Scientific News

Sweating makes people around you happy

After reading this article, you may go easy on the deodorant... But before talking about smells, let's take a quick look at vision. It's a well-known fact that smiling and laughing are contagious. When someone smiles, you smile back. Vision thus comes into play in triggering a brain process: emotion. What if odors also had this same effect?

Because they realized that negative emotions such as fear or disgust could be transmitted from one individual to another through the smell of sweat, Gün Semin and his team at Utrecht University in the Netherlands examined the transmission of positive emotions through this same mechanism.

The experiment took place in two ...

You are probably more of an extrovert than you think you are

Do you think that your friends are more popular than you? Then you're not alone. Social psychology has found statistical evidence to support this view. Strangely, we often think that our friends have more friends than we do. This is a well-known phenomenon known as the friendship paradox.

Daniel C. Feiler and Adam M. Kleinbaum, both members of Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College, USA, conducted their research on a class of MBA students at the start of the academic year. The first study focused on the formation of social networks, while the second analyzed behavior, in particular the way that biased samples can affect decision making. Both researchers wanted to ...

Is being a mom a question of hormones?

In neuroscience, studying the impact of a molecule on behavior usually involves either adding or taking away the required molecule and observing the results. In this study, the role of oxytocin on maternal behavior was observed. Can a single hormone be responsible for the complex and varied reactions that we associate with motherhood?

When we speak about maternal behavior we automatically think of the protection and care that a mother gives her infant, behavior which is essential for many species for the survival of offspring. In this case, neuroscientists from NYU's Langone Medical Center studied the role of oxytocin on maternal behavior. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in ...

When the five senses collide

Didn't you know? It's possible to see and feel the texture of sound. It's even possible to taste a color or to hear the sound of a smell. Seems strange? For 99% of the population these statements are false. However, what happens in the brain of the other 1%? Synesthetes really experience these situations, and it's not caused by an overactive imagination.

Synesthesia is a neurological condition affecting approximately 1 in every 100 people, characterized by stronger connections between the senses. The majority of synesthetes automatically associate a letter or numbers with a color, but a wide variety of different associations are possible. This is an involuntary reaction ...

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 ...


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