Our weekly roundup of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web
Olympic athletes have always been under a lot of pressure, but this year the pandemic has only added to the challenges they face. at Wired, Amit Katwala studies the impact that attending the Olympics has on the mental health of athletes.
People who were allowed to travel unattended as children are more confident navigators as adults. This emerges from a work by the psychologist Vanessa Vieites, who describes her study below The conversation. Men also reported being allowed to explore more as children, which explains the gender differences in adult orientation.
Instagram is full of memes about mental health. But are these actually beneficial for people with trauma? at The guard, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett takes a nuanced look at the potential benefits and dangers of this trend.
Cockatoos in Sydney know how to raid trash cans – and interestingly, this is behavior that they seem to have learned from each other. Researchers found that before 2018, cockatoos could “dive trash cans” in just a few suburbs, reports Cathleen O’Grady at Science, but in the course of time the behavior spread from these original places. The team even found that there are local “subcultures” of cockatoos that have different strategies for opening the containers.
Complimenting a stranger isn’t nearly as uncomfortable as we’d expect, and it also makes them a lot happier than we’d expect. at BBC working life, David Robson looks at the research on compliments and concludes that we should give more of it to each other (within reasonable limits!).
Both antidepressants and psychological therapies cause changes in the brain’s response to emotional information – although a recent study found these changes occur in different but related areas. at psyche, the researcher Camilla Nord explains the results, arguing that neuroscience plays a central role in improving our understanding of mental disorders and in developing personalized treatments.
Finally, more research has looked at whether bronze or silver medalists are happier. This time, the researchers used software to analyze the faces of the athletes on the podium at the last five Olympic Games. The team found that bronze medalists seemed happier than silver medalists, reports Vanessa Romo at NPR (In contrast to the results of a similar study that we reported on a few years ago).
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles