When I was a graduate student, I would religiously read every article in every journal to which I subscribed. Alas, I have fallen out of that habit. One of my resolutions for the new semester is to invest more time in reading the scholarly journals to which I subscribe—and weaving the knowledge either into my teaching or my life.

As I prepare for a research oriented semester (two sections of Statistics and Experimental Design) and a Research Seminar, two articles in the December 2013 issue of Psychological Science intrigued me because of the simplicity of the experimental design and data analyses and the import of the results (if replicable).

In a short report entitled “Tryptophan Promotes Interpersonal Trust” Colzato et al. exposed 40 healthy adults to either an oral dosage of TRP a food supplement which is an essential amino acid contained in spinach, eggs, soybeans, and fish) or a neutral placebo. After an hour participants interacted in a game designed to measure trust. The participants who had ingested the TRP exhibited behavior indicative of trust to a significantly greater degree than participants who had received the placebo.

In an  equally intriguing group of studies reported in the same journal issue entitled “Aging 5 Years in 5 Minutes: The Effect of Taking a Memory Test on Older Adults’ Subjective Age” Hughes et al. experimentally demonstrated that older (but not younger) adults felt subjectively older after taking (or even after expecting to take) a standard neurological screening test which dealt with memory! Tremendous implications here for future research on the effects of context on self-perceptions of aging.

Posted by Professor David Simpson

Professor of Psychology, Carroll University (USA), Lover of Dogs, Reading, Teaching and Learning. Looking for ways to enhance cross-global communication and to apply technology learning tools.