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  • Editor's Note

    In play, kids and scientists take big mental leaps

    I know a lot of adults who don’t like to cook, but I’ve never met a child who doesn’t enjoy playing with a toy kitchen — or one who doesn’t want to help chop vegetables for dinner. Other versions of practical play: A cousin, at the age of just 4 or 5, asked for only one thing for Christmas — a snow brush. And on a beach trip last year, I witnessed a duo of 2-year-olds squealing with...
    02/07/2018 - 15:30 Science & Society, Psychology, Anthropology
  • Feature

    When it’s playtime, many kids prefer reality over fantasy

    Young children travel to fantasy worlds every day, packing just imaginations and a toy or two.

    Some preschoolers scurry across ocean floors carrying toy versions of cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Other kids trek to distant universes with miniature replicas of Star Wars robots R2-D2 and C-3PO. Throngs of youngsters fly on broomsticks and cast magic spells with Harry Potter and...

    02/06/2018 - 11:45 Psychology, Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers inspired by SN 10 scientists’ research

    Wanting more

    For the third year in a row, Science News profiled 10 early- and mid-career i­nnovators who are transforming their fields in “The SN 10: Scientists to watch” (SN: 10/14/17, p. 16).

    The profiles left some readers inspired, intrigued and wanting to know more about these scientists’ research.

    “Really enjoying these portraits, thanks, SN!” online reader Maia commented...

    11/15/2017 - 13:17 Science & Society, Robotics, Psychology
  • Scicurious

    Whether psychology research is improving depends on whom you ask

    For more than a decade, psychology has been contending with some of its research findings going up in smoke. Widely publicized attempts to replicate major findings have shown that study results that scientists and the public took for granted might be no more than a statistical fluke. We should, for example, be primed for skepticism when studying priming. Power posing may be powerless.

    A...

    10/29/2017 - 08:00 Psychology
  • News

    Economics Nobel nudges behavioral economist into the limelight

    A founding father of behavioral economics — a research school that has popularized the practice of “nudging” people into making decisions that authorities deem to be in their best interests — has won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

    Richard Thaler, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, received the award October 9 for being the leader of a discipline...

    10/09/2017 - 17:45 Science & Society, Psychology
  • Feature

    M. Ehsan Hoque develops digital helpers that teach social skills

    M. Ehsan Hoque, 35Computer scientistUniversity of Rochester

    A growing band of digital characters that converse, read faces and track body language is helping humans to communicate better with one another. While virtual helpers that perform practical tasks, such as dealing with customer service issues, are becoming ubiquitous, computer scientist M. Ehsan Hoque is at the forefront of a more...

    10/04/2017 - 13:51 Computing, Technology, Psychology, Science & Society
  • Confusion lingers over health-related pros and cons of marijuana

    Confusion over effects

    No one knows whether chronic marijuana smoking causes emotional troubles or is a symptom of them.... This dearth of evidence has a number of explanations: serious lingering reactions, if they exist, occur after prolonged use, rarely after a single dose; marijuana has no known medical use, unlike LSD, so scientists have had little reason to study the drug…....

    09/22/2017 - 07:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    Science can’t forecast love

    Here’s some heartbreaking news for people pinning their hopes on online matchmaking sites: It’s virtually impossible to forecast a love connection.

    Maybe that’s not so shocking to survivors of the dating wars. But now science is weighing in. Extensive background data on two individuals — comparable to that collected by digital dating services — can’t predict whether that pair will...

    09/11/2017 - 07:00 Psychology, Anthropology
  • Feature

    Teaching methods go from lab to classroom

    Sure, students in the classroom have to remember facts, but they also have to apply them. Some research efforts to enhance learning zero in on methods to strengthen memory and recall, while others bolster students’ abilities to stay on task, think more fluidly and mentally track and juggle information.

    But there’s a catch. The science behind student learning is so far based on carefully...

    09/05/2017 - 08:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Spiritual convictions and group identities inspire terrorist acts, study finds

    Islamic militants and their fiercest opponents fight and die for intensely spiritual reasons, a new report finds.

    Islamic State (also known as ISIS) soldiers and Kurds who have fiercely battled them sacrifice themselves for sacred, nonnegotiable values, says a team led by anthropologist Scott Atran of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. These soldiers’ will to fight also depends on...

    09/04/2017 - 11:00 Anthropology, Psychology