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Studies have shown that mentioning misinformation – even in the process of combating it – can cause it to stick in listeners' minds. from www.shutterstock.com

The media fuels vaccination myths – by trying to correct them

Studies show that the more familiar we become with false information, the more likely we are to later remember it as fact.
It’s time for lovers to exchange images of the organ really responsible for their emotions on Valentine’s Day. Emil Jeyaratnam/The Conversation

Darling, I love you … from the bottom of my brain

In William Shakespeare’s comedy Merchant of Venice, the play’s heroine Portia sings: Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart or in the head. If you look at Valentine’s Day cards, it’s clear fancy…
Distraught Seattle Seahawks fans after their team lost the Super Bowl. Jason Redmond/Reuters

Worst coaching call ever? Hindsight bias and the Super Bowl

“The worst call in Super Bowl history,” read a headline in my hometown Seattle Times after Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll seemingly threw the game away with his ill-fated decision to pass – rather than…
The tweet is mightier than the sword. Shutterstock

Army joins the social media war with psy-ops brigade

The British Army is bringing in a new brigade, specialising in psychological warfare, and particularly the use of social media. Whereas the infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers have been staple units…
Peter Sarsgaard stars as the psychologist Stanley Milgram in the new film The Experimenter. BB Film Productions

Milgram was wrong: we don’t obey authority, but we do love drama

Why have the landmark psychology experiments of the post-war era proved so enduring? Designed as dramas about human behaviour, experimenters drew on theatrical techniques and tailored their results for…
Security conscious. Behind Boris Johnson’s analysis of terror. BackBoris2012 Campaign Team

Boris’s jihadi ‘wankers’ mark a real shift in western terrorism

Last week, London’s mayor Boris Johnson generated a largely negative reaction when he described European jihadis as “wankers” – people who feel they are failures and that the world is against them. Now…
I should be good. Prayer by Shutterstock

Is religion a force for good?

Do we need religion in order to be moral? George Washington cautioned against “indulg[ing] the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion”, and today more than half of Americans believe…
Who will be the first to crack? Daniel Lobo

Air rage: bad behavior at 30,000 feet

People do disgusting and disruptive things on airplanes. They show little regard or patience for fellow passengers and their needs. Inconsiderate behavior on the part of passengers can make air travel…
A woman views the floral memorial outside the fenced off Lindt Chocolate cafe in Martin Place in Sydney. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Could the Sydney siege have been predicted and prevented?

It’s the question everyone is asking – could the Sydney siege have been predicted and therefore prevented based on the past behaviour of gunman Man Haron Monis. Monis' troubled history was well known to…
Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, after the Monday evening announcement of no charges over a teenager’s killing. EPA/Tannen Maury

Timing of the Ferguson case may have made the riots worse

The announcement Monday evening in the US that there would be no charges against a policeman over the shooting of a teenager is puzzling and already the target of critique. It’s not just the decision itself…
We know different coloured plates can affect how food ‘tastes’ … and now we know that the same applies to coffee. Esti Alvarez/Flickr

Bitter coffee today? Try changing the colour of your cup

In Australia, around a billion cups of coffee a year are consumed in cafés, restaurants and other outlets. Even Britain, a nation famous for its fondness for tea, has in recent years seen a dramatic rise…
Faced with uncertainty and unpredictability, your brain’s on its way to anxiety. Woman image via www.shutterstock.com.

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news…
Different people behave in different ways behind the wheel of a car. Flickr/Nuno Sousa

Road rage much? Personality predicts our driving behaviour

Personality traits can be used to predict a lot about a person. They can tell about their probable career success, if they’re likely to get divorced, their risk at dying early from disease – and now, how…

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