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Common bias known as 'endowment effect' not present in hunter-gatherer societies Psychology and behavioral economics have experimentally identified a laundry list of common biases that cause people to act against their own apparent interests. One of these biases -- the mere fact of possessing something raises its value to its owner -- is known as the "endowment effect." A new interdisciplinary study has delved into whether this bias is truly universal, and whether it might have been present in humanity's evolutionary past.
Snakes on the brain: Are primates hard-wired to recognize snakes? Was the evolution of high-quality vision in our ancestors driven by the threat of snakes? New work supports this theory. In a new paper, researchers show that there are specific nerve cells in the brains of rhesus macaque monkeys that respond to images of snakes.
Poverty in early childhood appears associated with brain development Poverty in early childhood appears to be associated with smaller brain volumes measured through imaging at school age and early adolescence.
Nurturing may protect kids from brain changes linked to poverty Researchers have identified changes in the brains of children growing up in poverty. Those changes can lead to lifelong problems like depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress. But the study showed that the extent of those changes was influenced strongly by whether parents were attentive and nurturing.
One, two, buckle my shoe: Importance of language to learning math The language a child speaks affects the rate at which they learn number words, and hearing number words in natural conversation – not just in counting routines – is a critical part of learning the meaning of numbers.
Untangling Alzheimer's disease A team of researchers has identified a specific set of microRNA molecules that detrimentally regulate protein levels in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's disease. By targeting these molecules, they hope to move closer toward earlier detection and better treatment of the debilitating condition.
It's shocking: Ultra-focused electric current helps brain curb pain Imagine significantly reducing a persistent migraine or fibromyalgia by a visit to a doctor who delivers low doses of electricity to the brain
Researchers link poverty and parenting to child brain development Children who grow up in poor families may have smaller brains than their more well-off peers, but good parenting may help overcome that disadvantage.
Smokers most likely to think about quitting on Mondays Study finds tobacco addicts are far more likely to consider quitting smoking on Mondays than on any other day of the week.
Crying wolf: Who benefits and when? A crisis at work can bring out the best in colleagues, often inspiring more cooperation and self-sacrifice. A study has found that the benefits are not shared equally, however, with higher-ranking group members having the most to gain by perceived threats to the group.
Social science graduates more likely to get employment than science or arts graduates Social science graduates are more likely to be employed after their first degree than graduates in other areas such as science and the arts, and a higher proportion are in managerial and senior official roles, a new report says.
Poor motor performance linked to poor academic skills Children with poor motor performance at school entry were found to have poorer reading and arithmetic skills than their better performing peers during the first three years of school. However, no relationship was found between cardiovascular fitness and academic skills, according to a new study.
Regular cocaine, cannabis use may trigger addictive behaviors New cocaine and cannabis research reveals that regular cannabis users have increased levels of impulsive behavior. It had previously been argued that this increased impulsivity after cannabis administration was only experienced by occasional users, but that regular users were no longer affected in this way. The results provide evidence for how drug use may trigger addictive behaviors.
Together we can fight the scourge of texting while walking Oliver Burkeman: 'Distracted walkers' rely on the assumption that the rest of us will navigate around them. Let's see what happens when we don'tOliver Burkeman
Keeping emotions in check may not always benefit psychological health Being able to regulate your emotions is important for well-being, but new research published in Psychological Science suggests that a common emotion regulation strategy called "cognitive reappraisal" may actually be harmful when it comes to stressors that are under our control.
Study with totally blind people shows how light helps activate the brain Light enhances brain activity during a cognitive task even in some people who are totally blind, according to a new study. The findings contribute to scientists' understanding of everyone's brains, as they also revealed how quickly light impacts on cognition. "We were stunned to discover  that the brain still respond significantly to light in these rare three completely blind patients  despite having absolutely no conscious vision at all," said one of the authors
How to survive in an open-plan office If red flags, funny hats and police tape don't stop your colleagues from invading your space, there's only one thing for it. Just be really unpleasantReceived corporate wisdom maintains that we should all embrace the stimulating power of "co-working" and "hive offices", where we are elbow-to-elbow with our colleagues. Privacy, it is claimed, stifles creativity.A study from the University of Sydney, published in the December issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, begs to differ. Researchers surveyed more than 40,000 office workers in 303 companies worldwide and found that the plus sides of an open-plan office (ideas sharing and camaraderie) are far outweighed by the downsides (distractions and noise pollution).When the first open-plan office, the Larkin Administration Building in New York, opened in 1906 all conversation was banned and those in positions of power had separate spaces. Now that corner offices are seen as elitist (translation: expensive), your desk neighbour is just as likely to be your boss as an intern. This means permanently being on your best behaviour and feeling the pressure to make small talk every time your eyes meet over the mouse pad. When I recently saw a photo of Mark Zuckerberg's desk at Facebook HQ (thanks to the Tumblr Famous Workspaces), I didn't think: "How inspiring to be that close to greatness." I just felt sorry for the poor sap sitting opposite him.In a survey of American workers by Ask.com, "noisy colleagues" were cited as the No 1 workplace distraction, above phone calls and social media. A 2010 study from the University of California found that it takes the average worker 25 minutes to get back into the flow of a task after an interruption. This suggests that, if you're interrupted 16 times during an eight-hour day, you may as well have stayed in bed.Professor Cary Cooper, an expert on occupational stress from Lancaster University, suggests resorting to symbolism. "Make it common knowledge that, if you fly a red flag above your desk, it means you are working on something detailed and need peace and quiet," he says. "A white flag means that you are available.""I've seen homemade plastic signs, do-not-disturb hats and even police tape on the back of chairs," says Graham Allcott, director of corporate coaching firm Think Productive. One of his colleagues has a small china cat, which she places on her desk as a sign that she needs space.On internet forums, disgruntled desk jockeys swap tips on how to make your workspace as uninviting as possible. These include: never having a sweet jar or novelty toys on your desk and, if you have a "guest" chair, piling it with papers so that distractors have nowhere to sit. You can even set up fake calendar alerts to go off at intervals in case you need to make an escape.If you want to identify the source of the problem, careers website Mindtools.com offers a downloadable "interrupters' log" that allows you to record a list of distractions and categorise them as vital or unnecessary. Next time a colleague says a problem "can't wait", you'll know whether they are one of the time-wasters. Eliminating background noise is even easier. The Coffitivity app allows you to download an audio recording of a coffee shop (chinking glasses, muffled chatter), as evidence suggests a jumble of sound is less distracting than one lone voice.The last resort is unpopularity; be rude, cold and dismissive until colleagues are terrified to come near you. It may not even come to that. Who would really want to approach a flag-waving lunatic in a ridiculous hat, typing over the whirr of a fake coffee machine?Work & careersPsychologytheguardian.com © 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
The Key to Happiness in One Easy Step Do you want happiness and inner peace to be available to you at any time, no matter how difficult your life may be? Read on!read more
Rare childhood disease may hold clues to treating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Scientists studying the cause of a rare childhood disease that leaves children unable to walk by adolescence say new findings may provide clues to understanding more common neurodegenerative diseases, and developing better tools to treat them. Researchers found that children with A-T disease have too much of a regulatory protein EZH2. Reducing the amount in mice created a better protein balance within the nerve cells, improved muscle control, movement and coordination.
Cause Marketing Is Not Philanthropy The month of October fills the marketplace with pink-ribboned products and breast-cancer-awareness-themed events and fundraisers. Many people ask, "Where does the money go?" No one seems to know. In the midst of it all, cause marketing is cast as everything from the saving grace, the necessarily evil, to the pinkwashing pilferer. There is probably some truth to each.read more