psychology

New York City is set to begin giving body cameras to its police officers on Thursday.

Under the police department's pilot program, 1,200 officers in 20 precincts will receive the cameras. The officers will also be studied by scientists to see what effect the cameras have on policing.

As police don body cameras across the country, scientists are increasingly working with departments to figure out how the cameras change behavior — of officers and the public.

We make dozens of decisions on a daily basis: what to have for breakfast, which task to complete first, which article to read.

Most of these decisions are easy.

But then there are the hard decisions — the ones we agonize over, the ones that lead to sleepless nights. These decisions are hard for two reasons: because no single option clearly dominates the alternatives, and because we expect our choice to have significant consequences. It's these two elements that explain why hard decisions should be easy — but are not.

Let's start with the first reason.

Could smartphones and other screens be decreasing the human attention span? Author Adam Alter thinks so.

"Ten years ago, before the iPad and iPhone were mainstream, the average person had an attention span of about 12 seconds," Alter tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. Now, he says, "research suggests that there's been a drop from 12 to eight seconds ... shorter than the attention of the average goldfish, which is nine seconds."

https://twitter.com/JonRottenberg

04/15/14 - Tuesday’s Topical Currents looks at the epidemic of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder affects 6.7% of American adults, yet it’s root cause is little understood by scientists and the general population. We’ll speak with University of South Florida Professor and Psychologist, Jonathan Rottenberg who offers a bold new account of why depression endures. He’s written THE DEPTHS: THE EVOLUTIONARY ORIGINS OF THE DEPRESSION EPIDEMICThat’s Topical Currents Tuesday at 1pm.

twitter.com/ila_jer

10/30/13 - Wednesday's Topical Currents looks at the dynamics of arguments in a relationship.  Psychologist Dr. Ilona Jerabek has closely studied the matter.  She says fighting is one thing . . . but fighting dirty threatens bonds.  She says anger isn’t destructive . . . but that rage provokes breakups.  42% of argument participants use curse words.  But 47% make up right away.

http://www.samsommers.com/

04/04/13 -  Thursday's Topical Currents begins with social psychologist Sam Sommers.  He’s written SITUATIONS MATTER:  Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. Context affects our behavior in inexplicable ways:  peaceful persons joining a riot . . . a sports fan who behaves like a lout . . .

drlauriemintz.com

05/05/10 - Monday’s Topical Currents begins with University of Missouri psychologist Dr. Laurie Mintz.  She’s written the book A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex, which gives tips and exercises to raise sexual desire. That’s Topical Currents and host Joseph Cooper . . .