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School children and psychology
Photo: Brian Glanz/Flickr and Jordan Martinez/Flickr and www.a-star.edu.sg

News from around the Web – July 31, 2016

In this edition, we have an article talking about the need to include psychology as a mainstream subject in schools, a study explaining why narcissists are attractive, a fascinating story on how scientists have grown a human brain in a lab!

Keeping it real

Education is the only means to a better future. And, the ‘better future’ needs to be sculpted with the axe of psychology, this article contends. It also calls for an all-round approach involving parents, teachers and the governments to take notice of the importance of psychology in creating a sustainable future.

This para from the article perfectly sums it up:

“Education is a means to achieve exposure — one that is aimed at removing our myopic view and liberating us. It is a means to achieve an end and not the end itself. Psychological studies open the mind to the possibility of understanding the underlying processes and drives that make us who we are. It provides a perspective that helps us understand ourselves better which is the first step in tackling any societal problems.”

Read the full article here.

Narcissism is not bad, after all

This study just confirmed our worst nightmare. We tend to find narcissists more attractive, at least when it comes to dating. The study found correlations between people selected for short to long term relationships and their levels of narcissism.

One of the possible reasons is that narcissists care about how they look and first impressions make a lot of difference. So, it’s quite possible that people who care to groom themselves and dress and look better stand a better chance at being perceived positively.

Read the full story here.

Pick my brains

Scientists in Singapore have managed to cultivate  mini brain which they hope will help them treat Parkinson’s Disease, age-related diseases.

These mini midbrain versions are three-dimensional miniature tissues that are grown in the laboratory and they have certain properties of specific parts of the human brains. This is the first time that the black pigment neuromelanin has been detected in an organoid model. The study also revealed functionally active dopaminergic neurons.

The human midbrain, which is the information superhighway, controls auditory, eye movements, vision and body movements. It contains special dopaminergic neurons that produce dopamine – which carries out significant roles in executive functions, motor control, motivation, reinforcement, and reward. High levels of dopamine elevate motor activity and impulsive behaviour, whereas low levels of dopamine lead to slowed reactions and disorders like PD, which is characterised by stiffness and difficulties in initiating movements.

Also, causing PD is the dramatic reduction in neuromelanin production, leading to the degenerative condition of patients, which includes tremors and impaired motor skills. This creation is a key breakthrough for studies in PD, which affects an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide.

Full press release here.

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