There’s plenty of research indicating that the media affects our behavior but this study specifically [...]... Read more »

  • December 20, 2010
  • 04:15 PM

Is Beauty More Rewarding for Men II?

by whooke in The Psychology of Beauty

It’s been too long since I have made regular postings to the Beauty Blog.  I am happy to report that I am back and ready to go!  Just to get started, I have decided that every so often I will be revisiting the topics of earlier postings, emphasizing how subsequent research supports – and does [...]... Read more »

  • December 20, 2010
  • 03:00 PM

Exposing Your Toddler to More Diverse Objects Accelerates Learning

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Say you want to teach a toddler what a cup is. One toddler sees three nearly identical cups, while another sees a tea cup, a sippy cup and a Styrofoam ... Read more »

Perry, L.K., Samuelson, L.K., Malloy, L.M., & Schiffer, R.N. (2010) Learn locally, think globally: Exemplar variability supports higher-order generalization and word learning. Psychological Science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science/ APS, 21(12), 1894-902. PMID: 21106892  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit