Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Psych in the news

Soldiers undergoing mock interrogations can be tricked by simple psychological techniques into misidentifying their interrogator. Combined with other research carried out by Elizabeth Loftus, psychologists are closing in on the exact procedures for creating false memories in individuals. (Wired Science)

Paul Ekman looks at old footage of Alex Rodriguez A-lying about his steroid use and finds, shockingly, a "higher probability of lying." (NY Times)

Merel Kindt and colleagues have found that by giving propanolol to people before they recalled a scary memory about a spider, they could erase the fearful response it triggered. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Scientists are studying schadenfreude (which is one of my all-time favorite words). “We have a saying in Japanese, ‘The misfortunes of others are the taste of honey,’ ” said Hidehiko Takahashi, the first author on the report. “The ventral striatum is processing that ‘honey.’ ” Awesome! (NY Times)

Newsweek has a cover story on stress and finds that, hey, it might not be so bad!

I finally got around to listening to some of my backlog of This American Life shows -- which I could not recommend more highly, by the way -- and I thought readers might be interested in this segment. "Host Ira Glass talks to Will Felps, a professor at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, who designed an experiment to see what happens when a bad worker joins a team. Felps divided people into small groups and gave them a task. One member of the group would be an actor, acting either like a jerk, a slacker or a depressive. And within 45 minutes, the rest of the group started behaving like the bad apple. (13 minutes)"

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