Free Will And Facial Expressions: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web

It’s not possible to reliably predict the emotions someone is experiencing based just on their facial expressions. And yet tech companies are trying to do just that. At The Atlantic, Kate Crawford explores some of these attempts — and the contested research on which they are based.

At Science, Kelly Servick takes a look at attempts to understand and treat the “brain fog” experienced by some COVID-19 survivors.

Short sessions of unconscious bias training are unlikely to produce any long-term changes in the workplace. But many researchers believe that we’ve been too quick to simply dismiss these courses, writes David Robson at The Observer: instead, we should understand what they get wrong and what they get right, and use this knowledge to develop better solutions for combating bias.

Is free will an illusion? Does it even matter? Oliver Burkeman explores what philosophy, psychology and neuroscience have to say in a long read at The Guardian.

Researchers have developed a method to predict whether a psychedelic compound will produce hallucinations, reports Ariana Remmel at Nature. The technique involves using a fluorescent sensor to determine exactly how the molecule will bind to a particular serotonin receptor in the brain. The method could be useful for finding non-hallucinogenic psychedelics for the treatment of mental health disorders.

How has the pandemic affected those living with obsessive compulsive disorder? Although early on some researchers were worried that public health measures like hand washing could make certain symptoms worse, the data suggests that that’s not the case, write Carey Wilson and Thibault Renoid at The Conversation. However, the pandemic may have increased general feelings of anxiety and stress among some people with OCD, similar to effects on people with other mental health conditions.

Finally, the Association of British Science is holding an online event with psychologist Lisa DeBruine on 4th May. DeBruine will be talking about the replication crisis and the work of the Psychological Science Accelerator. For a primer, look check out Brian Resnick’s recent piece at Vox, and Jon Brock’s story in The Psychologist from last year.

Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattBWarren), Editor of BPS Research Digest

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