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2014-11-08 Hollaback experience in Berlin and ghosts (of course!)

posted 8 Nov 2014, 07:31 by Cake Kidd   [ updated 8 Nov 2014, 07:31 ]

Heya everybody,

I’ve been busy and hope to add new studies to the website this weekend. In addition, I’m working on an overview article about gender differences. But first, two other things that caught my attention:

If you are in tune with the web, you will have come across the “Hollaback!” street harrassment video. The video shows a 24-year-old woman walking through New York City, being harassed by men. Apparently, there are ten hours of footage, during which there were over one hundred instances of verbal harassment!!!! Um, wow, I don’t know what to make of this, but it certainly is shocking. ☹

Interestingly, the experiment has been repeated by the German newspaper “Die Welt“ in the Neukölln district of Berlin. Neukölln is known for its high unemployment and high share of immigrants. They had a young female journalist walking through the streets for five hours – without any harassment at all. Nothing, zero.

I have no idea what this means … can it really be that everyday culture in two Western, wealthy countries is so very different? 😕

… aaaanndd … perfect for Halloween: Ghosts (👻)!

A recent study from Switzerland by Blanke, Pozeg, Hara et al., published in the journal “Current Biology”, reports that perceptions of the presence of ghosts can be easily induced in humans. In an experiment, they had a robot arm stroking the back of participants, triggered by their hand movements in front of their bodies. When the robot arm was made to stroke in the opposite direction, or with a time delay, many participants felt a presence of something, or had a ghost-like feeling. For some people, this was so spooky, they asked the researchers to stop the experiment. “This is the first time that a study has succeeded in reproducing the sensation of actually feeling an unknown, unseen, presence.” This apparently adds evidence to the hypothesis that hallucinations are produced by a failure of the brain “to integrate bodily signals properly.” (See here and here.)

Isn’t that cool? The things science can tell us are amazing … even ghosts seem to have a natural explanation (not surprising, since everything we learned to understand in the history of mankind has a natural explanation). ☺