Beth Newhart

Beth Newhart

Reporter, Technology and Mind & Behavior

Beth Newhart, based in Chicago, covers Mind & Behavior and Technology for The Academics Times. Beth is a journalist with experience covering culture, business, tech, finance, food, beverage and more. Her work has been featured in international publications, including BeverageDaily, DairyReporter, Crain Communications and Time Out Group. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola University Chicago.

The part of our brain that helps us figure out where we are also helps with navigating social situations. (Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com)
The part of our brain that helps us figure out where we are also helps with navigating social situations. (Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com)Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered that the brain regions involved in processing spatial information are also involved in inferring social relationships and hierarchies, as they navigate attention shifts in both social knowledge situations and external spatial knowledge.

Setting up lunch dates aren't the best use for text messages anymore. (Pexels/Tim Samuel)
Setting up lunch dates aren't the best use for text messages anymore. (Pexels/Tim Samuel)Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania's Behavior Change for Good Initiative sent "text-based nudges" to patients with primary care doctor's appointments reminding them to get a flu shot, leading to increased vaccination rates and lending support to a similar texting system for similar interventions, including COVID-19 vaccines.

The chemical composition of our tears can say a lot about our mental state. (Unsplash/Luis Galvez)
The chemical composition of our tears can say a lot about our mental state. (Unsplash/Luis Galvez)The tears of people with major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, have a different chemical composition than the tears of nondepressed people, according to a recent study that highlighted tear fluid's potential for the simple, rapid diagnosis of mood disorders.

A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)Children struggling with speech development currently rely on in-person evaluation sessions with speech-language pathologists to track progress and identify impairments, but U.S. researchers have invented a more efficient, automated method of monitoring speech through digital platforms based on a new machine-learning algorithm.

A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University)
A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University)Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong have created an electrochemical transistor that mimics brain synapse functions to form a circuit made of soft plastic, ultimately producing a novel device capable of learning by association in much the same way as our brains.

This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller)
This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller)In a finding that could have key implications for cancer and viral infections in human patients, Australian researchers induced sickness in mice and then stressed them out, showing for the first time that the rodents' white blood cells effectively lost the ability to move, potentially leading to a slowed immune response and an increased vulnerability to further infection.

New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)
New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)A new smell testing device developed by U.K. researchers, which uses breakable capsules filled with scented oils, has the potential to replace the "gold standard" scratch-and-sniff tests and help diagnose both chronic neurological conditions and acute respiratory infections that involve an impaired sense of smell, including COVID-19.

Parents might be willing to give their kids medications normally prescribed for ADHD in hopes of improving their school performance. (Unsplash/James Paul)
Parents might be willing to give their kids medications normally prescribed for ADHD in hopes of improving their school performance. (Unsplash/James Paul)Incentives such as money and success, along with certain personality traits such as Machiavellianism, could make parents hypothetically more willing to give their children medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when they don't need it.

Some essential oils might contribute to seizure disorders, so be careful before filling that atomizer or setting up your aromatherapy. (Unsplash/Chelsea Shapouri)
Some essential oils might contribute to seizure disorders, so be careful before filling that atomizer or setting up your aromatherapy. (Unsplash/Chelsea Shapouri)Certain essential oils have convulsant properties and have been associated with seizures for centuries, though everyday use of oils has generally been considered safe for the average person. But after conducting the largest ever case study of essential oil-related seizures in adults, a group of Indian neurologists have found evidence suggesting their use may not be as safe as we previously assumed.

Preschoolers use adult-type reasoning to solve problems, so find a more secure cookie jar. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Preschoolers use adult-type reasoning to solve problems, so find a more secure cookie jar. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)Humans use divergent thinking to work through problems creatively and find multiple solutions, a concept not well understood or widely researched in young, preschool-age children. Now, behavioral scientists have explored the thought processes of 4-year-olds from the Netherlands and provided the first empirical evidence that their divergent thinking shows "remarkable similarities" to what has been reported in adults.

Robots can "think out loud" much like humans can, according to new research. (Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)
Robots can "think out loud" much like humans can, according to new research. (Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)Humanoid robots are now capable of vocalizing their thought processes, "thinking out loud" in a way that mimics how humans use their inner thoughts to evaluate situations, gain clarity or seek moral guidance, according to a new study from Italy that found robots were better able to resolve conflicts and complete tasks when using self-dialogue.

Going short on sleep in middle age raises your dementia risk. (Pixabay/12122)
Going short on sleep in middle age raises your dementia risk. (Pixabay/12122)A new analysis of longitudinal data from British adults revealed that those who sleep less than seven hours per night during middle age are at an increased risk of developing dementia once they reach 70 years old, highlighting the importance of good sleep habits throughout adulthood.