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Direct link established between stimulus-response learning, substance abuse A neuroscientist has found that the region of the brain involved in stimulus-response learning is directly linked to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. More specifically, she discovered that people who resorted to stimulus-response learning smoked more, had double the consumption of alcohol and were more likely to use cannabis.
The visual brain colors black and white images The perception and processing of color has fascinated neuroscientists for a long time, as our brain influences our perception of it to such a degree that colors could be called an illusion. One mystery was: What happens in the brain when we look at black-and-white photographs? Do our brains fill in the colors?
Brain researchers discover how retinal neurons claim best connections Scientists have discovered how retinal neurons claim prime real estate in the brain by controlling the abundance of a protein called aggrecan. The discovery could shed light on how to repair the injured brain.
Women working in Head Start programs report poor physical, mental health Women working in Head Start, the nation's largest federally funded early childhood education program, report higher than expected levels of physical and mental health problems.
Keep the mornings honest, the afternoons for lying and cheating | Paul MacInnes A recently published Harvard study suggests that we're more likely to be economical with the truth when our brain gets tiredGood afternoon, how are you doing? I have to say your hair looks wonderful, and whatever perfume that is, it's delightful. In fact, it's precisely the same scent as Alexa Chung wears. Yes, she was telling me as much just last week when we were in that hot tub together in Berne waiting for Vladimir. Vladimir Putin. He's just hired me and Alexa as consultants in the campaign to preserve the Siberian tiger. Yeah, it's a really great job. I get paid in pelts.Sorry about that, couldn't help myself. You see it's past midday and I find it very easy not to lie. Sorry, I mean very difficult. Neither am I alone – or am I? – as results of a study at Harvard University this week have found that lying in the afternoon comes naturally to humans. And not just humans, but animals, fish and even trees."As ethics researchers, we had been running experiments examining various unethical behaviors, such as lying, stealing, and cheating," said ethics researchers Maryam Kouchaki and Isaac Smith in a highly attentive press release. "We noticed that experiments conducted in the morning seemed to systematically result in lower instances of unethical behaviour."The main experiment was simple enough: participants were asked which side of a screen had more dots on it. Not a question notorious for inducing immoral behaviour, Kouchaki and Smith spiced it up a little by offering people money to say that there were more dots on the right hand side. This tactic proved notably more successful in the afternoon.Observations were further backed up by a second test, one that played hangman for the purposes of science. Two incomplete words – E_ _ _ C _ _ and _ _ RAL – were put in front of respondents and they were invited to fill in the blanks. In the morning, the most common completed words were "ethical" and "moral". In the afternoon, and this is no word of a lie, the most popular words were "entrails" and "Phillip Schofield". The conclusion is that whatever restraint people managed to put up against doing the wrong thing diminished as they got tireder. In the afternoon, our conscience went for a nap.Without wanting to come over all David Cameron about this, I'm not sure such information should be in the public domain. Imagine the effect it might have. The next time someone claims to be leaving the office to "pick up the kids", people will assume they're just knocking off early. If anyone comes back from a long lunch and – apropos of nothing – says "I definitely didn't have a drink" the conclusion will be "Oh yes you did, you soak". And as for freebie evening newspapers ... nobody will trust a word that's printed in them!The only hope now is that, because we know the afternoon to be a truth-free zone, we try and cram as much honesty into the morning as possible. Any of us well practised in the art of rowing with their partner will know it's better to speak those harsh but necessary home truths early in the morning rather than late at night. This rule will now just have to be extended to all human interactions without exception.One interesting detail of Kouchaki and Smith's study was that those most likely to feel guilty about lying were more prone to changing their behaviour. This is partly because those who don't feel guilt – those who, in the lingo, experience "moral disengagement" – were happier to just lie all day long. But it shows that even the most upstanding among us are not as resilient as they might like to think. As the old adage goes- all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to have a big lunch.PsychologyPaul © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Federal appeals court reinstates key restriction in Texas abortion law A federal appeals court ruled that most of Texas' tough new abortion restrictions can take effect immediately.
U.S. athletes still reluctant to admit head injuries Many young athletes do not admit when they have suffered a head injury despite increased awareness about the risks of concussions in children and teenagers.
Effects of smoking seen in twins Twins who smoked had more changes to the middle and lower thirds of their faces.
Patient in 'vegetative state' not just aware, but paying attention, study suggests A patient in a seemingly vegetative state, unable to move or speak, showed signs of attentive awareness that had not been detected before, a new study reveals.
Robert Farr obituary It was as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Michigan and former Leinster scrum-half that our father, Robert Farr, an Ulsterman, tried to teach American students to play rugby. Although he didn't quite succeed in this respect, he did in so many others.Rob, who has died aged 77, spent nearly 20 years as professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics. Born in Belfast, he completed his first degree and his master's at university there and, although he toyed with the idea of ordination in the early 1960s, he realised his true calling was to psychology, both research and teaching.In the mid-1960s, during the cold war, Rob worked for two years for the RAF, authoring a number of reports into the attitudes and job satisfaction of crew serving in Bomber and Transport Command.From 1966, the year of his marriage to Ann Wood (which later ended), through to his retirement, Rob made his home in academia. He spent 13 years at University College London and a year at the í‰cole des Hautes í‰tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.When he was 44, the family moved to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland so that Rob could become professor of psychology at Glasgow University. In 1983 we moved south again, with Rob assuming the chair at the LSE, where he remained until his retirement in 2000.It was during this time in London that Rob was at his most prodigious in terms of academic output – editing the books Social Representations (1984) and Representations of Health, Illness and Handicap (1994) with Serge Moscovici and Ivana Markova respectively. In 1996 he wrote The Roots of Modern Social Psychology, acclaimed as "the first comprehensive history of social psychology".In total he wrote more than 100 articles, chapters, reports and reviews, as well as speaking at conferences around the world, including a number in eastern Europe behind the iron curtain. On a more personal level, he supervised 21 doctorates and acted as an external examiner for more than 25 universities in the UK and Ireland as well as at Lucknow in India.Despite failing health in his later years, he still enjoyed discussing developments in academia as well as watching rugby and cricket, and was extremely pleased to be able to visit the recently dedicated Rob Farr room at the LSE.He is survived by us and his two grandchildren, Adam and Zoe; he was as proud of us as we all are of him.PsychologyHigher © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Animal personalities are more like humans than first thought A study has found for the first time that, just like humans, unpredictability is also a consistent behavioral trait in the animal world.
Seeing in the dark: Most people can see their body's movement in the absence of light With the help of computerized eye trackers, a new cognitive science study finds that at least 50 percent of people can see the movement of their own hand even in the absence of all light.
Stress eaters may compensate by eating less when times are good When faced with stress, some people seem to lose their appetite while others reach for the nearest sweet, salty, or fatty snack. Conventional wisdom tells us that stress eaters are the ones who need to regulate their bad habits, but new research suggests that stress eaters show a dynamic pattern of eating behavior that could have benefits in non-stressful situations.
Bernard Fox obituary Our father, Dr Bernard Fox, has died aged 86. He was born in the East End of London, and his own father, Michael, died when Bernard was only three. His mother, Jane, and family tried to protect him by hiding the death from him for many years. Bernard often said that this was the reason he became a pathologist: to understand death, when the death of his father, its causes and even the fact that it had happened, was kept from him for so long.For some of his childhood he lived with his grandmother, who ran a sweet shop in Islington and churned her own ice-cream. He loved eating ice-cream even when, towards the end of his life, he found the main course less appealing. He often told his grandchildren about his childhood as he took them to buy sweets.Bernard was in the first generation of his family – who had fled the pogroms in Ukraine – to go to university, in his case Charing Cross hospital medical school. He married a fellow student, the psychoanalyst Margaret Arden, in 1954; they loved country holidays, hill walking and gardening. He had a successful career as a consultant histopathologist and coroner's pathologist, and taught hundreds of students at Charing Cross.He was also a keen researcher, using the developing technology of electron microscopy to examine the impact of smoking on lungs. At one stage he collaborated with his brother-in-law, the ophthalmologist Geoffrey Arden, to explore abnormalities in cilia cells, work which was published in 1979 in Nature and led to a new understanding of the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa.Bernard was a shrewd judge of character; he sat on interview panels for would-be medical students, and used to say that within two minutes he could tell which candidates had the right makeup to become a doctor – and he was proved right by their subsequent careers.Following divorce from Margaret, in 1985 he married Jessica Geffin (nee Gold), a psychotherapist, after which he became an active member of the family therapy team at Charing Cross.On his retirement in 1993, the family moved to Hove, East Sussex, where Bernard developed a number of interests, including upholstery, learning the piano and internet bookselling. He supervised trainees in a local counselling service and was secretary of the local Jewish historical society, for which he wrote several papers. Though intensely proud of his Jewish heritage, he was not a religious man.He is survived by Jessica, us, four stepchildren and 12 grandchildren.Medical researchPsychologyHigher © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Zombies, cognitive dissonance and you | Pete Etchells Pete Etchells: Would it be morally ambiguous to kill a zombie? Thinking about it before the apocalypse might mean the difference between life and death. Just make sure you're talking about the right sort of zombie.Pete Etchells
Statement of the American Psychological Association Regarding Pedophilia and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)
How Lou Reed Normalized Deviance in Rock n' Roll Lou Reed was one of the first artists who showed us that rock n' roll can be about more than love songs and party music. At the age of seventeen he had electroshock therapy to cure him of his homosexual tendencies. The experience of his parents committing violence to his brain for the sake of upholding middle class values shaped his work and changed rock music more
Too much texting can disconnect couples Couples shouldn't let their thumbs do the talking when it comes to serious conversations, disagreements or apologies.
How internet affects young people at risk of self-harm, suicide Researchers have found internet forums provide a support network for socially isolated young people. However, they also conclude that the internet is linked to an increased risk of suicide and self-harm among vulnerable adolescents. Following what is thought to be the biggest review of existing studies into internet use and young people, the researchers suggest that in future, clinical assessments of such young people should include questions about the online content they have viewed.
Babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb An infant can recognize a lullaby heard in the womb for several months after birth, potentially supporting later speech development.