Psychology

  • Photo of Dr Michael Mosley: Why your sleep tracker could sabotage your shut-eye

    Dr Michael Mosley: Why your sleep tracker could sabotage your shut-eye

    Do you suffer from orthosomnia, an unhealthy obsession with getting the right amount of ‘healthy’ sleep each night? During lockdown, there is evidence of rising rates of insomnia, particularly in health care workers, but orthosomnia is different. It applies to people who are more than a little bit obsessed by what their sleep trackers are telling them, and who rely…

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  • Photo of Why do we sleep?

    Why do we sleep?

    What is sleep? Sleep is a state of altered consciousness in which we become less aware of what’s going on around us. Sleep can take different forms in different animals. Dolphins, for example, sleep just half a brain at a time, and can even continue to swim while asleep. For humans, sleep involves four stages, called N1, N2, N3 and…

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  • Photo of How your brain creates pain – and what we can do about it

    How your brain creates pain – and what we can do about it

    Most of us tend to think that pain is the product of injury or damage to tissue – the knife that slipped, the slipped disc from too much heavy lifting, the baby’s giant head. And there’s a good reason for that: pain, as lived experience has taught us, is an essential warning system, an alarm that sounds whenever we’re experiencing…

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  • Photo of What is consciousness?

    What is consciousness?

    From a medical perspective, consciousness is a description of our current level of awareness: people who are fully awake are completely conscious but, at the other extreme, people in a coma are without consciousness because they have no subjective thoughts or sense of awareness. Other states of consciousness, such as sleep and intoxication, sit between the two – awareness and…

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  • Photo of A body burned inside a hut 20,000 years ago signaled shifting views of death

    A body burned inside a hut 20,000 years ago signaled shifting views of death

    Middle Eastern hunter-gatherers changed their relationship with the dead nearly 20,000 years ago. Clues to that spiritual shift come from the discovery of an ancient woman’s fiery burial in a hut at a seasonal campsite. Burials of people in houses or other structures, as well as cremations, are thought to have originated in Neolithic-period farming villages in and around the…

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  • Photo of Scientifically, how long does it take to fall in love?

    Scientifically, how long does it take to fall in love?

    We talk about feeling chemistry with people, getting butterflies in our stomach and reaching that point of infatuation with another where you’re checking their Instagram constantly. But how does true love actually form? Moving from a loving attachment to what we know as falling in love can depend on many factors. For one, we know that two people have a…

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  • Diving into the mysteries of mate selection

    In your quest for true love and that elusive happily ever after, are you waiting for the “right” person to come along, or do you find yourself going for the cutest guy or girl in the room, hoping things will work out? Do you leave your options open, hoping to “trade-up” at the next opportunity, or do you invest in…

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  • Photo of This is your brain on love: the beautiful neuroscience behind all romance

    This is your brain on love: the beautiful neuroscience behind all romance

    Love. From flurries of excitement, joy and infatuation, to crippling self-consciousness, deep attachment and even all-consuming fear, it’s a potent cocktail of emotions. So powerful, in fact, it has a profound impact on your body. For instance, people who sleep in the same bed have been shown synchronise their heart rhythms, while other research has observed that people’s breathing align when…

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  • Photo of Black, Hispanic and female police use force less often than white male officers

    Black, Hispanic and female police use force less often than white male officers

    Black and Hispanic police officers tend to stop, arrest and use force against civilians less often than white officers do, and female officers of all races use less force than their male colleagues, a new case study of the Chicago Police Department suggests. Information on the demographics and behavior of thousands of Chicago police officers revealed how officers of different…

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  • Photo of Can privacy coexist with technology that reads and changes brain activity?

    Can privacy coexist with technology that reads and changes brain activity?

    Gertrude the pig rooted around a straw-filled pen, oblivious to the cameras and onlookers — and the 1,024 electrodes eavesdropping on her brain signals. Each time the pig’s snout found a treat in a researcher’s hand, a musical jingle sounded, indicating activity in her snout-controlling nerve cells. Those beeps were part of the big reveal on August 28 by Elon…

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