Bigger Better Bedford

Nudging me, nudging you…Is there nothing we can do?


Image author: Anthony Freda

Have you ever purchased a half-price item from the supermarket after spotting it at the end of an aisle? Or, perhaps you have decided not to opt-out of your employer’s pension plan despite the minimal effort it requires? Maybe you have chosen to purchase a magazine prescription plan which the seller has labelled as the most popular option. If so, consider yourself nudged. Continue reading “Nudging me, nudging you…Is there nothing we can do?”


The Bystander Effect & Its Presence in Today’s Digital World

Imagine this: You are walking down the street when suddenly you hear harrowing screams. You turn to see that a woman is being brutally attacked by a man. This man runs away, leaving the woman lying hurt and helpless. What would you do in this situation? Surely you would run to her assistance…

Or would you?

Untitled.png Continue reading “The Bystander Effect & Its Presence in Today’s Digital World”

New Year, New You?


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It’s that time again: after a year full of over-indulgence, we vow to make positive changes to our lifestyles. Whether this means Veganuary, cutting out single-use plastic to save the turtles or just splashing a bit less cash, I have some bad news: research has shown that between a third and half of New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs) fail before the end of January (Campling et al., 2017; Norcross et al., 1989). Relaxed, surrounded by loved ones and full of holiday food and cheer, it is easy to forget the day-to-day situations in which changes must be made. People also often fall into the willpower trap, believing willpower alone will be enough to drive and sustain the improvement they want (Maxfield, 2014). By understanding why resolutions fail, however, and looking at what you can do to increase your chances of success, you may make 2019 the year you finally use that gym membership. Continue reading “New Year, New You?”

‘Ignorance is Strength’: Corruption in Nineteen Eighty-Four



George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is an inherently unpleasant read. A totalitarian regime that calls itself ‘IngSoc’ (the English Socialist Party, or ‘The Party’) brutally oppresses its subjects in the name of an omniscient figure known as ‘Big Brother’. They can see your emotions, they can hear your thoughts, and they can feel the slightest resistance boiling inside your brain. Your mind urges you to scream, to riot, to dissent against the tyrants. But there are no words. You do not know how to dissent. You have been taught since birth to love Big Brother, and to love Big Brother only. By depriving you of language to say otherwise, they have robbed you of your thoughts. They have stolen your mind, and you are powerless to do anything about it. Continue reading “‘Ignorance is Strength’: Corruption in Nineteen Eighty-Four”

Pseudoscience Pundit Peterson & Why Hierarchy isn’t Hardwired

Editor’s Note: The following article reflects the views of the author only and does not necessarily comply with the views of the Bedford Bugle overall.


The recent New York Times interview with pop psychologist Jordan Peterson made waves. In the interview, Peterson proposes “enforced monogamy” as a solution to the violence displayed by young men who feel that they’ve failed to fulfil their biological drives to procreate. He also reiterates his public condemnation of a proposed bill aiming to institute anti-discrimination laws for Canada’s transgender population, on the dubious grounds that this would infringe on his right to free speech. This incident propelled him to infamy in 2016. Since then, he’s gained a massive following of people who appreciate his unique position in the academic sphere, which admittedly tends to skew politically left. But to me, Jordan Peterson’s views seem self-serving, misogynistic, and eerily reminiscent of the twisted rationale of early 20th century eugenicists. And yet, he’s got thousands of supporters. Continue reading “Pseudoscience Pundit Peterson & Why Hierarchy isn’t Hardwired”

Why we should not underestimate the power of music – the role of music in treating Parkinson’s disease


My grandmother is who I want to be when I grow up. Every time I visit her, I am astounded by her vitality and ability to lead an independent life. Despite turning 80 this year, she maintains physical activity, is quick-witted and sharp, and upon first sight has aged incredibly well. However, every now and then, marks of Parkinson’s disease creep through and destroy the façade. From her uncontrollably shaky hand to her slow movement, Parkinson’s plays a large role in her life. These symptoms, typical of Parkinson’s disease, are a part of everyday life for about 127,000 people in the UK alone (1), yet there is still no cure. Despite this, an unexpected beacon of hope has emerged – music. Continue reading “Why we should not underestimate the power of music – the role of music in treating Parkinson’s disease”

Do You Feel Sad and Blue Every Winter? You Probably Got the SAD!


As winter comes, a mental illness called seasonal affective disorder becomes more prevalent. Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a variant of major depressive disorder that only appears in specific seasons throughout each year. SAD lasts for at least two years, and is completely remitted during other seasons. According to the statistics, around 5% of people in the world suffer from SAD and about 6% of the adults in the UK exhibit symptoms of SAD. SAD could start in summer, but the most common form of SAD that I’m going to focus on is named fall-onset SAD, which is also known as “winter depression”. Continue reading “Do You Feel Sad and Blue Every Winter? You Probably Got the SAD!”

Accessing our Long-Lost Present Moment


We spend almost half of our lives lost in thought, focusing on anything but the present moment (1). When we’re not busy escaping our present realities, we’re always doing something, never giving our minds a break from the world’s constant stimulation. Meditation is a tool that can be used to reconnect to this long-lost present moment. Continue reading “Accessing our Long-Lost Present Moment”

How does listening to music evoke emotion?


Ever listened to a piece of music and felt an intense emotional response? Many of you have probably had such an experience, be it listening to an orchestral piece swell as it reaches the climax, or listening to the latest dance/EDM song on the radio. Listening to music often induces different emotions in different individuals, which begs the question: why does music, which essentially consists of abstract sound sequences, touch us so deeply? Continue reading “How does listening to music evoke emotion?”

The Neuroscience of Pleasure – A Guest Lecture Review


“The Neuroscience of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” – a tantalising talk held by Prof. Kringelbach at UCL – has shed valuable insight into the current neuroscientific research concerning “pleasure in the brain”. Prof. Kringelbach, a professor at Aarhus University as well as a Senior Research Fellow at Queen’s College, Oxford has dedicated his career to investigating the concepts of hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (the life well-lived) and how each of these is affected in health and illness. It was an amazing talk organised by the UCL Neuroscience Society to kick start the academic year. It peaked everyone’s interest in a research area many of us had never considered before. Continue reading “The Neuroscience of Pleasure – A Guest Lecture Review”

A chimp known as David: Can anthropomorphism help to solve the current environmental crisis?


Heartless betrayal, gut-wrenching brutality, and gritty determination; Dynasties aired for the first time on Sunday 11 November and, as expected, it was an emotional experience. This much-anticipated addition to BBC Earth’s wildlife docuseries collection follows Blue Planet II, which became the most watched television show of 2017 (“Blue Planet II tops 2017 TV rating”, 2018). Each series in the collection, narrated by naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, finds a new way to tell the stories of creatures around the world fighting for survival against the elements and, increasingly, the careless and destructive actions of humans. Indeed, the final episode of Blue Planet II focused entirely on how the repercussions of human actions are felt throughout the ocean, including the harrowing depiction of an albatross killed after swallowing a plastic toothpick (Doherty & Ridgeon, 2017).

Continue reading “A chimp known as David: Can anthropomorphism help to solve the current environmental crisis?”

“Children never lie”: A review of the movie ‘The Hunt’


An extreme but common statement which can be seen throughout the media is that “children never lie” (Ceci & Leichtman, 1992). However, as research has consistently demonstrated, this statement is incorrect. When it comes to situations where a child is the only witness of a legal case, a lie told by the child can have a tremendous impact on the final conviction. A 2012 Danish feature film The Hunt (Jagten), directed by Thomas Vinterberg, demonstrates the story of an innocent man suffering from a false accusation of child sexual abuse. Continue reading ““Children never lie”: A review of the movie ‘The Hunt’”

Under the Ecsta-sea: Uncovering the Origins of Social Behaviour and its Clinical Applications


One of the best things about psychology is the range of experiment opportunities available to us, from classic word association tests to giving octopuses mandy. Yes, you read that correctly. Edsinger and Dölen (who arguably may or may not have been on some kind of substance themselves) gave 4 octopuses a dose of MDMA in a bid to uncover the origins of social behaviour. The rationale behind this- yes, unfortunately it wasn’t just about letting octopuses have a good time- being that the neurotransmitter serotonin is implicated in sociality in both vertebrates and invertebrates, suggesting its function has been conserved throughout evolution. To test this, octopuses, who are primarily antisocial and solitary (except whilst mating, showing these social mechanisms are present, but suppressed) were used. If they reacted to MDMA in a similar way to humans (e.g. increased need for social interaction), this would show that there are links between the social behaviours of humans and octopuses, links which have been conserved for over 500 million years.

Continue reading “Under the Ecsta-sea: Uncovering the Origins of Social Behaviour and its Clinical Applications”

Can wearing red increase your chance of winning?


We all want to believe that our favourite sports teams’ victories are based on their sheer superiority to others; that it is solely their greater physical endurance, skill and mental agility that puts them ahead of everyone else. Why else would Rafael Nadal come back from near defeat against Roger Federer to ultimately claim the Wimbledon title were it not for his undying mental determination? Well, in an ideal world such outcomes of sporting contests really should be determined by the players’ performance alone. However, in reality, a plethora of extraneous factors may influence such outcomes at a small but nonetheless significant level. As an example, research conducted by Nevill et al. (2002) showed that crowd noise could subtly affect referee decision making to favour the home team, thereby influencing who wins the game.

Continue reading “Can wearing red increase your chance of winning?”

Can Language Affect Our Emotions, Thoughts, and Decisions?


Editor’s note: The hypotheses discussed below were previously considered in our blog from a different viewpoint, see 


“Uitwaaien”, the energizing feeling from a walk in the wind. “Itsuarpok”, the anticipation and uneasiness one feels when waiting for someone. “Gigil”, the irresistible urge to squeeze or pinch someone because they are cherished. The majority of us probably do not recognize the meanings of these words, let alone understand them. Yet these words are real and untranslatable in their very own languages and not capable of being synonymous with words of other languages. A mind-boggling question that has puzzled philosophers, psychologists and linguists for centuries is whether our language has an effect on our thoughts. The first to come up with a hypothesis known as “linguistic relativity” was Benjamin Whorf, an American linguist. Is it possible that we are blinded to certain emotions because of our languages? Could we be seeing the world through a narrow peephole confined to the restraints set out by linguistic rules that we ourselves agreed upon in society?

Continue reading “Can Language Affect Our Emotions, Thoughts, and Decisions?”

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