“Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

How much control do you have over your thoughts? What if you were specifically told not to think of something – like a pink elephant? A recent study led by UNSW psychologists has mapped what happens in the brain when a person tries to suppress a thought. The neuroscientists managed to ‘decode’ the complex brain activity … Continue reading “Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

Tim Jarvis on Human-wildlife conflict

It’s 84 years since the last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), died at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart. Locked out of its sleeping quarters by its keepers, it died in its cage, alone, as temperatures plummeted overnight. In 1996, on the 60th anniversary of this inauspicious date, 7 September was declared National Threatened Species Day … Continue reading Tim Jarvis on Human-wildlife conflict

The myth of ‘living with’ a level of COVID-19

Disease management terms like ‘elimination’ and ‘eradication’ have been used in press conferences and media coverage since the start of COVID-19. While these terms seem familiar, they are technical public health terms which mean something very specific in an infectious disease context – and misuse of the terms can be at best confusing, or at … Continue reading The myth of ‘living with’ a level of COVID-19

The secret to surviving night shift

A simple coffee and a quick catnap could be the cure for staying alert on the nightshift as new research from the University of South Australia shows that this unlikely combination can improve attention and reduce sleep inertia. In Australia, more than 1.4 million people are employed in shift work, with more than 200,000 regularly … Continue reading The secret to surviving night shift

Why people get sick in virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) technology – which can immerse people in real or imagined environments via a head-mounted display (HMD) – has expanded possibilities for how people can learn, communicate and relax. Not just a source of entertainment, VR is now used across education, skills training and medical rehabilitation. In many cases, VR is used to … Continue reading Why people get sick in virtual reality

The zoonotic diseases closer to home

With genetic analysis suggesting COVID-19 originated in animals before it spread to humans, now is a good time to bear in mind zoonotic diseases are closer to home than people might think, says a UNSW researcher. Whether it’s bin chickens raiding rubbish bins, pigeons flocking to alfresco dining leftovers or cuddles with the family pet, animals … Continue reading The zoonotic diseases closer to home

Faking a smile is almost as good as the real thing

From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile – how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim? Research from the University of South Australia confirms that … Continue reading Faking a smile is almost as good as the real thing

Online events during National Science Week

Australia’s National Science Week is back from 15-23 August, and thanks to everything that’s happening, most events are now online. So now you don’t need to be worried about missing out on any of Australia’s biggest celebration of all things science – you can do check it all out from your own home. Here are … Continue reading Online events during National Science Week

Paint eyes on a cow’s butt to stop lion attacks

One might be forgiven for mistaking a field full of livestock with eyes painted on them as some kind of Illuminati petting zoo. In reality, a joint study from UNSW Sydney, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and Botswana Predator Conservation shows that the painted eyes protects livestock from predators in landscapes where they coexist. In a … Continue reading Paint eyes on a cow’s butt to stop lion attacks

Pesticides to blame for bigger dingoes?

Dingoes have gotten around 6-9 per cent bigger over the past 80 years, new research from UNSW and the University of Sydney shows – but the growth is only happening in areas where poison baiting is used. The findings, published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, compared the sizes of dingoes that lived in … Continue reading Pesticides to blame for bigger dingoes?

Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Have you ever wondered why stars twinkle? It’s because turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere makes light emitted from the star wobble as it completes it’s light years-long journey to the lenses in our eyes and telescopes. But now scientists from international research institutions including UNSW Sydney have found the best place on Earth where  – … Continue reading Antarctica is the perfect place for stargazing

Migration: impact on whales’ health

  Whale-watching season is usually a delight for scores of whale watchers along the east coast of Australia. For scientists too, it’s an opportunity to study the mega creatures up close. But for the whales themselves, it’s potentially a time of less than optimal health. UNSW Sydney researchers collected and analysed samples of whale blow … Continue reading Migration: impact on whales’ health