Monday, June 15, 2009

Psych in the news

Starting this week PitN will come out on a regular-ish schedule on Mondays and Thursdays. Like what you read? Post a comment below or send me ( a note! --Steve

"The larger point is that liberals and conservatives often form judgments through flash intuitions that aren’t a result of a deliberative process." -- Great column from Nicholas Kristof that examines various issues such as group polarization, moral values, disgust and more. There are also links to (where one can take online tests in areas such as personality, war and peace, and disgust) and on moral psychology.

“Intelligence and academic achievement are very much under people’s control.” Another fascinating column by Kristof that looks at the work of Richard Nisbett (new book is Intelligence and How to Get It) on how groups such Asian-Americans, Jews and West Indian blacks "help debunk the myth of success as a simple product of intrinsic intellect."

"There is an old saying that two heads are better than one. In a fascinating new article in Psychological Science, Stefan Herzog and Ralph Hertwig turned the old aphorism on its head: One head can be nearly as good as two."(Scientific American)

From BoingBoing: "Stanford's Robert Sapolsky, one of the most interesting anthropologists I've heard lecture, gives us 90 minutes on the evolutionary basis for literal religious belief, "metamagical thinking," schizotypal personality and so on, explaining how evolutionarily, the mild schizophrenic expression we called "schizotypal personality" have enjoyed increased reproductive opportunities."

I used excerpts from the book in class this past semester with great success and now someone has typed in all 50 with brief synopses. Excellent! Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (from Robert Cialdini et al.)

Utrecht University sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst surveyed 604 people about their friends and again seven years later, and found that only 48 percent of people’s original friends were still part of their network after that time period. (via Freakonomics)

Jonah Lehrer looks at research that shows that the brains of kids with ADHD really are different (in terms of cortical thickness) but that this difference disappears by adolescence. He also makes reference to his New Yorker article from last month on self-control which was terrific.

Finally, Lehrer also discusses the above dancing video (also here if the link ist kaput) in relation to Stanley Milgram's experiment on conformity where he had confederates in New York City stop and look up and then compared the number of people who also stopped and looked. And the video below (also here) is a modern re-creation of that experiment.

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