Max Donates His Body to Social Science, College Diversity, plus more weekly links


A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • This year, Max Nesterak, co-founder of The Psych Report and News Assistant at NPR’s Hidden Brain, donated his body to social science—hopefully for the better. In a year long experiment, he and the Hidden Brain team attempt to use the latest social science research to help him quit smoking. After six months, what are the results? (NPR)


Photo: Hugo Rojo/NPR

  • Dr. Robert Heath’s “discovery” of taraxein, the neural substance he believed to be the cause of schizophrenia, brought him accolades and then shame—no other researchers found any evidence for it. Likewise, his experiments with brain stimulation, through which he attempted recondition homosexual impulses, were similarly misguided and ethically dubious. Robert Colville investigates the controversial and forgotten scientist. (Mosaic)
  • Disclosure is seen as the solution when conflicts of interests arise. Potential conflict? Just let the affected parties know, right? It’s not that simple. “There is an underappreciated problem with disclosure,” writes Sunita Sah, a professor of management at Cornell University. “It often has the opposite of its intended effect, not only increasing bias in advisers but also making advisees more likely to follow biased advice.” (New York Times)
  • NPR’s Invisibilia recently explored how “the impulse to fix a problem—the impulse that has led the human species to invent telephones and bicycles and rocket ships—has surprising consequences when it comes to the problem of mental illness.” (NPR)
  • Utilizing online models of communities, much like the video game The Sims, researchers are looking at patterns of human behavior to understand when we’ll cooperate and when we’re tempted to act with our own interests in mind. (Nautilus)
  • A newly issued report, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, features a chapter on how climate change will influence mental health, highlighting the groups who are most at risk and the potential impact of natural disasters on mental well-being. (U.S. Global Change Research Program)


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