Psychology (category filter × )

Here's What Young People All Over the World Say They Want Most in a Partner
  • Study of 2,700 college students shows that kindness is the most important trait when choosing long-term partners.
  • Participants came from traditionally “Eastern” and “Western” countries to see how much culture impacts these choices -- as it turns out, not too much.
  • Kindness won over physical attractiveness, good financial prospects, humor, chastity, religiosity, the desire for children, and creativity.
  • The second most important was attractiveness for men, and financial prospects for women.
  • One theory explains this with evolutionary psychology -- we evolved to see these traits as signs of good partners for reproduction.

Study finds that learning to read enhances the brain in more ways than one
  • Reading doesn’t compete for brain space with other activities -- quite the opposite, it strengthens other areas in the brain.
  • Learning to read makes us better at processing non-language visuals, and the benefits are there regardless of what people read.
  • Researchers scanned the brains of 90 Indian adults, some of them illiterate and then taught to read over six-months.
  • After the illiterate adults learned to read, their brains changed, showing activity increase in different parts of the brain.
  • This shows that while our brains’ reading center (“visual word form area”) develops, it doesn’t take away from other brain functions -- it actually improves them.

Does testosterone impair men's cognitive empathy? Evidence from two large-scale randomized controlled trials
  • Two large-scale studies, on 243 and 400 participants, show no evidence that testosterone affects empathy in young men.
  • This casts doubt on the theory that early exposure to increased levels of testosterone can cause men to lose empathy.
  • These results do not take into account all possible links between testosterone and empathy.
  • However, they still provide robust evidence that developmental exposure to testosterone does not impact cognitive empathy.

Different Tongue, Same Information: 17-language Study Reveals How We Communicate Information at a Similar Rate
  • 39.15 bits per second -- that is the average rate at which information is transferred across 17 different languages.
  • This finding is based on a study of recordings from 170 native adults from Europe and Asia, reading a set of 15 texts around 240,000 syllables long.
  • By taking into account the rate of speech -- not just amount of words -- it was shown that our brains limit the amount of information over time that we can process.
  • Because of that, informationally-dense languages are spoken slower, and languages that convey less information with more words are spoken faster.
  • So while all these languages are significantly different, they all have a similar information rate.

Study: Existential isolation linked to increased death thought accessibility
  • Existential isolation - not to be confused with loneliness - could weaken our ‘anxiety buffers’, potentially making us think more about death.
  • This isolation results from a lack of social validation -- in other words, feeling misunderstood by people around us.
  • While interesting, the study was only done on 1,545 psychology students in one school, so it doesn’t take cultural or age differences into account.
  • Nonetheless, it’s an interesting step towards understanding the darker side of our daily human experience.




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