When Does Classifiable = Beautiful?

When observers’ attention is drawn to the fact that a person belongs to two categories, the reaction is negative. But when attention is drawn away from the fact that this person represents a categorization problem, the person is viewed more positively.

Are Time and Space Psychologically Interchangeable?

Why does time sometimes fly and sometimes drag? Why does the same distance sometimes seem extra long and sometimes extra short?

When the Goal of Generosity Looms Larger

Is giving $100 to your public radio station on the last day of their pledge drive different from giving $100 to the same station on the first day of the pledge drive? Logically speaking, it shouldn’t make a difference; a dollar has the same value whether it’s donated early or late. But psychologically speaking, people do seem to perceive a real difference.

When Perspective Taking Backfires

Recent studies suggest that the relationship between perspective taking and stereotyping is not as simple as it seems. Under certain circumstances, taking another person's perspective can lead to increased, rather than decreased, stereotyping.

Your Will Seems Stronger in the Future

The future seems to be wide open to multiple different outcomes, but no amount of exertion can change the past. According to recent research, this is why people believe their will to be stronger when it comes to future events than it was in the past.

Accidentally On Purpose

Imagine that Bob cleans his gun while plotting to kill his uncle. Suddenly, the gun accidentally goes off and the bullet hits a pedestrian walking down the street, killing the pedestrian instantly. Bob runs over and discovers that the pedestrian is his uncle. How responsible is Bob?

Wicked Desires

Recent research suggests that people consider someone who benefits from misfortune to be morally culpable even if that person had no role in causing the misfortune.

Underestimating Embarrassment

Research suggests that people who are in a position to give help regularly fail to take the perspective of the potential help-seeker.

Why Are People Willing to Let Bad Things Happen?

Which is morally worse: Pushing someone overboard to drown or doing nothing to save someone who is clearly drowning? Recent research suggests that people are more willing to opt for inaction because they know that, in general, others are more lenient toward non-actors than toward actors.

Success Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Performing an act intentionally - that is, through conscious choice - has the effect of making ‘success' seem just a bit more successful.

Are Powerful People More Memorable?

Recent research by a team of researchers led by Nathaniel Ratcliff of Penn State University suggests that the mind is exquisitely sensitive to power. Holding everything else constant, individuals with high social status are better remembered than those with lower social status.

Judging the Sin By Judging the Sinner

Who's more evil, someone who abuses a person or someone who abuses a cat? Recent studies in social psychology suggest that distinctive behavior can carry disproportionate weight in people's moral judgments.

Reaching Your Goals...Vicariously

The researchers wondered whether merely watching someone successfully complete a goal would lead people to be less motivated when they subsequently performed the same task.

What Do People Believe About Genes and Race?

My colleagues and I have been digging deeper into what people believe exactly about the biology of race. In particular, we have been investigating people's beliefs about genetics.

The One Drop Rule: How Black Is "Black?"

According to actress Halle Berry, regardless of how her one-quarter Black daughter Nahla ultimately chooses to self-identify, as long as she has “one drop” of Black blood, the world will see her as Black. Is this true?

Judging Those Who Do the Right Thing - Unintentionally

How do we judge someone who performs a moral act even though his or her heart isn’t into it?

Underestimating How Moral We Are

What role do emotions play in moral decision-making?

"Reading Into" the Actions of Others

What sorts of things do people spontaneously infer about a stranger based on a single action? In other words, in what ways do people automatically go beyond the action itself and "read in" additional information?