Psychology In the News

  • Anti-social behaviour in some children could be the result of their genetic make-up, a study says. UK research on twins suggests children with early psychopathic tendencies, such as lack of remorse, are likely to have inherited it from their parents. View news story
  • Scientists say they have located the parts of the brain that comprehend sarcasm - honestly. By comparing healthy people and those with damage to different parts of the brain, they found the front of the brain was key to understanding sarcasm. Damage to any of three different areas could render individuals unable to understand sarcastic comments. View news story
  • If winning is everything, British anthropologists have some advice: Wear red. Their survey of four sports at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens shows competitors were more likely to win their contests if they wore red uniforms or red body armor. View news story
  • The brain reacts differently to the faces of people from different races, research shows. When volunteers looked at pictures of African-Americans, the brain area that processes emotions became active, a study in Nature Neuroscience found. When they looked at photos of Caucasian faces, the activity was much less. View news story
  • Growing research shows that babies as young as four months show a preference for certain colours. Dr Anna Franklin, from the Surrey Baby Lab, has studied more than 250 babies to look at which colours they prefer. View news story
  • Fake acupuncture works just as well as the real thing in relieving migraines, scientists have found. In a study of more than 300 patients, both genuine and sham acupuncture reduced the intensity of headache compared with no treatment at all. View news story
  • Scientists believe they have identified the gene which determines how much sleep humans can get by on. A US team found that fruit flies with a mutated version of the gene were able to get by on much less sleep than others. Fruit flies have a similar genetic make-up and sleep patterns to humans. University of Wisconsin Medical School researchers said the findings might help develop new techniques to treat people with sleeping problems. View news story
  • The first Alzheimer's patients to test pioneering gene therapy are proof of the treatment's promise, say doctors. Between 2001 and 2002, surgeons at San Diego's University of California placed genetically modified tissue into the brains of eight Alzheimer's patients. It is designed to boost a naturally occurring protein that stops cell death and stimulates cell function. View news story
  • Scientists say they can read a person's unconscious thoughts using a simple brain scan. Functional MRI scans plot brain activity by looking at brain blood flow and are already used by researchers. A team at University College London found with fMRI they could tell what a person was thinking deep down even when the individual was unaware themselves. View news story
  • Workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers, new research has claimed. The study for computing firm Hewlett Packard warned of a rise in "infomania", with people becoming addicted to email and text messages. View news story
  • Can a five-minute online test help tell whether you are racist or not? In the US, two million people have taken one and now a UK version is available. Racism is a reality encountered every day in Britain, but how many people actually consider themselves racist? It's difficult to be sure because people's true feelings are inevitably concealed by their politeness. So much so that those who harbour prejudice sometimes cannot admit it even to themselves. View news story
  • Women are not attracted to dare-devil men, US researchers believe. Men thought the opposite sex would be attracted by risky stunts such as bungee jumping and fast driving, a study of 48 men and 52 women found. But in contrast, women said it was a turn-off, claiming they preferred more cautious people for partners. View news story