|Authoritarian Parenting – Effective or Counterproductive?
||The parenting debate is most definitely one that comes up fairly regularly. We are forever hearing about this type of parenting, and that type of mothering a child. Authoritarian parenting is a term that has been thrown around a lot recently, and it would seem that it picks up a lot of mixed reviews. To […]
|Professional Violinists Can't Tell a Stradivarius From a Modern Violin
The violins of 18th Century craftsman Antonio Stradivari are legendary
. The most perfect violins ever made
. They're so perfect, in fact, that renowned violin soloists not only can't tell the difference between a Stradivarius and a modern violin, they actually tend to prefer the latter. Wait, what? Crap....
|Bone marrow stem cells show promise in stroke treatment
||Stem cells culled from bone marrow may prove beneficial in stroke recovery, scientists have learned. The researchers identified 46 studies that examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells -- a type of multipotent adult stem cells mostly processed from bone marrow -- in animal models of stroke. They found MSCs to be significantly better than control therapy in 44 of the studies.
|Having the Option to Do Nothing Increases Commitment
||We often assume that giving people the chance to choose what they are going to do will increase their motivation to do it. One reason why many colleges give their students so much autonomy is with the belief that if students have selected the classes they take they will put more effort into those classes than if the classes were assigned to them. read more
|Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys
||Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children, including African-American boys, according to a study. Such chronic stress during youth leads to physiological weathering similar to aging. "African American children have really not yet been studied through this context," said a co-author. "Previous work has mostly focused on middle-class whites. Our study takes a different approach and really highlights the importance of early intervention to moderate disparities in social and educational opportunities."
|Teaching Robots Not To Stare
Advice columns frequently repeat the mantra of making eye contact — how it enables you to exude an aura of self-confidence and sincerity. But, the truth is, too much eye contact freaks people out. And robots are the worst offenders....
|Be thankful and make better long-term decisions
||Stamping out emotional responses seems like the best path to making wiser and more logical decisions.
|Proprioceptive feedback helps rehab patients learning to operate robotic prosthetic
||Proprioception significantly improved prosthetic control in the absence of vision, new research has shown. When patients are fitted with a robotic prosthetic limb, they gain control over their prosthesis with the help of a communication pathway provided by a brain-computer interface, or BCI, implanted in the brain. However, BCI-controlled prosthetics currently operate without somatosensory feedback.
|Lied-to Children More Likely to Lie and Cheat Themselves
||What percentage of children will lie and cheat after being lied to themselves?â†’ Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is
"Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Related articles:How to Teach Children to Share
Irregular Bedtimes Reduce Children's Cognitive Performance
Spanking Children Promotes Antisocial Behaviour and Slows Mental Development
Free Play: Simple Items More Fun For Children
Same-Sex Parenting Does Not Harm Children, Research Review Finds
|Ten things we learnt about behaviour change and sustainability
||How do we create better habits for ourselves and the planet? Catch up on highlights from our expert and reader debateExplore the experts and full behaviour change debate.""We're not as rational as we would like to think. More information is not the answer" opened GreeNudge and CICERO's Steffen Kallbekken. Unilever's Richard L Wright added "Successful communication requires a very high level of engagement - making it expensive. We need cleverer, more cost-effective ways to engage people." To illustrate this, Sainsbury's Sarah Ellis reminded us: "Customers can spend as little as 6 seconds making a decision at the shelf.""We have to identify behaviours we'd like to see, then arrange rewarding environments - or disincentives for undesirable behaviours...If it's not practical to make permanent changes to the environment, or if the effects wear off as we habituate to their presence in our environment, then we may not see long term impact"For example, the environmental impact of carrier bag charging is in many ways debatable. However, the change pushes reuse and environmental impact to front of mind, raises awareness and reminds at every checkout. This wider impact and the creation of a new social norm have yet to be quantified but achievable change in incremental steps is crucial. (Carl Hughes)"People need at least seven portions, but there was an understanding that this would be unachievable by most. It therefore made sense to encourage five on the basis that this would have a positive, albeit lesser effect."If the motivation is extrinsic (eg: monetary) the change is unlikely to be sustained once the incentive's removed, and also unlikely to be transferred to other domains of behaviour. If the motivation is intrinsic (eg: value-based) the behavioural change is much more likely to be sustained over time (Steffen Kallbekken)Explicit pro-environment and sustainability attitudes have little predictive value in terms of behaviour. This is not specific to sustainability our habits, impulses, and desire for comfort and convenience have trouble competing with even our best intentions and dearly held beliefs. (Michelle Shiota)There is a broad societal desire to become more sustainable, less wasteful and more efficient, however there are barriers to this becoming a reality. First, not everyone shares these desires. Second, those who do may not actually behave in accordance with these desires - the Value-Action gap. (Carl Hughes)When faced with a £30 two hour flight or a £100 six hour train, I will often fly even though I know I shouldn't. And that probably offsets everything else 'good' that I do.In reality it varies, some things stick after you've done them twice, because they just make sense (less water in your kettle), others take more persistence (smoking). At The DoNation, all pledges are set to two months, if users succeed, 81% of them continue for the long term (Hermione Taylor) ...leveraging the natural human motives to play, compete, test ourselves, earn rewards, and take care of our loved ones Continue reading...
|Teaching Psychology to Leaders
||Is intelligence a disadvantage in low-skilled jobs?read more
|Regular aerobic exercise boosts memory area of brain in older women
||Regular aerobic exercise seems to boost the size of the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning among women whose intellectual capacity has been affected by age, indicates a small study. The researchers tested the impact of different types of exercise on the hippocampal volume of 86 women who said they had mild memory problems, known as mild cognitive impairment -- and a common risk factor for dementia.
|Processing new information during sleep compromises memory
||New research highlights the important role sleep plays in strengthening and maintaining the accuracy of a memory and hints at why the brain shuts out sensory information during periods of deep sleep. The study found that introducing new odor information to an animal while it sleeps compromises its ability to remember the difference between new and previously encountered smells while awake.
|Online registry to drive brain disease research
||A new online project promises to dramatically cut the time and cost of conducting clinical trials for brain diseases, while also helping scientists analyze and track the brain functions of thousands of volunteers over time.
|Brain changes can result from participation in one year of contact sports, evidence shows
||The results of a study to determine the cumulative effects of head impacts as they relate to changes in the brain absent of concussion have been presented. The study concluded that a single season of football play can produce MRI measurable brain changes that have been previously association with mTBI -- adding to the increasing amounts of literature demonstrating that a season of participation in a contact sport can show changes in the brain in the absence of concussion or clinical findings.
|Alcohol May Have Different Pair-Bonding Effects On Males And Females
Alcohol is often referred to as a social lubricant, but its effects on pair bonding have not been fully explored. But a new experiment performed on prairie voles — a socially monogamous mammal — suggests that alcohol may cause males to be more drawn to strangers, while the opposite holds true for females.Read more...
|How One Man Beat The Mackworth Clock
The Mackworth Clock is a famous test that was used to assess the vigilance of radar operators during World War II. Can you notice when a clock jumps one second ahead? but one man "hacked" the test, getting an unheard-of score. Years later, he explained his hack — and brought up a major flaw in most psychological studies. Read more...
|Lipid levels during prenatal brain development impact autism, study shows
||Abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the brain can affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development, which can trigger autism, researchers have found in a groundbreaking study. And, environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals in some cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication can affect the levels of these lipids, according to the researchers.
|Why Do We Blame Victims?
||Near the end of last year, Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin left the team due to mistreatment from teammates, which included receiving threatening phone messages from another player.
The incident raised concerns about hazing within the NFL, but it also prompted some to suggest that Martin himself bears at least partial responsibility for his fate. For example, another NFL player stated in an interview that Martin is “just as much to blame because he allowed it to happen” and should have behaved like a man. Others argued that Martin was oversensitive and made himself an easy target. We heard similar sentiments when college player Michael Sam and former NFL player Wade Davis recently came out as gay.
This sort of victim-blaming is not unique to bullying cases. It can be seen when rape victims’ sexual histories are dissected, when people living in poverty are viewed as lazy and unmotivated, when those suffering from mental or physical illness are presumed to have invited disease through their own bad choices. There are cases where victims may indeed hold some responsibility for their misfortunate, but all too often this responsibility is overblown and other factors are discounted.
Why are we so eager to blame victims, even when we have seemingly nothing to gain?
Victim-blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it’s also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true.
In the 1960s, social psychologist Dr. Melvin Lerner conducted a famous serious of studies which found that when participants observed another person receiving electric shocks and were unable to intervene, they began to derogate the victims. The more unfair and severe the suffering appeared to be, the greater the derogation.
Follow-up studies found that a similar phenomenon occurs when people evaluate victims of car accidents, rape, domestic violence, illness, and poverty. Research conducted by Dr. Ronnie Janoff-Bulman suggests that victims sometimes even derogate themselves, locating the cause of their suffering in their own behavior—but not in their enduring characteristics—in an effort to make negative events seem more controllable and therefore more avoidable in the future.
Lerner theorized that these victim blaming tendencies are rooted in the belief in a just world, a world where actions have predictable consequences and people can control what happens to them. It is captured in common phrases like “what goes around comes around” and “you reap what you sow.” We want to believe that justice will come to wrongdoers, whereas good, honest people who follow the rules will be rewarded.
Research has found, not surprisingly, that people who believe that the world is a just place are happier and less depressed. But this happiness may come at a cost—it may reduce our empathy for those who are suffering, and we may even contribute to their suffering by increasing stigmatization.
So is the only alternative to belief in a just world a sense of helplessness and depression? Not at all.
In February, the NFL itself published a 144-page report on the Martin incident that compelled the organization to strengthen its code of conduct on and off the field. The report also triggered far-reaching conversations about bullying among owners, coaches, sports journalists, and players.
When Wade Davis spoke last month about being gay in the NFL to a gathering of owners and coaches, the press reported a positive response from the audience. “It’s got to be in the conversation,” Denver Broncos coach John Fox told ESPN. “I’ve probably not done as good a job with that up until now, but after Wade’s presentation, it’s high on my list the first time I talk to my staff when we get back and my football team.’’
People can believe that the world is full of injustice but also believe that they are capable of making the world a more just place through their own actions. One way to help make the world a better place to fight the impulse to rationalize others’ suffering, and to recognize that it could have just as soon been us in their shoes.
This recognition can be unsettling, but it may also be the only way that we can truly open our hearts to others’ suffering and help them feel supported and less alone. What the world may lack in justice we can at least try to make up for in compassion.
|Language structure: You're born with it
||Humans are unique in their ability to acquire language. But how? A new study shows that we are in fact born with the basic fundamental knowledge of language, thus shedding light on the age-old linguistic 'nature vs. nurture' debate.