How Minds Work: As Little As Possible

Once we're familiar with the windy contours of a path it becomes to us a straightaway. We love straightaways. They free our attention and fill us with confidence that we can cruise forever more.

Humankind's Current Growing Pains Are Right On Schedule

Taking stock is a good use of the holiday season, hard this year what with the calamities all around us. Still, from a broad vista humankind is doing fine, just what we'd expect to be doing now given evolutionary and human history.

Thanksgrieving: How Inevitable Decline Can Make Us Grateful

A grateful song I wrote for those times when it's hard to feel grateful.

When Ideological Differences Are Developmental Differences

It's not about ideology or political theory. Through the lens of developmental psychology, today's Republican majority simply manifests immaturity. Sure, they'll cry, "hey, no fair!" but so do all children who try to stir theoretical debate when they don't get what they want.

What's The Difference Between Rationality And Rationalizing?

We toss around rational and rationalize as though we know the obvious objective difference between them when actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

Romance Is Bad for Our Mental Health

The tendency to treat life's rough, uncertain ride as romantic fiction runs and ruins our personal and social lives. Romance ignores chance in favor of fate, probabilities in favor of certainties, details in favor of destinies. It glorifies us and vilifies anyone who gets in our way. It turns love into a sugar high and crash and makes a mess of politics.

A Bigger Take-Away From Paris

In holier than thou competition, the absolutely holy become holy terrors.

Is Virtual Virtue a Virtue or a Vice?

If you're a little troubled by the lightweight gesture of simply Praying for Paris, Je suis Charlie, or just clicking to superimpose the French Flag on our Facebook pictures, you're tapping into an old concern, whether little gestures are empty or useful.

The Know-It-All's Code

Life is hard and complex but it doesn't have to feel that way. Follow the Troll Code and you can have all the smug self-satisfaction you want.

20 Other Possible Reasons They Said No

A rejection is not necessarily all about you. Here are some examples of other things it could be about.

Why We Still Give A Man A Fish

Every truism is a half-truth, and if you want to get at the other half ask yourself why, if it’s so damned true, do people have to keep repeating it?

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

Fear of rejection is largely fear of having to rethink your approach. Here are three sane ways to over- or under-reacting to negative feedback.

Hardening Of The Smarteries

Strange that there doesn't seem to be a clinical name for pathological know-it-all-ness especially given how epidemic it can become.

How Not to Be a Jerk or a Wimp

Based on broad reading in behavioral science and philosophy, here are some tips on how to tip yourself toward the middle ground between being over-assertive and over-accommodating.

12 Tips For Identifying The Real Hypocrites

They're accusing each other, and maybe even accusing you of being a hypocrite. How do we decide who really is the hypocrite? And how should we decide? Here are a few tips.

"Hey This Isn't A Competition And You Have Cooties So I Win"

When we want to end arguments without admitting defeat we often accuse our opponents of having negative emotions which we treat as the equivalent of having cooties. Here's how it works and why its not just insulting to them but dangerous for us to end arguments this way.

Are You Teaching Or Preaching?

When we teach people how, but not what to think, are we crossing the line into proselytizing? Some say yes, which limits public education in critical thinking much to our national disadvantage.

What Really Happens When a Couple Splits

Why do exes say such harsh things about each other? Why, in breakups of all kinds do we go from being able to do no wrong to being able to do no right? After years of harmonizing stories, breakups lead us to tell divergent stories.

What Is A Butthead Other Than Someone We Butt Heads With?

An important personal, social, political, practical and even spiritual question.

Psychology and Hillary vs. Bernie

Do you want to hear what's true or what feels good? If you're human you want both: "Give me the unvarnished truth, and it better be pleasing." Given this tension, politicians have to walk the tightrope between honesty and electability. Political seasons, especially this one, are a great opportunity to explore the tension.

Sexual And Romantic Minimalism

Are you wasting the time of your life in habitual pursuit of sex and romance?

In Praise of Demotivation

You can't be self-motivated to do new things without the power of self-demotivation to stop doing old things.

How to End Debates Without Burning Bridges

Five simple tips for ending conversations with your integrity and rapport intact.

Are Fictional Heroes Making Us Stupid About Gun Control?

Those who oppose gun control could be influenced more by their Netflix account than by the NRA. Availability bias explains why.

13 Ways to Tell Whether It's Love or Manipulation

Understanding how affirmations work will help hone your ability to discriminate between genuine and manipulative flattery.


Over-committed? Try inventorying your commitments. Some have accumulated like weeds worth pulling up by their roots.

Yintimidation: Bullying The "Nice" Way

We associate bullying with yang or macho behavior, but that's not the only way to bully

You Are Not Your Body

If the history of the universe were shrunk to one year, life would have started today, September 21. Here's what happened and how to make sense of what you are as a result.

The Ego Diet

Appetite for praise is a lot like appetite for fatty foods. Both are hazardous to your health and both can be curbed with the right effort.

What Most People Get Wrong About Generosity and Selfishness

People treat generosity as all good and selfishness as all bad. It's more complicated than that. Still, pretending it's that simple can be a great way to grab what we want.