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On the Brain: Minding the royal wedding
April 27th, 2011
05:38 PM ET

On the Brain: Minding the royal wedding

With all the buzz over a particular British matrimony, I thought I'd say a little something about how that little event might relate to psychology.

Even if you're not among those eagerly counting down to Friday's  royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, you might be interested to think about how their courtship and the spectacle of their wedding makes perfect sense in terms of Darwinian evolution, as described by psychologist Geoffrey Miller in New Scientist. For instance, among spectators, "Male brains will be sparked by Will's military titles (flight lieutenant, captain in the Blues and Royals, commodore-in-chief of Scotland) and Kate's signals of fertility and fitness (cheekbones, legs, style, humour) to conjure a primal mating scenario – King Kong and Ann Darrow, Genghis Khan and his many conquests, that sort of thing," he writes. (Free registration required to read).

But don't go overboard with your interest in the festivities. Experts told CNN the greatest security threat to the wedding comes from "fixated individuals," meaning people who have "obsessive preoccupation with a person that they pursue to an irrational degree, spending much of their waking lives thinking about that person." Most of those with fixations are loners who are mentally ill, says Dr. David James of the Fixated Threat Assessment Center.

And now, to get your mind off the wedding, here's some other exciting research in brain and psychological science:

–If you've ever taken an IQ test, you might not want to put too much stock in one result. Psychologists found that  money's a motivator:  People score considerably better when there's a cash reward than if there's not, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. This suggests that there are plenty of other factors involved in an IQ score besides intelligence.

–How do you know when you have a concussion? Researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed a radar system that can help decide whether an athlete is ready to get back in the game after being hit in the head, Wired reports. The radar basically assesses how the person walks - how fast, and the way his or her arms swing and head bobs. This information is compared against data from normal walking motions.

And in a case of CNN family ties, Larry King will return with a look at how people cope with Alzheimer's disease. Don't miss "Unthinkable: The Alzheimer's Epidemic," at 8 ET Sunday night on CNN. In the meantime, check out this interview with Seth Rogen and his fiancée about the condition.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.