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Psychology

Scientists believe that a genetic mutation, which is detectable in blood samples, makes so...

While there are a wide range of scenarios that may cause a person to take their own life, the fact is that in a given situation, some people will do so whereas others won't. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine now believe that this difference can largely be traced to a genetic mutation in the people who are more likely to commit suicide. What's more, this mutation can be detected via a blood test.  Read More

The ParentGuardian system combines a stress-monitoring sensor and an app that delivers rea...

It can be hard enough for parents to maintain a cool head when dealing with an angry child at the best of times, but things can get much more difficult when that child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). That's why scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have created ParentGuardian. It combines a wrist-worn sensor and an app, to monitor parents' stress levels and deliver real-time coping strategies.  Read More

We Feel processes the world's tweets to provide a real-time map of emotional trends across...

A new online tool aims to create a real-time emotional map of how people all over the world feel, from analyzing how cheerful or depressed different countries might be, to how budget cuts or other news might hit people emotionally. Called "We Feel," the tool analyzes 32,000 tweets a minute to monitor people's collective mood swings and how their emotions fluctuate over time globally.  Read More

The PRIORI app looks for telltale changes in the speaker's speech patterns (Photo: Shutter...

People afflicted with bipolar disorder must live with the fact that at any moment, they could launch into a major depressive or manic mental state. These mood swings can be so severe that dangerous, erratic behavior including suicide attempts can result. Researchers at the University of Michigan, however, are developing something that could prove to be very helpful. It's an Android app that listens to a patient's phone conversations, and detects the signs of oncoming mood swings in their voice.  Read More

Stanford's prototype game controller senses player engagement and can alter games to suit ...

When it comes to entertainment, there are few other media that feature the level of user interaction of video games. Now, researchers at Stanford University are looking to make games more interactive. They've developed a prototype controller that monitors the player's physiological responses, then changes the gameplay to make it more engaging based on the player's feelings.  Read More

Computers have been teaching each other how to play Pac-Man and StarCraft

While it may be getting easier for humans to teach robots how to perform new tasks, there's still one potential problem – when a new robot is introduced to a work environment, its user may have to teach it the task over again, from scratch. That might soon no longer be the case, however. Researchers at Washington State University have devised a method by which computers can teach each other, freeing humans from having to do so.  Read More

tDCS has come a long way from Giovanni Aldini's 1802 pioneering treatment of Luigi Lanzari...

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has become a widely used technique for reaching into a person's brain and altering the way in which it functions. Vanderbilt psychology Professor Geoffrey Woodman and graduate student Robert Reinhart have just published the results of a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience in which they found that tDCS stimulation of the mediofrontal cortex for a period of minutes can change one's ability to recognize and learn from error for a period of several hours.  Read More

James serving a customer

Meet James. He’s a barman with a cheery disposition, is quick with your order, and doesn't tolerate queue jumping. He’s also a one-armed robot with a tablet for a head. But the really curious thing about James is that he can read your body language to find out whether or not you want to order a drink.  Read More

New research demonstrates that it could be easy to trick the mind and trigger an out-of-bo...

New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person's self-consciousness by externalizing the body's internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia and could also help dieters too.  Read More

This robotic leaf fish may not look scary to you, but then you're not a zebrafish

With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, “drunk” might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they’re “sober,” they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies.  Read More

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