A study of 1,400 ancient and modern human skulls suggests that a reduction in testosterone hormone levels accompanied the development of cooperation, complex communication and modern culture some 50,000 years ago.


While modern humans appear in the fossil record from around 200,000 years ago, it was only about 50,000 years ago that the creation of art and advanced tools became widespread.

Why, after 150,000 years of existence, did humans suddenly leap forward in technology? Was this driven by a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language, or population density?

The new research concludes that the male hormone testosterone could have been responsible. Published in the journal Current Anthropology, the study involved analyzing skulls from the present day as well as specimens dating back more than 80,000 years.

According to lead author Robert Cieri, human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels. "The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art, and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament," he explained.

All those parents in the '70s and '80s who made their left-handed children struggle to use their right hands may be kicking themselves right about now. As it turns out, left-handers might have the advantage in certain areas like, say, piloting a jet fighter or talking and driving at the same time.


A study published in the journalNeuropsychology in late 2006 suggests that left-handed people are faster at processing multiple stimuli than righties.



Despite the popular view that lefties are more naturally talented, it’s righties who pull down 10-12% higher salaries, data from the US and the UK finds.

The higher wages amongst right-handers are probably due to the fact that they have, on average, greater cognitive skills than left-handers.

Dr. Joshua Goodman, the study’s author, writes:

“Compared to righties, lefties score a tenth of a standard deviation lower on measures of cognitive skill and, contrary to popular wisdom, are not over-represented at the high end of the distribution.


Lefties have more emotional and behavioral problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in less cognitively intensive occupations.”

The fascinating effect of music on people’s cognitive abilities.

Professional musicians show superior long-term memory compared with non-musicians, a new study finds.

Their brains are also capable of much faster neural responses in key areas of the brain related to decision-making, memory and attention.

The results were presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, DC.


Dr Heekyeong Park, who led the study, said:

“Musically trained people are known to process linguistic materials a split second faster than those without training, and previous research also has shown musicians have advantages in working memory.

What we wanted to know is whether there are differences between pictorial and verbal tasks and whether any advantages extend to long-term memory. If proven, those advantages could represent an intervention option to explore for people with cognitive challenges.”


Women are significantly underrepresented in many science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and attempts to understand why have only resulted in disagreement among researchers, the lay public, and policymakers.

In a comprehensive new report, an interdisciplinary team of psychological scientists and economists aims to cut through the confusion, synthesizing available research and providing a host of new analyses to identify the factors that drive women’s underrepresentation in STEM.


Their analyses show that, despite many differences between the sexes prior to college — reflected in occupational preferences, math ability, cultural attitudes, and amount of AP coursework taken, for example — the playing field eventually levels for women who continue in these fields once they earn their PhD.


Psychological scientists and economists focus specifically on data collected since 2000 from various scientific disciplines in order to provide an up-to-date look at women in science.

According to a recent report, professional women and men measure success with varying factors

Researchers spent four decades studying a group of mathematically talented adolescents, finding that by mid-life they were extraordinarily accomplished and enjoyed a high level of life satisfaction.Gender, however, played a significant role in how they pursued — and defined — career, family, and success.

This conclusion comes from the most recent round of results from the largest scientific study of the profoundly gifted to date, recently published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth is a longitudinal research project conducted at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development.

 “For men and women alike, we found that those who were identified as talented at this early age have gone on to generate creative contributions, become leaders in their professions, earn high incomes and be pleased with the quality of their lives,” said David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development.