January 18, 2012

The Good Gossip Does for Society
That’s the idea explored by a team of psychologists at UC Berkeley, who argue that gossip helps keep bad behavior in check, provides a way to protect others from those who would exploit them, and generally allows people to blow off some steam and lower their stress levels. It’s all part of a wide-ranging study that explored just how people responded when presented with situations tailor-made for gossiping. (Alasdair Wilkins, io9)

Looking Into the Cognitive Life of Neanderthals
Thomas Wynn: What was it like to be a Neanderthal? Did they feel the same way we do? Did they fall in love? Have a bad day? Palaeoanthropologists now know a great deal about these ice-age Europeans who flourished between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. (New Scientist)

National Center for Science Education Will Now Tackle Climate Change Denial
Eugenie Scott, the group’s executive director, cited a rise in “creationist-like tactics being used in the attack on climate education.” (Leslie Kaufman, Green, The New York Times)

David Eagleman

By day, David Eagleman is a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. By night, he writes best-selling fiction and popular science books. (Sean O’Neill, Big Wide World, New Scientist)

Psychology of Disaster

What happens psychologically when people are faced with a disaster like the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship? Professor Ed Galea, director of the Fire Safety Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich, and John Drury, a specialist in crowd psychology at the University of Sussex, discuss how people act when disaster strikes. (Today, BBC Radio 4)

Category: Field Notes


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