Psychology

Due to increased awareness of suicide and military life, there has been concern military lifestyle may be causing more suicides. A new study instead finds that new soldiers are twice as likely to have three or more psychological disorders, or comorbidity, prior to enlisting as civilians.

They may regard the military as a solution to their problems. 



Credit: The Conversation

By Jordan Gaines Lewis, Penn State College of Medicine

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you know how hard it is to write the perfect cover letter that will make you stand out above all the other applicants. It’s a competitive job market, and more often than not, career seekers find themselves face-to-face with blank computer screens in an attempt to pen that one short masterpiece.

We have over the years read of paintings by chimpanzees, but could they be art critics also?

A recent article has appeared, outlining evidence that many cognitive tasks the we take to be a function of our human intelligence can be performed just as well (or even better) by chimpanzees.  Here are links to two versions of the article:

Playing violent video games in 3-D makes everything seem more real –  and in a new study researchers found that people who played violent video games in 3-D showed more evidence of anger afterward than people who played games on 2-D systems. 

That may have troubling consequences for young players, according to an upcoming paper in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.


There are some things that Republicans and Democrats share in common with Palestinians and Israelis and lots of other groups where human conflict seems intractable.

A new sociology paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that seemingly unsolvable political and ethnic conflicts are fueled by asymmetrical perceptions of opponents' motivations, and that these tensions can be relieved by providing financial incentives to better understand what drives an adversary group.



Getting high on own supply. Dance by Shutterstock

By Adam Winstock, King's College London

Despite the language we use about drugs, many people don’t see themselves as “drug users” but as rational adults who aren’t on a mission to seek moral disintegration and cause themselves harm.

People who use drugs are just people who happen to use drugs (they might also do yoga, go the cinema, get degrees, litter the streets or be into base-jumping) – normal people who care about their loved ones, their health and well-being and want to make the most of that wonderful thing that we all share: life.

Even depressed people are essentially optimistic - they believe that tomorrow will be better, even though that belief probably won't lead to better outcomes. That is true optimism.

A paper in Clinical Psychological Science says that middle-aged adults who had a history of depression evaluated their past and current lives in more negative terms than adults without depression - but the future was just as rosy in both groups.


Some people suffer from 'winter blues' while others have no issue.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
affects people as daylight levels drop in autumn. At Northern European latitudes (for example all of Scandinavia, Glasgow and Moscow) around 1 person in 6 suffers from SAD. 

Psychologists have searched for reasons why. A small longitudinal study concluded that people with Seasonal Affective Disorder show significant seasonal differences in the way they regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin in comparison to the majority of the population. 


Muslim terrorists and the Klu Klux Klan share one thing in common; they claim to be religious even though the ideas they promote (and in the case of the former, the actions they take) are not very nice.

The fringes get all of the attention but most religious people are not clinically insane or promoting the deaths of others in order to secure their own place in Heaven, and if you remind them of their religious principles, their attitude toward negative events change, according to a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


A new study has found that people who play action video games such as the "Call of Duty" or "Assassin's Creed" seem to learn a new sensorimotor skill faster than non-gamers do. Sorry, Bungie, "Destiny" was not out when they did the study and auto-rifles would mess up the results anyway.

A new sensorimotor skill, such as learning to ride a bike or typing, often requires a new pattern of coordination between vision and motor movement. With such skills, an individual generally moves from novice performance, characterized by a low degree of coordination, to expert performance, marked by a high degree of coordination. As a result of successful sensorimotor learning, one comes to perform these tasks efficiently and perhaps even without consciously thinking about them.