Psychology

A few days ago on the Dean Edell radio show, I’m told, Dean Edell told his listeners that nicotine patches don’t cause any addiction problems; people just don’t get addicted to them. To anyone who has read The Shangri-La Diet this will sound eerily familiar: Dr. William Jacobs, a professor of psychiatry and addiction researcher at the University of Florida, told me that no one gets addicted to unflavored sugar water, although lots of people get addicted to Coke, Pepsi, and other forms of flavored sugar water.

Speed daters who romantically desired most of their potential partners were rejected quickly and overwhelmingly, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Conventional wisdom has long taught that one of the best ways to get someone to like you is to make it clear that you like them. Now researchers have discovered that this law of reciprocity is in dire need of an asterisk in the domain of romantic attraction.


To explore dynamics in the opening minutes of romantic attraction, researchers set up seven speed-dating sessions for students. Credit: Northwestern University.

Psychologists have been fond of stating in recent years that human happiness, or what psychologists call subjective well-being, is largely independent of our life circumstances. The wealthy aren’t much happier than the middle class, married people aren’t much happier than single people, healthy people aren’t much happier than sick people, and so on.

One might reasonably conclude, therefore, that changes in life circumstances would not have long-term effects on our happiness. This indeed has been the dominant model of subjective well-being: People adapt to major life events, both positive and negative, and our happiness pretty much stays constant through our lives, even if it is occasionally perturbed.

Why do some individuals sacrifice their own self-interest to help others? The evolution and maintenance of cooperative behavior is a classic puzzle in evolutionary biology. In some animal societies, cooperation occurs in close-knit family groups and kin selection explains apparently selfless behavior.

Not so for the lance-tailed manakin. Males of this little tropical bird cooperate in spectacular courtship displays with unrelated partners, and the benefits of lending a helping wing may only come years down the line. Instead of fighting over females, pairs of male lance-tailed manakins team up to court prospective mates.


Adult male lance-tailed manakin on a branch.

Do omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function? I blogged earlier that switching from olive oil (low omega-3) to walnut oil (high omega-3) and flaxseed-oil capsules (very high omega-3) caused my sleep, my balance, and maybe my mood to improve. If you are interested in duplicating what I did, here are details:

Supplies. I take (a) 2 tablespoons/day walnut oil (Spectrum Organic refined). Store locator at www.spectrumorganics.com will help you locate this. Total 240 calories. (b) 10 1000-mg capsules/day of flaxseed oil (Longs cold-pressed softgels). Longs drugstore house brand, which is only available at Longs drugstores. Total 100 calories.

A penalty kick places a goalkeeper at such a disadvantage that only approximately 18% of penalty kicks are saved. However, some soccer fans think goalkeepers might save penalty kicks more easily by standing marginally to the left or right.

It turns out they're right! In an article published in the March issue of Psychological Science, Professors Rich Masters, John van der Kamp and Robin Jackson of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong found that penalty takers are more likely to direct the football to the side with more space.

Researchers at Harvard, Gray et al, are conducting an ongoing mind survey, and have also reported some findings from that online survey, based on a sample of more than 2,000 people. The survey attempts to make one think about different forms of entities that may have a mind and to assign different degrees of consciousness/ mind to them.

 

A brush with a narcissist's inflated ego often leaves one reeling with resentment. Whether it is their constant need for attention or their unfounded sense of entitlement, we are often quick to attribute their shallow behavior to an unconscious self-loathing. However, new research from Keith Campbell at the University of Georgia, Jennifer Bosson at the University of South Florida and colleagues suggests that narcissists actually view themselves the same on the outside as on the inside.

Previous studies have shown that narcissists' conscious self-views are not uniformly positive.

Schizophrenia, as we all know, is one of the most dibilating psychological disorder. It was primarily conceived of as a behavioral disorder, characterized by socially inappropriate and bizarre behavior, but much attention has been focussed nowadays on the cognitive component and the cognitive pathology underlying schizophrenia and it is not unusual for it to be characterized as a thought disorder nowadays .

New research published in the March issue of Psychological Science suggests that efforts to advocate improved statistical practices in psychological research may be paying off.

Geoff Cumming, Fiona Fidler and colleagues at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia sought to examine whether guidelines set forth in 1999 by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Statistical Inference (TSFI) had been implemented in psychological research.

The authors analyzed articles from 10 leading international psychology journals from 1998 to 2006, focusing on three practices central to the statistical reform debate: Null hypothesis significance testing, confidence intervals and figures with error bars.