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Creativity determines sexual success, research suggests

Jan 23, 2006; Posted 05:34 pm EST (10:34 GMT)
The more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, according to a pioneering study which could explain the behaviour of notorious womanisers such as poets Lord Byron and Dylan Thomas.

The research, by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in the UK, found that professional artists and poets have around twice as many sexual partners as those who do not indulge in these creative activities.

Studying brain activity could aid diagnosis of social phobia

Jan 23, 2006; Posted 05:31 pm EST (10:31 GMT)
People suffering generalised social phobia experience increased brain activity when confronted with threatening faces or frightening social situations, new research shows.

The finding could help identify how severe a person's generalised social phobia is and measure the effectiveness of pharmacological and psychological treatments for the condition.

The first laugh: New study posits evolutionary origins of two distinct types of laughter

Jan 23, 2006; Posted 05:28 pm EST (10:28 GMT)
In an important new study from the forthcoming Quarterly Review of Biology, biologists from Binghamton University explore the evolution of two distinct types of laughter – laughter which is stimulus-driven and laughter which is self-generated and strategic.

"Laughter that occurs during everyday social interaction in response to banal comments and humorless conversation is now being studied," write Matthew Gervais and David Sloan Wilson. "The unstated issue is whether such laughter is similar in kind to laughter following from humor."

Mildly depressed people more perceptive than others

Jan 23, 2006; Posted 05:26 pm EST (10:26 GMT)
Findings published in international journal Cognition and Emotion

(Kingston, ON) – Surprisingly, people with mild depression are actually more tuned into the feelings of others than those who aren't depressed, a team of Queen's psychologists has discovered.

Gene controls whether fear is a factor

Jan 23, 2006; Posted 05:23 pm EST (10:23 GMT)
In a recent issue of Cell, researchers report the discovery of a gene that controls the ability to react with appropriate fear to impending danger. As a result, mice lacking the gene stathmin become daredevils of a sort, the researchers report. The basic findings may have general implications for the study of anxiety disorders and potential anti-anxiety drugs, according to researchers.

Brain activity related to processing faces is similar in people with, without autism

Nov 16, 2005; Posted 11:04 pm EST (04:04 GMT)
New findings may help with social interaction

CHAPEL HILL – New brain imaging research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that when people with autism look at a face, activity in the brain area that responds is similar to that of people without autism.

Genes contribute to patriotism and group loyalty

Nov 14, 2005; Posted 04:18 pm EST (09:18 GMT)
Research showing how genes affect group loyalty and patriotism was published in the October 2005 issue of Nations and Nationalism, an academic journal of the London School of Economics.

Entitled "Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology, and genetic similarity theory," it shows how genetic similarity provides "social glue" in groups as small as two spouses and best friends or in those as large as nations and alliances.

The evidence comes from studies of identical and non-identical twins, adopted and non-adopted children, blood tests, social assortment, heritabilities, family bereavements, and large-scale population genetics.

Kids can remember events even if they can't remember times

Nov 14, 2005; Posted 04:16 pm EST (09:16 GMT)
Finding has significant implications for child testimony

Remembering when an event occurred is particularly important when you're a witness in the legal system. But while adults are pretty good at determining the time of an event based on reconstructing that event (i.e., if the event occurred at the beach, it must have been summer), a new study finds that isn't the case for children.

When it comes to babies learning language, the eyes have it

Nov 11, 2005; Posted 02:34 am EST (07:34 GMT)
Infants begin pulling off an amazing feat sometime in the final three months of their first year of life. They learn an important social interaction by following the gaze of an adult, a step that scientists believe gives babies a leg up on understanding language.

Heredity may be the reason some people feel lonely

Nov 11, 2005; Posted 02:31 am EST (07:31 GMT)
Heredity helps determine why some adults are persistently lonely, research co-authored by psychologists at the University of Chicago shows.

Working with colleagues in The Netherlands, the scholars found about 50 percent of identical twins and 25 percent of fraternal twins shared similar characteristics of loneliness. Research on twins is a powerful method to study the impact of heredity because twins raised together share many of the same environmental influences as well as similar genes, thus making it easier to determine the role of genetics in development.

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