Psychology

People who have social power are strongly influenced by internal body cues stemming from their motor system when making judgments about preferences of paintings, objects, movements or letter sequences, according to a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General which looked at how the easiness of high power individuals' motor actions impacted their judgments.


The likelihood of a transgender person attempting suicide is very high and a new study examined factors that may prevent them. Its conclusions also inform medical and mental health professionals who work with transgender clients. 

For a survey of "suicide protective factors" among transgender adults, the scholars recruited 133 transgender individuals living in Canada, ranging in age from 18 to 75, who responded to questions through an online, anonymous survey about their thoughts on and attempts at suicide. Nearly 45 percent of respondents said they had had a suicide plan at least once in their lives; 26 percent indicated they had attempted suicide at least once. The majority of the study participants indicated they experienced suicidal thoughts.


Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.

A new study finds that rising placebo responses may play a part in the increasingly high failure rate for clinical trials of drugs designed to control chronic pain caused by nerve damage. Surprisingly, however, the analysis of clinical trials conducted since 1990 found that the increase in placebo responses occurred only in trials conducted wholly in the U.S.; trials conducted in Europe or Asia showed no changes in placebo responses over that period.


Psychologists writing in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience claim that both belief in God and prejudice towards immigrants can be reduced by directing magnetic energy into the brain.

The team used transcranial magnetic stimulation, a way of temporarily shutting down specific regions of the brain, and targeted the posterior medial frontal cortex, a part of the brain located near the surface and roughly a few inches up from the forehead that is associated with detecting problems and triggering responses that address them.


By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science -- The notion that Earth’s climate is changing—and that the threat to the world is serious—goes back to the 1980s, when a consensus began to form among climate scientists as temperatures began to rise noticeably. Thirty years later, that consensus is solid, yet climate change and the disruption it may cause remain divisive political issues, and millions of people remain unconvinced.

A new book argues that social scientists should play a greater role in helping natural scientists convince people of the reality of climate change and drive policy.

New research suggests that upper limb amputees, who typically struggle to learn how to use a new prosthesis, would be more successful if fellow amputees taught them.

Most usually learn by watching a non-amputee demonstrate the device during physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions but a Georgia Institute of Technology study that measured arm movements and analyzed brain patterns found that people do better when they learn from someone who looks like them. 


The majority of adolescents in grades 7-12 would prefer to know the results of unanticipated findings found in whole exome sequencing genetic testing, even if the findings are not medically actionable until adulthood, according to survey data presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

The survey addressed secondary findings - genetic findings unrelated to the initial indication that prompted the test - gleaned from sequencing the protein-coding regions of a person's genome.


The way our brain responds to others' good fortune is linked to how empathetic people report themselves to be, according to a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience which suggests that a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) seems particularly attuned to other people's good news, but how it responds varies substantially depending on our levels of empathy.

For people who rated themselves as highly empathetic, the ACC responded only when another person had good news coming, but for people who gave themselves lower empathy scores, the ACC also responded when bad news was predicted for themselves.


In pop culture, conspiracy believers like FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X Files or professor Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code tend to reject the notion of coincidence or chance; even the most random-seeming events are thought to result from some sort of intention or design. 

Psychologists have suggested that such a bias against randomness may explain real-world conspiracy beliefs but new research from psychologists at the University of Fribourg and the University of Paris-Saint-Denis shows no evidence for a link between conspiracist thinking and perceptions of order, design, or intent.