Neuroscience and Social Sciences

Person-centered counseling is one of the most popular treatments for mental health problems. Often just shortened to “counseling”, the approach focuses on how patients view themselves in the here and now, rather than how a therapist interprets their unconscious thoughts. And the patient takes the lead in finding solutions to their own problems.

This “humanistic” form of therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s and is now one of three main mental health treatments, alongside cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. However, despite its popularity and longevity, counseling doesn’t appear to make people better in the long term.

Mental health issues are a huge global problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that between...

There is a fascinating article in Psychophysiology entitled "I can feel my heartbeat: Dancers have increased interoceptive accuracy."

Let’s begin with a definition of interoceptive: it is the sense we have of ourselves based upon our bodily perceptions. Our metaphorical speech provide good examples, “He makes my skin crawl,” or “my gut response.” The authors are trying to advance an argument about our conscious perceptions. It is an ancient discussion, and the ascendant position has been, “I think therefore I am” – that our perceptions of reality come from our brain.

There is another school of thought, a belief in the embodied consciousness, that suggests that our thoughts are limited by our bodily perceptions. What struck me the most is how difficult it is to...

It's hardly a secret that men (in a Western culture, at least) find women with long legs attractive. That's one reason why female models are usually wearing high heels. What is less obvious is that the reverse also appears to be true: Even after controlling for height, women find men with slightly longer legs than average to be more attractive.

The researchers, who are psychologists at the University of Cambridge, recruited online 74 heterosexual female participants aged 20 to 69. Each woman was shown 28 images, one at a time, and was asked to rate attractiveness on a scale from 1 (not attractive) to 7 (very attractive). As shown in the left-hand figure below, all male images were the same height. The only difference in each set of figures was the leg-to-body ratio.

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Say you're a man in a committed, loving relationship and you spot a saucy minx making eyes at you. Turns out, you may not be terribly susceptible to her batting lashes if she's at apex of her fertility cycle – or so says science. 

The issue of monogamy in homo sapiens has been questioned when one observes behaviors in the animal kingdom.  With exceptions, it is the male that is wandering off, spreading his seed and propagating his progeny. From an evolution standpoint, it may behoove the male not to place all his proverbial eggs in one basket.  New research from the Department of Psychology at the University of Haifa in Israel, dispels this view. 

In a study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers conducted experiments, based on previous research...

McDonald's. Dell. Chrysler. Rolls-Royce. Sears. Trump. All are companies that bear the names of their founders. Does that matter? One would think not, as Shakespeare told us, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

But new research published in the American Economic Review begs to differ. The authors, all from Duke University, claim that eponymous companies (i.e., companies named after their founders) are more successful than others.

In contrast to Shakespeare, the authors had a different hypothesis: A founder who names a company after himself is sending a signal to the market. That signal, essentially, is: "I'm such an incredibly talented person, that I guarantee my firm will succeed. To prove I mean what I say, I'm going to put my name and reputation...

Nutrition science is notoriously unreliable. The reason is because a substantial proportion of research in the field is conducted using surveys, and people just aren't very good at remembering what and how much they ate. 

The field is further damaged by a sensationalist press, which breathlessly reports every study and converts minor findings into flashy, eye-catching headlines. The latest example of this is a study that linked increased coffee consumption to reduced mortality. In general, media outlets wrote headlines like, "Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of death."

Well, not exactly. A plethora of data shows that coffee probably has some health benefits. However, after reading the original paper, carefully examining the data, and applying a dose of common sense (...

Your risk of death from a car crash, suicide, or homicide is different depending on the day of the week. That's the latest finding from the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC calculated that, on the average day, 103 Americans die in car accidents, 121 from suicide, and 49 from homicide. But that's the average day. As it turns out, people die differently on Monday than they do on Saturday. (See chart.)

On every day of the week except Saturday and Sunday, people were most likely to die from suicide. The highest number of suicides occurred on Monday, which makes intuitive sense, since Mondays suck. The average number of suicides...

American culture is dominated by a can-do attitude. The prevailing belief is that no matter who you are, you can do whatever you want, as long as you work hard enough. When little Johnny says he wants to be an astronaut, everybody cheers his ambition. However, those who know little Johnny are secretly thinking, "You ain't smart enough, kid."

Though we don't like to admit it, intelligence and IQ matter. Creative people tend to have higher IQs. The traditional view is that expertise, in general, requires a higher IQ. One researcher suggested in 1963 that a minimum IQ of 120 is necessary to graduate with a degree in math or physics. Indeed, a person's college major serves as a proxy for intellectual aptitude. Though results vary slightly according to which methodology is used, an...

On May 27th, 1937, 80 years ago tomorrow, the Golden Gate Bridge opened and it quickly became an iconic symbol of San Francisco and American engineering. But in the past 80 years it also became iconic for a darker reason: suicide.

That has caused psychologists like Professor Craig Jackson at Birmingham City University to wonder how we can stop it from being a hotspot for people who want to kill themselves.

When it opened, The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest single-span suspension bridge in the world. It was such an achievement in science and technology that over 1,000,000 people walked across it on opening day. President Franklin...

Last week, a funny and clever hoax was perpetrated against a social sciences journal. The hoaxers wrote an absurd paper on how the penis is merely a social construct. And for good measure, they claimed it made climate change worse. Somehow, the paper passed peer review, and the predictable result was widespread mockery of the social sciences -- and gender studies, in particular -- across the Internet.

Not everybody was amused. A couple of critics raised legitimate objections. One of them noted that Cogent Social...