first_imgHave you ever stared at a map on your phone, utterly confused, as your GPS cryptically directed you to “head east”? It turns out that the entorhinal region of the brain—an area best known for its role in memory formation—may be at least partly to blame for your poor sense of direction. According to a study published online today in Current Biology, this brain region may help humans decide which direction to go to reach a destination. To traverse any environment, a navigator has to have a sense of both the direction they’re currently facing and the direction to the destination. In the study, participants explored a virtual, square room with four unique objects in each corner and different landscapes on each of the four walls. Once they were familiar with the environment, the volunteers had to navigate a series of paths from one corner to another while the researchers monitored their brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. The entorhinal region has long been known to help people identify which direction they’re facing already, but to plan a route, navigators must also imagine the direction of their destination. The study showed that this brain region likely also has a role in decisions about which directions to face next to get where we want to go. And as the participants imagined their way through the virtual room, the researchers found that the strength of the signal from this region was directly related to navigational performance, providing some new insights into why some people never need to stop for directions and others can’t even navigate their way out of a parking garage.last_img read more

first_img Does a ‘dark triad’ of personality traits make you more successful? Gary Waters/Getty Images Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email The dark side of human personality has long fascinated the public and psychologists alike. Research has linked unpleasant traits such as selfishness and a lack of empathy to a higher income and better odds of landing a date.But critics are starting to push back. In a new study, scientists argue such work is often superficial, statistically weak, and presents an overly simplistic view of human nature. Worse, they say it could have harmful implications in the real world by downplaying the damage dark personalities can cause.“The situation is cause for real concern,” says Josh Miller, a clinical psychologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. Researchers, he says, have focused “on attention-grabbing, provocative work without the necessary interpretative caution.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By David AdamMar. 12, 2019 , 10:45 AM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The criticism focuses on research into the so-called dark triad of personalities. Two Canadian psychologists coined the term in 2002 to group together Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy: traits linked by callousness, manipulation, and a lack of empathy. Thousands of papers have been published on the topic since then, with 1700 last year alone.To capture all three, studies using the dark triad ask people to agree or disagree with statements such as “I have been compared to famous people” or “It’s not wise to tell your secrets.”Some studies have then tried to link a volunteer’s dark triad score with real-world metrics, such as salary, sexual behavior, and attitude toward co-workers. Many of these papers have been picked up by the press, with such headlines as “Why a little evil is good” and “Republicans have more psychopathic traits than Democrats.”Companies have gotten in on the action, too. In 2016, a U.K. firm advertised for a “Psychopathic New Business Media Sales Executive Superstar! £50k – £110k.” The advert claimed one in five CEOs were psychopaths, and said it wanted to find someone with “the positive qualities that psychopaths have.”But dark triad studies are often far too superficial to draw any meaningful conclusions, says Miller, who—with colleagues—has published a strong critique of the field on the preprint server PsyArXiv. It will soon appear in Current Directions in Psychological Science.Part of the problem, Miller says, is that these studies usually use only a handful of criteria to rate someone as, say, a narcissist, a Machiavellian, and a psychopath, whereas standard tests use dozens to justify even one of those designations. In addition, he notes, much of the dark triad work has been carried out on narrow groups such as undergraduates seeking course credits, leading to doubts about whether the results can be applied broadly, including to the workplace.The biggest flaw of dark triad research, however, is that it can oversimplify personality traits, Miller says, because the tests use so few criteria. A study might label someone a narcissist because they show high self-esteem, for example, even though many narcissistic attitudes—including a tendency to view others as rivals—are actually driven by low self-esteem. And the way academic researchers measure Machiavellianism in dark triad studies is problematic because it’s so different from how clinical experts do so in the field, he adds. Work on the dark triad, Miller says, needs to “take a really big step towards better quality.”Delroy Paulhus, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and co-author of the original dark triad paper, rejects many of Miller’s criticisms. He says, for example, that any personality test has to be simplified to work with the general population. “These kinds of criticisms can be made of any personality scale,” he says. Miller and others who have taken issue with the dark triad idea “resent its popularity,” he says.Minna Lyons, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and author of a new book on the dark triad, acknowledges that the field is a “mess.” But she blames that on sloppy psychologists rather than fundamental weaknesses with the idea. She says her work shows psychopathy and Machiavellianism can both be accurately measured by the dark triad.Paulhus does agree with Miller that dark triad researchers need to work on a wider range of volunteers. And he says scientists in the field should try harder to confirm subjects’ personality traits, perhaps by bolstering their self-reported traits with second opinions from friends. “Lots of research on the dark triad out there is less than stellar.”All of this could help correct misconceptions playing out in the real world, says Ernest O’Boyle, associate professor of management at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. He says many in the business community have become seduced by the idea—spread from flippant discussion in the research literature—that dark triad traits including psychopathy could have benefits, such as risk taking, which can influence hiring decisions.“It’s potentially damaging when we start to glorify what are socially adverse behaviors and attitudes,” O’Boyle says. People who show psychopathic behavior, he adds, “are not people you want to helm a company.”last_img read more