Behavioral Science News

New Yale Study Reveals That Gun Violence is a ‘Contagious’ Social Epidemic

January 9, 2017

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Yale Study Shows That Gun Violence is a ‘Contagious’ Social Epidemic

New research from Yale University reveals how gun violence spreads over social networks through a process of social contagion. Gun violence is often described as an epidemic or a public health concern, due to its alarmingly high levels in certain populations in the United States. It most often occurs within socially and economically disadvantaged minority […]

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Yale Study Shows Risk Avoidance in Older Adults is Related to Brain Anatomy, Not Age

December 13, 2016

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Neuroanatomy Accounts for Age-Related Changes in Risk

New research from Yale University and NYU reveals that older adults are less inclined to take risks due to changes in brain anatomy rather than age. The finding adds to scientific understanding of decision making and may lead to strategies for modifying changes in risk behavior as people age. Research has demonstrated that older adults […]

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New Study Shows Individual Lifespans Are Becoming More Similar

November 28, 2016

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The Emergence of Longevous Populations

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research have discovered a novel regularity for vastly different human societies and epochs. On average, as lives get longer, the difference in the age at which people die becomes smaller. By analyzing data from 44 countries, researchers have now proven that life expectancy and the variation of […]

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Children of Older Mothers Are Healthier, Taller and Obtain More Education

April 12, 2016

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Children of Older Mothers Do Better

New research shows that the benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the biological risks associated with being born to an older mother. Children of older mothers are healthier, taller and obtain more education than the children of younger mothers. The reason is that in industrialized countries educational opportunities are increasing, and […]

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Yale Researchers Show Parents Underestimate Their Children’s Weight

March 24, 2016

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Yale Study Shows Parents Underestimate Their Children's Weight

A new study form Yale University details how some parents underestimate their children’s weight, a misperception with important implications for clinical prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Janet A. Lydecker, PhD, postdoctoral associate in psychiatry, and Carlos M. Grilo, PhD, professor of psychiatry and of psychology, and director of the Yale Program for Obesity Weight […]

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Is There a Guide to Long Life? Scientists Examine Life Expectancy Disparities between Population Groups

October 11, 2015

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Is There a Guide to Long Life?

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute examine why life expectancy disparities between population groups have been increasing and see if there is a guide to a long life. At age 40, Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians have reached the approximate mid-point of life. It is well known that, on average, whether an individual has more or […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

October 9, 2015

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Scientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT and Columbia University reveal how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them. The researchers found the lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP), which plays a role in sensorimotor function, represents elapsed time, as animals measure and then reproduce a time interval. They […]

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Free Mate Choice Enhances Reproductive Success

September 15, 2015

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Free Mate Choice Enhances Reproductive Success

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute show that behavioral compatibility plays an important role in mate choice in zebra finches. Zebra finches allowed to breed with their preferred partner achieved a 37 percent higher reproductive success compared to pairs that were forced to mate. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen observed […]

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New Research Shows Having Kids Later is Associated with Higher Satisfaction Levels

July 7, 2015

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Having Kids Later Results in Happier Parents

A newly published study from the Max Planck Institute reveals that the satisfaction levels of parents depend not only on the number of children they have, but also on the point in time when they start a family. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” according to one […]

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Chimpanzees Plan Their Breakfast Time, Type and Location to Acquire Sufficient Food Intake

October 28, 2014

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Chimpanzees Plan Their Breakfast Time and Location

New research from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that wild chimpanzees plan their breakfast time, type and location when food supplies are short. How do our close relatives, the chimpanzees, acquire sufficient food when times are lean? By studying wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire researchers of the […]

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Chimps Engage in Violent Behavior Regardless of Human Effects on Local Ecology

September 19, 2014

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Study Shows Deadly Violence a Natural Tendency in Chimps

Using data collected from 18 chimpanzee research sites, a newly published study shows that chimps engage in violent and sometimes lethal behavior regardless of human effects on local ecology. For decades, scientists studying chimpanzees in the wild have noted the ways our closest relatives are similar to humans — they form tightly knit social groups, […]

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A Natural Example of a Functioning Gear Mechanism Discovered in an Insect

September 13, 2013

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Natural Example of a Functioning Gear Mechanism Discovered in an Insect

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered a natural example of a functioning gear mechanism in an insect. Previously believed to be only man-made, a natural example of a functioning gear mechanism has been discovered in a common insect – showing that evolution developed interlocking cogs long before we did. The juvenile Issus – […]

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Attractive Bonobo Females Are More Likely to Win Conflicts Against Males

July 15, 2013

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Attractive Females Are More likely to Win Conflicts Against Males

In a new study, evolutionary anthropologists reveal that attractive bonobo females are more likely to win conflicts against males. Female social dominance over males is rare among mammal species. Bonobos, one of our closest living relatives, are known for females holding relatively high social statuses when compared to males; though this is puzzling as the […]

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Brain Regions Associated With the Successful Spread of Ideas Identified

July 8, 2013

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Brain Regions Associated with the Successful Spread of Ideas Identified

UCLA scientists have identified for the first time the brain regions associated with the successful spread of ideas. How do ideas spread? What messages will go viral on social media, and can this be predicted? UCLA psychologists have taken a significant step toward answering these questions, identifying for the first time the brain regions associated […]

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Scientists Synthesize the First Biologically Effective Perfume

February 5, 2013

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Formula for a Biologically Effective Perfume

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute discovered that women prefer the smell of men who have different immune gene variants than they themselves have, cracking the olfactory code for partner selection and synthesizing the first biologically effective perfume. Individual body odor plays an important role in partner selection. Humans, mice, fish and birds, and probably […]

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The Hormone Oxytocin Plays a Key Role in Maintaining Social Relations in Chimpanzees

January 23, 2013

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The Hormone Oxytocin in Chimpanzees is Likely to Play a Key Role in Maintaining Social Relations

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute have discovered that cooperative relationships between chimpanzees are facilitated by an endocrinological mechanism involving the hormone oxytocin, even when these are between non-kin. Animals which maintain cooperative relationships show gains in longevity and offspring survival. However, little is known about the cognitive or hormonal mechanisms involved in cooperation. Researchers […]

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Why People Like Watching the Same Thing Over and Over Again

December 20, 2012

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reconsumption-mind

There’s a reason why people are spending money on television show DVDs and Blu rays that are essentially reruns, but this behavior is more complicated than previously thought. Cristel Antonia Russell, a marketing professor at American University, and Sidney J. Levy, a marketing professor at the University of Arizona, published their findings in the Journal […]

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Lonely People Experience Vasoconstriction Making Them Colder

December 10, 2012

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winter-cold

When people feel lonely, or when someone is being excluded by others, the person’s skin becomes colder. This is how people respond to exclusion and other social interactions. The scientists published their findings in the journal Acta Psychologica. Dozens of students were asked to participate in a simulated ball-tossing game with computer-generated avatars. While they […]

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