Articles on Behaviour

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A few minutes of shut-eye considerably enhances short-term memory and mood. Image from shutterstock.com

Want to boost your memory and mood? Take a nap, but keep it short

We’re told to have power naps to keep us safe on the road and improve our alertness if we’ve had insufficient sleep. They even help our surgeons stay awake during long shifts. But siestas and nana naps…
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…
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…
Protesters march against the torture at Abu Ghraib; we use social psychology to help understand why people commit such acts. Shrieking Tree

Rethinking long-held beliefs about the psychology of evil

Social psychology addresses many of the important questions that concern us as human beings. It’s also the subject of newspaper editorials on most days: why is there conflict between groups? How can it…
The currently accepted blood lead goal – 10 micrograms per decilitre – needs updating. Tony Bibbs

Time to rethink blood lead goals to reduce risk to children’s health

Lead exposure continues to be an important public health issue for Australian children, with as many as 100,000 children under five years of age estimated to have blood lead levels high enough to cause…
Were we born to work with others or look after number one? Cayusa

On first thought, cooperate; on second thought, be selfish

Are we cooperative or are we selfish? This question goes back as far as the philosophers Rousseau and Hobbes – Rousseau advocated for a “noble savage” model of humanity whereas Hobbes advocated for a “darker…
Getting rid of negative memories is increasingly within our grasp. taylor.a

Remembering to forget: how to erase unwanted memories

Memories influence our behaviour for better or worse. A traumatic incident, experienced once, can darken our lives for ever more. Drug or alcohol addiction – driven by remembered rewards – can render the…

Why we get bored

Boredom arises from our inability to engage one of our brain’s attention networks. Our awareness of this inability to concentrate…
Personal insight can be gained from one’s use – or misuse – of social media. Olga Palma/Wikimedia

Stalking your ex on Facebook is creepy … and bad for you

New research from Dr. Tara Marshall at Brunel University has found that Facebook surveillance of ex-romantic partners may disrupt post-breakup recovery and personal growth. That’s bad news, because earlier…
Don’t want someone sitting next to you? You’re not alone. j.o.h.n. walker

Enjoy the silence: commuters are ‘nonsocial’ for good reason

On public transport, there’s an unspoken rule to not take the seat next to someone if there are other seats available. In especially longer public transport commutes, the entire ride can be done in silence…

When in doubt, invest in karma

When faced with uncontrollable outcomes, people act as though they can still get on the good side of fate by doing good deeds…
Society as we know it may depend on lies more than we realise. ireland :)

Truth is, everyone lies all the time

Recent research in residential aged care by Anthony Tuckett from the University of Queensland has illustrated that, in some instances, lying is not only necessary, it’s actually virtuous. It is a complex…
Chimpanzees have demonstrated an ability to grasp the aims of their companions. Flickr/Eric F Savage

Chimps only too happy to help - when asked the right way

Chimpanzees are able to understand the objectives of their companions, but will only help them when asked to do so, a study…
Researchers have found female diners unconsciously copy the actions and intake of their companions. Flickr/iambents

Copycat eating: how we subconsciously keep time with dining partners

Young women who dine together tend to mimic each other’s eating behaviour to the point where they eat about the same amount…

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