Psychology

Jill Abramson was recently ousted from her position as the executive editor of The New York Times. Her defenders said it was because of her gender (yet she got the job) and her demand for more compensation (she was paid more than her predecessor and the New York Times is hemorrhaging money) while critics called her polarizing and brusque. Some used the term 'pushy' which was codespeak for sexism, it was said.

She was not the first difficult person to end up running a newsroom and the response her firing got from subordinates and other media leaders likely surprised her - difficult people never know they are difficult, according to a new paper from the Columbia Business School .


Surveys show that managers hold more negative attitudes to private use of social media at work - they should know what a time waster it is, they use it more than subordinates.

11,000 Norwegian employees participated in a study called 'Predictors of Use of Social Network Sites at Work'.

"It is very interesting that top executives, who are negative to private web-surfing during working hours, are the ones who surf the most for private purposes when at work," says Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen at the University of Bergen Department of Psychosocial Science, who suggests that this can be explained by the fact that top executives have longer working hours, and that work and leisure are much more integrated than it is for staff.


If your child spends their evening beating up hookers in Grand Theft Auto, there is a silver lining - they are less likely to actually beat up hookers in real life. At least surveys by humanities scholars say so.

This is good knowledge. There has long been a fear that advertising of McDonald's Happy Meals and cigarettes and violence in media might actually lead to people buying more junk food or smoking or being violent, but the new study led by Matthew Grizzard, PhD, assistant professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Communication, and co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Texas, Austin, finds just the opposite: people who engage in bad behavior are less likely to do it because they have greater sensitivity.


The sign of a bad gambler is the belief that they are on a winning streak, that luck is just going their way.

Gambling is math and luck. If you can afford to keep doubling, you will win. And as long as you stop after you win, you can never lose. That is why casinos have table minimums and maximums, to prevent winning. 

But humans have a well-documented tendency to see instead winning and losing streaks in situations that, in fact, are random. Psychologists disagree about whether this "hot-hand bias" is a cultural artifact picked up in childhood or a predisposition deeply ingrained in the structure of our cognitive architecture. 


A new form of neurotransmission influences the long-lasting memory created by addictive drugs, like cocaine and opioids, and the subsequent craving for these drugs of abuse, according to a recent study.

Loss of this type of neurotransmission creates changes in brains cells that resemble the changes caused by drug addiction so targeting it might lead to new therapies for treating drug addiction.



A recent experiment was able to demonstrate that the articulation of vowels systematically influences our feelings - and vice versa.

The research project looked at the question of whether and to what extent the meaning of words is linked to their sound. The specific focus of the project was on two special cases; the sound of the long 'i' vowel (/i:/) and that of the long, closed 'o' vowel (/o:/). Psychologist Prof. Ralf Rummer and phoneticist Prof. Martine Grice were interested in finding out whether these vowels tend to occur in words that are positively or negatively charged in terms of emotional impact. So they carried out two fundamental experiments.
Pathological thought can be helpful, especially the Asperger’s variety. Ludwig Wittgenstein became the arguably greatest philosopher, overseeing the postmodern. The mathematician Paul Erdös is another good example.

 

How common are taste metaphors? So common we don't even know they are metaphors.

When a kind smile is described as "sweet," or a resentful comment is considered "bitter," we most likely don't even think of those words as metaphors. But while it may seem to our ears that "sweet" by any other name means the same thing, new research shows that taste-related words actually engage the emotional centers of the brain more than literal words with the same meaning.


Adults diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome are nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than people from the UK general population, according to a paper The Lancet Psychiatry which consisted of a survey of 374 individuals (256 men and 118 women) diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as adults between 2004 and 2013 at the Cambridge Lifetime Asperger Syndrome Service (CLASS) clinic in Cambridge.

Asperger Syndrome is an autism spectrum condition. In Asperger Syndrome, people show some of the social symptoms of autism but don't have delayed language or intellectual disability. In the UK, one in 100 people (around 700,000) has one form of autism spectrum condition or another.