Psychology


Children should be taken into consideration when helping adults with mental health issues. Shutterstock

By Sam Cartwright-Hatton, University of Sussex

Mental illness runs in families. This is well known and uncontroversial. There is much that we could do to reduce this risk, but we currently do almost nothing.

You're probably not racist. As the world has gotten smaller, race as a bias has become less of a thing. Yet there is a test - the Implicit Association Test - that is guaranteed to show you are racist and weak observational studies that use it end up in a lot of mainstream media stories.

Now there may be a way to cure it.



You definitely didn't have one? Honestly? Shutterstock

By Lara Warmelink, Lancaster University

Some people eat when they are hungry and stop when they are not. Others eat until they are full. For that second group, science may soon have a way to help keep them slimmer.

Inulin-propionate ester (IPE) contains propionate, which stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger. Propionate is produced naturally when dietary fiber is fermented by microbes in the gut and in its first tests in humans, researchers found that the ingredient is effective at preventing weight gain in overweight volunteers.
You may not have been born a criminal, but experiences influence how genetic variants affect the brain and therefore behavior, according to a new paper. 

The study used a survey of 1,337 students aged 17 or 18 in Västmanland, a Swedish county, who anonymously completed questionnaires reporting on delinquency, family conflict, experiences of sexual abuse, and the quality of their relationship with their parents. They also provided a sample of saliva from which the researchers extracted DNA to examine it. The Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene is a key enzyme in the catabolism of brain neurotransmitters, monoamines, especially serotonin. Catabolism is the breaking down of complex materials and the releasing of energy within an organism. 

A new study by political science scholars has found one reason why women are less likely to run for political office - they will volunteer to lead but don't like competing to do so. 

Prior claims have been that more women lack the confidence to seek and hold office so University of Pittsburgh associate Professors of Political Science Kristin Kanthak and Jonathan Woon enlisted 350 undergraduate college students to participate in laboratory experiments which Kanthak said appeared to show women are more "election averse" than men.


In modern times, nitrous oxide is a pollutant or a way to make an old custom Nissan go really fast, but it was once common as an anesthetic in medicine and dentistry and that is how it got its common name - laughing gas.

In a small pilot study, it was shown to have another modern use - as a treatment for depression.
In 20 patients who had treatment-resistant clinical depression, the researchers found that two-thirds experienced an improvement in symptoms after receiving nitrous oxide. In comparison, one-third of the same patients reported improved symptoms after treatment with a placebo. The patients were evaluated on the day of and day after each treatment.


An analysis of U.C. Berkeley students has concluded that inflated or deflated feelings of self-worth are linked to afflictions like bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, anxiety and depression - more evidence that the widening gulf between rich and poor can be bad for your health, say the psychologists who conducted the survey. 


If you want children ages 4 to 8 to tell the truth, it's best not to threaten to punish them if they lie.

An experiment involving 372 children, led by Prof. Victoria Talwar of McGill's Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology, left each child alone in a room for 1 minute with a toy behind them on a table, having told the child not to peek during their absence. 

While they were out of the room, a hidden video camera filmed what went on.

When the researchers returned, they asked the child, a simple question: "When I was gone, did you turn around and peak at the toy?"

What the researchers discovered was that: