Our weekly roundup of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web
Sleep researchers often take a “brain-centered” approach in their work, for example measuring sleep stages using EEG or examining how sleep affects learning and memory. But rudimentary creatures also sleep – including the hydra, an aquatic organism that has a basic nervous system but no brain. The results suggest that our primitive ancestors slept before they even developed a brain, writes Veronique Greenwood at Wired.
In his most recent testimony to a House of Commons committee, Dominic Cummings blamed “groupthink” for various failures by the government to adequately address the coronavirus pandemic. But with The guard, psychologists Stephen Reicher and John Drury explain that the concept of groupthink is “very controversial” and does not really reflect how groups actually make decisions.
When in our history did humans learn to count – and did our Neanderthal cousins also have a system for noting numerical information? Colin Barras explores the possibilities in a fascinating feature nature.
In a recent article, researchers report that they perform magic tricks for a very unusual audience: jays. The birds only fell for one of the three different sleight of hand, while the humans were tricked by all three. The jays’ apparent resistance to the tricks may reflect the fact that they don’t have the same expectations humans have for hand movements, writes researcher Elias Garcia-Pelegrin The conversation.
Be wary of articles that tell you how to “increase your dopamine levels” to make you happy. The connections between our neurotransmitter levels and emotional states are much more complicated than headlines suggest, explains Dean Burnett at psyche.
People who overestimate their media literacy are also more likely to see and share fake news. The effects are rather minor, reports John Timmer at Ars Technica, but agree with other work on the Dunning-Kruger Effect (and similar to another work we covered in March that found a “blind spot” in people who were too sure of their own intellectual abilities).
According to a new study, puppies have a natural ability to understand human attempts to communicate. The team found that golden retrievers and Labradors responded pretty well to pointing and baby talk as young as 8 weeks old, reports Christa Lesté-Lasserre at New scientist. These skills appear to have a sizable genetic component, which makes sense given that humans bred dogs to be social.
Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Biomedarticles