Julie Iles

Julie Iles is a post graduate science journalist currently studying at Massey University in Wellington. She has a background in geophysics, and enjoys feeling small and young when she compares herself to geological formations. @o_OJulay

Why use your memory when you can use your computer’s? - News

Aug 19, 2016

On every smartphone, there is probably a collection of quickly typed reminders, thoughts, grocery lists, and  titbits of information we thought we might forget. Out-sourcing our thoughts and memories like this is called ‘cognitive offloading’. The term involves everyday activities we may take for granted. From using a calculator to check finances to depending on Google Maps to get around, cognitive offloading is what we do when we store some of our knowledge within an external object. Writing in a planner, or setting an alarm relieves the ‘cognitive burden’ of remembering it ourselves. Even relying on the internet to always know the answer is a form of cognitive offloading. The need to offload is nothing new. The when written language was first developed it was regarded as a revolutionary tool we could use to store memories, reminders or thoughts. Even when making trail markers to find their way home, early humans were cognitively offloading. With more … Read More

Olympic Rivalries: Battle of the same-sexes - News

Aug 12, 2016

This Olympic season Michael Phelps has been unmatched as the most decorated Olympian of all time, though there has still been media scrutiny surrounding his ‘glaring’ rivalry with Chad le Clos of South Africa. Professor J Benenson of Harvard University Rivalries like Phelps and le Clos’ have been making a splash at Rio, and close attention has been paid to how athletes behave towards their opponents. A new study recently published in Current Biology, suggests bad sportsmanship between rivals is rooted in animal instinct. By observing the behaviour of athletes after a professional sports match, Harvard University Professor of Psychology Joyce Benenson found moments of triumph or loss were very similar to behaviour she observed in the animal kingdom. Benenson spent years studying the conflict resolution in groups of chimpanzees. Her curiosity in the subject was piqued after seeing male chimpanzees … Read More