February 2010

Teaching Tips

Incorporating Philosophy in Every Psychology Course and Why it Matters

Psychology undergraduate students often have the notion that philosophy is dead and gone. I say this because many of these same students have overtly voiced this view when I have […]... More>


Presidential Column

Flavor Learning in Utero and Infancy

In my previous columns about food behavior, I have contrasted the hard-wired affect for taste with the learned affect for flavor. This month, I present an interview with Julie Mennella, the pioneer who showed us that learning to like flavors begins even before we are born. My first exposure to this idea was as a graduate student studying taste at Brown University in the 1960s. I encountered a foreign student with a pregnant wife who was very concerned about getting a supply of spices traditionally consumed at home. He explained that for their child to like the foods of their culture, his wife needed to consume the traditional spices during pregnancy and breast feeding. At that time, I found this belief surprising. Now, Mennella has shown us that it is based on solid psychological science. ... More>


Student Notebook

They’re Just Not That Into Your Research: Rejection in Academia

For three years, it seemed that getting into graduate school would be my last professional achievement; everything I had tried since then ended in rejection. It started with the grants I applied for in my first year, and it seemed as if it would never end. The worst was a two-month period where I received rejections for a poster, a journal article, a scholarship, and a summer workshop. I was never ambi-tious enough to believe the mainstream media would pick up my research, but I had thought it would be of interest to others in my field. Instead, at the end of my third year, no one outside my department (and, let’s face it, very few people inside my department) knew what I was doing. It posed an interesting philosophical question: If research is conducted, but there is no one who reads about it, does it still matter?... More>


Observation

Scent of a Woman: Men’s Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues

Women around the world spend billions of dollars each year on exotic smelling perfumes and lotions in the hopes of attracting a mate. However, according to a new study in Psychological Science, going “au naturale” may be the best way to capture a potential mate’s attention.... More>


Observation

Right-handed Chimpanzees Provide Clues to the Origin of Human Language

Most of the linguistic functions in humans are controlled by the left cerebral hemisphere. A study of captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Georgia), reported in the January 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/cortex), suggests that this “hemispheric lateralization” for language may have its evolutionary roots in the gestural communication of our common ancestors.... More>