4840377002 bf84a3cecc z Nudges work even if we know we are being nudgedDo subtle attempts to change your actions still work when you know they’re happening? It was thought that it’s easier to manipulate people who are kept in the dark, but it now seems we don’t mind being clearly “nudged” to behave in certain ways.

Read the rest of this article at New Scientist – the home of Brain Scanner, my monthly column.  Image: Howard Lake

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drug deaths650 Why Are Drug Deaths Rising When Drug Use is Falling?
Despite falling drug use, record numbers of people are dying in drug-related deaths in the UK. What’s behind the trend? Some newspapers have suggested that the rise in deaths is due to rising drug use among the affluent and the rising purity of illegal party drugs, and there has been much concern over new psychoactive substances, but does the data back up these claims? A deep dig into the evidence suggests that the reality is far more complicated.

Read the rest of this article at VolteFace.

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11949849661308840073female symbol dan gerhar 01.svg.hi Debunking myths about menstruation:

It can seem like barely a week goes by without a new study linking the stage in a woman’s monthly cycle to her preferences in a sexual partner. Reportedly, when women are ovulating they are attracted to men who are healthier, more dominant, more masculine, have higher testosterone levels– the list goes on. But do women really exhibit such behavioural changes – and why are we so fascinated by the idea that they do?

Read the rest of this article at New Scientist – the home of my column Brain Scanner

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bias How bias has made vast numbers of studies in social psychology unreliable

Can we ever study ourselves without our expectations affecting our conclusions? A damning report suggests that bias on the part of researchers has made vast numbers of studies in social psychology unreliable. Social psychology is the study of how human behaviour is affected by other people, and it seems to be particularly vulnerable to unreliable findings and conflicting explanations….

Read the rest of this article at New Scientist – the home of Brain Scanner, my weekly column.  Image: Scott

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test tubes Doctors and police struggle with false positive test resultsLast month, the drinking water in a Colorado town was declared unsafe, because it had been contaminated by an ingredient from cannabis. It took two days to discover that this was not the case – a water test had turned up a false positive result. In fact, false positives are widespread in our everyday lives, and we seem to have an innate inability to get to grips with them…

Read the rest of this article at New Scientist – the home of Brain Scanner, my weekly column.  Image: Petr Kratochvil

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