Month: August 2018

New research reveals our folk beliefs about immortality – we think the good and bad will live on, but in very different ways

By guest blogger Dan Jones When, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony delivers his funeral oration for his fallen friend, he famously says “The evil that men do lives on; the good is oft interred with their bones.”  Anthony was talking about how history would remember Caesar, lamenting that doing evil confers greater historical immortality …

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Chess grandmasters show the same longevity advantage as elite athletes

  Red and blue lines show the ratio of the yearly survival rates for Olympic medallists and Chess grandmasters, respectively, relative to the general population (flat dashed line). Shaded areas show confidence intervals. Via An Tran-Duy et al, 2018 By Christian Jarrett It’s well established that elite athletes have a longer life expectancy than the general …

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Is there a crisis in local government outsourcing?

Worrying times for local public sector outsourcing contracts. Has the third bus arrived with the latest big outsourcing company to report troubles? Following the collapse of Carillion and the losses reported by Capita along comes the announcement of a massive drop in Interserves’ share price and the inevitable ongoing discussions about the viability of the …

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There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about Abraham Maslow and self-actualisation – a new paper puts the record straight

By Alex Fradera Abraham Maslow was one of the great psychological presences of the twentieth century, and his concept of self-actualisation has entered our vernacular and is addressed in most psychology textbooks. A core concept of humanistic psychology, self-actualisation theory has inspired a range of psychological therapies as well as approaches taken in social work. But a …

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Physically active academic school lessons boost pupils’ activity levels and focus

By Christian Jarrett For various reasons, children in many countries are increasingly sedentary and childhood obesity is a growing concern. At the same time, research tells us that physical activity is good for children’s minds and bodies, and that if they develop active habits in their youth, they tend to keep them up into adulthood. …

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People with a keener sense of smell find sex more pleasant and, if they are female, have more orgasms during sex

By Emma Young Scent plays an often under-appreciated role in sexual attraction, helping to account for why visual attractiveness alone can’t explain just how physically attractive a person is perceived to be. But what role does our ability to smell our partners – or potential partners – play in actual experience?  We know from past …

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Distinct from intelligence or working memory, your “perceptual capacity” predicts how susceptible you are to inattentional blindness (or missing the gorilla in the room)

By Emma Young It’s well-known that we can easily miss objects in our environment that are outside the focus of our conscious attention. “Inattentional blindness” is demonstrated by the famous “invisible gorilla” studies, for example. But there’s a darker side to this phenomenon: if it happens while you’re driving – or if you’re a baggage checker …

Distinct from intelligence or working memory, your “perceptual capacity” predicts how susceptible you are to inattentional blindness (or missing the gorilla in the room)Read More »

Seven psychoanalytic psychotherapists reflect on the clients that didn’t get better, or even felt worse

A key theme was that it felt like having just half the client in therapy By Alex Fradera Psychotherapists are devoted to improving people’s psychological health, but sometimes their efforts fail. A new qualitative study in Psychotherapy Research delves into what therapists take away from these unsuccessful experiences. Andrzej Werbart led the Stockholm University research team …

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“Growth mindset” theory doesn’t translate directly from kids to adults – telling an adult they are a “hard worker” can backfire

By Emma Young The way parents and teachers praise children is known to influence not only their future performance, but how they feel about the malleability of intelligence. If a child has done well, focusing positive comments on their efforts, actions and strategies (saying, for example, “good job” or “you must have tried really hard”) …

“Growth mindset” theory doesn’t translate directly from kids to adults – telling an adult they are a “hard worker” can backfireRead More »

Strangers are more likely to come to your help in a racially diverse neighbourhood

By Alex Fradera The “Big Society” initiative – launched at the turn of this decade by the incoming British government – was a call for politics to recognise the importance of community and social solidarity. It has since fizzled out, and for a while communitarianism fell out of the political conversation, but it has returned post-Brexit, sometimes with a …

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