The infamous 'Pascal's Wager' is still often trotted out as a supposedly rational basis for believing in god. While the flaws in that one are well known, it is still commonly believed that risk-averse people are more likely to be religious. Better to go to Church than run the risk of being fried in the hereafter, the supposition goes.
Actually, evidence that risk-averse people are more religious is weaker than you might suppose. What's more, there's no reason to think that it applies in t........ Read more »
Liu, E. (2010) Are Risk-Taking Persons Less Religious? Risk Preference, Religious Affiliation, and Religious Participation in Taiwan. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(1), 172-178. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01499.x
The Google logo.Notice the logo is multi-colored (as pointed out by Neurobonkers). Seeing "Google" printed in a solid color (or in any other font, for that matter) would likely result in a Stroop effect, or a slower response time in identifying the color of the font, relative to that of a neutral word.Is Google making us stupid?That question, and its original exposition in The Atlantic, has been furthering the career of Nicholas G. Carr. His subsequent book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Do........ Read more »
Sparrow, B., Liu, J., & Wegner, D. (2011) Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1207745
Head cheese may not be for everyone but it has an intensely devoted following. Most head cheese recipes call for the removal of brain, eyes, and ears before preparation, but purists scoff at this and include everything except bones. It is doubtful that Upper Paleolithic humans made head cheese; it is too time consuming. It [...]... Read more »
Prat S, Péan SC, Crépin L, Drucker DG, Puaud SJ, Valladas H, Lázničková-Galetová M, van der Plicht J, & Yanevich A. (2011) The oldest anatomically modern humans from far southeast europe: direct dating, culture and behavior. PloS one, 6(6). PMID: 21698105
Nigel Barber of The Daily Beast (Psychology Today) has posted on a forthcoming article in which he shows that the level of atheism increases with the quality of life. Barber explains the trend as follows: The reasons that churches lose ground in developed countries can be summarized in market terms. First, with better science, and [...]... Read more »
Barber, N. (2011) A Cross-National Test of the Uncertainty Hypothesis of Religious Belief. Cross-Cultural Research. DOI: 10.1177/1069397111402465
Every year 3500 children under the age of fifteen die in industrialized nations as a result of abuse. In a CAPRA seminar, John Devaney talked about the characteristics of these deaths, about best practices in child death reviews, and about lessons learned to improve child protection. ... Read more »
Devaney, J., Lazenbatt, A., & Bunting, L. (2011) Inquiring into Non-Accidental Child Deaths: Reviewing the Review Process. British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), 242-260. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcq069
There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. - Chinese proverb Childhood obesity is a growing problem for our society. However, we are still trying to find effective methods of dealing with this public health concern. Some researchers have suggested that family based interventions could be the most effective way to [...]... Read more »
Jones AR, Parkinson KN, Drewett RF, Hyland RM, Pearce MS, & Adamson AJ. (2011) Parental perceptions of weight status in children: the Gateshead Millennium Study. International journal of obesity, 35(7), 953-962. PMID: 21673651
Tucked amidst acres of asphalt jungle are cities’ unsung environmental heroes. Yards, lawns, gardens—call them whatever you please—these bits of unpaved earth play a real role in supporting thriving urban ecosystems. And they could play the part even more eloquently if we thought of them as parts of a larger whole. Anyone who has spent [...]... Read more »
Goddard, M., Dougill, A., & Benton, T. (2010) Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends in Ecology , 25(2), 90-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.07.016
You’ve seen non-native English speakers struggle to be understood on the witness stand. Even native English speakers can be tough to understand due to speech dialects or thick styles of pronunciation. We know accents make us all work harder to comprehend and that most of us don’t like to work that hard. So what happens [...]
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Shuman DW, Stokes L, & Martinez G. (2011) Stranger at the Gate: the Effect of the Plaintiff's use of an Interpreter on Juror Decision-Making. Behavioral sciences . PMID: 21618274
Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Californian law banning the sale of violent videogames to children was unconstitutional because it violated the right to free speech.However, the ruling wasn't unanimous. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion. Unfortunately, it contains a whopping piece of bad neuroscience. The ruling is here. Thanks to the Law & Neuroscience Blog for noticing this.Breyer says (on page 13 of his bit)Cutting-edge neuroscience has shown that “vir........ Read more »
Weber, R., Ritterfeld, U., & Mathiak, K. (2006) Does Playing Violent Video Games Induce Aggression? Empirical Evidence of a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. Media Psychology, 8(1), 39-60. DOI: 10.1207/S1532785XMEP0801_4
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
There has been a lot of reaction to the new graphic images the FDA will put on cigarette packs. From concerns about the government attempting to ‘regulate cool’ to derision and to concerns about the ‘shock value’ of the images, writers have been expressing their reactions. And so have researchers. There is a long history of research in [...]
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2011) What makes an image memorable?. Science Daily. info:/
Pushing high density living may seem like a good way to get people out of their cars—saving them money, curbing emissions, and reducing oil dependence—but densification may not be a silver bullet, according to one recent study. The authors dug into the National Household Transportation Survey to examine per household vehicle ownership rates, vehicle miles [...]... Read more »
Brownstone, D., & Golob, T. (2009) The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption☆. Journal of Urban Economics, 65(1), 91-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2008.09.002
We’ve written a number of times about deception and the detection thereof. Our goal continues to be to keep you up to date on what we actually know about the art of detecting deception and what is simply unreliable ‘common wisdom’. There is some really intriguing and interesting research out there including a new study we [...]
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... Read more »
Eisenkopf, G., Gurtoviy, R., & Utikal, V. (2011) Size matters –when it comes to lies. University of Konstanz, Department of Economics. info:/
Western culture has a peculiar fascination with ‘intelligence’. I’ve not taken an IQ test for years – and hopefully never will again. Being ‘intelligent’ is held in ludicrously high esteem (second probably only to good looks) that most people think they’ve either got it, or they haven’t. The ‘doctrine’ of an inborn intelligence seems to … Continue reading »... Read more »
Flynn, J. (1987) Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101(2), 171-191. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.101.2.171
In light of Anthony’s recent murder acquittal, plenty of people have wondered (either angrily or with genuine confusion) how a jury could possibly acquit Casey Anthony when her guilt seemed so apparent to the general public. As it turns out, several legal and psychological characteristics that have historically influenced the outcomes of jury trials may be able to clarify this bewilderment.... Read more »
Devine, D., Clayton, L., Dunford, B., Seying, R., & Pryce, J. (2001) Jury decision making: 45 years of empirical research on deliberating groups. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 7(3), 622-727. DOI: 10.1037//1076-8918.104.22.1682
Bowers, W. J., Sandys, M., & Steiner, B. (1998) Foreclosed impartiality in capital sentencing: Jurors' predispositions, guilt-trial experience, and premature decision making. Cornell Law Review, 1476-1556. info:/
MacCoun, R. (1990) The emergence of extralegal bias during jury deliberations. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 17(3), 303-314. DOI: 10.1177/0093854890017003005
Myers, M. (1979) Rule departures and making law: Juries and their verdicts. Law , 13(3), 781-797. DOI: 10.2307/3053186
Indiana Jones would have loved it: 65,000 years ago, stone age hunters in Africa gathered at night in a hidden cave to worship the giant rock snake that seemed to move in the flickering firelight and hissingly promised fertility so long as the rituals were performed. They came to this place every year during when [...]... Read more »
Coulson, Sheila, Staurset, Sigrid, & Walker, Nick. (2011) Ritualized Behavior in the Middle Stone Age: Evidence from Rhino Cave, Tsodilo Hills, Botswana. PaleoAnthropology, 18-61. info:/10.4207/PA.2011.ART42
Child surgery makes smoking parents more likely to try quitting.
Here’s a strange one: Doctors at Mayo Clinic wanted to find out whether children undergoing surgery had any effect on the smoking behavior of their parents. And it did—but the effect appears to be short-lived.
The Mayo researchers began from the already well-tested proposition that smokers who have surgery are more likely to quit smoking. In fact, they quit at twice the rate of smokers who haven’t had surgery. Not hard to........ Read more »
In theory, medicine works like this. You get some signs or symptoms. You go to the doctor, and depending on those, you get a diagnosis. Your doctor decides on the best available treatment on that basis.The logic of this system depends upon the sequence. A diagnosis is meant to be an objective statement about the nature of your illness; treatments (if any) come afterwards. It would be odd if the treatments on offer influenced what diagnosis you got.An interesting paper just out suggests that exac........ Read more »
Chen SY, & Toh S. (2011) National trends in prescribing antidepressants before and after an FDA advisory on suicidality risk in youths. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 62(7), 727-33. PMID: 21724784
Here's a novel study looking at how religion relates to social trust - you know, how trusting people are of each other. What's novel about it? Well, first off it's a study of Germans, so that's a new perspective we didn't have before.
Even more interestingly, however, it looks at the cultural effects of religion as well as the individual effects. In other words, if there are, say, more Protestants in an area, or more churchgoers, does that make people more trusting? Even if they are not Protest........ Read more »
Traunmuller, R. (2010) Moral Communities? Religion as a Source of Social Trust in a Multilevel Analysis of 97 German Regions. European Sociological Review, 27(3), 346-363. DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcq011
Last month, a variety of parenting blogs were in an uproar over the story of a Canadian family that didn’t feel like sharing the sex of newborn Storm with the rest of the world. The media had a field day with the notion of raising a “genderless” child, even after Storm’s mother published an explanation making it clear that their goal was to buffer the child against the relentless gender stereotyping we foist on infants from day one. From garish pink onesies that proclaim “Daddy’s ........ Read more »
A. Herdagdelen, & M. Baroni. (2011) Stereotypical gender actions can be extracted from web text. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. info:/
Live fast, die young. You’re a long time gone. Sleep when you’re dead. The hedonists mantras. Lifestyle choices whether in terms of food consumption, alcohol and drugs or sexual activity are down to the individual. Nannying by governments, who have their own mantras: Smoking Kills, Know your limits, Get your five-a-day, Use protection, etc, all [...]Blame the environment for your bad habits is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »
Claudio Ricciardi. (2011) Induced harmful lifestyles and healthy choices. Int. J. Environ. Health, 5(3), 262-273. info:/
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