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Future - Dogs look like their owners – it’s a scientific fact. Go to any park, and you will see the strange phenomenon of the canine mini-me.

Future - Dogs look like their owners – it’s a scientific fact

Maybe it’s a bearded hipster, accompanied by a little bundle of fur that looks like it went to the same barber, or a pugnacious thug carrying a bulldog. Or perhaps it’s an athletic jogger and her Afghan hound, their glossy locks blowing effortlessly in the wind. Why do people choose the dog that looks most like themselves? Far from being skin-deep, the answer may give you a new appreciation of the intense bonds we humans have forged with our four-legged friends. Indeed, there are some strange and unexpected parallels with the way we choose our other, two-legged life partners. Michael Roy at the University of California, San Diego was one of the first psychologists to put the idea to the test.

Women with long hair are more likely to prefer dogs with long, floppy ears There is now even a canine version of the “Big Five” questionnaire typically used to measure the most important dimensions of personality. Why can’t you tickle yourself? It’s almost impossible to get a laugh by self-tickling, says David Robson, and the reason why tells us surprising things about the brain and consciousness.

Why can’t you tickle yourself?

If you want to probe some of the great mysteries of the human mind, all you need is a duster and your feet. Sit back, take your shoes and socks off, and gently stroke its feathers against your sole. Now ask a friend, parent or child to do the same for you. What do dictators like to eat? 4 December 2014Last updated at 19:46 ET.

What do dictators like to eat?

A point of view: That joke isn't funny any more. 22 August 2014Last updated at 11:48 ET Will Self asks why people laugh at jokes which he doesn't find funny, and whether there's such a thing as the wrong type of humour.

A point of view: That joke isn't funny any more

Nothing is funny twice - I mean that. Warning over electrical brain stimulation. Given the option, would you want to think faster and have sharper attention?

Warning over electrical brain stimulation

Research suggests that electrical brain stimulation kits could have just those effects. But now some companies are selling such devices online, leading to calls to regulate the technology. It may sound too good to be true but scientists say the technology is promising. Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), which passes small electrical currents directly on to the scalp, stimulates the nerve cells in the brain (neurons). It's non-invasive, extremely mild and the US military even uses TDCS in an attempt to improve the performance of its drone pilots.

The idea is that it makes the neurons more likely to fire and preliminary research suggests electrical simulation can improve attention as well as have a positive impact on people with cognitive impairments and depression. It has also been shown to increase performance in a maths task, an improvement which was still in place six months later.

Neuroscience: ‘I built a brain decoder' What are you looking at?

Neuroscience: ‘I built a brain decoder'

Scientist Jack Gallant can find out by decoding your thoughts, as Rose Eveleth discovers. Jack Gallant can read your mind. Neuroscience: why do we see faces in everyday objects? Who, What, Why: What is mindfulness? 6 May 2014Last updated at 11:16 ET By Magazine Monitor A collection of cultural artefacts.

Who, What, Why: What is mindfulness?

Dogs' brain scans reveal vocal responses. 20 February 2014Last updated at 19:52 ET By Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC World Service Pet dogs took part in the MRI scanning study Devoted dog owners often claim that their pets understand them.

Dogs' brain scans reveal vocal responses

A new study suggests they could be right. By placing dogs in an MRI scanner, researchers from Hungary found that the canine brain reacts to voices in the same way that the human brain does. Nervous system. Humans, like all living organisms, can respond to their environment.

nervous system

Personality types. Men and women's brains are 'wired differently' 3 December 2013Last updated at 08:45 ET Men and women's brains are connected in different ways which may explain why the sexes excel at certain tasks, say researchers.

Men and women's brains are 'wired differently'

A US team at the University of Pennsylvania scanned the brains of nearly 1,000 men, women, boys and girls and found striking differences. The "connectome maps" reveal the differences between the male brain (seen in blue) and the female brain (orange) Male brains appeared to be wired front to back, with few connections bridging the two hemispheres. Bully in the next bedroom - are we in denial about sibling aggression? 8 November 2013Last updated at 08:02 ET By William Kremer BBC World Service Siblings routinely pick on one another, but when does bickering become bullying - and what can parents do about it? A Point of View: Why people give into temptation when no-one's watching.

20 September 2013Last updated at 16:17 GMT Why are apparently good people tempted to commit evil acts, asks novelist AL Kennedy. I spend a lot of time in hotels. They offer many temptations and although, like most people, I believe I'm more than averagely honest, nevertheless temptation does prove, on occasion, tempting. Chromatic illusion.