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Brain and Behavior

Fake News: Facebook Helps You Feel Well-Informed, Regardless of Actual Reading

After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook faces the spotlight for spreading fake news stories. There are now hundreds (perhaps thousands) of fake news web sites -- sites that publish news articles that look and seem to be real, but are complete fiction. Unlike older, well-known satirical websites, such as The Onion, many of these sites don't indicate their fakeness.

But even if Facebook is helping spread fake news more than any other service ever, it begs the question -- do people even read the news stories that appear in their Facebook feed? Let's turn to the science...

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Memory and Perception

What’s in a Name? The Merging of Sound and Mood

Embodied cognition dances in a multi-dimensional universe, existing in thousands of separate guises...

Take, for example, the pair of odd shapes in this image. If asked which shape is called "bouba," and which is "kiki," 98% of people say the blob is "bouba" and the other is "kiki." The reason appears inherent in the shapes: the blob is softer and rounder, the other shape (kiki) is harder and sharper. Bouba is spoken in soft tones, while kiki is spoken in hard tones. The blob shape is calm, the pointed shape is manic.
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Brain and Behavior

Pillow Talk: You Need More Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead,” a friend chides.

Offering an awkward chuckle, I was too tired to supply a witty response. In America, we stifle our collective yawn to meet the next pressing deadline. But there is a more important deadline than the latest accounting project: our (sleep) health. For a painful few, sleep is an elusive dream.

In American society, we sacrifice sleep for employment or academic obligations. In competitive academic programs, we brag about the number of all-nighters we pull. Time has chronicled the sleep fatigue of first-year residents and its damning effect on patients.
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Aging

A Look at How Our Brains Organize Memories Over Time


Research on the organization of our memory has long been a topic of fascination among neuroscientists given that this could lead to treatments for reversing cognitive impairments. Here, we review some recent findings on how memory is organized which show the importance of a coordinated “wave” of neuronal activity in spatial navigation, and the temporal nature underlying how linked memories are encoded.

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Aging

Psychology Around the Net: October 1, 2016


Ah, October, my absolute favorite month. How I've missed thee.

This year, I get to start off my favorite month at a wedding later today, watching two sweet friends marry and begin their lives together.

Speaking of marriage, let's take a look at some of this week's latest in mental health topics such as surviving a marriage with a special needs child as well as how the "selfie culture" is affecting young women's mental health, today's most common personality type, how your body reacts to food when you're stressed, and more.

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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016


Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your Three Brains: Part 3

Click here to refer to Part 1 of this series and Part 2 if you want a refresher.


We cannot think our way through an emotion. Emotions must be experienced. We have to feel emotions viscerally, let them move through us until their energy releases. That is precisely how we feel better.

Most of us spend a lifetime figuring out how to avoid emotions. But that’s because we don’t know any other way to deal with them. It is not our fault that the culture we live in does not value or understand the science of emotions or the role they play in overall wellness. The great news is we can learn some basic brain science to help ourselves.

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Brain and Behavior

Squeezing a Rubber Ball May Boost Creative Thinking

Psychological research suggests a simple brain hack for temporarily boosting creativity and all it requires is a rubber ball. The technique itself is extremely simple: all you have to do is squeeze a rubber ball with your left hand as hard as you can for about a minute.

An original study on this technique by four Israeli researchers (Goldstein et al., 2010) found that subjects who squeezed a rubber ball with their left hand solved noticeably more problems on a remote associates test, a standard test of convergent thinking. This form of creative thinking, usually contrasted with divergent thinking, is most useful for “connecting the dots:” combining existing information, comparing and juggling ideas, solving problems with some specified criteria, or extracting ideas from other information. A lot of real-world innovation or typical business problem-solving depends heavily on convergent thinking.

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ADHD and ADD

How to Stop Stressing about Work & Finally Fall Asleep

If you’re like most people, you’ve been affected by stress-related sleep problems at some point, lying awake at night filled with anxiety about your career and the future.

Often everyday worries about impending deadlines and your to-do list give way to bigger, more stressful questioning, “Is this job really what I want to be doing with my life? What if I quit? Will I ever discover
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General

The Beauty of Intentional Forgetting

We store memories using a variety of contexts -- sights, sounds, smells, who was there, the weather, etc. Context helps us retrieve these memories later. For instance, my husband recently made roast chicken and collard greens. It was a normal Sunday night, then the collards hit the iron skillet and I was transported back to 1994. It smelled just like Tuesday night dinner at my Maw-Maw’s house. Walking into the kitchen, I fully expected her to be there at the stove stirring a pot of red beans with ham hocks.

The next morning my home still smelled like it, and it was like she was with me while I showered and got dressed. It was comforting. Of course it was, I love my grandmother very much. But what about the memories you don’t love? What about the times you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth? What about the time you were tyrannically insistent about something and turned out to be wrong? What about the time you cheated on your significant other? What about the time you were dumped?
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