News, Psychology

Intuitition endorses creationism, while analytical thinking fosters evolution

Drawing from Charles Darwin's notes which he used to elaborate his seminal work, "On The Origins of Species".

Despite a huge gap in public acceptance, the theory of evolution and natural selection is not a controversial theory. It is widely accepted by the scientific community and is, in fact, one of the most successful scientific idea in history. Yet, billions of people around the world discard evolution and uphold a creationist view of how humans, other creatures or the whole cosmos came to being. Ironically, it may be the way that our own brains evolved and supported the adaption of our species that supports a natural predisposition towards creationism. This idea is supported by a paper published in Cognition which found persons who rely more on intuition than analytical thinking are more likely to discard evolution and vice-versa.

News, Psychology

Is Facebook’s “Celebrate Pride” tool a lame psychological experiment?


A few days ago, the US supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage was hence forth legal in all states. To mark the occasion, Facebook released the “Celebrate Pride” tool which overlays a low-opacity rainbow over your profile pic. More than a million people changed their profile photos just a couple of hours after the feature was integrated into the Facebook. While its intentions might seem noble, Cesar Hidalgo – an MIT network scientists – doesn’t buy it. He says it’s all in fact a huge social experiment whose end game is to see how long it takes for you to change your profile pic to something else.


Assessing the psychological profile of politicians definitely sounds like a good idea

Tony Abbott is perhaps the worst PM Australia has seen in decades. Photo:

Speaking for The Age, the Chairman of the Australian Human Resources Institute, Peter Wilson, said that political candidates in Australia should have their psychological profiles assessed much in the same way top corporate executives are today. It definitely sounds like a good idea, but will this ever be a “thing”? In Australia at least, some parties seem to welcome the idea, but without institutional mandates to do so, I’m afraid we’ll still be seeing affairs run their typical course. But wouldn’t be great if psychopaths were barred from office?

News, Psychology

76% of American employees get the “Sunday blues”


The weekends should be devoted to disconnecting from your job and focusing more on leisure, family and personal development. A global study made by Munster paints a different picture (who’s surprised?). Seems like no less than 76% of American workers get the “Sunday blues”. In other words, they stress and fret during the depressing night that separates them from a new workweek. Of course, it may be natural to feel a bit stressed knowing you’re about to start a new busy work week, but It’s also worth noting that these 76% have “really bad” Sunday blues. That doesn’t sound normal. In fact, over the pond just 47% Europeans felt that way at the time.

News, Psychology

Listening to extreme music doesn’t make you angrier or violent. In fact, it’s the other way around

Heavy metal band Slayer playing live. Photo: Metal Underground

Anecdotal observations and even some studies claim that listening to extreme music like heavy metal, punk or hardcore causes anger and expressions of anger, like delinquency or violent behavior. Researchers in Australia, however, found that this isn’t the case. After closely following 39 extreme music listeners aged 18–34 years, the psychologists found that extreme music didn’t make the participants angrier – even after they were purposely made angry. Instead, when they tuned to their favorite extreme music, the participants exhibited a lower heart rate, which is associated with less angry response, showed an increase in positive emotions.

News, Psychology

Constructive noncompliance – when citizens disobey the laws… and it’s a good thing

Image credits: iStock.

When citizens stop complying with the laws, it’s generally a bad thing – laws are there for a reason, and not respecting the laws carries negative consequences – for the people involved, and for social order. But what if, consciously or not, citizens are actually disobeying the laws in order to enact positive changes? A new MIT study found that sometimes, that’s exactly the case.

Biology, News, Psychology

Flies feel fear too, but do they have other emotions as well?

Flies feel fear too, but probably not in the way humans do. Drawing: Kim Carlson

Fruit flies experience fear, one of the primary emotions, according to a new research that suggests there’s much more to flies scattering about in the face of a swatter than a mere robotic reflex. But do the flies feel other emotions too? That’s an extremely difficult question to answer, since the researchers themselves aren’t even sure what they’ve been observing is genuine fear. It does, however, bear all the characteristics of fear. The findings are important since the show that other “lesser beings” that have a primitive nervous system like other insects or spiders might also experience fear, and possibly other emotions as well like happiness or sadness. Who knows, maybe love too?

Animals, News, Psychology

Rats rescue their friends from drowning out of empathy (and kindness)

"Don't worry, buddy! I'll fix this." Image: SATO, N. ET AL., ANIMAL COGNITION (2015)

We use the word “humane” to describe kind behavior and sympathy towards others, but the term might falsely lend some to believe that this is an exclusive human quality. Far from it. Rats too are kind, sympathetic and as “humane” as any human. For instance, when their peers are in danger of drowning, rats will come to their aid to save them. Even when a tasty treat, like chocolate, is offered instead the rat will most often than not choose to help his dying friend. To hell with chocolate!

Feature Post, Psychology

How Oculus Rift could revolutionise Social Psychology

oculus rift

Upon acquiring virtual technology company Oculus, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted that virtual reality technology would one day permeate areas of life further than just the world of gaming, and we would ‘someday [use virtual reality] to enjoy a courtside seat at a basketball game, study in a classroom, consult with a doctor face-to-face or shop in a virtual store’. It’s true – the creation of immersive, virtual environments does indeed have masses of potential for industries which beforehand, were seemingly incongruous with such technology. Social psychology, the study of human experience and behaviour, is one of them.

News, Psychology

Fear of punishment and conformity might explain how traditions are created and mantained

Ceremony Dance

The threat of punishment and humans’ seemingly innate tendency to copy other behaviors form the basis of a psychological model that explains how traditions or entrenched ideals are formed and maintained in society.