Friday, November 16 2018
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The science of interrogation

The science of interrogation

The Army Field Manual is the guidebook for US military interrogators listing techniques they’re authorized to use in questioning detainees. Soon after Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office in 2009, he issued an executive order that required all U.S. government interrogators to abide by the manual, which prohibits waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation and other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' used by the CIA after 9/11. Yet according to experts, the manual is useless because it is unscientific.

Making room for new memories

Making room for new memories

Researchers set out to investigate what happens in the brain when we try to remember information that’s very similar to what we already know. This is important because similar information is more likely to interfere with existing knowledge. The study showed that instead of just crowding in, the brain purges an earlier association when that association is revised. In a sense, forgetting is our brain’s way of sorting memories, so the most relevant memories are ready for retrieval. Normal forgetting may even be a safety mechanism to ensure our brain doesn’t become too full.

Using empathy to detect genuine and fake smiles

Using empathy to detect genuine and fake smiles

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has devised a test to check empathy, which probes our ability to appreciate the feelings of others – from their appearance. Two smiles are photographed - one genuine, one fake. According to Wiseman, who teaches at the University of Hertfordshire, if you lack empathy you are very bad at differentiating between the two photographs.

The impact of facial features on first impressions

The impact of facial features on first impressions

Scientists have modelled the specific physical attributes that underpin our first impressions. Small changes in the dimensions of a face can make it appear more trustworthy, dominant or attractive. Dr Tom Hartley, a neuroscientist at the University of York and the study's senior author, said the work added mathematical detail to a well-known phenomenon. 'If people are forming these first impressions, just based on looking at somebody's face, what is it about the image of the face that's giving that impression - can we measure it exactly?' To make the calculations, each of 1,000 face photos from the internet was shown to at least six different people, who gave it a score for 16 different social traits. Overall, these scores boil down to three main characteristics: whether a face is (a) approachable, (b) dominant, and (c) attractive.

Should parents ever argue in front of their kids?

Should parents ever argue in front of their kids?

Are your rows best kept behind closed doors, or fought in full-view of the family? Hollywood actress Laura Dern publicly advocates fighting in front of your children, arguing that it shows children how to deal with conflict. Others argue that children can learn about the bad things in life without having to be continually exposed.

Holstee Manifesto

Holstee Manifesto

Connected culture and low energy levels

Connected culture and low energy levels

Our lives are increasingly dominated by never-ending to-do lists and full email inboxes. This culture of connectedness makes a work/life balance increasingly difficult to maintain when we're only a text or email away from the office. We no longer have the energy we want to spend time doing what matters most to us.

Addiction to social media

Addiction to social media

Facebook and Twitter users suffered withdrawal symptoms when forced to go cold turkey as part of a scientific study into the addictiveness of social media, academics have found.

Why do radiologists miss dancing gorillas?

Why do radiologists miss dancing gorillas?

A fascinating experiment to illustrate selective attention.

Definition of tomorrow

Masks

Masks

This poem by Shel Silverstein tells a story that is really applicable to a lot of people out there, even maybe you.