The influences to our left or right-handedness revealed

February 17, 2017

A preference for the left or the right hand might be traced back to that asymmetry. “These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries,” conclude the authors. The team report about their study in the journal eLife.

Preference in the womb

To date, it had been assumed that differences in gene activity of the right and left hemisphere might be responsible for a person’s handedness. A preference for moving the left or right hand develops in the womb from the eighth week of pregnancy, according to ultrasound scans carried out in the 1980s. From the 13th week of pregnancy, unborn children prefer to suck either their right or their left thumb.

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Sex, drugs, and rock and roll do show similar chemistry in the brain

February 8, 2017

The same brain-chemical system that mediates feelings of pleasure from sex, recreational drugs, and food is also critical to experiencing musical pleasure, according to a study by McGill University researchers published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

“This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure,” says cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin, senior author of the paper. While previous work by Levitin’s lab and others had used neuroimaging to map areas of the brain that are active during moments of musical pleasure, scientists were able only to infer the involvement of the opioid system.

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Personality traits ‘contagious’ among preschool children

February 5, 2017

When preschoolers spend time around one another, they tend to take on each others’ personalities, indicates a new study by Michigan State University psychology researchers.

The study, published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests personality is shaped by environment and not just genes.

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Survey: 1 in 4 vacations includes a trip to the ER

November 21, 2016

If you’ve ever had to seek medical attention for an illness or an injury during a vacation, you’re not alone. A new national survey by Orlando Health finds one in four vacations includes a trip to the ER and doctors say many patients are simply not prepared for the situation.

“When you’re going on vacation the last thing you want to think about is a medical emergency, but with just a few simple steps, you can rest assured that you will be prepared for any situation” said Steven Corbett, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Dr. P. Phillips Hospital at Orlando Health.

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Science finds older dogs better at learning new tricks

November 8, 2016

Older adolescents and adults can learn certain thinking skills including non-verbal reasoning more effectively than younger people, finds new UCL (University College London) research.

The study, published in Psychological Science, also highlights the fact that non-verbal reasoning skills can be readily trained and do not represent an innate, fixed ability. Read more

Why some songs get stuck in your head and how to get them out

November 4, 2016

Almost all of us get songs stuck in our heads from time to time but why do certain tunes have the ‘stick factor’?

The first large-scale study, led by Dr Kelly Jakubowski at Durham University, may have some answers to this musical stickiness.

It has shown that songs that get stuck in your head – called earworms or involuntary musical imagery – are usually faster, with a fairly generic and easy-to-remember melody but with some unique intervals such as leaps or repetitions that set it apart from the “average pop song”. Read more

Witnesses confuse innocent and guilty suspects with ‘unfair’ lineups

July 26, 2016

Police lineups in which distinctive individual marks or features are not altered can impair witnesses’ ability to distinguish between innocent and guilty suspects, according to new research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research, conducted by a team of psychology researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK, builds on existing eyewitness identification studies suggesting that so-called “unfair lineups,” in which the police suspect stands out, make witnesses more willing to identify that suspect. Read more

It’s true – women feign sexual pleasure to end ‘bad’ sex

July 8, 2016

When talking about troubling sexual encounters some women mention faking sexual pleasure to speed up their male partner’s orgasm and ultimately end sex.

This is one of the findings of a qualitative study by Emily Thomas (Ryerson University, Canada) Monika Stelzl, Michelle Lafrance (St. Thomas University, Canada) that will be presented today, Friday 8 July 2016, at the British Psychological Society’s Psychology of Women annual conference in Windsor. Read more

Baby talk words with repeated sounds help infants learn language

May 27, 2016

Babies find it easier to learn words with repetitive syllables rather than mixed sounds, a study suggests.

Assessments of language learning in 18-month-olds suggest that children are better at grasping the names of objects with repeated syllables, over words with non-identical syllables.

Researchers say the study may help explain why some words or phrases, such as ‘train’ and ‘good night’, have given rise to versions with repeated syllables, such as choo-choo and night-night. Read more

The 6 elements of an effective apology

April 12, 2016

There are six components to an apology – and the more of them you include when you say you’re sorry, the more effective your apology will be, according to new research.

But if you’re pressed for time or space, there are two elements that are the most critical to having your apology accepted.

“Apologies really do work, but you should make sure you hit as many of the six key components as possible,” said Roy Lewicki, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Read more

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