Friday, 28 September 2012

Link feast

In case you missed them - 10 of the best psychology links from the past week:

1. Why do some children write backwards? Do mirror writers always have the ability to read mirrored writing? The latest issue of The Psychologist magazine answers these questions and more in its open-access feature by Robert McIntosh and Sergio Della Sala on the mysterious phenomenon of mirror writing.

2. The Indy newspaper published a handy article with advice on postgraduate study in psychology.

3. Channel 4 broadcast a documentary, now available on demand, about people with hyperthymesia - the ability to remember almost everyday of their lives in detail (see also).

4. People behave more selflessly when they make decisions more quickly - Ed Yong reports on an encouraging new study.

5. Our sister blog, The Occupational Digest, reported on a study that reviewed the benefits of humour in the workplace. Writes Alex Fradera: "The contagious nature of laughter - we laugh at a laugh even shorn of context, and our brains respond to laughter sounds in a similar way as they do to something funny - means that a single moment of humour can evoke and encourage others - both directly through emotional contagion and also by acting as a trigger to permit employees to breach straight-faced operations with crinkled smiles."

6. Former UK Home and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has revealed that he's seen a psychoanalyst for decades, for the treatment of depression. Straw also described experiencing imposter syndrome.

7. Nature published an editorial lamenting the lack of investment in research into ways to improve the effectiveness of psychological therapy.

8. University of Michigan psychologist Brent Donnellan and his colleagues have tried and failed to replicate a study we reported on last year (see Feeling Lonely? Have a Bath), authored by John Bargh and Idit Shalev. Donnellan reports that Bargh has since thrown a veil of secrecy over his raw data on people's bathing habits. "What’s the First Rule about John Bargh’s Data?" asks Donnellan. "Answer: You do not talk about John Bargh’s data." (see also).

9. Ooh, check out this great collection of 12 TED talks on understanding the brain (ht @SamMcNerney).

10. Nature reports on the bizarre finding that many people happily switched their moral stance and defended it, without realising they'd done so (ht @VaughanBell). Reminds me of this past research on choice blindness by the same lab.

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.

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