May 20, 2013 A computer-simulated woman named Ellie is designed to talk to people who are struggling emotionally and take their measure — 30 times per second. Researchers hope their technology, which reads a person's body language and inflections, will yield diagnostic clues for clinical therapists.
April 29, 2013 Psychologists have long known that children often model their behavior on the actions of parents or peers. But science has only recently begun to measure the influence of siblings. An older brother's or sister's behavior can be very contagious, it turns out — for good and for bad.
April 8, 2013 Since most of the faces we encounter are emotionally ambiguous, we're forced into interpretations. And in the case of troubled teens, the perception of hostile faces all around can lead to aggressive behavior. In an experiment, researchers tried to retrain the way those kids interpreted faces.
April 1, 2013 Anthropologists find that the use of "emotional" words in all sorts of books has soared and dipped across the past century, roughly mirroring each era's social and economic upheavals. And psychologists say this new form of language analysis may offer a more objective view into our culture.
March 11, 2013 For those who rely on technology to speak, there are a limited number of voices. "Perfect Paul" sounds robotic, and "Heather" can seem too old for some. Now, a researcher is using sound samples from people who have never been able to speak to create new, personalized voices for them.
February 11, 2013 An attention researcher wanted to find out how radiologists would fare in a version of the famous Invisible Gorilla study. He found that 83 percent of the radiologists failed to spot an image of a gorilla on slides they were told to inspect for cancer. It's just one example of how, when people are asked to perform a challenging task, their attention can narrow and blocks things out.
January 28, 2013 To understand how social rules affect the interactions between humans and machines, scientists re-created a famous psychology experiment using robots. What they found is that if robots are nice to us, we're nice to them. If they're not, we "punish" them.
November 30, 2012 A vote this weekend by a small group of academics could result in changes to several entries in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Doctors may no longer be advised to avoid diagnoses of depression after the death of a loved one, and Asperger's syndrome may be folded into the spectrum of autism.