- Thinking ourselves into eating more
- A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found
- The brain region that helps you make up your mind
- Anti-fungal medicine may increase vulnerability to influenza and other viruses
- Preventing marijuana-induced memory problems with over-the-counter painkillers
- Like shopping at home
- Gratitude or guilt? People spend more when they ‘pay it forward’
Researchers found that shoppers spend more money when engaged in a chain of goodwill known as “Pay-it-forward” than when they can name their own price.
- Oxytocin leads to monogamy
If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy.
- Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life
Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B.C.
- Women directors better at mergers and acquisitions
The more women there are on a corporate board the less a company pays for its acquisitions, according to a new study
- Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold
It’s never too late to get physically active, with even those starting relatively late in life reaping significant health benefits, finds research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
- Where fear comes from in your brain
The inhibition of parvalbumin-expressing prefrontal interneurons triggers a chain reaction resulting in fear behaviour. Conversely, activation of these parvalbumin interneurons significantly reduces fear responses in rodents.
- Breaking the code
By decoding an individual’s immune system, this elegant and accurate method can demystify, diagnose and provide further insight into conditions like celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, preeclampsia and schizophrenia.
- Dreading pain can be worse than pain itself
Most people chose to hasten the experience of pain, and would even accept more severe pain to avoid having to wait for it, a smaller proportion preferred to “put it off” into the future.
- Are psychobiotics a promising treatment strategy for depression?
These bacteria, when ingested in adequate amounts, may offer enormous potential for the treatment of depression and other stress-related disorders.
- Low self-esteem and scared of death? Try hugging a teddy
Teddy bears and cuddly “haptic” jackets could be the solution to existential angst for people with low self-esteem, writes Christian Jarrett in The Research Digest.
- Your brain sees things even when you don’t
The brain processes visual input to the level of understanding its meaning even if we never consciously perceive that input, according to new research published in Psychological Science
- Mindfulness inhibits implicit learning — the wellspring of bad habits
Being mindful appears to help prevent the formation of bad habits, but perhaps good ones too. Georgetown University researchers are trying to unravel the impact of implicit learning, and their findings might appear counterintuitive — at first.
- Weight loss not always good for your relationship
Losing weight is generally beneficial for human health, but when one partner in a romantic relationship loses weight, it doesn’t always have a positive effect on the relationship.
- Moral in the morning, but dishonest in the afternoon
Our ability to exhibit self-control to avoid cheating or lying is significantly reduced over the course of a day, making us more likely to be dishonest in the afternoon than in the morning, according to findings published in Psychological Science.
- Schadenfreude – it’s biological
The researchers found that people are actually biologically responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others, a reaction known as “Schadenfreude.” By measuring the electrical activity of cheek muscles, the researchers show that people smile more when someone they envy experiences misfortune or discomfort.
- People are more attractive when in a group
This phenomenon — first dubbed the “cheerleader effect” by ladykiller Barney Stinson on the popular TV show How I Met Your Mother — suggests that having a few friends around might be an easy way to boost perceived attractiveness.
- Sleep clears the brain – but how?
A mouse study suggests that sleep helps restore the brain by flushing out toxins that build up during waking hours. The results point to a potential new role for sleep in health and disease.
- Ipods allow us to get closer
Positive music played over headphones (but not speakers) had the effect of shrinking the participants’ sense of personal space.
- Moderate to vigorous exercise boosts teens’ academic performance
Regular moderate to vigorous exercise improves teens’ academic performance, and particularly seems to help girls do better in science, indicates research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
- New drug reduces negative memory
Scientists found a drug-induced reduction of aversive memory. This could have implications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by intrusive traumatic memories.
- Learning new skills keeps an aging mind sharp
New research indicates that only certain activities — learning a mentally demanding skill like photography, for instance — are likely to improve cognitive functioning.
- Light as medicine?
In rodent models, early MS-like symptoms were treated with exposure to NIR light for a week, alternating with a week of no light. The clinical condition of the mice improved.
- Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” goes the playground rhyme that’s supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates. But a new study suggests that there’s more going on inside our brains when someone snubs us – and that the brain may have its own way of easing social pain. The findings, recently published in Molecular Psychiatry by a University of Michigan Medical School team, show that the brain’s natural painkiller system responds to social rejection – not just physical injury.
- Kissing helps us find the right partner — and keep them
What’s in a kiss? A study by Oxford University researchers suggests kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once in a relationship, may be a way of getting a partner to stick around. ‘Kissing in human sexual relationships is incredibly prevalent in various forms across just about every society and culture,’ says Rafael Wlodarski
- Smell of sweat may alter how women are judged
The smell of stress sweat does, in fact, significantly alter how women are perceived by both males and females. Results of the study, published on October 9, 2013 in PLOS ONE, indicate that the odor from stress-related sweat specifically impacts social judgments of one’s confidence, trustworthiness and competence.
- Weighed down by guilt: Research shows it’s more than a metaphor
Ever feel the weight of guilt? Lots of people say they do. They’re “carrying guilt” or “weighed down by guilt.” Are these just expressions, or is there something more to these metaphors? Princeton researcher Martin Day and Ramona Bobocel, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, recently published the results of a series of studies that begin to offer answers to that question. There’s evidence that the emotional experience of guilt can be grounded in subjective bodily sensation.
- A slow, loving, ‘affective’ touch may be key to a healthy sense of self
A loving touch, characterized by a slow caress or stroke – often an instinctive gesture from a mother to a child or between partners in romantic relationships – may increase the brain’s ability to construct a sense of body ownership and, in turn, play a part in creating and sustaining a healthy sense of self.
- Go to bed! Irregular bedtimes mean behavioral problems in children
Researchers from UCL have found that children with irregular bedtimes are more likely to have behavioural difficulties. The study, which is published in the journal Pediatrics, found that irregular bedtimes could disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, undermining brain maturation and the ability to regulate certain behaviours.
- Eye contact may make people more resistant to persuasion
New research shows that eye contact may actually make people more resistant to persuasion, especially when they already disagree
- Waiting actually makes people more patient
“People tend to value things more in the present and discount their worth in the future,” Fishbach says. “But my research suggests that making people wait to make a decision can improve their patience because the process of waiting makes the reward for waiting seem more valuable.”
- Depression does not expose someone to a greater risk of cancer
No significant association was found between the advent of depression and the subsequent advent of the five types of cancer monitored in this study. Consequently, being depressed does not expose a person to greater risk of cancer.
- How to stay sharp in retirement
The more you want to use your brain — and the more you enjoy doing it — the more likely you are to stay sharp as you age
- Fertility problems? Joining the ‘breakfast club’ can help
Eating a good breakfast can have a positive impact on women with problems of infertility.
- Mid-life stress heightens risk of dementia in late life
The response to common life events may trigger long lasting physiological changes in the brain
- When men aren’t competing, testosterone helps generosity
Testosterone is implicated in behaviors that help to foster and maintain social relationships, indicating that its effects are nuanced.