psychology

Don't think about it, and it's nice

Whilst doing his usual hardened research into what substances can be semi-legitimately used to water down beer should his nearest and dearest get a bit too greedy, the Poorhouse came across a fabulous booze study. Any study whose published write-up includes:

Our first three experiments were conducted at two local pubs: The Muddy Charles and The Thirsty Ear.

can't go far wrong.

Obecalp

Hard to know how to approach this product…is it a massive scam, the likes of which you’d need big big balls to even attempt, or a fascinating and medically beneficial play on the weirdness that is human psychology (and perhaps even physiology)?

Enter the cunning wonder that is… Obecalp. Yep, Obecalp. D’ya geddit?

Reporting on drugs impairs mental performance

Researching the mental effects of chemicals on humans is notoriously difficult and complicated, not least because of the immense amount of ways that a certain person may react to any given substance, the huge number of external factors that may be involved in a psychological outcome, and the difficulty in quantifiably measuring many mental effects. Add to this the sometimes extreme politicisation and bias of results that comes when researching controversial topics like the use of illegal drugs and one can see that researching the mental effects of banned-but-fun substances is especially troublesome.

This trouble is often seen in mass-media reports of such experiments. Often, presumably in order to make the "news" exciting and dramatic for their readers the "shock horror - you will die if you even look at illegal drugs" conclusions are heightened to the max, and any opposing conclusions, grey areas and other interpretations of the same data are ignored. Not only does this undermine any sensible attempt at presenting results with potentially important public health conclusions to the public at large, but research suggests that it could be this very style of reporting that causes some of the mental problems it shouts about so loudly.

People do not assess risk very logically

The Poorhouse was recently reading a study that showed just how illogical people are, even when the logicalness at first sight seems simplistic to adhere to. Furthermore, it specifically concerning the topic of risk assessment of major terrorist attacks, there are present and clear dangers as to decision makers falling prey to such logicalities.

Not only do we not really want to get blown up by being silly enough to ignore the risk, it is also vital not to think too much of the risk given certain politicians' likings for discarding civil liberties and instilling military-rule-esque regimes amongst the poor, innocent, ignorant civilian population that we apparently consist of. As a bonus, it also shows how the potential bias inherent in survey responses needs to be taken with even more seriousness than the average layperson might think.

The difference between Poorhouse and a cockroach narrows

Although no specific memory is held, there is every chance the Poorhouse has been called a "cockroach" in his short time on this planet so far. There is, as a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, at least one obvious similarity.

Both have brains that really do not work well in the morning.

Name blame

Isabella: probably not her nameIsabella: probably not her nameThe Poorhouse is never one to be over-quick on the uptake, whether this be in reality or in the strange webworld your brain is currently hooked into. To prove the point, then here is a story from a month ago designed to commemorate an event not so different in duration ago - namely the blissful birth of faux-niece baby Susie. For the 99.9% of readers for whom the shout-out means nothing, read on anyway. What do you have to lose?

Everyone knows the best thing about having a baby is you get to choose its name. For sure they can go on to legally change it, but you have at least a few years to laugh hysterically about how your baby's initials spell out a rude word, or that their name is Cockney slang for a toilet and so on. Even those parents who aren't out to give their kids hell need to be a spot careful though in name-selection according to research from Professor Figlio. Especially if you have a career in mind for your darling offspring.

Sex does not always sell

More in the world of wild 'n' wacky experiments...first we learned how to make the world's finest bacon sandwich. Now it's time to concoct an experiment that involves making "volunteers" sit down and watch an especially filthy episode of one of the few TV programmes so bad the Poorhouse doesn't avidly watch it - Sex in the City.

Shock change of direction for David Cameron

Spot the differenceSpot the differenceIn these days of supposed post-ideology, end-of-history, post-modernism and other such jibberish nihilistically contemporary sounding phrases, it is perhaps not surprisingly that David Cameron, leader of the UK conservative party and vlogger-extraordinaire, doesn't know his left from his right. But last week the possibility came to light that it wasn't just politically speaking that he was directionally challenged by.

The BBC, as ever sticking rigidly to its charter to sustain citizenship, promote education and stimulate cultural excellence reported last week at length the hair-raising news that Davey-boy had change the alignment...having now started to part his hair on the left as opposed to the right. Shock!

Rapid fire lying

Speed-daters and their ilk beware. Humans are compulsive liars when meeting each other, especially if they don't know each other at first. Furthermore, contrary to possible intuition both men and women are no strangers to the falsehood spreading, seemingly lying fairly comparably in frequency. The difference is men lie more about how amazing they are, what they've done and so on whereas women do it to make other people feel better, bless them. It may be true that a woman has never answered "Does my bum look big in this?" with the killer phrase "Yes".

And how do we know this? Well, from Feldman et al.'s study "Self-Presentation and Verbal Deception: Do Self-Presenters Lie More?" amongst other sources, such as MTV reality shows no doubt.

Chop off your brain...mind reading computers are here

It was already kind of scary, but potentially very useful, back in the good old days when computers could merely be controlled by the power of your mind. Mr Nagle, having been paralysed below the shoulders by a stabbing spent four days learning to play pong, do his email and draw pretty pictures using the power of his mind via a painless brain implant. To do this, he plugged his brain into a computer and imagined moving his arm to hit targets. The sensor read the associated electric brain signals and translated them into cursor movement.

He's not the only one. Four people elsewhere suffering epilepsy also managed to move a cursor by thinking about opening either their right or left hand. The technology is clearly progressing. In fact it recently got so far that not only could you control a computer via the mind, but the computer could look into the depths of your mind and read your future intentions. Yep, a mind-reading computer is now apparently reality.

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