Psychology

Most people think that money is the solution to their problems. But that may only be true if they acquire enough money to improve their social rank, according to a new study in Psychological Science.  The study found that a bigger paycheck was not the solution if it did not make the recipients wealthier than their neighbors, friends and colleagues.

Researchers from Cardiff and Warwick Universities looked at data on earnings and life satisfaction from seven years of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which is a representative longitudinal sample of British households.
Just being in the presence of attractive women make men do stupid things-  or at least take more risks, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

According to researchers, testosterone levels increased in men when attractive women were present. Since testosterone is a sex hormone, and has also been shown to play a role in fight-or-flight responses and risk-taking behaviors, this result is not surprising. Is anyone shocked to find that men subconsciously try and "be more manly" in front of pretty females? I filed this study away with the other blatantly obvious papers under the heading "Well, no kidding." 
Despite several social psychological theories that suggest otherwise, failing to meet educational goals does not result in depression, say sociologists from Floria and Kansas State Universities.

Their study in American Sociological review indicates that making no attempt to achieve extravagant educational goals is, in fact, the way to encourage depression.

The authors used two national studies of youth, the National Longitudinal Study and the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health), both of which track respondents over a period of time, to test whether unrealized expectations are associated with depression in adulthood.
If the idea was ever in doubt, psychologists writing in Social Psychological and Personality Science say they have confirmed that pretty girls make boys do dumb things.

Specifically, they say the presence of an attractive woman elevates testosterone levels and physical risk taking in young men.

For the study, young adult men were asked to perform both easy and difficult tricks on skateboards, first in front of another male and then in front of a young, attractive female. The skateboarder's testosterone levels were measured after each trick.
Early last month, the now-famous paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield that supposedly linked vaccines to the onset of Autism, was formally retracted by the Lancet, the journal that published it back in 1998. This was a monumental decision, considering it was the conclusions drawn from this paper that launched the firestorm of debate around the safety of vaccines, and likely the cause of the current vaccine crisis.
When men make sexist comments, they insult all women within earshot and negatively influence how they feel towards men in general, say researchers writing in Sex Roles.

The University of Connecticut team examined women's reactions to overhearing a catcall remark and, in particular, how observing a specific sexist incident impacts women's feelings and attitudes towards men.

They asked 114 undergraduate female students to watch a video and imagine themselves as bystanders to a situation where a man made either a sexist catcall remark ("Hey Kelly, your boobs look great in that shirt!") at another woman or simply greeted her ("Hey Kelly, what's up?").
Humans use a wide range of cues, both verbal and non-verbal, to communicate different emotions.

But vocalizing some positive emotions may be a socially learned behavior, as opposed to a product of evolution, according to a new study in PNAS that looked at non-verbal emotional vocalizations in two different cultural groups.
The ability to remember a briefly presented scene depends on a number of factors, such as its saliency, novelty, degree of threat, or behavioral relevance to a task. Generally, attention is thought to be key, in that people can only remember part of a visual scene when paying attention to it at any given moment.

University of Washington researchers, however, say that memory for visual scenes may not depend on attention level or what a scene contains, but when the scene is presented. Their study, they say, shows how visual scenes are encoded into memory at behaviorally relevant points in time.

The results are published in PLoS Biology.
Environmentally friendly products are everywhere, but consumers aren't purchasing them because they care about the environment, according to a new University of Minnesota study.

"Green purchases are often motivated by status," says Vladas Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. "People want to be seen as being altruistic. Nothing communicates that better than by buying green products that often cost more and are of lower quality but benefit the environment for everyone."
Some studies suggest that video gaming can improve vision and enhance information processing abilities. But that may be total nonsense, according to a study that examined the short-term effects of video-game ownership on academic development in young boys.