Psychology

In a study of great apes' playful antics, chimpanzees seemed to enjoy slapping adults, especially those that were dozing off.

Great Apes Love to Tease, Poke and Pester, Suggesting the Urge to Annoy Is Millions of Years Old

The desire to get a rise out of others is a 13-million-year-old trait humans and great apes share with a common ancestor, new research suggests

Sports psychology research has increased dramatically in the last decade or so. 

What We've Learned Through Sports Psychology Research

Scientists are probing the head games that influence athletic performance, from coaching to coping with pressure

Leaves from the iboga plant, collected in 1933 from Angola. The psychedelic drug ibogaine can be derived from the plant's root bark.

A Lesser-Known Psychedelic Drug Shows Promise for PTSD Treatment

Ibogaine, derived from a central African shrub, has been used in rituals for two millennia. But in a small study, it appeared to reduce symptoms of PTSD among veterans

Human tears may contain an odorless chemical substance that reduces aggression, a new study finds.

Sniffing Women's Tears May Reduce Aggression in Men, Study Finds

The findings, which may extend to all humans, suggest emotional tears might serve an evolutionary purpose

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The Books We Loved

Smithsonian editors choose their favorite (mostly) nonfiction of (mostly) 2023

Chimpanzees and bonobos may have the longest social memory of any non-human animal.

Chimpanzees and Bonobos May Remember Faces for More Than 20 Years

The great apes, which are humans' closest living relatives, appeared to recognize photos of their former acquaintances in a study, even decades later

Ketamine and esketamine are the only psychedelics currently being used clinically with eating disorder patients.

Are Psychedelics the Future of Eating Disorder Treatment?

The drugs have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms and make individuals more flexible in their thinking

In the new experiment, roosters made fewer alarm calls, meant to warn peers of predators, when placed in front a mirror versus when standing near another rooster.

Roosters May Recognize Their Reflections in Mirrors, Study Suggests

The findings demonstrate self-recognition could be more common among animals than previously thought

Researchers are rediscovering the forgotten legacy of Charles Henry Turner.

This Pioneering Black Zoologist's Insights Were a Century Ahead of Their Time

Charles Henry Turner conducted trailblazing research on the cognitive traits of bees, spiders and more

Some psychologists argue that certain people with psychopathic traits such as meanness can excel in business and other areas where boldness is an asset.

Can Psychopathic Tendencies Help You Achieve Success?

New research is reframing this often sensationalized and maligned set of traits and finding some positive twists

Spider wrestling can range from casual matches played by children to more high-stakes games involving gambling.

Does Playing Games With Spiders Reduce Arachnophobia?

An anthropologist ponders whether a children's pastime in the Philippines, pitting the creatures against each other in wrestling matches, decreases fear

Scientists have long debated how we perceive the absence of sound waves hitting our ears.

We Can Hear Silence Like a Sound, Scientists Say

In a study, participants were tricked by "silence illusions" in the same way that illusions with sound fool the brain

Blister packs of Ketamine lozenges

Could Ketamine Treat Severe Depression?

Research suggests the anesthetic is at least as effective as electroconvulsive therapy, the current standard for treatment-resistant depression

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, about half of all American adults reported experiencing loneliness.

An 'Epidemic' of Loneliness Threatens Health of Americans, Surgeon General Says

Being socially disconnected can have health impacts akin to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, according to a new report

Participants in a Heroes’ Harvests hunt in Idaho stop and call to distant male turkeys, or toms, to locate them.

Why Nature-Based Therapy Is Gaining Traction Among Veterans

Spending time outdoors can reduce symptoms of depression and PTSD—growing concerns among service members

In a recent study, researchers examined 40 videos of great apes spinning on ropes and calculated their average rotational velocity.

Great Apes Love to Spin Around—Here's Why

A recent study suggests that apes, like humans, seek out altered mental states

A guanaco successfully retrieves food from a cup with a lid.

Outsider Animals May Be the Best at Solving Problems

Researchers tested whether hoofed mammals could retrieve food from a lidded cup, and those lower in the pecking order were the most successful

Beatriz Flamini leaves a cave after spending 500 days underground in total isolation.

Spanish Athlete Emerges After 500 Days Alone in Underground Cave

Beatriz Flamini, 50, returned to the sunlight after more than 16 months of isolation

While Crystal Pepsi and New Coke failed, both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are still thriving.

The Museum of Failure Celebrates Some of the World's Biggest Flops

Now on view in New York City, the traveling exhibition presents failure as a critical learning opportunity

Wandering albatross pair in courtship in South Georgia. Researchers have found some birds have bolder personalities than others.

Animal Personalities Can Trip Up Science

Individual behavior patterns may skew studies, but researchers have a solution to this problem

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