How well can we model the path out of lockdowns?

The path out of major lockdowns in Australia looked a little clearer last week, with the federal government announcing COVID-19 vaccination targets of 70% and 80% among the eligible population as triggers for reduced restrictions. The Doherty Institute released the modelling it provided to the National Cabinet to help set those targets. The model is … Continue reading How well can we model the path out of lockdowns?

Kiwis don’t like noisy visitors

The noises people make when visiting kiwis in captivity – such as talking or mobile phones ringing – can upset the cherished New Zealand birds, according to a new study. Researchers led by Katie Davison from the University of Waikato observed abnormal pacing and startle reactions in response to environmental noise (heavy rainfall hitting the … Continue reading Kiwis don’t like noisy visitors

Rich feelings: better or worse?

It’s the age-old question: we all want money, but does it make us happy? Invariably, the answer is nuanced but some consistent themes have emerged. Researchers have pooled data on the relationship between money and emotions from more than 1.6 million people across 162 countries and found that wealthier people feel more positive “self-regard emotions” such … Continue reading Rich feelings: better or worse?

The case for modest management

Leaders, if you want the best out of your teams, slices of humble pie might be just what you need to be serving – yourselves. A new study released by the University of South Australia (UniSA) shows that humility is a critical leadership trait for cultivating cohesive, high performing teams. The research was conducted in partnership with the State … Continue reading The case for modest management

Good games

Get your islands ready and prepare your plant army because, contrary to popular belief, video games really could bring joy.  A study from the University of Oxford showed a small positive relation between playing Plants versus Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons and self-reported wellbeing.  The research also found a small correlation between motivation to play … Continue reading Good games

The stressful impact of alcohol

Enjoying a couple of drinks or three can be a great way to unwind, oil the conversation and unleash the inner merrymaker. But why do some of us push on despite swearing “never again” after the last hangover from hell?Researchers from Australia and the US say they’ve shown – in rats at least – how … Continue reading The stressful impact of alcohol

It has an effect, period

A huge, multi-country analysis of menstrual cycles has revealed their strong influence on individual mood, behaviour and vital signs.  A research team led by Emma Pierson from Stanford University and Microsoft Research New England, US, found that the menstrual cycle had a greater effect on fluctuating mood, behaviours and vital signs compared to daily, weekly … Continue reading It has an effect, period

Do facial expressions transcend culture?

Humans are emotional beings, with feelings that show in our behaviours and facial expressions. But whether these mean the same thing in different cultures has been hotly debated. In what researchers say is the first worldwide analysis in naturalistic settings, a new study published in the journal Nature has found that different social contexts, such … Continue reading Do facial expressions transcend culture?

Vampire bats choose to social distance

Vampire bats, it seems, embrace what you could think of as social distancing. A new study published in the journal Behavioural Ecology suggests that when they are sick they spend less time near others from their community, which slows how quickly a disease will spread. The research team, led by Ohio State University, US, had … Continue reading Vampire bats choose to social distance

“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

Sometimes we need to learn from others

When you’re trying to decide what to order from a familiar menu, you’ll most likely draw from your own experience. But if you haven’t been to that café before, it might help to watch what others choose – and that’s what people are more likely to do, according to a study published in the journal … Continue reading Sometimes we need to learn from others

For young children, the choice is exploration

Young children are motivated to explore, even if it means giving up guaranteed rewards, a new US study suggests. Researchers found that when adults and children aged four or five played a game where certain choices earned them rewards, all quickly learned what would give them the biggest returns. But while adults then used that … Continue reading For young children, the choice is exploration