Psychology In the News

  • 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
  • Scientists have uncovered clues about what happens in the brain to make some people "over-friendly". US National Institute of Mental Health experts looked at differences in the brains of people with an abnormality which makes them highly sociable. Researchers used scans to identify areas which failed to work properly when they saw frightening faces.
  • There is growing evidence that a common childhood throat infection increases the risk of neurological disorders such as Tourette's syndrome. Scientists found children with such disorders were twice as likely to have had recent streptococcal infections than their healthy peers. Researchers at Seattle's Center for Health Studies suggest the body's response to the infection may be key. View news story
  • Parents who sit their toddlers in front of the TV could be damaging their child's future learning abilities, US researchers fear. TV viewing before the age of three was linked to poorer reading and maths skills at the ages of six and seven among the 1,797 children they studied. The University of Washington findings back the US advice that children under two should not watch any television. But TV viewing among those aged three to five seemed to aid literacy later. View news story
  • Women are bigger wimps than men when it comes to pain, research suggests, contrary to the popular notion that the reverse is true. Not only do they feel pain more easily, women are less able to cope with it, believe scientists at Bath University. Women focus on the emotional aspects of their pain, which makes it worse, while men tend to focus on the physicality. View news story
  • Scientists have uncovered a new factor influencing neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neurone disease and Huntington's disease. These diseases are associated with protein clumps in nerve cells. The latest study showed how the cells' waste disposal process, which prevents clump formation, is dependent on transporter proteins called dyneins. View news story