Image: If only neuroscience was that easy. Credit: quixotecr, CC BY-NC-ND

By Matt Wall, Imperial College London

During World War II, residents on the islands in the southern Pacific Ocean saw heavy activity by US planes, bringing in goods and supplies for the soldiers. In many cases, this was the islanders' first exposure to 20th century goods and technology.

Supersize me: buffet edition. Joanna Servaes, CC BY-NC

By Aaron Blaisdell, University of California, Los Angeles

The next time you get really mad, take a look in the mirror. See that lowered brow, the thinned lips and the flared nostrils? That's what social scientists call the "anger face," and they believe it is part of our basic biology as humans.

Politicians often say one thing in public and other things in private. That is no surprise, people in all jobs do the same thing.

Saddam Hussein, the genocidal former dictator of Iraq, has left a legacy most despots do not; he recorded so many of his private conversations that political scientists can analyze what he said in private and compare those to his public statements. Their conclusion; he believed what he said.

Very bad man, but he believed in his badness. 
Credit: Mid-East Wire

By Bryan Roche, National University of Ireland Maynooth

We’re getting more stupid. That’s one point made in a recent article in the New Scientist, reporting on a gradual decline in IQs in developed countries such as the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. Such research feeds into a long-held fascination with testing human intelligence. Yet such debates are too focused on IQ as a life-long trait that can’t be changed. Other research is beginning to show the opposite.

In the United States northeast, there is a joke that there is an easy way to spot someone who went to Harvard or Yale; it will be the person asking which college you attended. You can substitute Mensa or lots of other groups that have status for members but a new psychology paper says what most knew; entrenched members of groups are more relaxed about their status than marginal ones.

Dsillusioned churchgoers may find it increasingly difficult to remain associated with their church, yet many also find it difficult to leave.  They have not only a moral identity crisis but deep identity crises as their most important relationships and beliefs are put at risk. 

The authors of a paper in the Journal of Consumer Research conducted interviews with people who identify as former churchgoers and asked them to reflect on their experiences in leaving the church and the challenges of constructing a new identity as they rejected church authority and its doctrines.

Do you feel sadder watching a documentary about war or a drama about a young person dying of cancer?

If you poll most people, they will say there are stronger emotional reactions when stories are based on true events rather than fiction, but a new analysis in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that is not so.

Researchers recently set out to determine the prevalence and incidence of autoimmune diseases in people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. 

Patients (N=2342) treated at the Eating Disorder Unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital between 1995 and 2010 were compared with general population controls (N=9368) matched for the age, sex and place of residence. Data of 30 autoimmune diseases were from the Hospital Discharge Register from 1969 to 2010.

Electronic cigarettes are battery operated inhalation devices that provide vaporized nicotine to users without the harm of tobacco smoke. They are often marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes and have filled shelves of convenience stores since late 2011.