Visual perception may depend on birthplace and environment.

Because, according to a new study in the journal Cognitive Science, perhaps we only see what we’ve learned to see.

What the researchers say: In a multinational study, a research team shows that an ability to perceive differences between similar images depends on the cultural background of the viewer.  … [read more]

Is the “right thing to do” the right thing to do?

How you dress, talk, eat and even what you allow yourself to feel—these often unspoken rules of a group are social norms, and many are internalized to such a degree that you probably don’t even notice them. Following norms, however, can sometimes be costly for individuals if norms require sacrifice for the good of the group.… [read more]

How fear can develop out of others’ traumas.

What happens in the brain when we see other people experiencing a trauma or being subjected to pain? Well according to new research the same regions that are involved when we feel pain ourselves are also activated when we observe other people in pain.… [read more]

“Migrant work ethic” is real but short-lived.

The received wisdom that migrant workers have a stronger ‘work ethic’ than native-born workers is proven for the first time, in a new study of Central and East European migrants to the UK.   The research shows that migrant workers are over three times less likely to be absent from work than native UK workers, a measure which economists equate with work ethic.  … [read more]

We forget relevant information to protect our psyches.

What makes us forget? There are all kinds of explanations for forgetting important information that have been advanced over the years but some scientists are now suggesting that one reason might be self-protection. New research has found that students in a college mathematics course, when under stress experienced a phenomenon similar to repression, the psychological process in which people forget emotional or traumatic events to protect themselves.… [read more]

Leadership is good for long-term mental health.

Stimulating the brain by taking on leadership roles at work or staying on in education help people stay mentally healthy in later life, according to new research.

What the researchers say. A large-scale investigation published in the journal PLOS Medicine using data from more than 2,000 mentally fit people over the age of 65, examined the theory that experiences in early adulthood or mid-life which challenge the brain make people more resilient to changes resulting from age or illness.[read more]

Testosterone makes men less likely to question their impulses.

Hotheaded, impulsive men who shoot first and ask questions later are a staple of Westerns and 1970s cop films, but new research shows there might be truth to the cliché.

What the researchers say: A study tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone increase the tendency in men to rely on their intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection—a decision-making process by which a person stops to consider whether their gut reaction to something makes sense.… [read more]

Staking self-worth on the pursuit of money has negative psychological consequences.

Although people living in consumer-based cultures such as the U.S. often believe that they will be happier if they acquire more money, the findings of a newly published paper suggests—yet again—that there may be downsides to this pursuit.

What the researchers say: The pursuit of money in and of itself is not bad, but there are considerable risks when it’s fueled by a desire to boost self-esteem.… [read more]