Psychology (category filter × )

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.

Emotionally Extreme Experiences, Not Just “Positive” or “Negative” Experiences, Are More Meaningful in Life
  • Experiences become meaningful based on how intense they are -- regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
  • Analysis of reports from three studies has shown that either extremely pleasant, or extremely painful events are the most meaningful.
  • Emotional intensity and need for contemplation afterwards are what makes a meaningful experience.
  • Without pain, there is no way to appreciate the good in life -- happiness and sadness are both essential.
  • This puts a question mark on the recent mindfulness craze -- while it has benefits, peaceful meditation is not the only element to a meaningful life.

Here’s Why Spiky Shapes Seem Angry And Round Sounds Are Calming
  • Series of five studies provides interesting findings about the fundamental process which we use to read emotions from properties of images and sounds.
  • They explored how the “Spectral Centroid” (average of different frequencies of a spectrum created by breaking down images and sounds) influences emotions.
  • Apparently, the SC of someone’s voice or movements gives us a clear signal about their emotions.
  • Same goes for shapes and sounds -- for example, low-SC (ie smooth) shapes and sounds cause feelings of calmness or sadness.




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