Our weekly round-up of the best psychological coverage from elsewhere on the internet
Electric fish seem to have mastered the art of pausingsigned Katherine J. Wu The Atlantic. Brienomyrus brachyistius communicate by generating a series of electrical impulses. However, researchers have found that the fish sometimes pause during their “conversations,” apparently as a signal that what they are trying to communicate is important – similar to a “dramatic pause” in human speech.
As we’ve covered in a recent podcastPlay is an essential part of children’s development. But how do the toys we give children shape their interests and abilities? At the BBC FutureMelissa Hogenboom explores how gender-sensitive toys can reinforce existing stereotypes and prejudices.
Researchers have made it possible for a Bindemann to see again after 40 years through the use of light-sensitive proteins injected into cells in the eye. With the help of special glasses, the man was able to see high-contrast images, reports Sara Reardon at nature. The study represents the first clinical application of optogenetics, a technique that is widely used in basic neuroscientific research.
..and in other news on optogenetics, researchers have used the technique to manipulate the social behavior of mice. After the team induced synchronous patterns of activity in the medial prefrontal cortex of two mice, they found the animals became more social, reports Virginia Hughes at The New York Times. The work shows interesting parallels to “interbrain synchronicity” in humans.
Depending on the questions researchers are asking, human memory can be viewed as exceptional – or really bad. Nicole C. Rust examines the two perspectives at Scientific American.
Psychologists surely know enough about the replication crisis by now not to uncritically cite papers that are known to have problems … right? Not according to a recent study that looked at how often researchers cite work that couldn’t replicate, compared to more robust results. The team found that studies with replication problems were 153 times more cited than those without, reports John Timmer at Ars Technica – and these quotes seldom mentioned the fact that the original paper had not been replicated.
Why do we often denigrate or punish those who engage in altruistic acts? At The Observer, Nichola Raihani investigates why the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” is true.
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@ MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles