Known as the Transylvania Effect, many people believe a full moon triggers strange behaviour. Crime rates, psychiatric hospital admissions, emergency room visits, dog bites and hyperactivity in kids are all said to increase during a full moon. Is there any truth to the rumours? Bad moon rising We can thank the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, for the words lunatic and lunacy. Why the link between the moon and erratic behaviour? Aristotle and Pliny […]
Want to be smarter and better at concentrating? Want to improve your memory and protect yourself against dementia? Brain-training programs promise all this and more – but do they work? Do brain-training games make you smarter? Image credit: dire schaefer via Flickr The claims The logic behind brain training is simple. Carry out a mental task repeatedly, and you get better at it. It could be memorising a string of numbers, or fitting together a […]
Do you like coffee? Do you like naps? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you’re going to like what’s coming next. Research shows that combining the two – a coffee nap – is even better than each on its own. Coffee, glorious coffee There’s plenty of evidence for the health benefits of coffee (unless, like me, you’re allergic to caffeine!). Among other positive effects, drinking coffee may protect you against some nasty […]
Do you ever feel left out? That everyone else is somewhere way more exciting than you are, experiencing things far more interesting than you? That’s the Fear of Missing Out, otherwise known as FOMO. Why do you experience FOMO and what can you do about it? FOMO explained The word FOMO was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. What exactly does it mean? A recent study defined FOMO as “the uneasy and sometimes […]
Time has stopped. The world around you has disappeared. You are completely immersed in whatever you’re doing. Anything is possible and you feel invincible. What’s going on in your brain when you’re ‘in the zone’? Going with the flow Do you call it being ‘in the zone’? Or perhaps ‘in the groove’? If you’ve ever felt completely engrossed in a task to the point that nothing could distract you, you’ve experienced what psychologists call ‘flow’. […]
Are you good with faces? Would you be able to recognise someone you’ve only met once before? Some of us are better at remembering faces than others. But most of us take for granted being able to recognise our family and friends. What if you couldn’t? Face-blindness Being able to recognise my partner, kids and parents is something I completely take for granted. But for one in fifty people, it’s by no means a given. That’s how […]
Think back to how you behaved as a teenager. Are you cringing? Many of us feel very different to the person we were ‘back then’. But are you different? And what will you be like in old age? Who are you? Have you ever done a personality test? I have: I was intrigued to find out if answering a few dozen questions could give an accurate picture of who I am. Whether Myer-Briggs, the Big Five, […]
Making eye contact with someone is powerful: at the very least, it shows you’re listening attentively. But how long before holding someone’s gaze starts to feel uncomfortable? And why is it hard to maintain eye contact and think at the same time? Can’t take my eyes off you From birth, we prefer looking at faces that look directly at us. And from a very early age, our brains respond more to a face looking […]
Seems likely you suffer from the same problem I do: there’s so much good stuff to read and not enough time to read even a fraction of it. But what if we could all learn to read at double or triple our current speed? Sounds appealing but research suggests books about speed reading may belong on the fiction shelves.
Are you an optimist? Quite likely – more than three-quarters of us are. And it’s a good thing to be: optimists are healthier and live longer. But there’s also a dark side to optimism.