Smooth-talking charmers: Why psychopaths can be so attractive to the unsuspecting

The old cliché of psychopaths being smooth-talking charmers might not be far wrong, at least according to a new study. The study carried out by psychologists from Brock University and Carleton University in Canada claims that young women are more attracted to men with stronger psychopathic personality traits, despite these prospective partners having little interest in a committed relationship. Reporting in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, the researchers wanted to follow up on "reports" that psychopathic traits were attractive in potential romantic partners, despite the known pitfalls of entering interpersonal relationships with psychopaths. For the first part of their study, the researchers recruited 46 men, aged 17 to 25, and gauged psychopathy and social intelligence using a filmed fake date scenario with a female research assistant for about 2 minutes. According to the study, the majority of the male participants...

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Brain takes just less than 300 milliseconds to recognize familiar music

Anecdotally the ability to recall popular songs is exemplified in game shows such as 'Name That Tune', where contestants can often identify a piece of music in just a few seconds. For this study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute wanted to find out exactly how fast the brain responded to familiar music, as well as the temporal profile of processes in the brain which allow for this. The main participant group consisted of five men and five women who had each provided five songs, which were very familiar to them. For each participant researchers then chose one of the familiar songs and matched this to a tune, which was similar (in tempo, melody, harmony, vocals and instrumentation) but which was known to be unfamiliar to the participant. ...

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The brain has distinct areas for all manner of ideas, research suggests

Researchers have deciphered the abstract concepts people are thinking about - for example justice, truth and forgiveness - merely by analysing their brain scans. Until now, this type of "thought decoding" has been largely confined to concrete concepts such as apple and hammer. The new findings, however, suggest slippery ideas that are not of the physical world also inhabit distinct parts of the brain. The study is the work of psychologist Marcel Just and graduate student Robert Vargas from Carnegie Mellon University in the US. It makes intuitive sense, they say, that physical or "concrete" objects, such as hammers and apples, will be represented in the brain similarly between people. Trade tools and fruit are, by nature, unambiguous. It's a contention born out in the science of neural decoding, where patterns of activity on brain scans are used to work...

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Thinking about death: High neural activity is linked to shorter lifespans

If there's one thing that humans can't stop thinking about, it's death. But new research published in the journal Nature suggests that all that thinking might be the very thing that brings death on. More precisely, researchers discovered that higher neural activity has a negative effect on longevity. Neural activity refers to the constant flow of electricity and signals throughout the brain, and excessive activity could be expressed in many ways; a sudden change in mood, a facial twitch, and so on. "An exciting future area of research will be to determine how these findings relate to such higher-order human brain functions," said professor of genetics and study co-author Bruce Yankner. While it's probably not the case that thinking a thought reduces your lifespan in the same way smoking a cigarette does, the study didn't determine whether actual thinking had...

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Discovering Wholeness and Healing after Trauma

Dr. James Gordon is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist who uses self-care strategies and group support to help patients heal from psychological trauma. In this interview, he shares some of those strategies, which are also detailed in his book "The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma." Gordon is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) in Washington, D.C., and is a clinical professor at Georgetown Medical School. During his presidency, President Bill Clinton appointed Gordon chairman of the National Advisory Council to the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. ...

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