Musical Skill Reflects Working Memory Capacity in Addition to Practice Time

Practice will help you play piano better – but it’s not going to turn you into Liberace. A new study looks at the role that working memory capacity plays in piano players’ ability to sight read a new piece of music, an important and complex skill for musicians.

Air Force Suicide Prevention Program Reduces Suicide Rate

A U.S. Air Force suicide prevention program is associated with reduced suicide rates among Air Force personnel during times in which the program was rigorously implemented and monitored, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print May 13, 2010, in the American Journal of Public Health.

Predicting Relationship Breakups With a Word-Association Task

Here’s a way to tell a romantic relationship is going to fall apart: find out what people really think about their partners. The researchers in a new study used a so-called implicit task, which shows how people automatically respond to words – in this case, whether they find it easier to link words referring to their partner to words with pleasant or unpleasant meanings.

Is Your Left Hand More Motivated Than Your Right Hand?

Motivation doesn’t have to be conscious; your brain can decide how much it wants something without input from your conscious mind. Now a new study shows that both halves of your brain don’t even have to agree. Motivation can happen in one side of the brain at a time.

Brain Structures Correspond to Different Facets of Personality

Personalities come in all kinds. Now psychological scientists have found that the size of different parts of people’s brains correspond to their personalities; for example, conscientious people tend to have a bigger lateral prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in planning and controlling behavior.

Individuals with substance addiction, bipolar disorder share overlapping genetic profiles

Addiction and bipolar disorder are commonly co-occurring disorders, with up to 60% of individuals with bipolar disorder experiencing some form of substance abuse in their lifetime. While it is known that genetic factors contribute substantially to the likelihood of developing either illness, new studies suggest shared genetic roots for both disorders.

College Students Less Empathetic than They Used to Be

Today’s college students are not as empathetic as college students of the 1980s and ’90s, a University of Michigan study shows. The study, presented in Boston at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, analyzes data on empathy among almost 14,000 college students over the last 30 years.