Changing Our Environment Can Change Our Diets
October 26, 2012 - Understanding nutrition doesn’t guarantee that we will develop healthy eating habits, says Brian Wansink of Cornell University. In this video from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health, Wansink explains that our environment has a profound influence on how we eat. The lighting in the place where we’re eating, the amounts the people around us are eating, and the size of the serving spoons used to put food on our plates are all factors that influence our diets.
Can You Trust Nexi?
People face this predicament all the time—can you determine a person’s character in a single interaction? Can you judge whether someone you just met can be trusted when you have only a few minutes together? And if you can, how do you do it? Using a robot named Nexi, Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno and collaborators Cynthia Breazeal from MIT’s Media Lab and Robert Frank and David Pizarro from Cornell University have figured out the answer. The findings will be published in the journal Psychological Science.
Slow Thinking Is Wise Thinking
Nobel Prize-winning psychological scientist Daniel Kahneman called US President Barack Obama a “slow thinker.” That may sound like an insult, but it’s actually high praise. In his latest book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman describes two types of thinkers. System 1 thinkers operate automatically and quickly, with little sense of voluntary control, and little or no effort. System 2 thinkers, however, allocate attention to mental activities that demand it, and they also tend to be more deliberative. Kahneman describes President Obama as a System 2 thinker. “He is a slow thinker. He deliberates,” Kahneman said in this CNN article. “He doesn't follow his gut immediately. He considers things.
Today’s Spotlight: Robert A. Bjork
Watch APS Past President Robert A. Bjork explain his theory on long-term memory in this series of interviews. Bjork is a Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His lab, the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab, investigates human learning, memory, and the implications of such research on instruction. Bjork was Co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest. GoCognitive is an educational website supported by the APS Teaching Fund that provides free access to tools on cognitive psychology and neuroscience. GoCognitive has an archive of video interviews of leading researchers in the field, in addition to interactive demonstrations.
BATMAN Gear for the Real World
The United States Air Force is taking a page from an iconic comic. As an intern in the Human Performance Wing at Wright Paterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, psychological scientist Andre Garcia, from George Mason University, worked on the BATMAN team. Though Garcia tends to think of team BATMAN (which stands for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge) as being more like Alfred, Batman’s loyal butler who was always there to help the caped crusader with all of his high-tech gizmos.
Math Creating a Division
Quick: What’s 136 divided by 17? Knowing the answer to division problems like this could help the whole country. Over the past 30 years, mathematics achievement of U.S. high school students has remained stagnant—and significantly behind many other countries, including China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, and Canada. Robert Siegler and his research team at Carnegie Mellon University has identified that US students' inadequate knowledge of fractions and division is one of the major sources for this gap.