Psychology

This is what happened to fathers’ hormone levels when they watched their kids play football

By Christian Jarrett The effect of playing sport on men’s testosterone levels is well documented. Generally speaking, the winner enjoys a testosterone boost, while the loser experiences the opposite (though far less studied, competition unsurprisingly also affects women’s hormonal levels, though not in the same ways as men’s). The evolutionary-based explanation for the hormonal effects …

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Most of us have some insight into our personality traits, but how self-aware are we in the moment?

Correlations between momentary self-views and observed behaviour, from Sun and Vazire, 2018. By guest blogger Jesse Singal Your ability to accurately understand your own thoughts and behaviour in a given moment can have rather profound consequences. If you don’t realise you’re growing loud and domineering during a heated company meeting, that could affect your standing at …

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A brief jog sharpens the mind, boosting attentional control and perceptual speed. Now researchers are figuring out why

By Christian Jarrett If you wanted to ensure your mind was in top gear, which do you think would provide the better preparation – 15 minutes of calm relaxation, or a 15 minute jog? A study involving 101 undergrad students suggests you’d be better off plumping for the latter. Evidence had already accumulated showing that …

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There’s a fascinating psychological story behind why your favourite fictional baddies all have a truly evil laugh

By guest blogger David Robson Towards the end of the Disney film Aladdin, our hero’s love rival, the evil Jafar, discovers Aladdin’s secret identity and steals his magic lamp. Jafar’s wish to become the world’s most powerful sorcerer is soon granted and he then uses his powers to banish Aladdin to the ends of the Earth.  …

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Students’ mistaken beliefs about how much their peers typically study could be harming their exam performance in some surprising ways

By Christian Jarrett A lot of us use what we consider normal behaviour – based on how we think most other people like us behave – to guide our own judgments and decisions. When these perceptions are wide of the mark (known as “pluralistic ignorance”), this can affect our behaviour in detrimental ways. The most famous …

Students’ mistaken beliefs about how much their peers typically study could be harming their exam performance in some surprising waysRead More »

Students’ mistaken beliefs about how much their peers study could be harming their exam performance

By Christian Jarrett A lot of us use what we consider normal behaviour – based on how we think most other people like us behave – to guide our own judgments and decisions. When these perceptions are wide of the mark (known as “pluralistic ignorance”), this can affect our behaviour in detrimental ways. The most famous …

Students’ mistaken beliefs about how much their peers study could be harming their exam performanceRead More »

A cartography of consciousness – researchers map where subjective feelings are located in the body

Bodily feeling maps, from Nummenmaa et al, 2018 By guest blogger Mo Costandi “How do you feel?” is a simple and commonly asked question that belies the complex nature of our conscious experiences. The feelings and emotions we experience daily consist of bodily sensations, often accompanied by some kind of thought process, yet we still know …

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“My-side bias” makes it difficult for us to see the logic in arguments we disagree with

By Christian Jarrett In what feels like an increasingly polarised world, trying to convince the “other side” to see things differently often feels futile. Psychology has done a great job outlining some of the reasons why, including showing that, regardless of political leanings, most people are highly motivated to protect their existing views. However a problem with …

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Similarity in shame and its repercussions across 15 world cultures points to the emotion’s survival function

The 15 sites the researchers visited to study shame, from Sznycer et al 2018 By Emma Young Shame feels so awful it’s hard to see how it could have an upside, especially when you consider specific triggers of the emotion – such as body-shaming, which involves criticising someone for how their body looks. But is shame …

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Shame may feel awful but new cross-cultural evidence shows it is fundamental to our survival

The 15 sites the researchers visited to study shame, from Sznycer et al 2018 By Emma Young Shame feels so awful it’s hard to see how it could have an upside, especially when you consider specific triggers of the emotion – such as body-shaming, which involves criticising someone for how their body looks. But is shame …

Shame may feel awful but new cross-cultural evidence shows it is fundamental to our survivalRead More »