The Best of the Week


Tons of psychology for this week’s best: Stories on fathers, memory and creativity were some of the coolest on the web.

How Memory Speaks – The New York Review of Books – By Jerome Groopman

Science writer Jerome Groopman ties together five books on memory. His review deftly moves from amnesia to madness to molecules and back.

Navigating the still-dark bedroom, scooping the coffee, using a knife and fork to eat breakfast. Simple activities of life, hardly noticed, reveal memory as a map, clock, and mirror, vital to our sense of place, time, and person.


Angkor Wat. Image: Clay Gilliland.

A Forgotten History of Angkor Wat Revealed in its Vandalism – Hyperallergic – By Allison Meier

Researchers use imaging tech to look at the legendary Cambodian temple and find some nifty graffiti.

[The paintings include] some very deliberate work depicting ships (indicating European contact), animals like elephants, buildings, and even a mural of Buddha harkening to the temple’s spiritual transition.

Conformity to Group Opinion Changes Personal Judgment, But Only for 3 Days – Medical Daily – By Chris Weller

“Our findings suggest that exposure to others’ opinions does indeed change our own private opinions — but it doesn’t change them forever,” said psychological scientist and study author Rongjun Yu in a news release.

Building a Better Parent – Christian Science Monitor – By Stephanie Hanes

The Christian Science Monitor looks in-depth at programs aimed to tutor low-income parents and raises questions about their limits.

Behind all the classes and social experimentation, though, looms a fundamental question: Can parenting really be taught?

Image: Thomas Kitchin, Geographicus.

Image: Thomas Kitchin, Geographicus.

Debate Continues to Rage Over How Much of a Population the Earth Can Sustain – South China Morning Post – By Martin Williams

Scholars debate population growth.

“Americans are 320 million people and consume 40 per cent of all annually available resources,” [said biologist James Lazell].

In a Creative Slump? Take a Walk – The Los Angeles Times – By Deborah Netburn

“Our study shows everybody’s creativity improved when they were walking compared to themselves when they were sitting,” [said educational psychologist Marily Oppezzo]. “It’s so cool that you can just go out, take a walk, and make your creativity better.”

Fathers’ Brains Change When They Are the Primary Caregiver – The Independent – By Elisa Criado

Dads can relate to their children just like moms, according to new brain research. The findings suggest the brain is much more flexible than traditional social roles would have it, roles that typically see men as secondary caregivers.

“Fathers should engage in child-care activity because this is their pathway to brain changes and attachment,” [researcher] Ruth Feldman told Bloomberg.

Gut Reaction ‘Drives Fear Response’ – The Irish Independent – By Press Association

Speaking of the brain, new findings suggest that the gut feeling we have in the stomach during fearful situations actually sends signals from the stomach to the brain.

Precisely what the stomach is “saying” to the brain is not yet clear, according to the researchers.

Bonus Story:

Map: Every Country’s Highest Valued Export – Business Insider – By Simran Khosla, GlobalPost

Not from this week, but we can’t leave this one behind. A detailed map of the world shows each country’s most valuable export. Guess who has motor vehicles?