The Philosophy of Creativity Conference

Join us along with a distinguished cast of philosophers, cognitive scientists, and artists October 28th - October 30th, 2010 at Barnard College, Columbia University as we explore an exciting and relatively new field of philosophy.

Conversations on Creativity with Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise on talent, creativity, and his humanitarian efforts.

Life in the Fast Lane

Many people live the fast life. From actors, athletes, and rock stars to inner city suburban youth and hunter-gatherer tribes in rural Brazil. Here's the complete six-part series where I discuss the evolution, development, and social implications of those living life in the fast lane.

Life in the Fast Lane, Part VI: Consilience, Pop Culture, and Modern Living

Some people live the fast life and some people live a slower life. The Life History framework offers a lot of potential for consilience - the unification of knowledge- across many diverse fields, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, biology, molecular behavior genetics, and applied evolutionary psychology.

How to Be Alone

There are lots of ways to enjoy your own company. Here's a video with some great ideas.

Life in the Fast Lane, Part V, Social Class and Public Policy

People behave very differently depending on their socioeconomic status. In trying to make sense of these behavioral differences, once must take into account the context of the neighborhood. In this fifth part, I use the main principles of behavioral ecology to make sense of the widespread behavioral patterns found among humans and across species. I also discuss implications for public policy.

Life in the Fast Lane, Part IV: Rebelliousness, Risk, Social Deviance, and Educational Intervention

Those living the fast life tend to have a rebellious attitude toward life and take a lot of risks. Those risks can cause self-harm as well as harm to others. In this fourth part, I look at rebelliousness, risk, and social deviance through an evolutionary biology lens and discuss implications for educational intervention and developing creativity.

After the Show: The Many Faces of the Performer

Off of the stage and out of the spotlight, what are performers like? Psychologist Jennifer Grimes went to three major summer heavy metal/hard rock tours (including Ozzfest) and interviewed 21 musicians in an isolated room backstage. Behind the curtain, how did these hard rock musicians describe themselves?

The Flynn Effect and IQ Disparities Among Races, Ethnicities, and Nations: Are There Common Links?

Recent research suggests that increases in IQ across generations and a widening in IQ scores between different races, ethnicities, and nationalities may be connected, and the common links are very much amenable to environmental changes.

Life in the Fast Lane, Part III: Romantic Attachment in the Fast Lane

Those living the fast life tend to show high levels of insecure attachment as adults, which influences many areas of their social lives, including interactions with friends and colleagues, as well as romantic partners. In this third part, I discuss the development of adult romantic attachment in those living the fast life and review a provocative new theory that is grounded in evolutionary biology and predicts sex differences in attachment.

Two Routes to Social Status

In every human society, people differ from one another in status. Those with higher status have greater power, money, and access to interested mates. While we often think of dominance as a key route to social status, recent research suggests that there may be two paths to social status, each route paved very differently from the other. 

Life in the Fast Lane, Part II: Developing a Fast Life History Strategy

How does the fast life develop? In this second part, I discuss the complex, dynamic interplay of nature and nurture that influences a person's life history strategy.

The Magic of (Pre)School

There was something so magical about preschool. I remember the joys, wonder, and excitement of exploring the new world I just entered. But what are the long-term effects of preschool? While prior research has shown a "fade-out effect", where early testing gains fade by junior and high school, recent research looking at adults suggests there may in fact be long-lasting effects of preschool. We just may have been measuring the wrong things.

People with Autism are Still Superb at Learning Things Implicitly

Recent research is converging on the fascinating idea that the social, communicative, and motor impairments found in individuals with autism spectrum disorder are not a result of deficits in implicit learning.There are implications here for educational intervention and rehabilitation programs.

Life in the Fast Lane, Part I: Evolution of the Fast Life

Fast money. Fast cars. Fast sex. Many people live the fast life. From actors, athletes, and rock stars to inner city suburban youth and hunter-gatherer tribes in rural Brazil. Was living the fast life evolutionarily adaptive for some, if not most, of our distant ancestors? Recently, psychologists are taking a deeper look at the fast life, applying evolutionarily informed principles that have traditionally been used to investigate difference among species, to look at variations within our own species. This research has important implications for a wide range of diverse fields and has serious consequences for a variety of prominent social issues. In this first part of the series, I describe the fast-slow continuum based on Life History Theory and discuss its evolutionary basis. 

James Bond's Psyche

What if James Bond actually existed and psychologists put him through a battery of psychological tests? What would the results show?  

What do Narcissists Sound Like?

What happens when you stick audio recorders on a bunch of narcissists and listen to them go about their day? What do they say?

Schizotypy, Flow, and the Artist’s Experience

Is the creative experience schizo?     

On "Owning Yourself"

What does it mean to own yourself?  

Conversations on Creativity with SharpBrains CEO Alvaro Fernandez

On January 2010 I attended the first global and virtual SharpBrains Summit, a 3-day online conference where 250+ professionals in 16 countries discussed the current state of brain fitness research, technology, and the market. In light of the Summit and the recent controversy over BBC's "Brain Training" Experiment and subsequent publication in Nature, I decided to have a conversation with Alvaro to share what SharpBrains is up to and the current state of the field. 

Why Lee DeWyze Will Win American Idol

Lee DeWyze will win American Idol this season in textbook fashion.

What's The Size Of The Mozart Effect? The Jury Is In.

It's been 17 years since the very first study that set off a flurry of research and commercial products relating to 'The Mozart Effect'. In a recently in press article in the journal Intelligence, Pietshnig et al. present the results of what they claim is the biggest meta-analysis (nearly 40 studies, 104 independent samples, and over 3000 participants) ever conducted on the question of whether or not a Mozart effect exists. What did they find?

Life Is One Long Slackline: 12 Lessons Learned From Extreme Highliners About Overcoming Fear and The Path to Greatness

What does walking a 100-foot long, 1-inch thick nylon string 1000 feet off the ground with no support have to do with overcoming fear and attaining greatness? Here are 12 lessons about life we can learn from brave extreme slackliners (i.e., highliners) who are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible.

Beautiful Minds Turns 50

This marks the 50th post for the Beautiful Minds blog at Psychology Today. Thanks to all my readers and those who supported the blog from its inception. To celebrate this milestone, I take a brief trip down memory lane.

Why Creative Folks Blink a Lot

What does spontaneous eye-blink rate have to do with creativity?

Can People with Autism Learn Implicitly?

Individuals on the autistic spectrum are typically characterized by social, communicative, and motor impairments. Emerging theories suggest that the real-world deficits seen in those with autism arise, in part, from a general deficit in the ability to learn things implicitly. Is this true? A recent study in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology sheds new light on this important question.

Take that Nap! It May Boost Your Learning Capacity Among Other Good Things.

Should you take that nap during the day, or plow through the rest of the day with the help of caffeine?

Why are Narcissists (Initially) so Popular?

Why are narcissists so popular (at least initially)? What cues are they broadcasting? Which facets of the narcissist are most related to their popularity? An enlightening and alarming hot off the press article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology provides data relating to these issues.

Conversations on Creativity with Allan Snyder

Professor Allan Snyder, Director of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, believes a 'thinking cap' may one day be possible, which would allow enable us to remove our ordinary filters of perception, and thereby improve memory, reduce prejudice, and make us more creative. Here I have a conversation with the award winning scientist who is inventing ways to access nonconscious savant-like skills, to enhance creative thinking, and to unravel the ingredients of extraordinary success. 

Conversations on Creativity with Daniel Tammet

On August 18th and August 19th, 2009, Daniel Tammet was gracious enough to let me peer into his world. Here is my complete interview with Daniel, laid out in six parts, along with my own reflections on the interview. I hope you find Daniel's reflections, insights, and ongoing journey just as fascinating and thought-provoking as I have.