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  • Feature

    Shahzeen Attari explores the psychology of saving the planet

    Shahzeen Attari, 37Environmental decision makingIndiana University Bloomington

    When Shahzeen Attari was growing up in Dubai, her father ran a machine shop. Her mother, a gregarious people person, worked at a bank.

    “My curiosity about how things work came from my father,” Attari says. “I learned to love getting to know people from my mother.”

    That yin-yang background may help...

    09/26/2018 - 08:35 Psychology, Climate
  • News

    Huge ‘word gap’ holding back low-income children may not exist after all

    A scientific takedown of a famous finding known as the 30-million-word gap may upend popular notions of how kids learn vocabulary.

    Research conducted more than 20 years ago concluded that by age 4, poor children hear an average of 30 million fewer words than their well-off peers. Since then, many researchers have accepted the reported word gap as a driver of later reading and writing...

    09/04/2018 - 05:30 Psychology, Language
  • Science & the Public

    ‘Replication crisis’ spurs reforms in how science studies are done

    What started out a few years ago as a crisis of confidence in scientific results has evolved into an opportunity for improvement. Researchers and journal editors are exposing how studies get done and encouraging independent redos of published reports. And there’s nothing like the string of failed replications to spur improved scientific practice.

    That’s the conclusion of a research team...

    08/27/2018 - 11:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    Children may be especially vulnerable to peer pressure from robots

    Peer pressure can be tough for kids to resist, even if it comes from robots.

    School-aged children tend to echo the incorrect but unanimous responses of a group of robots to a simple visual task, a new study finds. In contrast, adults who often go along with the errant judgments of human peers resist such social pressure applied by robots, researchers report August 15 in Science Robotics...

    08/15/2018 - 14:00 Robotics, Psychology
  • News

    Kids today are waiting longer than ever in the classic marshmallow test

    Hold that marshmallow and don’t ask for s’more.

    Some kids today wait much longer to get an extra treat in the famed marshmallow test than they did in the 1960s or even the ‘80s, researchers say. So, so much for the view that internet-savvy, smartphone-toting tykes want what they want at warp speed.

    This willingness to delay gratification has recently bloomed among U.S. preschoolers...

    06/29/2018 - 14:12 Psychology
  • Science Ticker

    Splitting families may end, but migrant kids’ trauma needs to be studied

    Faced with a growing outcry against separating migrant children from their families at the U.S. border — including this statement from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — President Trump reversed course June 20 and issued an executive order aimed at keeping detained families together.

    Scientists, armed with evidence that traumatic events early in life can have...

    06/20/2018 - 17:39 Neuroscience, Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    Phone apps are helping scientists track suicidal thoughts in real time

    Suicide research is undergoing a timing shift, and not a moment too soon. A new breed of studies that track daily — and even hourly — changes in suicidal thinking is providing intriguing, although still preliminary, insights into how to identify those on the verge of trying to kill themselves.

    Monitoring ways in which suicidal thoughts wax and wane over brief time periods, it turns out,...

    06/18/2018 - 09:00 Psychology, Mental Health
  • News

    Gun owner or not, Americans agree on many ways to limit gun violence

    Despite a public debate that grows more fractious with every school shooting — from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., to Parkland, Fla., and the latest deadly attack May 18 in Santa Fe, Texas — Americans actually agree on gun policy to a surprising extent.  

    According to a new survey of more than 2,100 people, majorities of both gun owners and nonowners support 15 potential gun...

    05/21/2018 - 13:23 Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    The window for learning a language may stay open surprisingly long

    Language learning isn’t kid stuff anymore. In fact, it never was, a provocative new study concludes.

    A crucial period for learning the rules and structure of a language lasts up to around age 17 or 18, say psychologist Joshua Hartshorne of MIT and colleagues.

    Previous research had suggested that grammar-learning ability flourished in early childhood before hitting a dead end around...

    05/11/2018 - 11:02 Language, Psychology
  • News

    In China, coffee shop habits show cultural differences tied to farming

    Deeply ingrained cultural differences in everyday behavior between natives of northern and southern China bubble up while sipping coffee in Starbucks and other cafés.

    How close people sit and whether they dodge or move chairs blocking aisles reveals whether their cultural roots go back to rice farming in southern China or wheat farming in northern China, researchers report April 25 in...

    04/25/2018 - 14:22 Psychology