How geocachers navigate fear in the urban woods

Because geocaches are always hidden out of sight, players often have to behave in out-of-the-ordinary ways to reach them.

Photo by Kyle Peyton on Unsplash

On a drizzly Saturday morning in June 2018, I found myself kneeling on the edge of a wooden boardwalk in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

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Personality is not only about who but also where you are

What if patience, and maybe other personality features too, are more a product of where we are than who we are?

David DUCOIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In the field of psychology, the image is canon: a child sitting in front of a marshmallow, resisting the temptation to eat it.

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Heartbeats align during an Islamic ritual, new study finds

Researchers found that the hearts of Sufi devotees harmonized as one during a mystical practice. And this isn't the first study to show heart synchronization between people.

  • Anthropologists at the University of Connecticut discovered that the heartbeats of Sufi practitioners synchronized during an important ritual.
  • Sufism is a mystical component of Islam that emphasizes coming to know God through direct experience, like trance.
  • Other studies have also found that individuals who are closely connected emotionally and socially experience physiological alignment.
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Perception of musical pitch varies across cultures

Is the way we hear music biological or cultural?

Jean-Marc ZAORSKI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

People who are accustomed to listening to Western music, which is based on a system of notes organized in octaves, can usually perceive the similarity between notes that are same but played in different registers — say, high C and middle C.

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Why extreme rituals might benefit psychophysiological health

A new study shows two potential benefits of undergoing a painful ritual.

  • A new study examined peoples' objective and subjective indicators of health before, during, and after a painful ritual.
  • The results showed that people who underwent the painful ritual reported a greater quality of life and subjective health improvements.
  • Painful rituals also seem to have a unique ability to produce "shared physiological alignment" within groups.
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