Scientific News

Predicting choice based on eye movement

Would you push one man off a cliff to save five others? It's an odd question… and it's actually one of the questions in the trolley problem, a famous moral dilemma in which we are forced to make a decision that inevitably leads to someone's death. Would you believe it if we told you that your response depends in part on what you’re viewing at the moment you make the decision?

Moral dilemmas and moral choice are largely used in psychology to study the criteria that influence decision-making. The response to these types of questions depends on many factors, such as cultural and individual values and the amount of time given to respond. It's less clear what influence ...

Laughter, the secret to making new friends

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It's often easy to break the tension in an embarrassing situation or establish a connection with someone we like. Except that sometimes it doesn’t work. Is laughter really a factor in bringing people together? And to what extent?

A uniquely human faculty, laughter is an important component in our society, demonstrated not only by numerous quotes, but also through the development of laughter therapies. It puts us in a good mood by reducing pain and stress, and improves health by stimulating the immune system. It not only contributes to individual well-being, but also strengthens social ties between friends... and ...

Brain science: the powers of napping

We underestimate the powers of napping. We've all heard that napping has beneficial effects. Maybe, but between work, picking up the kids, and making dinner, who really has the time? What if we could prove that a short lunchtime nap can be amazingly powerful? Would you change your habits?

Many sites specializing in health and well-being advocate napping during the day, often for only twenty or thirty minutes. It's good for the brain, and especially for memory. Well it turns out they may be right. As proof, Sara Studte and her colleagues at the University of Saarland in Germany found that dozing off for 45 to 60 minutes can multiply your ability to memorize by 5.

Brain activity in lovers

Ah love! Timeless and true, that thing we desperately seek or have already found, that can make us so happy or hurt us so deeply. We've all known love like this, right? But often we have a hard time understanding it. Understanding is the work of scientists who observe the brain of you, the lovers, to finally understand the biology of love. What are the characteristics of a brain in love? Scientists have begun to answer the question…

If you're in love, you feel energetic, motivated, and remarkably confident. And you feel this unique energy even in ordinary situations, even when you're not in the company of your lover. It's as if you've been transformed. You could perhaps ...

Can meditation keep you young?

Escaping from daily stress, finding yourself in religion, achieving enlightenment: these are all reasons people may practice meditation, a widespread tradition in Eastern cultures. Meditation is also a very interesting subject for scientists who see it as a highly effective way of developing the brain, and more recently as a way to fight the effects of aging. Stay young through meditation? Why not?

A team from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) studied the impact of meditation on the brain using an MRI and two groups of volunteers who either did or did not engage in the practice. In the first group, the participants had been practicing meditation for several ...

Your dog recognizes that smile on your face

You walk by many different dogs and cats in an animal shelter, some look healthy, lively, and energetic. You see a dog in the corner of its pen looking sad and lonely. All this goes to show that you have the ability to distinguish emotions in another species. But does your animal share this ability? Do you know whether it's able to recognize when you're sad, happy, or angry? Recent science shows that it may indeed be possible...

Some people would say yes without hesitation, particularly longtime dog owners. It's difficult to put into words, but dogs know when we're sad or happy, and it's what makes human/dog relationships so special. Others might say just the opposite ...

Want to foster learning? Shake that body!

According to the popular stereotype, Italians are unable to speak without gesticulating. If this is true, this cultural particularity could be a real advantage in improving their ability to memorize. Movement, along with sight, smell, and touch appear to facilitate learning. Are we on a new track to better learning?

At school, nothing is more boring than learning a long list of words and their translations by heart, simply by repeating them again and again... and again. Not only is this method terribly dull, but it most likely won't provide the desired results. To improve things, we've since added a few pictures next to the words as illustrations, because involving the ...

What palm reading can tell us about fidelity

Put your hand at the center of your field of vision, fingers locked and together, and observe. Amongst the latest scientific findings, there are a large number of studies whose degree of relevance may be called into question. And you may wonder how this particular study could possibly represent a major advancement. As it turns out, this research is both surprising and perhaps disturbing. And it's for just this reason that we'd like you to take a moment to discover whether your morphology reveals a tendency for cheating...

Take a look at your hand. Do you see a significant difference between the length of your ring and index fingers? Why does it matter? Because this ...

Are you a lucid dreamer?

Lucid dreaming. It's like being transported into a parallel life, a life you choose, a life where the laws of physics and social norms no longer exist, or better yet are under your control. Very few people have the capacity to stay conscious while sleeping. So what are the prerequisites for being a lucid dreamer?

While you'll find all sorts of tips on experiencing lucid dreaming online, German researchers have discovered that the ability is related to our capacity for introspection.

But let's start with a few definitions. Lucid dreaming is above all an ability to perceive one is dreaming and even influence one's dream. It means dreaming while knowing you ...

Can empathy cause pain?

Did you know that the video game Rock Band® can be used as a tool for social bonding? And that empathy causes us to feel pain more strongly? Pretty strange, huh? Both the product of social psychology research, these two findings have allowed researchers to show that empathy cannot be felt in the presence of a stranger.

These results were first found in mice. Mice feel even more pain when confronted with a painful (but nevertheless moderate) stimulus if this stimulus is introduced in the presence of a familiar mouse, such as a cage mate, as compared to an unfamiliar mouse.

Naturally, the researchers wanted to know if the same effect could be observed in ...


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