Humans’ critical ability to throw long distances aided by an illusion

Can’t help molding some snow into a ball and hurling it or tossing a stone as far into a lake as you can? New research from Indiana University and the University of Wyoming shows how humans, unlike any other species on Earth, readily learn to throw long distances. This research also suggests that this unique evolutionary trait is entangled with language development in a way critical to our very existence.

Bartenders may have role in assisting troubled war veterans

A pilot study suggests that some bartenders may be in a good position to identify veterans in need of mental health services and help connect them to the appropriate agency. Researchers at Ohio State University surveyed 71 bartenders employed at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Ohio.

The ways couples talk can predict relationship success

We know that people tend to be attracted to, date, and marry other people who resemble themselves in terms of personality, values, and physical appearance. However, these features only skim the surface of what makes a relationship work. The ways that people talk are also important. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people who speak in similar styles are more compatible.

Brief, individualized counseling improves sleep in older adults with insomnia

A brief behavioral treatment consisting of two in-person sessions and two phone calls appears to alleviate insomnia in older adults for at least six months, according to a report posted online today that will be published in the May 23 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Freedom’s just another word for employee satisfaction

Workers who feel they have autonomy – that they are free to make choices in the workplace and be accountable for them – are happier and more productive according to an extensive research literature review. Yet there’s no universal cross-cultural definition of autonomy.

People aren’t born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learned during infancy

There’s a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren’t born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly.

Is happiness a mental disorder?

In a satirical proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder, Richard P. Bentall of the Liverpool University notes that it is a statistically abnormal psychological phenomenon that is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities.

Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks

Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.

Bullying and lack of parental support linked to mass shootings

It’s easy for American society to label young killers as simply crazy. But new research suggests that a complex array of factors – from bullying to lack of parental support to ineffective mental health services – are potentially involved when a student turns to violence.

Are positive emotions good for your health in old age?

The notion that feeling good may be good for your health is not new, but is it really true? A new article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews the existing research on how positive emotions can influence health outcomes in later adulthood.

Brain’s clock influenced by senses

Humans use their senses to help keep track of short intervals of time according to new research, which suggests that our perception of time is not maintained by an internal body clock alone.