Psychology In the News

  • Researchers at the Institute of Neurobiology, University of Tubingen in Germany investigated the ability of rhesus monkeys to perform simple greater-than and less-than comparisons of dots while recording the pattern of neuronal activation in the monkeys' brains. Evidence supported the conclusion that monkeys (like other animals) can not only count, but they can apply simple mathematical rules too! View news story.

  • H.M., an unforgettable amnesiac, died Friday, December 5, 2008. For five decades he was recognized as the most important patient in the history of brain science. As a participant in hundreds of studies, he helped scientists understand the biology of learning, memory and physical dexterity, as well as the fragile nature of human identity.

    From the age of 27, when he embarked on a life as an object of intensive study, he lived with his parents, then with a relative and finally in an institution. His amnesia did not damage his intellect or radically change his personality. But he could not hold a job and lived, more so than any mystic, in the movement.

    He provided psychology with the type of information that has informed much of the current research in cognition and brain science.
  • It turns out that gerbils discriminate "me" from "you" -- at least the vowel sounds. Read on, from nature news!

  • A study of elderly people suggests that those who see themselves as self-disciplined, organized achievers have a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease than people who are less conscientious. The findings support hypotheses concerning the relationship of one's personality and lifestyle with physical health. View news story.

  • 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.