Psychology / Psychiatry News

All It Takes Is A Smile (For Some Guys)...

Does she or doesn't she . . .? Sexual cues are ambiguous, and confounding. We - especially men - often read them wrong. A new study hypothesizes that the men who get it wrong might be the ones that evolution has favored. "There are tons of studies showing that men think women are interested when they're not," says Williams College psychologist Carin Perilloux, who conducted the research with Judith A. Easton and David M. Buss of University of Texas at Austin. "Ours is the first to systematically examine individual differences." The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

How Do We Split Our Attention?

Imagine you're a hockey goalie, and two opposing players are breaking in alone on you, passing the puck back and forth. You're aware of the linesman skating in on your left, but pay him no mind. Your focus is on the puck and the two approaching players. As the action unfolds, how is your brain processing this intense moment of "multi-tasking"? Are you splitting your focus of attention into multiple "spotlights?" Are you using one "spotlight" and switching between objects very quickly? Or are you "zooming out" the spotlight and taking it all in at once?

Habit Formation Is Enabled By Gateway To Brain Cells

A brain cell type found where habits are formed and movement is controlled has receptors that work like computer processors to translate regular activities into habits, researchers report.

"Habits, for better or worse, basically define who we are," said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, Co-Director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at Georgia Health Sciences University. Habits also provide mental freedom and flexibility by enabling many activities to be on autopilot while the brain focuses on more urgent matters, he said.


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