Articles on Psychology

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We all know the rules, and yet some of us seem happy to break them. Looking Glass

Seeing red: why cyclists ride through traffic lights

You’ve probably seen it happen. You’re driving your car and you come to a stop at the traffic lights. You’re mindful of traffic infringement fines and public safety, then someone on a bike rides past you…
Cognitive and movement therapies can significantly reduce chronic, unexplained back pain and reduce the time taken off work. Image from shutterstock.com

Targeted therapies can help alleviate back pain: study

Changing the way people think and move can have a huge impact on their experience of unexplained lower back pain, a study…
China’s “little emperors” may have been unfairly characterised. Saf'

Is China’s one-child policy really to blame for personality changes?

People born in China under the one-child policy (OCP) – a policy applied since 1979, restricting urban couples to having only one child – are less trusting, trustworthy, competitive, conscientious, risk-seeking…
New tests could be in store for trainee teachers to demonstrate their emotional intelligence. Emotions image from www.shutterstock.com

Do we need emotional intelligence tests for teachers?

With the newly announced federal government reforms to teacher training announced this week, emotional intelligence is now firmly on the agenda for trainee teachers. Under the proposed rules, prospective…
Young people should be left alone with their doctor for at least part of each consultation. Image from shutterstock.com

Sex, drugs and illness: why teens need medical confidentiality

What qualities do you most want your doctor to have? Good medical knowledge? Honesty? Good listening skills? Empathy? You probably want your doctor to have all of these traits – and teenagers are no different…
The horse meat scandal seems to be more about the taboo issue of eating our pets than actual health concerns. Fredrik von Erichsen/AAP

Neigh-sayers: why we won’t agree to eat a dead horse

Imagine the following scenario. You go into your local sandwich shop for lunch and order a roast beef on rye with a dash of mustard. As you bite into the sandwich you notice something is not right. The…
How many likes for news that social networking can increase users’ sense of wellbeing? owenwbrown

Thumbs up: Facebook might actually be good for you

We stalk our ex-partners on it, we are friends with celebrities on it, we play games on it, and we post photos of ourselves on it. But what are we really getting out of the time we spend on Facebook? We…
Are displays of emotion from sportspeople about convincing us that it’s not just about the money? fox2mike/flickr

It’ll end in tears: why athletes cry and what it means

Any major sporting triumph without euphoric emotion or a serious opening of the floodgates would seem strange. Commentators tell us that tears show “passion”. Fans seem to demand them. It wasn’t always…
Campaigns to switch off won’t work until they fit in with the ways we already behave. Andrew Huff

Hard habit to break: getting out of our energy wasting ways

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires behavioural change. But how do we get individuals into this habit or, for that matter, any habit that reduces energy consumption? Two academic disciplines concern…
Many rural residents say plantation forestry is ruining communities; many say otherwise. Who is right? teejaybee/flickr

Do you see what I see? Rural reactions to changing land use

Land-use planners and policy-makers often face claims and counter claims regarding the impacts of land-use change. For example, some residents claim wind turbines have crippling health impacts, while others…
Be the change you wish to see in the world - it may have more impact than you realise. Corepics VOF/Shutterstock

Neighbourhood watch: how to go green and influence people

We all know that children learn by example. I know if I swear in front of my four year old I’m going to hear that word again soon, probably right in front of my mother-in-law, a school teacher, or a priest…
Our implicit associations reveal more about our true attitudes than what we explicitly state. Image from shutterstock.com

Are you racist? You may be without even knowing it

The infamous Youtube video capturing a young man abusing women on a Melbourne bus for the crime of singing in French, and being supported in his violent tirade by fellow passengers, raises the uncomfortable…

Greed more common than generosity

Greed is more likely to be “paid forward” than generosity. In an experiment, participants were given four tasks - two easy…
Some of life’s problems are just not solvable. Sean Dreilinger

Listen up worry warts, ruminating won’t solve your problems

We all do it from time to time – replay scenarios over and over in our minds. Problem is, these repetitive and, at times, uncontrollable thoughts inevitably leave us feeling worse and make us more prone…
Much information is available to us just by focusing on a person’s face. Dual Time Studio

Face value: where to look when you want to read someone

You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their face. From a glance, we can glean information about a person’s emotional state, sex, age, ethnicity, where their attention is focused and, of…
We recognise extreme emotions, but may need more than facial expressions to decode them. How Hwee young/EPA

Are you furious? Body cues tell us more than faces

As social creatures, non-verbal communication through facial expression is important in portraying emotions – and because of this, it’s interpreted rapidly and accurately. Regardless of culture, defined…
Statistical significance doesn’t speak directly to the reproducibility of an experimental effect. Daniel Leininger

Putting psychological research to the test with the Reproducibility Project

An ambitious new project is attempting to replicate every single study published in 2008 in three leading academic psychology journals. It’s called the Reproducibility Project. As the name suggests, the…
Presenting scientific information isn’t likely to change made-up minds, but there are a lot of un-made-up minds out there. Department of Energy and Climate Change

Science alone won’t change climate opinions, but it matters

Does scientific knowledge matter in the climate debate? Recent research suggests that it is not “what you know” but “who you are” that counts in making up your mind about climate change. What are the implications…

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