July 27, 2011

The Saddest Movie Scene Ever
The final scene of The Champ has become a must-see in psychology laboratories around the world when scientists want to make people sad. (Richard Chin, Smithsonian.com)

Laughing at Ourselves
Folks who claimed to be able to laugh at themselves were most likely to find a distorted picture of their own mug funny, although they weren’t necessarily more likely to laugh at strangers’ distorted faces. In addition, the subjects who were amused by their own distorted face tended to be more cheerful. (Rita Rubin, The Body Odd, msnbc.com)

Trying to Distinguish Between Knowledge and Belief
Chris Mooney: According to a recent report in Science, those designing the National Science Foundation’s next Science and Engineering Indicators report—and particularly the much cited Chapter 7, which discusses the public’s views and knowledge about science—are now grappling with this problem. (The Intersection, Discover)

How Religious Parents Affect Kids
A new study of low-income families finds that the benefits of religion aren’t the same across all families, with one exception: If both parents share a passion for attending religious services, their child is less likely to act out. (Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience)

People Living at Higher Latitudes Evolved Bigger Brains and Eyes
Researchers from Oxford University studied the eye sockets and brain capacity of 55 human skulls from 12 different populations across the world and found that the further human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains. It’s not because they are smarter, however, but because they need bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels at high latitudes, the scientists said. (Kate Kelland, Reuters)

Category: Field Notes

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