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Baby illusion: Youngest born 'perceived as shorter' 16 December 2013Last updated at 12:02 ET Mothers perceive their youngest children as shorter than they actually are, a study suggests.

Baby illusion: Youngest born 'perceived as shorter'

This "baby illusion" applies regardless of the number of children a mother has, Current Biology reports. Mothers underestimated the height of their youngest child by an average of 7.5cm (3in), yet accurately judged the height of any older children they had. The study authors believe this is an adaptive mechanism - to nurture and protect most vulnerable offspring. Always the baby The Australian researchers surveyed 747 mothers, asking them if they remembered experiencing a sudden shift in their youngest son or daughter's size immediately after the birth of a new baby.

More than two-thirds (70%) said they did. This perceptual shift primarily relates to the former "baby" of the family - mothers were less likely to report any height difference in other siblings. This is not just because the older child looks so big compared with a baby, the researchers say. Parenting tips from neuroscience. Linda Geddes, reporter How to Persuade Your Toddler to Eat Spinach might have been a catchier title for this book, which tackles the fascinating subject of child brain development from infancy through to adolescence.

Parenting tips from neuroscience

Written by the former editor of Nature Neuroscience and a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, Welcome to Your Child's Brain provides an authoritative overview and is also littered with practical tips for parents. Among the advice are insights on how to get your child to sleep (small children quickly associate particular cues with sleep, so establish a regular bedtime routine); improve their vision (children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to be short-sighted, possibly because bright light helps the eyes to develop); and promote the development of obedience and moral behaviour (warm and sensitive parenting produces more obedient children than strict parenting, because these children want to please their parents).

No Excuses: Minimalism with Kids. By Leo Babauta When my friends Joshua and Ryan took their new book on minimalism on a huge tour, one of the most frequent things they heard was, “I could never be a minimalist because I have kids.”

No Excuses: Minimalism with Kids

To which they’d respond, “Our friend Leo is a minimalist … and he has six kids.” And it’s funny, because before I started simplifying my life and experimenting with minimalism, I had the same thinking — that there was no way to change because of my kids, or my wife’s preferences perhaps. Boy was I wrong. New Map of the Human Brain. The psychology of spiritualism: science and seances. As the evenings get darker and the first hint of winter hangs in the air, the western world enters the season of the dead.

The psychology of spiritualism: science and seances

It begins with Halloween, continues with All Saints' and All Souls' days, runs through Bonfire Night – the evening where the English burn effigies of historical terrorists – and ends with Remembrance Day. And through it all, Britain's mediums enjoy one of their busiest times of the year. People who claim to contact the spirit world provoke extreme reactions. Why Rituals Work. Think about the last time you were about to interview for a job, speak in front of an audience, or go on a first date.

Why Rituals Work

To quell your nerves, chances are you spent time preparing – reading up on the company, reviewing your slides, practicing your charming patter. People facing situations that induce anxiety typically take comfort in engaging in preparatory activities, inducing a feeling of being back in control and reducing uncertainty. While a little extra preparation seems perfectly reasonable, people also engage in seemingly less logical behaviors in such situations. Why We Need Answers: The Theory of Cognitive closure. The human mind is incredibly averse to uncertainty and ambiguity; from an early age, we respond to uncertainty or lack of clarity by spontaneously generating plausible explanations.

Why We Need Answers: The Theory of Cognitive closure

What’s more, we hold on to these invented explanations as having intrinsic value of their own. Once we have them, we don’t like to let them go. Why does the human brain create false memories? 29 September 2013Last updated at 07:20 ET By Melissa Hogenboom Science reporter, BBC News A doctored photo made many people believe they had been on a real hot air balloon ride Human memory constantly adapts and moulds itself to fit the world.

Why does the human brain create false memories?

Truth or lie - trust your instinct, says research. 28 March 2014Last updated at 21:56 ET By Helen Briggs BBC News.

Truth or lie - trust your instinct, says research

Self-Improvement

The Necessary Art of Subtraction. By Leo Babauta The tendency of our lives, businesses, art, is to keep adding: more furniture, clothes, gadgets, tasks, appointments, features to websites and apps, words to our writing.

The Necessary Art of Subtraction

Continual addition isn’t sustainable or desirable: Too many things to do means we’re always busy, with no time for rest, stillness, contemplation, creativity, time with loved ones.Overwhelming customers with choices means they’re less likely to make an actual choice. They’d prefer that we curate the best.Too many possessions is clutter, visual stress, cleaning, maintenance, debt, less happiness.Too many tasks makes it harder to focus on any one thing or get anything done.Too many things we want to learn means we never learn anything well. My Pursuit of the Art of Living. By Leo Babauta For many years I simply lived, and got by.

My Pursuit of the Art of Living

But in the last few years, after learning a bit about habits and mindfulness and simplicity and love, I have changed my approach to living. Now I see living as an art form, to be studied and played with and practiced and mastered. Philosophers' Guide to Calm. Nowadays, almost all of us wish we could be calmer. It's one of the distinctive longings of the modern age. The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most. By Leo Babauta I’ve tried a lot of types of exercise, but by far the most effective exercise in terms of results for time spent is heavy barbell lifts. For 10-15 minutes of lifting a barbell laden with weights, I get a better physique, improved health, more strength and muscle, less bodyfat.

I’ve spent hours running, doing bodyweight exercises, doing Crossfit, playing sports, biking, swimming, and generally doing the craziest kinds of exercises possible. A Guide for Young People: What to Do With Your Life. By Leo Babauta I had a 15-year-old write to me and ask about figuring out what do do with her life. She writes: ‘As a high-school student I’m constantly being reminded to figure out what to do with my life, what career I would like to have and so on. I definitely feel huge amounts of pressure when my teachers and parents tell me to figure out something now. The Habit Action List. By Leo Babauta There are a ton of people who read self-improvement blogs and books, but never put them into action.

They engage in what’s sometimes called “self-improvement porn”. I’ve done this myself in the past — it was a form of fantasizing about how I was going to make my life better, get my shit together. But I didn’t take action because: I was too busy right that moment, so I’d bookmark the article for later. How I Tackle a Big Writing Project. By Leo Babauta Writing something big is one of the things people tend to procrastinate on the most. The Universe of a Single Task. How to live forever….. A few days ago a psychologist named Ulric Neisser died. Are you mad to love city living? Should charm be taught in schools?

Can cognitive behavioural therapy really change our brains? 6 August 2013Last updated at 20:15 CBT is used to treat many depression and anxiety disorders Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy that's used to treat a wide range of mental health problems, from depression and eating disorders to phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 20 online dating cliches - and what they really mean. 6 January 2014Last updated at 19:31 ET By Clare Spencer BBC News Magazine. Clenching fists 'can improve memory' 24 April 2013Last updated at 22:15 ET By Helen Briggs BBC News. Debunking Self-Help Myths. Why do radiologists miss dancing gorillas? 15 February 2013Last updated at 21:10 ET By Lorna Stewart Health Check, BBC World Service.

10 More Common Faults in Human Thought. Humans This list is a follow up to Top 10 Common Faults in Human Thought. Thanks for everyone’s comments and feedback; you have inspired this second list! Bias rules the way we judge the world. Liz Else, associate editor (Image: Tono Labra/age fotostock/Getty) Five tips from the ‘happiest man on earth’. Can we make ourselves happier? Does confidence really breed success? The Power of Negative Thinking. Why Appreciation Matters So Much. To Find Happiness, Forget About Passion. A Case for the Pursuit of Unhappiness.

Why we screw up when the heat is on. Top 10 Tips for Recovering From a Mental Illness. Love letters and kindness may improve mental health. 101 Short Stories that Will Leave You Smiling, Crying and Thinking. Apocalypse – Radio Times Article. The psychology of the powerful. TED: How to speak so that people want to listen.

The Fear of Being Alone. Are there really 'rules' to what to wear? Should people accept that pressure is a fact of life? Make yourself more creative. Sweet or sour? Altering how we taste our food. The truth about mind control. Backfire Effect - Jigsaw Puzzles.