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Psychology

— Games

New game controller gets emotional

By - April 10, 2014 1 Picture
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

Who needs humans? Computers used to teach other computers

By - April 2, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Science

Electric "thinking cap" helps people learn from their mistakes

By - March 27, 2014 7 Pictures
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
— Science

Synchronized virtual reality heartbeat triggers out-of-body experiences

By - August 25, 2013 1 Picture
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
— Science

Give zebrafish some booze, and they stop fearing robots

By - August 1, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Chatbot hunts for pedophiles

By - July 10, 2013 1 Picture
For a number of years now, police forces around the world have enlisted officers to pose as kids in online chat rooms, in an attempt to draw out pedophiles and track them down. Researchers at Spain’s University of Deusto are now hoping to free those cops up for other duties, and to catch more offenders, via a chatbot that they’ve created. Its name is Negobot, and it plays the part of a 14 year-old girl. Read More
— Science

Conversation coach software works like a social simulator

By - June 18, 2013 1 Picture
Whether it’s a job interview or a hot date, there are certain interpersonal situations where we really want to be at our best. In some cases, we may even run through possible conversational scenarios in our heads beforehand, in order to “train” for the big event. The problem is, those imaginary interactions can’t provide us with unbiased feedback on what we could stand to improve. MIT’s new MACH (My Automated Conversation coacH) software, however, does exactly that. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

The doctor is in: Virtual therapist to help treat stress disorders

By - May 30, 2013 4 Pictures
Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Sciences (ICT) are developing a virtual therapist that can identify signs of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bringing together machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision technologies, the SimSensei project is aimed at helping military personnel and their families, while reducing the stigma that is often associated with seeking help. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Avatars help schizophrenics gain control of voices in their heads

By - May 30, 2013 2 Pictures
Imagine if there was a voice in your head that regularly threatened to harm you or your loved ones, or that even ordered you to do so yourself. Awful as that would be, such auditory hallucinations are one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, with approximately one in four sufferers continuing to experience them even once taking anti-psychotic drugs. Fortunately, scientists have recently helped some schizophrenics gain control of their condition, by turning those voices into interactive avatars. Read More

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