Psychology

In a symposium on social psychology, psychologists are challenging the beliefs of other psychologists about the effectiveness of traditional strategies for encouraging healthy eating. 

A paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association observed whether or not photographs of vegetables on a school lunch tray had an impact on the amount of vegetables eaten. The study found that placing photos of carrots and green beans did increase the amounts of vegetables eaten during lunch, but it still was not at levels consistent with government-recommended dietary guidelines. 


If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it, said cultural pundit Beyoncé Knowles about women and fingers - but that does not mean women should accept.

First, they should look at the fingers on men. Men with short index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer towards women, which researchers at McGill University say stems from the hormones these men have been exposed to in their mother's womb.

That  link between a biological event in fetal life and adult behavior might also explain why these men tend to have more children, the authors write in Personality and Individual Differences.


Parents of kids with severe autism are willing to try anything - unfortunately, a lot of people who claim to be experts in psychology and communication disorders don't understand science and may continue to try things long after they have been debunked. 

Hope and desperation among parents, along with cluelessness among people trying to help,  make the autism community especially vulnerable to interventions and "therapies" that have been thoroughly discredited. Yet they persist. 

If I scratch your back and you scratch mine, then we’re both better off as a result – so goes the principle of reciprocity, one of the most popular explanations for how co-operative behavior has evolved.

But what if one partner provides a better service than another? A paper by Dolivo and Taborsky shows that Norway rats will only give as good as they get.

The more similar the personalities of teachers and their pupils, the more likely the teachers are to grade them highly, according to new research from Germany.

The findings again open up the debate around the subtle biases teachers have about their pupils and how important it is to try and minimize their impact on children’s progress through school.

Mandarin-speaking Chinese more likely to read emotions in the voices of others, while English-speaking North Americans rely more on facial expressions, according to a new paper. That may be why Americans think Chinese language is exaggerated while the Chinese believe Americans are too physically expressive.

Yet it isn't just a style issue, it can be seen in brain activity.


Regular concert-goers are used to seeing singers use expressive and even very dramatic facial expressions - that's because it works.

Music and speech are alike in that they use both facial and acoustic cues to engage listeners in an emotional experience and so  a team of researchers at McGill University wondered what roles these different cues played in conveying emotions.
In an experiment, 221 college students in an online chat room watched a fellow student get "bullied" right before their eyes but only 10 percent did something about it, either by helping the victim or confronting the bully.

Even in the safe online world, modern young people are less inclined than ever to get involved. Using the online equivalent of taking a picture of a victim rather than helping, 70 percent of participants who noticed the bullying gave the bully or the chat room a bad review. For the experiment, the undergraduate students were led to believe they would be testing an online chat support feature that was part of a server used for online research surveys and studies.
Patients who have tried to commit suicide with medication are prescribed more medication after the attempt, not less, according to an analysis of patients who were admitted to three Norwegian hospitals after deliberate self-poisoning. 

The psychologists behind the work collected information about the patients' medication from The Norwegian prescription database in order to compare the medication load in the year before and after the poisoning episode and say they were surprised to discover that the patients' medication load, which was high in the first place, increased even more after their attempt to poison themselves. This was equally true for medication against both mental and somatic illness.
If you are not a person who handles stress well, you are unlikely to enter a high-risk, high-reward field like sales, instead something calmer will be more suitable, even if the pay is much lower. Making less money did not cause your stress level, stress caused you to make less money, according to a new paper by scholars at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

On a biological level, they associated the effects of stress with the release of the hormone cortisol in the Psychoneuroendocrinology paper.