Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mind and Psychology | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Can you tell these researchers apart?

How would you react if someone you were speaking to suddenly absconded, then reappeared as a new person? According to a Harvard experiment, you probably wouldn’t notice at all. Two researchers with different hairstyles, faces, and colors of shirts teamed up to perform this very action on several volunteers. When a volunteer handed a consent form to the experimenter behind a desk, he took it, ducked, and scuttled away as the second experimenter popped up in his place. Seventy-five percent of volunteers said they noticed no change in the person.

Abscond (ab-SKOND)

Run away, depart secretly


Formed in 1560s from Latin abscondere, which means “to hide, conceal”. Abscondere comes from ab(s), meaning “away” + condere, meaning “put together, store”.


disappear, vanish, decamp, hightail


Youtube: Experimental Psychology


Posted: June 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mind and Psychology | Tags: | No Comments »

Late morning risers tend to get a lot of flak; early birds may even see them as lazy slugabeds. But brain studies show that night owls actually have more staying power. Researchers who tested the alertness of both early birds and night owls at 1.5 hours and 10.5 hours after waking found that, at 10.5 hours, the night owls had greater activity in two brain regions indicative of greater attentiveness.

Slugabed (SLUG-ə-bed)

Someone inclined to stay in bed out of laziness.

[Derived from “sluggard“, a habitually lazy or idle person.]


layabout, laggard, lie-abed


Discover Magazine: Night Owls… |   Photo Credit


Posted: June 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mind and Psychology, People | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Mark Twain

Bipolar disorder has affected many well-known writers, including Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, Earnest Hemingway, Edgar Allen Poe, and Virginia Woolf. But recently, it is earning the sobriquet, “CEO’s disease”, as an increasing number of executives are admitting to the condition. Among them are Ted Turner, ABC-TV producer Bill Liechtenstein, Steve Jobs, and all three founders of Netscape.

Sobriquet (pronounced “SO-brih-kay”)

1. *An affectionate or humorous nickname.
2. An assumed name.


TED: Cameron Herold | Find Articles: Bipolar Disorder


Posted: June 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mind and Psychology, Society | Tags: | No Comments »

Can the language you speak affect your mood? One American researcher says it can indeed, and that the prevalence of the “umlaut” in German makes them grumpy and saturnine. While pronouncing English vowels like “e” and “ah” create smile-like facial expressions, the umlaut requires the speaker to turn down the mouth in a sort of frown, which may induce sadness.

Saturnine (pronounced “SAT-ər-nine”)

Having a gloomy or bitter temperament.


dour, morose, taciturn, phlegmatic


Marginal Revolution, Image Posted Under GNU Free Documentation License

Bifurcated Brain

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mind and Psychology | Tags: | No Comments »

Cerebral lobes

One hundred billion neurons making trillions of connections probably isn’t something you want to mess with. The brain is so complex that it seems like the smallest defect could ruin it. But somehow, children with severe epilepsy are often able to develop into normal adults when half of their brains are surgically removed. Because it is already bifurcated down its center, surgeons remove the entire problem-lobe in a procedure called a hemispherectomy. Studies show no long-term effects on memory or personality, and minimal changes in cognition. In one case study, the patient completed college, attended grad school, and scored above average on IQ tests.

Bifurcated (pronounced BI-fər-kayt-əd)

Divided into two parts or branches.


Wikipedia: Hemispherectomy, Image from here.