As psychedelics’ popularity increases among millennials and in the mainstream, slowly shedding their taboo shroud, more studies are being conducted to determine the medical and psychological value of these substances. And not just by the kid next door—but by real, live scientists!
This weekend, from Thursday through Sunday, Penn will be hosting Psychedemia, an academic
nightclub conference that “will feature university scholars and researchers from across the country in the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience, ethics, rhetoric, and anthropology to discuss recent ideas and discoveries in psychedelic studies.”
The event is open to the public (with registration fee), but you can get a little cut of the action for free at the welcome session this Thursday at 5PM in the Hall of Flags. Sounds like a great way to get involved in, you know, research.
Penn Psychology Professor Michael J. Kahana can read your mind. Well, not quite, but give him a couple years–he’s pretty close. In an attempt to show how electric signals in the human brain reflect thought, Kahana discovered that our memories form a “neural fingerprint” that is different for each person.
In this recently published study, Kahana implanted electrodes into the brains of epileptic patients about to undergo surgery. He asked them to examine, and then repeat back, a list of words. Kahana found that certain “meaning signals” allow us to group similar thoughts together, like “duck” and “goose.” Each brain does this differently, which is where the “fingerprint” business comes in. This gave him clues as to how our brains organize new information, which is quite revolutionary indeed.
“Neural fingerprints? YES, OF COURSE!” said that psychic on South Street. “We’ve been doing that this whole time.”
Eating a green chip may have ranked among your worst childhood nightmares, but one Penn professor (who already has a whole lot on his plate) thinks tasting the rainbow might actually help shed some pounds!
A recent study found that students consumed 50% fewer chips if red-dyed, edible chips were inserted into stacks at regular intervals. The colored chips seem to suggest a measure for serving size, creating a portion control system that prevents snackers from guiltlessly wiping out a whole Pringles can in one sitting.
But let’s be real; the color red does nothing to stop people from binging. Besides, this would make for an awful new slogan: “Once you pop, the fun stops at the first red chip.”
The nomstravaganza that is Memorial Day Weekend just got more stressful. Weighing salad-y things against their red blooded American grill-able alternatives is difficult enough, but now you also need to worry if your choice will make you INSTANTANEOUSLY SWAP GENDERS!
Well, sort of. According to Penn Psychology professor Paul Rozin, your tasty selections have subconscious implications of “maleness” and “femaleness” that you won’t find in the nutrition facts.
Fellas, find out what foods will best accentuate your internship moustache after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
But we’re all going to die anyway, so what’s the problem? It seems like some newfangled study that turned up in this month’s Journal for Applied Psychology indicates that the young and ambitious on the prestigious education-competitive profession track (that’s us!) often die young and unhappy. As HuffPo College reports, the case is even worse for ambitious underachievers, whose consistent poor performance yet high expectations frequently lead to low life satisfaction. This makes us feel sad, but also determined for a better future, so we’ll probably die…next month? Mmmkay.
Mind you, the study was carried out solely on 717 Californians born at the beginning of the last century, and there’s a lot of room for debate over the definitions of “ambitious,” “young,” “selective,” “prestigious,” and “underachiever”; but though the relevance of the findings may only be marginal, the wider implications may still ring true for us. In any case, between this and the 2012 apocalypse, it’s becoming clear that the goddesses are VERY angry with us.
No, not that kind of dirty, ya PERV. Paul Rozin, a psychologist and emeritus professor here at Penn was featured in an article in today’s New York Times for his expertise regarding the evolution of disgust as an emotional response.
According to the article, disgust, which up until recently was not fully understood from a psychological perspective, is one of the most universally elicited emotions–more so than anger and even fear. Initially, disgust evolved so we would avoid putting dirty things in our mouths (as if that’s ever stopped anyone). Rozin and his colleagues conducted research to elaborate this hypothesis, finding that another reason disgust exists is to separate ourselves from animals–which explains why we (well, some of us) find behaviors like pooping, dying and sex super icky.
The rest of the article reflects on the immunological response to disgust and how it’s used to promote cleanliness in advertising. Yay, science! Yay, Penn! And most of all: YAY, POOP.
Are you young? If you’re in the 18-22 age bracket, we’ll say you are. Now, would you consider your moments of peaceful contentment ‘happiness’? Yes? Stop lying to yourself, you’re not happy. That’s just silly! Well, that’s what the research of Wharton professor Cassie Mogliner has concluded.
In a recent study, Mogliner found that 60% of youths associate happiness with excitement, while 80% of the older crowd finds happiness in contentment. (How do you apply math to happiness?) In her research, Mogliner did surveys, played music for participants and scanned blogs (!) for key words associated with happiness. This last part makes us excited, thus we are happy.