Premonition, seizures and memory: the strange phenomenon of déjà vu

It’s fair to say that Dr Anne Cleary, a professor at Colorado State University, never intended to study déjà vu. Cleary is a cognitive psychologist and was studying memory when she read Dr Alan Brown’s book The Déjà Vu Experience in 2004. In his book, Brown called on scientists to evaluate existing theories of déjà … Continue reading Premonition, seizures and memory: the strange phenomenon of déjà vu

The art (and science) of procrastination

Back in March, my mother called from Poland to ask if I could paint a particular sunset scene for her sister. I’d recently put up a work-in-progress photo on my Instagram account of a painting I’d been commissioned to make as an engagement present for a friend, and my aunt, upon seeing it, instantly became … Continue reading The art (and science) of procrastination

Cry-olin: musical instruments convey human emotion by mimicking speech

Singers can convey a lot of emotion in the tone of their voices: a trembling sound might denote sadness, and a voice can also “smile”. But new research shows that non-vocal instruments can also use these tricks to convey emotion. Described in a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, a team … Continue reading Cry-olin: musical instruments convey human emotion by mimicking speech

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Moths vs bats: moths use sound to thwart bat attacks Who would win in a bat-moth fight? A new study has found that moths have more of a leg-up than previously thought, because their wings are structured to mess up the echolocation of bats. Researchers from the University of Bristol have found that the wingtips … Continue reading You may have missed…

Trolls really are just angry souls

Words don’t come easy. But anger does. Research suggests it’s not the anonymity of the internet that excites hostility. Instead, being obnoxious is usually already well and truly entrenched in an online troll. A study published last weekend by the journal American Political Science Review aimed to pin down differences in online and offline behaviour, … Continue reading Trolls really are just angry souls

Curb your assumptions about COVID noncompliance

Last week, as COVID-19 case numbers continued to rise in Sydney despite weeks of tight restrictions, a group of psychologists published a paper in PLOS One. Based a survey of 1,575 people across four countries, the paper aimed to gather psychological data on those who complied, and didn’t comply, with COVID-19 rules. The results were … Continue reading Curb your assumptions about COVID noncompliance

The psychology of COVID compliance

A study by Australian and Canadian researchers has identified some common psychological features of people who don’t follow COVID-19 restrictions or advice. It’s a diverse bunch, but in general, the COVID non-compliant are less likely to be cooperative and considerate, less willing to learn new information, but more extroverted. They’re also more likely to be … Continue reading The psychology of COVID compliance

Under the (social) influence

The modern-day influence economy would have us believe that the best way to sell a product – or an idea – is to have an influencer, at the centre of a network of social connections, promote it for you. But new research from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), published today in Nature Communications, suggests the … Continue reading Under the (social) influence

Hermann Rorschach spills the ink

Splash red wine on a white tablecloth and, along with receiving a scolding, you might also be invited to partake in an impromptu Rorschach test, a method of psychological examination created 100 years ago by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach and detailed in his book Psychodiagnostik. The Rorschach test involves a subject being presented with a … Continue reading Hermann Rorschach spills the ink

Facing up to ordinary things

Have you ever seen a smiley face in your morning cup of tea, or a shocked expression on a terraced house? Australian scientists have discovered that we’re hardwired that way – our brains process the ‘faces’ we’re seeing in inanimate objects in the exact same way as human faces. Rapid facial processing – identifying and … Continue reading Facing up to ordinary things

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Collision course on an intergalactic highway Astronomers have created the clearest images ever of a galaxy cluster with a black hole at its heart, speeding along an intergalactic highway of matter – on a collision course with two much larger galaxy clusters. Scientists have long theorised that streams of gas connect clusters of galaxies across … Continue reading You may have missed…

The psychology of missing a penalty

The moments before a penalty kick are incredibly tense, and new research shows that brain activity might be the reason a golden opportunity can turn into a nightmare. The study team, led by Max Slutter of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, measured the brain activity of soccer players on the pitch and found … Continue reading The psychology of missing a penalty