psychology

Too far did I fly into the future

Previous studies on aesthetic chills (i.e., psychogenic shivers) demonstrate their positive effects on stress, pleasure, and social cognition. We tested whether we could artificially enhance this emotion and its downstream effects by intervening on its somatic markers using wearable technology.

{ Scientific Reports | Continue reading }

Depuis le moment où je suis entré dans cette maison je n’ai entendu que des mensonges

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Evaluating other people’s sincerity is a ubiquitous and important part of social interactions.

Fourteen experiments show that response speed is an important cue on which people base their sincerity inferences. Specifically, people systematically judged slower responses as less sincere […].

the present study highlights the potential effects that may be observed in judicial settings, since the response speed of innocent suspects may mislead people to judge them as insincere and hence guilty.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

painted glass, in 26 parts { Xia Xiaowan, Lao P, 2005 }

‘There are certain things — as, a spider, a ghost, the income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three — that I hate, but the thing that I hate the most is a thing they call the Sea.’ –Lewis Carroll

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What if a pill can change your politics or religious reliefs? […] Psychotherapy assisted by psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in “magic mushrooms,” seems to be remarkably effective in treating a wide range of psychopathologies, but also causes a raft of unusual nonclinical changes not seen elsewhere in medicine. […]

Although its precise therapeutic mechanisms remain unclear, clinically relevant doses of psilocybin can induce powerful mystical experiences more commonly associated with extended periods of fasting, prayer or meditation. Arguably, then, it is unsurprising that it can generate long-lasting changes in patients: studies report increased prosociality and aesthetic appreciation, plus robust shifts in personality, values and attitudes to life, even leading some atheists to find God. What’s more, these experiences appear to be a feature, rather than a bug, of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, with the intensity of the mystical experience correlating with the extent of clinical benefit.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

And the cloud that took the form (when the rest of Heaven was blue) of a demon in my view

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Faces provide not only cues to an individual’s identity, age, gender, and ethnicity but also insight into their mental states. The aim was to investigate the temporal aspects of processing of facial expressions of complex mental states for very short presentation times ranging from 12.5 to 100 ms. […]

Results show that participants are able to recognise very subtle differences between facial expressions; performance is better than chance, even for the shortest presentation time. Importantly, we show for the first time that observers can recognise these expressions based on information contained in the eye region only.

{ i-Perception | Continue reading }

‘To succeed in the world we do everything we can to appear successful already.’ –La Rochefoucauld

Self-promotion is common in everyday life. Yet, across 8 studies (N = 1,687) examining a broad range of personal and professional successes, we find that individuals often hide their successes from others and that such hiding has relational costs. […]

Whereas previous research highlights the negative consequences of sharing one’s accomplishments with others, we find that sharing is superior to hiding for maintaining one’s relationships.

{ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Continue reading }

When a liar gets caught in a lie, they don’t come clean. They build a bigger lie.

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signs of dishonesty decreased trust but only in those who had not previously built a good reputation as honest partners.

On the contrary, those who could establish a good reputation were trusted even when they were no longer trustworthy, suggesting that participants could not successfully track changes in trustworthiness of those with an established good reputation.

{ Journal of Experimental Psychology | Continue reading }

lithograph { Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Curve, 2013 }

‘darling, the crocodile species has existed for over 300 million years, and you became extinct last night.’ –Charles Bukowski

A number of studies – including our own – find a mid-life dip in well-being. […] The effects of the mid-life dip are comparable to major life events like losing a spouse, losing a job or getting cancer. They are clearly not inconsequential.

{ National Bureau of Economic Research | Continue reading }

My wife and I were happy for twenty five years, then we met

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Emerging findings suggest that decision-making competence may tap not only into fluid intelligence but also into motivation, emotion regulation, and experience (or crystallized intelligence). Although fluid intelligence tends to decline with age, older adults may be able to maintain decision-making competence by leveraging age-related improvements in these other skills.

{ SAGE | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore. Image from “Transparencies, Small Camera Works 1971-1979 }

‘“I am a Microsoft Word man.” Says the human dressed like Microsoft Word.’ –David A Banks

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David Silver [the creator of AlphaZero] hasn’t answered my question about whether machines can set up their own goals. He talks about subgoals, but that’s not the same. That’s a certain gap in his definition of intelligence. We set up goals and look for ways to achieve them. A machine can only do the second part.

So far, we see very little evidence that machines can actually operate outside of these terms, which is clearly a sign of human intelligence. Let’s say you accumulated knowledge in one game. Can it transfer this knowledge to another game, which might be similar but not the same? Humans can. With computers, in most cases you have to start from scratch.

{ Gary Kasparov/Wired | Continue reading }

photo { Kelsey Bennett }

Stephanie says that she wants to know why she’s given half her life, to people she hates now

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Curiosity - the drive for information - is often perceived as a dangerous trait. This is exacerbated by the perception that when something is forbidden, curiosity towards it increases. […]

This research demonstrated the so-called “forbidden fruit effect”, in which unavailable options elicit curiosity – the desire to know more – even when people were completely aware that the forbidden option did not differ from other options in terms of expected outcome, uncertainty (hidden values), and visual salience.

{ OSF | Continue reading }

‘Call no man happy till he is dead.’ –Solon

Even though it may come naturally, griping isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Ruminating on negative feelings, and reinforcing them through constant discussion with other people, can lead to catastrophizing, which “is something that can contribute to depression” […]

This can happen because “the more you do something, the more entrenched that path becomes in your brain and the more you continue to do it” […]

Constantly complaining can be an easy way to frustrate our confidantes, but there is research that shows it can also be a useful tool in bonding and helping us process emotions like stress and frustration.

“In short: Yes, it’s good to complain, yes, it’s bad to complain, and yes, there’s a right way to do it” […] The trick to doing it right starts with understanding how the word “complaining” is often misused to describe a variety of behaviors, with some being more harmful or helpful than others. […] there are roughly three categories: venting, problem solving and ruminating, otherwise known as dwelling. […]

Life isn’t perfect. That’s why expressing negative feelings is not only normal, but also healthy, Dr. Kowalski said, adding that the unrealistic expectation that we should always be happy can make us feel worse. […] Inhibiting the disclosure of our dissatisfaction “can produce a negative effect,” she said, because it not only stops us from naming our problem but also prevents us from getting to the root of it.

That’s why “complaining is, ideally, totally solutions focused,” Ms. Gilbertson said. Though venting is not as focused on solving problems, “there are also really positive benefits,” Dr. Grice said, because it allows us “to get things out in the open and get our feelings heard so they don’t build up and cause stress.” […]

You want to avoid what Dr. Grice calls wearing “muddy glasses,” where no matter what’s going on you always find something to complain about. The same goes with rehashing a problem over and over again, whether with friends or in the echo chamber of the internet.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

“If everything on earth were rational, nothing would happen” —Dostoevsky

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The latest research, published on Friday by two psychology professors, combs through about 40 studies that have examined the link between social media use and both depression and anxiety among adolescents. That link, according to the professors, is small and inconsistent. […]

In most cases, [most researchers] say, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone. […]

“The current dominant discourse around phones and well-being is a lot of hype and a lot of fear,” Mr. Hancock said. “But if you compare the effects of your phone to eating properly or sleeping or smoking, it’s not even close.”

Mr. Hancock’s analysis of about 226 studies on the well-being of phone users concluded that “when you look at all these different kinds of well-being, the net effect size is essentially zero.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

image { Diagram from a 1923 Japanese typewriting manual }