Staring contests are automatic: People lock eyes to establish dominance

Imagine that you’re in a bar and you accidentally knock over your neighbor’s beer. He turns around and stares at you, looking for confrontation. Do you buy him a new drink, or do you try to outstare him to make him back off? New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that the dominance behavior exhibited by staring someone down can be reflexive.

Scientists create illusion of having 3 arms

In a novel paper published in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE they describe how it is possible to create an illusion of owning three arms, under controlled conditions in a laboratory. The experiment involves the participant sitting at a table and having a realistic prosthetic arm placed next to their right arm.

Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial

People found incompetent to stand trial are more likely to be unemployed, have been previously diagnosed with a psychotic disorder or have had psychiatric hospitalization, according to an analysis of 50 years of research, published by the American Psychological Association.

Stereotypes can deter consumer purchases

The perception of negative stereotyping, particularly in the areas of financial services and automobile sales and service, can cause consumers to fear being duped and forgo their purchases, according to new research by University of Minnesota associate professor Kathleen D. Vohs.

Deep meditation and mindfulness can help people deal with life’s difficulties

The key to dealing with some of the challenges life throws at us – including pain, suffering, illness, grief and loss – is to truly appreciate the positive aspects of our life, and not simply focus on the negative. It is important to acknowledge the setbacks, but equal attention and value need to be given to what is going well.

Females threatened by social exclusion will reject others first

Many studies have suggested that males tend to be more physically and verbally aggressive than females. According to a new study, to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, it may not be the case that women are less competitive than men—they may just be using a different strategy to come out ahead. Specifically, women may rely more on indirect forms of aggression, such as social exclusion.

Therapeutic lifestyle changes as useful as drugs in improving mental health

Getting more exercise, spending time outdoors and helping others are among the activities that can be as effective as drugs or counseling in treating an array of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, according to a UC Irvine study.

Why innocent suspects may confess to a crime

Why would anyone falsely confess to a crime they didn’t commit? It seems illogical, but according to The Innocence Project, there have been 266 post-conviction DNA exonerations since 1989 — 25 percent of which involved a false confession.

The blind also have a Stripe of Gennari

The Stripe of Gennari develops even in those who are blind from birth and does not degenerate, despite a lack of visual input. This was discovered by Robert Trampel and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences using magnetic resonance imaging.

A new clue to the genetics of bipolar disorder: Piccolo

Understanding the genetics of bipolar disorder could lead to new treatments, but identifying specific genetic variations associated with this disorder has been challenging. A new study in Biological Psychiatry implicates a brain protein called Piccolo in the risk for inheriting bipolar disorder.

Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?

Millions of people dealing with health issues have found comfort sharing their stories online with others who experience similar ailments, but research on their clinical effectiveness is limited, and findings are mixed. Among people with mental illnesses, the results are sparser, even though research has shown that this group prefers online peer support groups over face-to-face support groups.