Imperfect Love

I've learned a lot about love by losing it. Most recently, my mother died, midway into her ninety-eighth year. She died with all her marbles and a sharper memory than most 40-year-olds.

Fantasy Weddings Can Hurt More Than Your Wallet

Brides-to-be are told they are allowed to be a princess for day. Besides making a dent in the bridal pocketbook, does wanting to be a princess undermine women's power?

Does Listening to Eminem Make People Sexist?

For decades now people have been debating whether listening to rap music causes people to have more negative (and sometimes violent) attitudes towards women.

Why Hillary Can't Win

Regardless of Hillary's political fate, she'll never be able to win the challenge of being perceived as both a good candidate and a likable person.

Gender Outlaws: Switching from a man to a woman (or vice versa)

Transsexuals and transgendered people can often tell us a great deal about our society because they've experienced what most of us never will: being perceived as a man or a woman in the same lifetime.

Death by Hovering

That's not how the coroner's report will list it. But the murder of a student at Indiana University-Purdue, the first act of violence in the 40-year history of the Fort Wayne campus, may well be the first documented case of death from helicopter parenting.

Gender Makes the World Go Round

Have you ever had the experience of walking down the street with friends and spotting somebody who doesn't quite look like a man or a woman?

Sports Check

Sports injuries among children have increased eight-fold in the past decade.

Welcome to a Nation of Wimps

Parents, like lovers, must always negotiate a fine line between nurturing and controlling. But in the past decade, they've stepped way over the line into controlling.

Being and Nothingness

There are two kinds of vacations: the kind where you’re trying to actually do something—explore a foreign country, see the sights, climb the mountain, learn to scuba dive/ski/blow glass, and the kind where you do nothing at all—you lie out on a beach, read the paper by the pool, or simply slowly decompose in front of the TV. In the movie Office Space, when asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, the antihero replies, “Nothing. I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day… I would do nothing.”

No Single Solution?

Quality childcare-it's what every parents wants for a child and it's in such short supply, especially in the nation's major cities.

Is a $5000 Prostitute Worth the Price?

Last week I wrote about how the placebo effect can have a potent effect on medical symptoms. The reason: the power of expectations. We expect to get better and so we do. Here’s a related thought experiment. Suppose I’m a sommelier and someone orders a $20 bottle of wine and I serve it to them. Then another customer orders a $100 bottle of wine. Is it unethical for me to serve them the $20 bottle and tell them it’s the $100 bottle? What if they can’t tell the difference?

Self-Deprecation Is a People Skill

When someone finds out I work for Psychology Today, they always react the same way. “Oh really?” they say. “Are you a psychologist?” This response is so reliable that my colleague Carlin Flora warned me about it my first day on the job. 

The Wimps Checklist

Like lovers, parents must always negotiate a fine line between nurturing and controlling. But many parents these days step way over the line into controlling, engineering their children’s lives from an early age.

Even Better than the Real Thing

In response to Dan Ariely's fascinating post about how patients derive more benefit from expensive drugs than they do from cheaper ones, a reader asked: The question of expense raises doubts about how this plays out in a nationalized health care system like the one in Spain, where I live. Here, patients would be unaware of the costs of their medications and procedures, as they're all covered. Given that a significant percentage of the positive results patients experience are due to the placebo effect, one wonders whether it wouldn't be better in some cases to make patients pay something -- even a token fee -- for some treatments where this effect is more likely.

Chop Suey, American Comfort Food

I spent the weekend reading my friend Jenny Lee's new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. It's a wonderful account of her journey across 42 states and 23 countries around the world as she uncovers secrets about Chinese food.

Apologia for an Obsession with Serial Killers

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 Sincerest Form of Flattery

Booyakasha. Check it: I’m not sure how I first became interested in accents. The obvious suspect upon whom to pin the blame would be my father, an immigrant from India who speaks with what you might call a subtle foreign accent. Growing up, when my brother and I needed to do an impression of him, it wound up coming out like Apu from the Simpsons. But in reality his accent is an elegant mix of the Bhopal of his youth, the Delhi of his teen years, the Chicago of his doctoral days, the Canada of my childhood, and the France where he spent years working at CERN—and the combination is, I promise you, utterly inimitable.

A Fruitful New Take on Aging

A high-fat diet increases the body's inflammatory response, implicated in heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis as well as brain aging.

Goal Post

The other night my roommate and I were having a conversation and the subject of goals came up. I had been reading about the state of effortless concentration and enjoyment that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has famously termed “flow.” Flow occurs when you’re so absorbed in a task that you lose track of everything else. You fall into the rhythm of your activity so completely that all distractions melt away, and may even lose track of time. I mentioned that having a clearly defined goal is an important component in achieving flow.

Autism, The Bumper Sticker

What could possibly be gained by announcing autism on a bumper?


Psychology Today has just begun a blog site, and in addition to the magazine's editorial staff, a number of outside contributors, some of them well known, have begun delivering regular dollops of news and observations, all aimed at shedding light on the intricacies and oddities of human behavior as refracted through their uniquely informed perspectives.

Love in the Age of Neuroscience

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)

Stumped by Sycophants

You’re the best man for the job––and for the world. You’re a tireless crusader, a hero for the ages, the hope of a new generation. If you’re Hillary, Obama or McCain, you’re likely swimming in a sea of flattery. The average person’s biggest problem with a**kissers is that they don’t have enough of ‘em. 

Prison Yard Logic

Kaja’s post about the med school murderer in Sweden has sparked a fascinating debate about the purpose of criminal sentencing itself.

What Are Minds Made of?

The idea of a pill to eliminate self-loathing didn't slip into the woman's head from out of nowhere. Some element of our culture promotes the belief that a prescription can just wipe away the most profound mental discomfort—as if discomfort isn't the natural (and necessary) response to deeply disturbing events. As if one can eliminate self-loathing without eliminating the self.

A Murderer In Our Midst

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

“There are no second acts in American lives,” wrote F. Scott Fizgerald. Could he have been more wrong?

Unconventional Advice from An Advicemeister

I had dinner last night with a psychological-minded writer who regularly uses her own experience to write utterly delightful books full of good advice-yet was stumbling over a complex relationship problem of her own. Oh, how I related to that!!!

Bold and Beautiful Best Friends

Believe it or not, there are likely scores of people beyond the Hollywood Hills who are deeply distressed by the screenwriters’ strike, which today enters its fourth calendar month.