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Hip-hop artists such as American rapper Method Man are often accused of creating music than incites anti-social behaviour. Jazmin Million/Flickr

Getting a bad rap: why problem music isn’t really a problem

Often we form opinions of music because of how aggressive, depressing or joyful we perceive it to be. But studies into the effects of different music genres on listeners' moods throw up some surprises.
Narcissism is a key trait in the subset of ‘dramatic, emotional and erratic’ personality disorders. ShellyS/Flickr

Explainer: what are personality disorders and how are they treated?

Personality disorders have been richly illustrated by filmmakers. Think of attention-seeking Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Or the villains in Silence of the Lambs and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Conduct problems in childhood are the most common precursor to a variety of disorders affecting mental and physical health in adulthood. Sergio Vassio Photography/Flickr

The eyes have it: changing kids' minds about bad behaviour

Aggression and oppositional behaviour in childhood doesn’t just make short-term problems for children, their friends and families. It also places kids at risk of long-term issues with mental and physical…
Our reaction to disgusting things may be evolutionarily-derived. Flickr/Rainja

From disgust to deceit – a shorter path than you might think

Feeling queasy? How about deceitful? New research shows feelings of disgust encourage unethical, self-interested behaviours such as lying to get more money. At first look, these findings would suggest…
Go with the group on trick or treat this Halloween. Sean Locke Photography

Trick or treating this Halloween? Know your group behaviour

Halloween is upon us tonight and it’s all just a bit of harmless fun, right? Or is there truly a dark side to Halloween? What should we make of kids getting together in groups, wearing costumes that hide…
Shy people long for social connections but have to fight through a thicket of fears. Lili Vieira de Carvalho

Shyness isn’t nice, but shyness shouldn’t stop you

Shy people have quite a bit to contend with – not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To “shy away” from something implies avoidance; to “shy” can…
Plenty of extreme wrongs are performed by comparatively ordinary people. Danny O'Connor

Does evil exist and, if so, are some people just plain evil?

You would have to be naïve to believe that evil exists, right? If you were asked to come up with examples of evil villains, you might think of the Emperor from Star Wars, Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter…
We shouldn’t need to keep spelling it out. Thinglass ADHD image via Shutterstock

ADHD is real and saying otherwise is damaging

The Observer recently ran an interview with US expert Bruce D Perry who claimed that children’s hyperactivity “is not a real disease”. Perry, senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas…
Milgram concluded that most of us can be induced to torture someone else at the behest of an authority figure – but that’s only part of the story. afromztoa/Flickr

Revisiting Milgram’s shocking obedience experiments

Chances are you’ve heard of Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. In 1961, Milgram recruited pairs of volunteers to take part in a “memory test”. One volunteer was given the job of teacher, the other…
Will you ever be able to forgive yourself? Psychologists say yes. wlef70

Cheaters use cognitive tricks to feel good about themselves

Most people believe that they are moral and good. They also believe cheating on a partner is wrong. So how do cheaters live with themselves after their infidelity? Understanding how they reconcile their…
Julie with Jack in a film about Applied Behaviour Analysis. BBC/Dartmouth Films/Two Step Films/Fran Robertson

Behavioural method is not an attempt to ‘cure’ autism

Treetops School in Essex is a state school that uses ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) to educate children with autism. ABA has generated controversy and BBC4’s film, Autism: Challenging Behaviour, follows…
‘Hug a hoodie’ as David Cameron would say. ssoosay

Hard Evidence: has life got worse for young people?

Smoking, drinking and hanging around street corners is a common characterisation of a bored, unhealthy, unemployed youth. Life is getting worse for young people, we’re often led to believe, but what do…
When the rage starts to rise, don’t detonate – evaluate. Darwin Bell

Master your anger – or at least try to understand it

Misery is psychology’s stale bread and rancid butter. The field heaps attention on sadness, fear and anxiety, and their psychiatric cousins depression, phobia and neurosis. Anger receives much less scrutiny…
Dark side of the moon: does it hold some power over us? PA/Anthony Devlin

We shouldn’t dismiss the moon’s power to influence

As a teenager I observed a strange phenomenon. On awakening from an unusually vivid dream, I would often find that the moon was full. And as the silvery light prevailed on subsequent nights, my nocturnal…
That skinny latte was awesome? We knew before you tweeted. Matt Biddulph

Algorithms can predict how tweets spread

The deluge of data we are subjected to daily can be a good thing sometimes. It gives us a wide-open window to look at people’s behaviour, say, through their use of social media. The obvious question then…

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