Our weekly round-up of the best psychological coverage from elsewhere on the internet
It is wrong to say that introverts have been better off during the pandemic, writes Lis Ku The conversation. Instead, studies have shown that introverts’ wellbeing has suffered more in many ways than that of extroverts. This could be because, for example, extraverts may receive more social support, or that extraversion is related to superior coping skills – although Ku emphasizes that there are likely many other traits, beliefs, and values that are also important to people’s response to the lockdown to determine.
A new study suggests that the psychedelic psilocybin might be as good at treating depression as existing antidepressants when combined with psychotherapy. However, researchers caution that more work is required with larger, more diverse samples before the drug can be used outside of a research setting, Nicola Davis reports below The guard.
When the queen of a colony of Indian jumping ants dies, the worker ants fight for the new queen. Now researchers have found that these budding queens shrink their brains by about 20% in the process. The team suspects that this is due to the fact that less cognitive demands are made on an ant whose main job is to easily reproduce, reports Annie Roth at The New York Times, Therefore, energy that flows into the workers’ brains is better used for the reproductive system.
Why are older, single women marked with the negative term “virgin” while the only word for an unmarried man is the much more neutral “bachelor”? At the BBC FutureSophia Smith Galer examines the words we use to talk about men and women – and asks whether the language simply reflects the sexism of society or could actually perpetuate these prejudices.
Parents often fear that social media has a negative impact on children’s mental health. But what does science say? Well, there isn’t much evidence either way, writes Andrew Przybylski BBC Science Focusbecause social media companies don’t share their data with researchers. Given that social media can be an important medium for many young people, well-intentioned intervention efforts could lead to failure.
Can it help them increase the children’s “grit” to achieve academic success? It’s a popular idea, but one without much evidence, writes Jesse Singal nautilus, in an excerpt from his new book.
Creating hand gestures during a lesson can help people learn abstract concepts. In a recent study, participants watched an animated lesson on statistical models and then took a test. Those who made hand gestures to mimic parts of the lesson did better later on the test than those who made no gestures or those who made gestures that did not match the lesson. Matthew Hutson explains the work at Scientific American.
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@ MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles