Department of Psychology

Study challenges perception that empathy erodes during medical school

The relationship between a doctor and patient relies heavily on the physician’s capacity to empathize with or be sensitive to a patient’s emotional state. Empathy has been associated with patients’ increased adherence to treatment, fewer malpractice complaints, improved patient satisfaction and favorable health outcomes. Some studies have documented troubling declines in empathy during medical training—the steepest of which are believed to occur between the second and third years of medical...

Scholars take aim at false positives in research

A single change to a century-old statistical standard would dramatically improve the quality of research in many scientific fields, shrinking the number of so-called false positives, according to a commentary published Sept. 1 in Nature Human Behaviour. The argument, co-authored by University of Chicago economist John List, represents the consensus of 72 scholars from institutions throughout the world and disciplines ranging from neurobiology to philosophy. Their recommendations could have a...

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision-making

If you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his death, would you do it? And should it make any difference if that choice is presented in a language you speak, but isn’t your native tongue? Psychologists at the University of Chicago found in past research that people facing such a dilemma while communicating in a foreign language are far more willing to sacrifice the bystander than those using their native tongue. In a paper published Aug. 14 in...

Bird songs provide insight into how developing brain forms memories

Researchers at the University of Chicago have demonstrated, for the first time, that a key protein complex in the brain is linked to the ability of young animals to learn behavioral patterns from adults. The findings, published July 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , show that a specific neural signal—the mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) cascade—regulates the ability of juvenile zebra finches to form accurate memories of songs taught to them by adult birds. The...

Call for Papers: Crossing Interdisciplinary Boundaries Working Group

The newly formed Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries Working Group will host its inaugural event on September 22, 2017 from 9am-5pm in Saieh Hall for Economics rm. 146. The day-long event will include research presentations by UChicago doctoral students and discussion by faculty members from departments other than the students' home unit. Built into the day will also be a round table discussion on ways to cultivate cross-department collaboration.