Tag Archives: Psychology

Writing about values shrinks racial grades gap

African-American school students asked to write about their personal values for fifteen minutes at the start of the school year earn higher grades for up to two years afterwards.

The work is a follow-up to a 2006 study in which students were asked to rank the importance of values such as religion, relationships and art and describe what the top value or values meant to them. The intervention reduced the achievement gap between African-American and European-American students by 40%. Low-achieving African-Americans benefited most, getting better grades than students in a control group who were asked to write about why the values they ranked lowest might matter to someone else.

Read the rest of this news story at Nature News [html] or here [pdf]

Testosterone boost doesn’t fuel risky behaviour in women

Women given testosterone for a month were no more likely than women not receiving the hormone to engage in risky financial decisions, according to researchers in Sweden. The findings could suggest that women are a safer pair of hands on the stock-market trading floor than men — or throw into doubt earlier findings about the effect of the hormone on men.

Read the rest of this news story on Nature News [html] or here [pdf]

With A Little Help

The walk to and from school can’t be uphill both ways, but going it alone might make it seem that way. When judging the steepness of a hill, people overestimated its angle more when alone than when they were accompanied by—or even thinking about—a friend, reports an international group of researchers led by Simone Schnall of University of Plymouth in England in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in May. The longer the volunteers had been friends with their companions, the less steep the hill seemed.

See the rest of the story as it appeared in Scientific American MIND in [html] or [pdf]

Motion Magic

The brain looks forward

The brain takes nearly one tenth of a second to consciously register a scene. But the scenery changes far more quickly than that when we move. How does our brain cope? By constantly predicting the future, posits Mark Changizi, now at Rensselaer Polytechnic University.

[See pdf for illustration and the rest of the text.]