Our weekly round-up of the best psychological coverage from elsewhere on the internet
Octopuses, like humans, have both an active and a quiet stage of sleep. reports Rodrigo Pérez Ortega at science. The researchers found that for 30-40 minutes of sleep, the creatures are fairly calm with pale skin, but for about 40 seconds their skin becomes darker and they move their eyes and bodies. In humans, dreaming occurs during the active REM stage, but scientists still do not know whether the squid also dream during their active sleep.
During the pandemic, not only did we miss out on socializing, but we also had new experiences. And a lack of novelty can adversely affect our well-being and even our cognitive functions, writes Richard A Friedman under The guard.
A growing body of evidence suggests that head injuries in sports increase the risk of players developing neurodegenerative diseases. Now, a longitudinal study of a cohort of Americans has shown that even minor head injuries can increase the risk of dementia, reports Sara Harrison at Wired. The team also found that the increase in risk was greater in women than in men and in whites than in blacks. However, more work is required to understand these differences.
What’s going on in our brain when we look at a cute little baby or kitten? At the Scientific focusThomas Ling explores the neurosciences of cuteness.
Some people who have recovered from Covid-19 report a loss of smell – or previously find pleasant smells unpleasant. And that can have devastating social consequences, writes to Alyson Krueger The New York Times: Many sufferers report that they are no longer able to be intimate with loved ones or to eat with friends and family.
Scientists have studied the personality and cognitive abilities of “psychonauts,” people who experiment with psychedelics and document their experiences. This group showed a high level of sensationalism and risk-taking, report researchers Barbara Sahakian and George Savulich at The conversation. But they did not have learning and memory deficits (as opposed to a group of “club drug users” seeking help with addiction), suggesting that they are avoiding harmful patterns of drug use.
Being kind to ourselves is critical to our well-being and personal growth – yet many of us are not very good at it. At the psycheChristina Chwyl explores research around self-compassion and how we can become better friends to ourselves.
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@ MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles