Psychology

Considering the people and things most often googled these days, it maybe surprising to learn that search engines play a much bigger role in our lives than just helping us find pictures of Megan Fox and mildly entertaining videos of would-be wrestlers in their backyards. Specifically, search engines are becoming a major part of how we learn, according to research published in the November issue of Information Processing and Management.
Psychologists earlier this month confirmed what most parents likely already know about their  teenage children. The more they're involved in their kids' lives (Specifically, by knowing where their children are, who they're with and what they're doing), the less likely it is they will engage in illicit behavior--like smoking marijuana.
If you don't think there's anything to learn by observing a bunch of drunk college students while they watch football and yell at the TV, you're missing out on a valuable cultural lesson.

By studying the emotional reactions of college football fans to their favorite teams' on-field performances, communication experts say they have gained important insights into the relationship between entertainment and human emotion.

Ohio State University researchers studied fans of two college football teams as they watched the teams' annual rivalry game on television. They found that fans of the winning team who, at some point during the game, were almost certain their team would lose, ended up thinking the game was the most thrilling and suspenseful.
Everybody understands that good parents have to lay down rules for their children as they grow up. However, too many rules can be a bad thing, says a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

According to the authors, numerous studies have found that in Western countries, when parents are too strict with their children, they can impede their psychological development. It has also been suggested that this effect may not be as strong in East Asian countries — researchers have posited that certain aspects of East Asian culture may make children more accepting of their parents' intrusive behavior.
With the publication of a paper in the upcoming issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, science has finally confirmed what most people have long thought. According to the study, physical appearance says a lot when seeing someone for the first time. What most people likely don't know, however, is that first impressions based solely on appearance are actually fairly accurate.
According to a new report published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, individuals who experience both adversity as children and traumatic events as adults are more
likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those individuals who experience
only one of these kinds of incidents.

The report also found that the risk was greater for individuals with a particular genetic mutation that may influence the way the brain processes the neurotransmitter serotonin, affecting an individual's anxiety levels and changing the way neurons react to fearful stimuli.
Thanks to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus, most people now recognize the need to maintain good hygiene as a means to avoid sickness.  And undoubtedly, frequent updates on death tolls, school closures and airport screenings from health officials and media figures also deserve some credit for the public's hyper vigilance in maintaining good hygiene--frequently washing hands, sneezing into shirt sleeves and so on.

While these behaviors can be good ways to prevent the spread of disease, is it possible that the current trend of hygiene awareness is overblown? Even to the point of turning people into germaphobes?
A recent article addressed the issue of children being frightened of costumed characters and some of the other fears they might experience.  In some cases, this fear escalated into a phobia.

However, comments like "fears likely helped our ancestors survive" generate more alarm than comfort to me. Besides being pretty obvious, it raises the question of why fear should be considered such a bad thing, especially for children.

I can certainly understand that an unreasonable fear that has escalated all of out proportion and become debilitating can be problematic. I suspect that the vast majority of fears and phobias don't actually fall into that category.
Are women naturally different from men when it comes to detecting emotions?    Biology may play a role, since there are few opportunities for socialization to shape such gender differences, and some  evolutionary psychologists have suggested that females, because of their role as primary caretakers, are wired to quickly and accurately decode or detect distress in preverbal infants or threatening signals from other adults to enhance their chances at survival. 

But women are better than men at distinguishing between emotions, especially fear and disgust, according to a new study published in Neuropsychologia and have a keener sense for processing auditory, visual and audiovisual emotions.