Department of Psychology

Scientists studied the brains of more than 800 prisoners. Here’s what they found.

The brains of murderers look different from those of people convicted of other crimes—differences that could be linked to how they process empathy and morality. Examining brain scans of more than 800 incarcerated men, new research co-authored by a leading University of Chicago neuroscientist found that individuals who had committed or attempted homicide had reduced gray matter when compared to those involved in other offenses. Those reductions were especially apparent in regions of the brain...

Scientists studied the brains of more than 800 prisoners. Here’s what they found.

The brains of murderers look different from those of people convicted of other crimes—differences that could be linked to how they process empathy and morality. Examining brain scans of more than 800 incarcerated men, new research co-authored by a leading University of Chicago neuroscientist found that individuals who had committed or attempted homicide had reduced gray matter when compared to those involved in other offenses. Those reductions were especially apparent in regions of the brain...

Why you may be prone to hiring a liar, and not even know it

We say we don’t like liars. But when it comes time to negotiating a big sale, it turns out we tolerate people stretching the truth—and even expect it. New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that the ability to deceive is viewed as a sign of competence in jobs that require selling. In the study , Chicago Booth’s Emma Levine and Johns Hopkins University’s Brian Gunia find that people don’t always disapprove of deception. In fact, they perceive the ability to...

Why you may be prone to hiring a liar, and not even know it

We say we don’t like liars. But when it comes time to negotiating a big sale, it turns out we tolerate people stretching the truth—and even expect it. New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that the ability to deceive is viewed as a sign of competence in jobs that require selling. In the study , Chicago Booth’s Emma Levine and Johns Hopkins University’s Brian Gunia find that people don’t always disapprove of deception. In fact, they perceive the ability to...

Bystanders may be more likely to punish bullies than help victims

Punishing bad behavior can feel good, honorable and righteous. According to new research, the impulse to punish a perpetrator may be even more powerful than the desire to help those who were hurt. A study co-authored by University of Chicago psychologists found that third parties who observe social rejection are more inclined to punish the perpetrators than they are to help the victims. Even among those who reported a history of being bullied, study participants appeared more motivated by...

Bystanders may be more likely to punish bullies than help victims

Punishing bad behavior can feel good, honorable and righteous. According to new research, the impulse to punish a perpetrator may be even more powerful than the desire to help those who were hurt. A study co-authored by University of Chicago psychologists found that third parties who observe social rejection are more inclined to punish the perpetrators than they are to help the victims. Even among those who reported a history of being bullied, study participants appeared more motivated by...

What nearly all languages have in common—whether you speak or sign

If you hear someone say “John and Mary kiss,” you’d likely imagine a single symmetrical action. But hear them say “John and Mary kiss each other,” and you may construe an entirely different picture—one in which the parties reciprocate with two separate actions, kissing the other’s hand. A distinction this subtle might not seem important, yet it appears across nearly all spoken languages. In fact, this distinction may be intrinsic to the very development of language, according to new research co...