Monday, June 29, 2009

Psych in the news

TV ALERT! Tonight's NOVA on PBS features one of my all-time heroes Oliver Sacks taking a look at the effects of music on the mind, and in one case he focuses on a man with Tourette's syndrome who uses drumming to help.

Also, tonight's NOVA scienceNOW episode (hosted by physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson) looks at Auto-Tune, the pervasive software that modulates someone's voice to get the perfect pitch. (Available online at the link above after tonight's broadcast.)

Cold weather makes you sick, sugar makes kids hyper and nine other health myths that may surprise you.

Teens who think they'll die young live fast. Only 4% won't live to be 35 but 15% think they won't, and they're the ones more likely to be "taking drugs, attempting suicide or having unprotected sex."

How the food makers captured our brains. In “The End of Overeating,” Dr. Kessler finds some similarities in the food industry [to the cigarette industry] which has combined and created foods in a way that taps into our brain circuitry and stimulates our desire for more.

Most people, when asked, claim they would rather lose their hearing than their sight. Yet in ways that researchers are just beginning to appreciate, we humans are beholden to our ears.

The math gender gap explained. “It’s hard to see that as anything but the result of the starkly different social and other environmental forces in each country, not intrinsic biology.”

How we perceive male and female emotions. "Yet the empirical evidence for the belief that women are more emotional is skimpy. When people are asked which sex expresses emotions more, the majority choose women. But when the movement of facial muscles is measured by an electromyograph, some studies find no sex difference."

The allure of evolutionary psychology is that it organizes all behavior into one eternal theory, impervious to the serendipity of time and place. But there’s no escaping context. That’s worth remembering next time somebody tells you we are hardwired to do this or that.

A little bit overweight is better? The report, published online last week in the journal Obesity, found that overall, people who were overweight but not obese — defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9 — were actually less likely to die than people of normal weight, defined as a B.M.I. of 18.5 to 24.9.

Marriage -- let's call the whole thing off? So says Sandra Tsing Loh. Jonah Lehrer calls her out on the evidence she used. And two reporters in the NYTimes say, hey, marriage is doing just fine, thank you very much.

1 comment:

Rob Mc said...

I big "AGREED!" about the hero status of Oliver Sacks. Read anything by him - always thoughtful, humane, amazing insights.