Our weekly roundup of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web
New works offer fascinating insights into aphantasia, a condition in which you cannot see pictures with the mind’s eye. There even seems to be a downside to the condition, hyperfantasy, where mental images are particularly strong. Carl Zimmer examines the new findings at The New York Times (and see also our 2019 Aphantasia podcast).
At the The conversation, explains Penny Paxman why children don’t really understand sarcasm until they are seven to ten years old. Understanding why someone is sarcastic depends on fairly sophisticated cognitive processes – not just those directly related to language, but also the ability to empathize and think about another person’s perspective.
Tamer breeds of cattle usually have smaller brains, reports Michael Price at science. The researchers believe that the brain areas involved in aggression have shrunk over time because people selectively raised cattle and dairy cows in a calm and gentle manner. The work is in line with other studies showing that domesticated dogs, pigs, and other animals have smaller brains than their wild counterparts.
Neurological and psychiatric symptoms are common in even mild cases of COVID-19, a study review found. Loss of taste or smell, weakness, and fatigue were each reported by around half of those who had COVID-19 but were not hospitalized, according to a story at New scientist.
Neuroscientists believe that if we are to have the same perceptual experience, a similar pattern of neurons must fire in order for our brains to accurately represent the world. So a new study confused the researchers, writes Ed Yong at The Atlantic. The team found that when mice sniffed the same odor over a period of weeks, the group of cells in the odor-identifying region of their brain gradually changed, so a month later it was almost an entirely different group of neurons than when it started of the studies.
Finally at BBC working life Our former editor Christian Jarrett explains how you can transform your personality to face the upcoming return to work. Also check out our current podcast where I discuss the science of personality change with Christian.
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles