giz asks
Can You Be Friends With a Bear?

Late last year, a photo of a bear officiating a wedding in Russia went viral. The picture turned out to be fake, but its popularity says something significant about our conception of the species: Despite thousands of years of contrary evidence, and at least one harrowing documentary, human beings still on some level want to view bears as big, cuddly, forest-dwelling dogs. Read More >>

science
PSA: Don’t Make Eye Contact In A Police Line-Up If You’re Innocent

We've all heard that looking people in the eye is a great way to make them trust you - you seem like an upstanding human being who has nothing to hide, right? Well, chuck that out the window, because a new study reckons people who look you in the eye during police line-ups are more likely to be picked as guilty - even if they've done nothing wrong. Read More >>

virtual reality
Scaring Us Silly: How VR is Making Horror More Realistic Than Ever

Games developers and film-makers have been creating spine-chilling experiences within the horror genre for decades. Combining haunting soundtracks, shadowy threats, elements of surprise, otherworldly aliens, unsteady found-footage camerawork, grotesque imagery and so much more to scare us silly on big and small screens alike. Read More >>

psychology
Xbox vs PlayStation, Apple vs Android — Why Are We So Tribal About Tech?

Ever felt that fans of their favourite tech are mindless zombies? Well, there may be more truth in that than you think. We’ve all seen the comments sections of the latest technology releases filled with impassioned voices praising whatever their favourite manufacturer’s release. Take, for example, the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. In one camp it was praised as "bold" and "courageous" while in the other it was denounced as a terrible idea. And people almost bizarrely angry about it. But why? The problem, fundamentally, is that our human brains simply don’t make rational choices a priority. Read More >>

science
How to Trick Friends and Family Into Thinking You Gave Them a Great Gift

Tis better to give than to receive, but ‘tis best by far to give something that will make you look good in the eyes of the recipient — especially if you can save money in the bargain. Here’s one psychological finding that will help you choose cheaper gifts people will still appreciate: the less-is-better effect. Read More >>

science
Which Emotions Are the Most Contagious?

We’re all intuitively aware that feelings can be contagious. Your grumpy friend always makes you upset. Your neighbour's giggly baby can cheer you up in minutes. But how, exactly, do humans transfer psychological states between one another, often without noticing? If emotions are communicable like diseases, which are the most contagious? We asked animal behaviourists, evolutionary anthropologists, bioethicists and behavioural scientists to enlighten us. Read More >>

psychology
Hillary Clinton’s Latest Viral Video Deploys A Psychological Trick To Make People Vote

The US election is only five days away and both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns are focusing on what political professionals call "Get Out The Vote". That is to say, rather than try to persuade new people to vote for them, all efforts are now focused on getting existing supporters to the polling booth. Read More >>

research
Gadgets Are Not People

If you’re currently single, falling in love with an inanimate object might seem like the obvious solution. Whether its 15 inflatable pool toys or just a potentially explosive phone, dating the non-living instantly eliminates some of the trickiest relationships issues. Worried they might not like you back? Not a problem. Afraid they’ll leave you? Not gonna happen. Read More >>

tv
Is Black Mirror Right to Worry About Social Media? We Talked to Cyber-Psychologists to Find Out

Netflix today brings us six more standalone tales from Charlie Brooker’s deliciously paranoid brain. Black Mirror is back, tackling topics including social media, video games, online hate and, erm, Nordic Noir. Read More >>

medicine
The Placebo Effect Works Even When People Know the Pills Are Fake

Deception is necessary for placebo pills to work, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. A surprising new study on patients with chronic back pain shows that we still experience the placebo effect, even when we know we’re being tricked. Read More >>

research
New Study Could Be the Death Knell of Brain-Training Games

Brain-training programs like the ones offered by Luminosity and LearningRx claim to boost intelligence and even offset the effects of ageing. A re-evaluation of the existing scientific literature on the matter shows these claims are complete bullshit. Read More >>

psychology
We Asked an FBI Hostage Negotiator How Britain Should Negotiate Brexit

If you want a vision of Britain’s future, imagine a seemingly endless series of boring technical negotiations with our European friends. Following the Brexit vote on June 23rd, our number one national priority is to negotiate our divorce with the continent that we used to be so in love with. Who will have the big telly? How often will we get to visit the kids? And, umm, how will we know how many fish we can each catch without a Common Fisheries Policy? And so on. Read More >>

research
Another Psychological Study Fails the Reproducibility Test

The field of psychology is currently in the midst of a kind of civil war, with one side claiming a widespread reproducibility crisis, and the other just as loudly proclaiming that concerns are greatly exaggerated. There’s certainly evidence for the former. Last year, a University of Virginia initiative called the Reproducibility Project repeated 100 experiments and failed to replicate fully one-third of them. Read More >>

science
Car Breathalysers are Useless Without the Benefit of Rehab

Many DUI offenders revert back to drunk driving once their car breathalysers have been removed, making these gadgets useless from a rehabilitative perspective. But a new pilot project shows that these devices, when used in conjunction with rehab, are effective in preventing future DUIs. Read More >>