The Latest

Apologia for an Obsession with Serial Killers

By Kaja Perina on February 28, 2008 in Brainstorm
Twisted sexual fantasies, gruesome crimes scenes, evil incarnate...there are few interests more seemingly prurient than a healthy person's obsession with serial killers. Yet these violent tableaux are the least of it.

The Onion Gets It Right, Volume 1

By Matthew Hutson on February 28, 2008 in Psyched!
We all know most jokes have a kernel of truth. On the train this morning I spotted two in the following headline from The Onion: "Man Who Should Be President Has Asymmetrical Eyebrows"

Fear and Loathing: On The Campaign Trail '08

By Matthew Hutson on February 26, 2008 in Psyched!
Last month I asked Harry Frankfurt, author of On Bullshit, about instances of malarkey in the news. He provided a juicy example.

Hunter the Bullfighter

By Matthew Hutson on February 25, 2008 in Psyched!
Recently I saw a short lecture titled "Not Always BS: A Simple Explanation of Statistics." That's funny, because there was some BS.

Emotional Intelligence: Do we hold Democrats and Republicans to different standards?

By Peter D Kramer on February 22, 2008 in In Practice
The gotcha gang has caught Hillary. In last night's debate in Austin, her strongest quip went: "Lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in. It's change you can Xerox." She was referring to Barack's failure to credit Duval Patrick for speech lines apparently supplied by David Axelrod, a strategist for both men's electoral campaigns. But in the course of the Texas debate, Senator Clinton managed to channel both John Edwards and her husband, Bill—echoes that instantly found their way onto You Tube.

Joking by Numbers

By Matthew Hutson on February 20, 2008 in Psyched!
On Monday I mentioned my habit of deconstructing humor. In the current issue of Psychology Today there's an interview with Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker's cartoon editor, where I ask him "Are there formulas for funny?"

The Copycat Unconscious

By Matthew Hutson on February 18, 2008 in Psyched!
Considering how lazy many e-daters are, and how clever many other e-daters are, it should come as no surprise that plagiarism runs rampant in the online dating world.

A Fruitful New Take on Aging

By Hara Estroff Marano on February 14, 2008 in Brainstorm
A high-fat diet increases the body's inflammatory response, implicated in heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis as well as brain aging.

I Am Awesome for Unspecified Reasons!

By Matthew Hutson on February 14, 2008 in Psyched!
It's funny to me that Dan Ariely & co. are using HOTorNOT for research purposes. First, because I didn't realize that site was still around. Second, because a few years ago, when I was a HoN profile moderator (responsible for viewing people's submitted pics and personal statements and approving or rejecting them), I emailed a friend, "After painfully reading over 1000 profiles I think I could write a sociology dissertation on it." Also: "I have gained a tragic glimpse into the heart of human nature."

Autism, The Bumper Sticker

By Hara Estroff Marano on February 14, 2008 in Brainstorm
What could possibly be gained by announcing autism on a bumper?

Love in the Age of Neuroscience

By Jay Dixit on February 08, 2008 in Brainstorm
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.1. I would rather be with you than anyone else.(strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 strongly agree)2. I yearn to know all about you. (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)3. For me, you are the perfect romantic partner. (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)4. You always seem to be on my mind. (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)5. I sense my body responding when you touch me.(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)

Election Chaos

By Matthew Hutson on February 08, 2008 in Psyched!

Retail Therapy Explained

By Matthew Hutson on February 08, 2008 in Psyched!
There are many valid forms of therapy that bring lasting happiness. Retail therapy is not one of them. You may love your brand new porcelain owl, but it won't solve your life's problems. A new study suggests why sadness makes us want to buy: increased self-focus. Low moods cause us to turn inward, and as we reflect we devalue ourselves. So to enhance ourselves we buy more stuff, whether it's porcelain woodland creatures, or needlepoint woodland creatures.

Royal Family

By Matthew Hutson on February 05, 2008 in Psyched!
Saturday night I saw a hip hop show at Knitting Factory in Tribeca. The headliner was a Boston MC named Edan, but I was no less excited to see one of my favorite producers, Prince Paul, open for him. And PP did something new. For the first time, he performed with his 17-year-old son, Paul Fresh aka DJ P. Together they call themselves Negroes on Ice. Note the appropriate "Jesus was black" and "ICE COLD" tees.

A Murderer In Our Midst

By Kaja Perina on February 05, 2008 in Brainstorm
Asking if Karl Hellekant (a.k.a. Svensson) deserves to become a doctor invokes what psychologist Philip Tetlock calls a taboo trade-off.

Second Acts

By Jay Dixit on February 05, 2008 in Brainstorm
“There are no second acts in American lives,” wrote F. Scott Fizgerald. Could he have been more wrong?

Dogfood

By Matthew Hutson on January 31, 2008 in Psyched!
The New York Times has an article this morning ("Economists Dissect the ‘Yuck’ Factor") about the role that disgust plays in moral intuitions. We've evolved to judge that things are wrong if they feel unnatural somehow.