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The dangers of psychic counsel: is regulation in the crystal ball?

Some psychics offer more than visions of the future. But are the “counselling” services putting people at risk? There’s a call for greater regulation, writes Crikey intern Soren Frederiksen.

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How the internet rewires the circuits of our public space — and you

The internet is changing Australian society, you, and even your own head — and 2012 gave vivid emphasis of how that is happening. Crikey’s man in Canberra on the politics and policy shifts.

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NY Times Business | AUSTRALIA|

The competent face of politics

A politician’s looks have far more power than previously thought, according to new US research. It’s not how attractive a political candidate is, it’s about how competent they look, explains Leonard Mlodinow.

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New Scientist | LINKS|

The science of denial

From climate change to evolution, New Scientist is running a great series of special reports into denialism: how it works, how it spreads, how companies manufacture it, and why it’s so hard to fight.

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The New Yorker | LINKS|

Why we love nudie runs

Strip poker, nude protests, streakers — why can’t we humans keep our clothes on? Psychotherapist Philip Carr-Gomm explains why we love to let it all hang out, and how to get the most bang for your buff.

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Smithsonian | LINKS|

How memories work

Fascinating new research by neuroscientists is revealing how the brain makes and manipulates memories: the process of remembering itself could even alter the details of your memories.

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The Times (UK) | EUROPE|

What chimps tell us about the new UK government

Chimps often form strategic alliances to seize and keep control of their colonies, but it all turns wild if they don’t actually like each other. Will Cameron and Clegg’s primal differences be too much to overcome?

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New York Times | LINKS|

Can babies tell right from wrong?

Are babies moral beings? Babies aren’t clueless and can count, make moral judgements on behaviour, feel other people’s pain and understand how others view the world — all before they can speak.

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LiveScience | LINKS|

The psychology behind Apple fanaticism

The whole “I’m a PC, I’m a Mac” thing is more than just a clever marketing campaign — it has worked its way deeply into Mac fanboys’ brains and sense of self, and has all the same psychological characteristics of a cult.

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British Medical Journal | LINKS|

It’s not what politicians say, it’s what we think they say

Studies have found that our lifestyle, genes and income affect how we sift through the effluence coming out of politicians’ mouths. Two groups of informed voters can hear the same thing very different ways.

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Spiked | COMPANIES|

The flight ban isn’t about volcanic ash — it’s about negative thinking

Airlines aren’t worried about their pilots’ safety — they’re worried about the survival of the species. Sociologist Frank Furedi explains why Europe’s flight ban is based far more on our “worst-case thinking” than level-headed risk assessment.

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New York Times | FOOD & TRAVEL|

Coriander-phobia: why the green garnish tastes soapy to some, sublime to others

Why do some people hate coriander so passionately? Apparently, it’s not their fault they’re so misguided: it’s a medical problem — and also a psychological one.

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The Frontal Cortex | UNCATEGORIZED|

Don’t choke: the science behind stuffing-up

Why do we “choke” when under pressure — and how can you prevent it from happening to you? Jonah Lehrer explains how and why our brains let us down, and the surprisingly simple ways they can be rewired for success.

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Discover | SPORT|

Why athletes are geniuses

It’s not just a superhuman body that sets elite athletes ahead of the pack: their brains need to be just as exceptional. Which means the likes of Brendan Fevola and David Beckham are actually geniuses — despite all evidence to the contrary.

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New York Times | UNITED STATES|

Inside the cockpit of the Wikileaks airstrike

If it seemed like the soldiers in the Wikileaks video of the US military shooting at Iraqis were playing a video game, it’s because, in their minds, they were, explains a former army psychologist; that’s exactly how they’re trained to kill.

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Wall Street Journal | TV & RADIO|

How Law & Order and 30 Rock are putting hippy messages in your mind

Forget product placement: NBC is putting “behavior placement” into its TV shows, with storylines about recycling and eating well to influence viewers’ habits and make them attractive to eco-conscious advertisers.

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Mint | ECONOMY|

RRP-off: how to make a $499 iPad sound like a bargain

Mint explains the simple but surprisingly effective marketing tactic of “price anchoring”: stick a product’s price next to a much higher one, and it will suddenly seem like a steal.

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Jerusalem Post | THE REST|

Defeat terrorism with good old fashioned family values

Young men with strong social and family supports are far more likely to drop-out of terrorist organisations, says Michael Jacobson… before less-helpfully suggesting Israel should therefore recruit terrorists from good homes as spies.

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The New Yorker | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

What if policy was based on fun?

Should governments consider the growing body of research into what makes people actually happy when creating policy? Is it better to be rich and miserable like Americans, or poor but content like Nigerians?

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New Matilda | FEDERAL|

Out of sight, out of mind: why we ship our refugees offshore

Why are Australians okay with imprisoning their refugees offshore? Psychotherapist Zoe Krupka gives a psychological analysis on the group thinking behind it: it lets us separate ourselves from the problem.

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Forbes | PLAYERS|

Do you have what it takes to be a billionaire?

You don’t have to be born into money to become a billionaire — but you do have to be born with the right kind of smarts and personality to make it big. Forbes has a blunt breakdown of what it really takes.

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LiveScience | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

Why we dress pets like people

The science and psychology behind why we dress cats as Hitler and dogs like bees: we’re selfish, lonely and controlling.

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New York Times | ONLINE|

The science behind the NYT “most emailed” list

University researchers have been studying the “most emailed” New York Times articles to see what kind of news people like to share — and why. The results are not what you might expect.

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Futurity | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

Online poker: where everyone’s a loser

A study of online poker games has found that the more hands a player wins, the less money they’re likely to take home. Sociologists explain why.

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The Guardian | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

How friends can make you fatter, happier and sexier

Your choice of social group affects way more than just how you spend your Saturday nights: social connections — even to people you’ve never met — can dictate everything from your weight to how often you get laid.

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Womens Agenda

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