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2012-11-21 11:39:09

In the 1960s and 1970s, classic social psychological studies were conducted that provided evidence that even normal, decent people can engage in acts of extreme cruelty when instructed to do so by others. However, in an essay published November 20 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Professors Alex Haslam and Stephen Reicher revisit these studies' conclusions and explain how awful acts involve not just obedience, but enthusiasm too–challenging the long-held belief that human beings...

2012-09-24 22:07:25

People often remark that people of a different race "all look alike." However, when we have trouble recognizing people from another race, it may actually have little to do with the other person's race. Instead, new research finds that that we can improve our memory of members of another race by identifying ourselves as part of the same group. Such identification could improve everything from race relations to eyewitness identification. "One of the most robust phenomena in social perception...

Sheep Prove That Selfish Herding Theory Is True
2012-07-24 09:46:39

[ Watch the Video ] redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Many animals spend time together in herds for protection and not because they 'like' each other, according to a new study, which provides the first hard evidence that the "selfish herd theory" is true. To prove this theory, researchers strapped GPS-enabled backpacks to flocking sheep and a herding dog. "We were able to track the movements of the sheep and the dog that pursued them on a second-by-second...

2012-07-19 07:59:19

What makes soldiers abuse prisoners? How could Nazi officials condemn thousands of Jews to gas chamber deaths? What's going on when underlings help cover up a financial swindle? For years, researchers have tried to identify the factors that drive people to commit cruel and brutal acts and perhaps no one has contributed more to this knowledge than psychological scientist Stanley Milgram. Just over 50 years ago, Milgram embarked on what were to become some of the most famous studies in...

2011-10-25 19:56:26

Children as young as four years of age conform their public opinion to the majority Adults and adolescents often adjust their behavior and opinions to peer groups, even when they themselves know better. Researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands, studied this phenomenon in four-year-olds and found that preschool children are already subject to peer pressure. In the current study, the...

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2010-08-20 12:35:00

Virtual reality is giving scientists the ability to ask tough questions about human behaviors that were previously thought not possible or unethical. Scientists in Spain designed a trial that allows men to step inside the body of a woman subjected to violence. Male volunteers at Barcelona University experienced life as a virtual young girl and then separately witnessed violence towards her. The men later empathized with her more than usual, feeling scared and insecure themselves. "I want to...

2009-03-23 15:25:00

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "I was just following orders." From Abu Ghraib to Nazi Germany, this Nuremberg Defense has been heard throughout history. It also sparked the curiosity of psychologist Dr. Stanley Milgram, which led to his Obedience to Authority experiment. The test began in 1961 and the purpose was to examine if human beings would follow the instructions of an authority figure, even if the commands were morally questionable. When news about prisoner...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'