Genetic variant that can lead to severe impulsivity identified

A multinational research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. A report of the findings, which include human genetic analyses and gene knockout studies in animals, appears in the Dec. 23 issue of Nature.

Accent shapes our perception of a person

The accent someone talks in plays a crucial role in the way we judge this person, psychologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) found out recently. The study is based on the PhD thesis of Dr. Rakic in the International Graduate College Conflict and Cooperation between Social groups.

Emotional intelligence peaks as we enter our 60s

Older people have a hard time keeping a lid on their feelings, especially when viewing heartbreaking or disgusting scenes in movies and reality shows, psychologists have found. But they’re better than their younger counterparts at seeing the positive side of a stressful situation and empathizing with the less fortunate, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.

Positive mood allows brain to think more creatively

People who watch funny videos on the internet at work aren’t necessarily wasting time. They may be taking advantage of the latest psychological science—putting themselves in a good mood so they can think more creatively.

Rationalization measures are the main cause of poor work environment

Managers in the private and public sectors must consider work environment when rationalising production to obtain sustainable systems. A research study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics reveals that rationalisation measures often have a major negative impact on both the physical and psychosocial work environment.

‘1-drop rule’ appears to persist for biracial individuals

The centuries-old one-drop rule assigning minority status to mixed-race individuals appears to live on in our modern-day perception and categorization of people like Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, and Halle Berry.

Fewer synapses, more efficient learning

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and the Yale University studied the adhesion protein SynCAM1, which glues synapses together. When they increased the amount of SynCAM1 in neurons, the number of synapses grew. This would offer the neurons more routes for transmitting information. However, a behavioral experiment showed that mice without SynCAM1 learned better than animals with normal levels of the protein.

Illegal file sharers ‘Robin Hoods of the digital age’

Many illegal file sharers believe they are the ‘Robin Hoods of the digital age’ and are motivated by altruism and a desire for notoriety, according to new research which analyses why people illegally download digital media.