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BPS Research Digest round up

29 November 2019

Our weekly round up of news items from the BPS Research Digest. The digest blogs about psychological science while also casting a critical eye over its methods. With over 100,000 followers across social media the digest blog continues to grow in popularity and international prominence, attracting millions of readers every year.

Those of us who enjoy a tipple will be well acquainted with the feeling of a hazy memory the morning after. Did you know that when drunk you can only concentrate on what’s happening in front of you but not stuff happening elsewhere?

This phenomenon (alcohol myopia) has been linked to difficulties of identifying faces when drunk in a new paper in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.  The researchers asked more than seventy students in a university bar to look at twenty photos of young white males. Five minutes later they were given another selection containing faces they had seen and new faces. 

Surprisingly, face recognition was not any worse by those who had been drinking compared to the sober students.  However, drinkers did find it harder to recognise the internal part of the faces (nose, eyes and mouth).

When it comes to remembering exactly who you met the night before, this might not seem a big a deal. But when witnessing a crime, our ability to recall what we saw may be more significant.

We know that alcohol and social media don’t mix well but can spending too much of your time online really make you unhealthy and unhappy? There is an assumption this is the case but a new study in Media Psychology disagrees.

The study found that quitting social media for up to four weeks did nothing to improve people’s well-being or quality of life.

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