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Males and females differ in specific brain structures Reviewing over 20 years of neuroscience research into sex differences in brain structure, researchers have conducted the first meta-analysis of the evidence. The team performed a quantitative review of the brain imaging literature testing overall sex differences in total and regional brain volumes. They found that males on average have larger total brain volumes than women (by 8 to 13 percent). Looking more closely, the researchers found differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions. These included parts of the limbic system, and the language system.
Unique Human Brain Area Identified that Separates Us From Monkeys First study to compare human and monkey brains with modern MRI methods reaches fascinating conclusions.Researchers at Oxford University have pinpointed an area of the brain that is uniquely human--perhaps part of what gives us our higher cognitive powers and separates us from monkeys. Continue reading - - > → Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Ten top science books for February: Print your own computer and how to tell your friends are lying From the promise of 3D printing to the mysteries of mind-reading3D Printing For DummiesKalani Kirk Hausman and Richard HorneThis accessible guide covers everything from how 3D printing works to the transformative impact it could have on our lives.The Improbability PrincipleDavid HandExamining coincidence, probability and randomness, Hands argues that the "improbability principle" underpins much of how the world works.The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant TechnologiesErik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfeeHow technology brings with it wrenching societal change.MindwiseNicholas EpleyHumans are able to detect extraordinarily precise clues about each others' emotions. Epley lays bare our mind-reading abilities, and what happens when they fail us.The Future of the MindMichio KakuIn a broad and ranging book, acclaimed science writer Kaku looks at intelligence from AI and super-powered brains to alien intelligence.Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to KnowP.W Singer and Allan FriedmanAs nations hack and counter-hack, Singer and Friedman survey the landscape of cyberwar in the 21st century.A Natural History of Human ThinkingMichael TomaselloJust what differentiates humans from other primates? What explains our species's runaway success? The key is being social and collaborative.The Age of EcologyJoachim RadkauIn this history of the global environmentalist movement, Radkau teases out the individual stories that together comprise what he calls an "age of ecology".The Perfect Wave: With Neutrinos at the Boundary of Space and TimeHeinrich Pí¤sA history of the neutrino, nature's near-weightless and mysterious particle that could hold the key to the universe's most difficult questions.Cracking the Quantum Code of the Universe John MoffatMoffat explores theories of particle physics and questions the usefulness of the Large Hadron Collider.3D printingScience and natureHiggs bosonParticle physicsPhysicsPsychologytheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Scientists identify gene linking brain structure to intelligence For the first time, scientists have identified a gene linking the thickness of the grey matter in the brain to intelligence. Teenagers carrying a particular gene variant had a thinner cortex in the left cerebral hemisphere, particularly in the frontal and temporal lobes, and performed less well on tests for intellectual ability.
Lactate and brain function: How the body regulates fundamental neuro-hormone New research has revealed a previously unknown mechanism in the body which regulates a hormone that is crucial for motivation, stress responses and control of blood pressure, pain and appetite. The breakthrough could be used to design drugs to help fight health problems connected with these functions in the future.
How our brain networks: White matter 'scaffold' of human brain revealed For the first time, neuroscientists have systematically mapped the white matter "scaffold" of the human brain, the critical communications network that supports brain function.
Encuesta de la Asociación Americana de Psicologí­a demuestra que el estrés en los adolescentes es similar al de los adultos La encuesta Stress in Americaâ„¢ revela patrones similares de comportamiento no saludable en adolescentes y adultos, especialmente durante el año escolar
American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults Stress in Americaâ„¢ survey finds similar patterns of unhealthy behavior in teens and adults, especially during school year
Why do people believe women aren't funny? Dean Burnett: Women aren't funny. Many people still believe this despite evidence to the contrary. Why?Dean Burnett
What We Learned From Marius the Giraffe What the Copenhagen Zoo did to Marius, a healthy 18-month-old giraffe, had nothing to do with nature, or science, or animal husbandry, or education, or research. Its actions instead constituted blood sport for human entertainment under the guise of science education.read more
Possible genetic markers in breast cancer that spreads to brain Scientists have uncovered possible genetic origins of breast cancer that spreads to the brain, according to a first-of-its-kind study. The compendium of genetic targets uncovered by researchers now can be used to identify potential new methods of diagnosis and new drug therapies for the estimated 45,000 patients in the U.S. each year whose cancer spreads from the breast to the brain.
Long distance signals protect brain from viral infections entering through nose The brain contains a defense system that prevents at least two unrelated viruses -- and possibly many more -- from invading the brain at large.
Ruth Hoffman obituary My friend Ruth Hoffman, who has died aged 91, was a psychiatrist specialising in children who worked closely with leading Jungian figures and was an analysand of Michael Fordham. She also corresponded with Primo Levi, who, in the words of his biographer, Ian Thomson, "seems to have been immediately attracted to Hoffman, and she to him". Among her impressive collection of letters there is a note from General Charles de Gaulle.Ruth, born in Vienna, was 16 when, in 1938, her father decided it was time to send her away from her home in Bielsko, in Silesia, in Poland. He owned a fabric factory, so Ruth was to go to Switzerland to learn about fabrics. Switzerland refused Ruth a visa, but Britain granted her one at the last minute. This is why, shortly before the war, Ruth arrived in Scotland. She was struck, she recalled, by how many other red-headed Jews there were, until she realised that, unlike in Poland, red hair did not tend to signal Jewishness.She quickly abandoned the study of fabrics and completed the qualifications necessary to study medicine at Glasgow University. Without parental encouragement – indeed, against their vision of her future – she qualified as a doctor shortly after the war. She gained positions at various psychiatric hospitals, including Rubery Hill, Birmingham, Warlingham Park, Surrey, and Powick, Worcestershire, but, dissatisfied with the interventionist methods of even the more enlightened places, she turned to Jungian psychoanalysis, working in child guidance clinics in London and in private practice.Retirement afforded her the opportunity to read – she was fluent in German, English, French, Italian and Polish – and to attend lectures, exhibitions and concerts, and to cultivate her many friendships. She made friends easily, sometimes for life, after a lecture or a concert or a converstaion on a bus. Indeed, this is how I met her: after a lecture at the Polish Embassy. She made a joke, which turned into a chat, which turned into a follow-up meeting, which turned into a friendship. If her friends moved, she sustained the link with erudite and amusing correspondence and phone calls. She supported numerous charities and causes, including, in gratitude for the opportunity it gave her, Glasgow University.With typical generosity of spirit, Ruth remembered the country of her childhood fondly for its snowy mountains and skating rinks, on which she skied and skated expertly and with joy. But it was Scotland, London and Britain as a whole for which she reserved her love and allegiance.Ruth is survived by her nephew, Prof Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot, and his family.PsychologyMental healththeguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
If You Want More Out of Life, Just Ask There is no technique in the psychological literature with more power to persuade than simply asking.read more
Mechanism elucidated: How smell perception influences food intake A research team has succeeded in elucidating how the endocannabinoid system controls food intake through its effects on the perception of smells.
Experts predict the end of smoking in America Public health leaders are begininng to use phrases like "endgame" and "tobacco-free generation."
Matchmaking this Valentine's Day: How it can bring you the most happiness If you follow your instinct to play Cupid this Valentine's Day, it'll pay off in happiness -- not necessarily for the new couple, but definitely for you. According to new research, matchmaking, a time-honored tradition, brings intrinsic happiness to the matchmaker. To maximize the psychological benefits of matchmaking, you should take care to introduce two people who not only seem compatible but who would be unlikely to meet otherwise, researchers say.
Have You Heard? Some Gossip Can Be Good for Groups A study of gossip has found that it can have positive effects on group behaviour, including encouraging cooperation and deterring selfishness.Some gossip, researchers find, can help protect against the exploitation of nice people and promote the ostracism of bullies. The findings comes from a new study by Feinberg et al. (2014) who had 216 participants playing a game in groups which involved financial choices... Continue reading - - > → Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
The Sochi stray dog dilemma: does the world care more about Russia's animals than humans? | Heather Long Out of the many problems with the Olympics, the global outcry and outpouring of resources seems loudest to aid the dogsIt's hard to know where to start with the problems at the Sochi Olympics, but the one that appears to have attracted the widest worldwide outrage is the killing of stray dogs. Even in Russia, where they have chastised western media for being on a witch hunt for bad stories, it was a Russian billionaire who stepped forward with a donation to save Sochi's dogs. Oleg Deripaska heads up several energy and commodities businesses. He's about as pro-Putin Russia as you can get, yet he didn't want to see the dogs "culled" either. Some question whether his funding for animal shelters in Sochi will extend beyond the length of the games, but it's still a big gesture that can only be read one way: one of Russia's most powerful men thinks the dog killing policy is wrong. When news broke last week that thousands of dogs were going to be eliminated in one way or another, the Humane Society and numerous other animal rights groups mobilized their networks and offered help. There are even websites up already with detailed instructions for people around the world who want to adopt a Sochi dog.Western media has given a lot of coverage to Russia's anti-gay policies, among other human rights abuses. There have been protests and social media campaigns calling for LGBTQ tolerance and rights. But the dog stories – with their adorable photos –stirred a level of outrage that seemed to cross greater political and geographical boundaries. And they certainly achieved faster results. It raises a quandary: do we care more about what happens to animals than other humans?What we're seeing with Russia isn't new or unique. CNN war correspondent Michael Holmes lamented in 2008 that he could write about death, disease and suffering in Iraq (among other places), but if he included something about an animal being mistreated, the story would elicit more passionate response. He summed it up thus: Of all the stories I have covered during my frequent trips to Iraq, most of the viewer feedback I received asked about the animal victims of war rather than the human ones. I make no judgment on that – it is just an observation.Online, people like and support causes and charities having to do with animals almost 2 to 1 over causes having to do with just about anything else, according to a study that came out last summer. As Holmes says, it doesn't mean it's wrong, but it's notable.Last year, researchers at Northeastern University conducted an interesting investigation to test if humans have more empathy for animals. They wrote a fake news story about a beating and then made four versions of it. The articles varied only in the type of victim that was hurt: a one-year-old child, an adult in his 30s, a puppy, or a 6-year-old dog. Participants in the study received one version and then rated their sympathy for the victim. The sympathy rankings were far higher for the dogs than adult humans (it was more even between animals and children). I saw this tendency play out when I spent several years as an opinions editor of a newspaper in Pennsylvania. One of my tasks was to read letters to the editor submissions. Four topics stand out for generating vast and intensely worded outrage. The first was the Penn State University/Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. The second was the debate leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The third and fourth both dealt with dogs. A person left their dog in a car on a hot summer day for several hours. Someone called the police, which is how local media learned about it. The dog was taken to a local shelter, and the ex-owner received hate mail and death threats for weeks. The letters came to the newspaper, too. People couldn't wait to publicly shame the person and declare them a monster. Another time a lifestyle columnist wrote a piece about buying a dog with her kids. It was supposed to be a feel good column, but readers immediately assumed the dog was from a "puppy mill" since it came from a pet store. Again, an avalanche of outrage and death threats.Helping animals is the right thing to do. The Northeastern researchers concluded that many people view animals as innocent and helpless, similar to children. How we treat the weakest in our society is a reflection of who we are. I also think that aiding animals like the Sochi dogs is, in many ways, an easier problem to solve than many of the world's largest human tragedies: war, poverty, child abuse, trafficking, disease, etc. While there are some cultural differences in how we treat certain animals (note the recent dolphin culling by Japan that drew criticism from US ambassador Caroline Kennedy), we don't have to deal with as many geo-political and legal issues to help animals. To put it another way, it was pretty easy to take the dog away from the person who left it in the hot car and find it a new home. It's not as simple to remove a child from the parents or a child bride from a spouse.Frankly, I don't want us to have any less sympathy for animals. The outpouring of support for the Sochi strays is wonderful. It's exactly the "spirit" and global mobilization we want at the Olympics. But alongside that, I wish we could raise our sympathy levels and support for other causes. We have to be careful that we aren't numbing ourselves to human tragedy.Winter Olympics 2014Animal welfareAnimalsRussiaAnimal behaviourPsychologyPhilosophyHeather Longtheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Book Review: Scaling Up Excellence As owner of the WorkplacePsychology.Net website, which continues to get a high number of visitors daily, I am frequently asked to review books. In fact, publicists and sometimes even authors will ask me to review their books. I rarely need or want to reach out to authors. Robert I. Sutton is one of those authors […]