“Willpower is often construed as a stoic self-denial in the service of a distant goal, a capacity to deliberately endure and suffer while 'biting the bullet.' But [there is] a less heroic approach." Research tells us what that is. Read More
New research continues to suggest that modern humans originated in Africa, and spread to the rest of the planet from there. Frankly, I was hoping for different news, because, archaeology aside, this only makes the battle against modern prejudice steeper. Read More
Prejudice against fat people continues to be one of the deepest and most widely shared prejudices that the public holds. New science is helping to dispel the traditional "calories in-calories out" paradigm -- and the moral associations that come with it. Read More
The "True Crime" genre is often a staple of summer reading season. Gory, gruesome, and gut wrenching, the genre encompasses true stories of murder, rape, and other savagery.
Take a guess: Are you more likely to see a man or a woman with a true crime book under that beach umbrella? Read More
Parents and students alike love learning styles classifications-- active learners, observational learners, passive learners, visual learners, aural learners, assimilators, convergers.... There are a wealth of classification types out there, but these classifications may tell us more about our need to classify than about learning per se. Read More
The "spotlight effect" refers to the fact that people considerably overestimate how much attention other people are paying to them. We simply do not loom quite as large in the eyes of others as we do in our own-- and knowing this can help us overcome embarrassment. Read More
According to what I call the "plantar theory of human nature," people are like feet. The foot that is always protected by cushioned sneakers will never develop a layer of hard skin. It will only lead to a need for more cushioning. How accurate is this intuitive theory?
Research shows that certain types of couples don’t work very well together. Precarious couples are the specific combination of a quiet, verbally inhibited man with a verbally disinhibited but highly critical woman. Part II of the series “When Not to Trust an Intuition of Compatibility” Read More
A 2005 documentary by Kiri Davis, A Girl Like Me, replicates a famous study showing young African American children preferring to play with White rather than Black dolls. What are the implications for minority self-esteem and education? Read More
Researchers have described the Michaelangelo Phenomenon as one in which relationships grow by having one partner "sculpt" the other. But it's not about shaping your partner according to the vision of who you want them to be. Read More
Think of how you might react to an online dating profile that said this: "I will treat you like you are God until you break my trust and then you are just another person…. warning ahead, I do have a very bad temper…. I do admit I will get jealous if you are always going over to one of your guy' friend's house…."
When we want to make a good impression, one of the most common mistakes we make is to forget the central role that the other party has in shaping our behavior. We become so preoccupied with what we should or should not do to that we easily forget the importance of the other—the job interviewer, our date, our partner's parents—in shaping their impression of us. Read More
Prejudice and discrimination do not have to be blatant or extreme to affect people. In this post, I explore how subtle comments about whether one belongs can affect behavior in ways that wouldn't be obvious. Are American minorities more likely to choose the greasy burger and fries when people question whether they are "really" American? Read More
Nobody's perfect, and conventional wisdom would hold that entering marriage starry-eyed and blind to your partner's weaknesses only foreshadows future disappointment and relationship trouble. Does our intuition match the research on partner idealization? Read More
In recent years, research on White identity has gained traction in the psychological literature, as researchers and clinicians have grown to realize that this group also struggles with questions such as, "what does it mean to be White in my culture," and "what does being White mean to me?" Read More
Imagine you are in a meeting at school or at work, and someone blurts out a clearly chauvinist or bigoted remark. Ask yourself: how would you respond? Would you put them in their place, or would you be too nice to confront? Read More
In last week's post, I compared Jeremy Lin to Jackie Robinson. One reader, Angela, astutely pointed out that the analogy is problematic: "There was an actual structure preventing such players from participating, a structure that doesn't exist for Asians or Asian-Americans today... Lin [is] not breaking a barrier." Does this make Lin's journey less significant? Read More
As a student of stereotypes and intergroup relations, the Jeremy Lin phenomenon makes me wonder whether Lin has opened the door for Asian American athletes to finally stop being overlooked in American sports, much in the same way that Jackie Robinson did for African American athletes. There is reason for both gloom and hope. Read More
Providing support to someone, while usually well-intentioned, can make the person getting the support feel incompetent and burdensome. Niall Bolger and his colleagues have investigated whether are there different types of support that are associated with positive vs. negative outcomes. Read More
There's a certain logic to the idea that greed is good when resources are scarce: when there's not a lot to go around, what could be better than hogging the goods for oneself to ensure one's survival? Researchers at Berkeley have an answer. Read More
1) Watch less TV.
2) Eat your veggies.
How many of us have New Year's resolutions posted on the mirror or the fridge that look like that? They seem like perfectly reasonable to-do lists, and at least they help us keep the goal in mind.
But you can do better. Here's how. Read More
A recent news article about dieting was a revelation for me as to why I sometimes feel like I'm addicted to food. The article emphasizes what many of us chronic dieters already know – after you have lost weight on a diet, your body actively fights you, through both hormones and brain activity, to put that weight back on. Is there a way out? Read More
A new study shows that lawyers are more likely to steer black debtors filing for bankruptcy towards chapter 13, and others towards the more lenient chapter 7. But because we do not have a critical mass of black versus white U.S. Presidents, we cannot argue with certainty that negative behavior directed at the president is racially motivated. Read More
Along with half the world, it seems, I picked up Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs this winter break. I never expected him to talk about Turkey, where I happen to be stationed for the next seven months.
An unexpected chance to think about his impressions of Istanbul, in Istanbul, emerged. Read More
The resignation of Yale's Head Football Coach Tom Williams grabbed my eye yesterday. Like many, I suspect, my assumption was that this would be a salacious sports coaching story, like the Penn State or Syracuse stories. But I was wrong. Read More
I once heard that problems need to be understood in the context of development. Sometimes have to remind myself of this when my kids experience emotional extremes over small things. The other morning, I asked my son to put on his socks and shoes while I dressed his little brother. Five minutes later, he threw the socks across the room and started crying. Read More