Psychology In the News

  • Canadian scientists have found evidence that using two languages throughout one's life contributes to delays in the onset of dementia. These findings are the latest in the growing literature on how lifestyle choices can effect cognitive functioning later in life. View news story.

  • Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers, while the regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. View news story.

  • Ignorance May Not Be Bliss

    October 31, 2006

    A study at Florida State University found that children who can accurately assess how their peers feel about them are less likely to show symptoms of depression later in life, even if those feelings are negative. The findings counter the popular theory that a positive outlook alone is beneficial to mental health. View news story.

  • In a current study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers analyzed responses from 1,211 high school students to a survey that assessed the students' current smoking, potential future smoking and their smoking media literacy. The findings suggest that making teens more media savvy about the subtle pro-smoking messages in movies and other media may reduce their likelihood of smoking. View news story.

  • A study at the Yale School of Medicine found that creative writing has a beneficial effect in teaching residents to show empathy for their patients. According Anna Reisman, M.D. and the creative writing program director, "focusing on the craft of writing provides a means of increasing one's powers of observation and improving one's understanding of both self and others." View news story.

  • Scientists using electrical stimulation techniques have found that paranormal experiences like the feeling of leaving one's body and the feeling of being watched by a shadowy figure can be induced by electrical stimulation of specific parts of the brain. Stimulation of the left angular gyrus resulted in the experience of being 'out-of-body', while stimulation of the left temporoparietal junction lead to the experience of a shadowy figure at once mimicing and hindering a patient's actions. View news story.

  • Researchers in Europe have identified a gene linked to Bipolar depression. The Slynar gene, located on chromosome 12, is the third gene found to be correlated with suscepibility to the disorder. View news story.

  • The Anatomy of Sarcasm

    October 5, 2006

    Israeli Psychologists have found that damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of brain is correlated with an innability to perceive sarcasm. This area is associated with emotion, and The Theory of Mind, which is the idea that people understand that other people can think differently than they think. View news story.

  • A high level of intelligence is no guarantee of happiness in old age, a new study has found. Researchers from Edinburgh University looked at 550 Scottish volunteers born in 1921 who had their IQs tested when they were 11 and again at 80 years old. They found no relation between their level of satisfaction with life and IQ, either in childhood or old age. More intelligent people get better life opportunities but also have higher expectations, the report said. Views news story
  • Babies exposed to sign language babble silently with their hands even if they can hear, US research shows. Dr Laura-Ann Petitto at Dartmouth College, Hanover, had previously found similar hand-babbling in deaf babies. But critics say deaf babies cannot be compared directly with hearing babies and babbling should not be regarded as an attempt at language. View news story
  • Healthy people, including children, might one day take drugs to boost their intelligence, scientists predict. The think-tank Foresight, outlined the scenario in an independent report looking at potential developments over the next 20 years. Such "cognitive enhancers" could become as "common as coffee", they suggest. Scientists did not rule out children taking exams facing drug tests, as sportsmen do, to see if any have taken 'performance enhancing substances'. View news story
  • A university research team says it has discovered why most people "hearing voices" in hallucinations say they hear male voices. Dr Michael Hunter's research at the University of Sheffield says that male voices are less complex to produce than female. As such, when the brain spontaneously produces its own "voices", a male voice is more likely to have been generated. Among both men and women, 71% of such "false" voices are male. View news story