Can You Break the Mood-Memory Cycle?

Does it ever seem that the only thoughts that come to mind are negative? You only remember the painful and sorrowful experiences from your life. Someone reminds you of something happy, but you struggle to remember it. And remembering that happy experience may make you feel worse rather than better.

Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Two Seconds, and a Death

Two seconds is not much time. Not enough time to evaluate a situation. Not enough time to negotiate. But it is enough time for implicit attitudes and emotions to drive responses. It is enough time to shoot and kill a 12 year old boy playing in a park.

Superstitions and the Super Bowl

Put on your team jersey and don your special hat. Make sure you have the right chips and dips. Are your friends ready? Will everyone be in the correct seat on the couch drinking the exact right beverage? Your team is depending on you. You’ve got to help them win. If you get any of this wrong, your team will lose and it will be your fault.

Hands Up, Don't Shoot

When he was shot and killed, was Michael Brown trying to surrender or starting to attack? Why don't the witness memories agree on this critical issue? Maybe because they did not see the same event.

Why We Have Small Memory Failures, Every Day

Did I lock my door? I don’t know. I don’t remember. I have a frequent memory failures like this. Did I respond to that email? Have I told my class about this before? What was I supposed to get at the store today? I bet you have these errors frequently too. But the real question is should we worry about these small, consistent, everyday memory failures.

Don't Touch My Phone!

Would you let someone use your cell phone to make a call? How about to search the internet? Or send a text message? Just how private are you with your cell phone?

Controlling My Intrusive Thoughts

I know I have little control over many things in my life, but I’d like to control the contents of my mind. My thoughts seem to have their own ideas about who is in charge. My mind runs in unintended directions and unwanted thoughts intrude at the worst possible times. But I’m not giving up. I’ve been working on a few methods to take control of my intrusive thoughts.

Ban Computers and Cell Phones from Classrooms

We should ban the use of computers and cell phones in classrooms. I love computers and I love my cell phone. But we need to ban them in classrooms and probably work meetings as well. I know that is a radical statement and one that will generate controversy. But what else can we do?

Smart People, Dumb Decisions

Generally, we assume it’s good to be smart. We expect smart people to make smart decisions. But smart people may be so good at reasoning that they can logically reach the conclusion they want rather than the correct answer. Maybe critical thinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

On a Date with You and Our Cell Phones

You see two people out to dinner or maybe sharing a cup of coffee in a neighborhood cafe. Their cell phones are with them; perhaps on the table, occasionally intruding into the conversation, and eventually disrupting their relationship.

How Social Networks Can Inflame Jealousy

When a relationship ends, memories change. We rewrite memories to reflect current emotions. But the internet doesn’t change. People update their relationship status–changing from “in a relationship” to “single.” But Facebook accumulates and maintains detailed photographic evidence of a wonderful relationship past. Should you edit Facebook to match your memories?

Video Games Invade the Real World

Turning off the videogame may not end the game. People continue thinking about the game and may experience the game in the real world. Gamers will respond to real world stimuli as if they were the game stimuli. The videogame has invaded their minds.

The Dangers of Going on Autopilot

How is it possible to drive home and have no memory of the trip? I’m sure you’ve done this. I do this while walking too. I walk and drive on autopilot. Your autopilot can move you around an object. But your autopilot will fail to notice that the object was money hanging on a tree. If money grew on trees, would you see it?

The World in My Pocket

My students carry the world in their pockets. All the knowledge in the world is constantly available through a computer, a tablet, or a smart phone. I’m still not used to constantly available knowledge. But my students have grown up with constantly available knowledge and it is changing their relationship to knowledge.

Woody Allen: Child Abuser or Falsely Accused?

The accusation that Woody Allen abused his daughter 20 years ago has been in the news again recently. The accusation was revived by his daughter in a letter published in the New York Times. One thing is completely clear from reading her letter—she was and she remains traumatized by her childhood experiences. Less clear is the nature of those traumatizing experiences.

Cell Phones are Changing Social Interaction

How do you use your cell phone for social relationships? Do you text to plan events? Check in with friends? Keep in touch with your romantic partner? Would you end a relationship via text message? Has anyone dumped you by text?

Photographs and Memories

Stop taking pictures. Please. We must be living in the most thoroughly documented time ever. We take pictures and videos of everything we do. We take selfies of ourselves in front of cool things and in the mirror. We then post our pictures on Facebook and send pictures through phone messages. But what if we’re ruining our memories by taking pictures.

But I've Changed

Have you ever seen those pictures in which adults recreate some childhood family photo? They start with a classic family picture, find clothes that mirror what they wore as children, and stand in the same postures in the same location. That is what memory is like. We constantly recreate the child in our adult relatives. We see the adult, but we also see the child.

Choosing My Memories

I have been grieving for someone who recently passed away. While life is replete with beginnings and endings, memory often focuses on recent experiences. An emphasis on recent experiences isn’t what I want now. I don’t really want to remember the painful end of this person’s life. I need to remember earlier, happier times. How can I choose my memories?

Zombies, Brains, and Memory

Zombies are everywhere, and they’re after your brains. With zombies everywhere and Halloween approaching, maybe you’ve been contemplating the possible zombie apocalypse. Fortunately, thinking about zombies may not be a waste of time. Our brains work better when we are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. And maybe that is why the zombies want our brains.

Truth or Truthiness in the Facebook Echo Chamber

I value truth. I like to know the real state of the world. But I worry that my echo chambers only repeat the things I want to hear. I worry that Facebook makes truthiness too easy. Facebook may be hiding the real truth from us.

The Director's Cut: Point of View in Memory

In movies, the camera’s point of view changes regularly. Directors change the point of view both to show different information and for emotional impact. Our memories also come with a camera angle. But you aren’t stuck with any particular point of view. Like the director of a movie, you can change the point of view impacting how how you feel about the past.

Brain in a Box

Is this the real life? Or is my brain shoved in a box somewhere being fooled by an evil computer? Is this the real world or is it the Matrix? Scientists are finally getting closer to creating a false reality for a brain in a box.

Losing the Taste and Losing Your Waist

I generally eat my lunch sitting in front of my computer. I feel productive when I work while I eat. Unfortunately, I may be ruining both my lunch and my waistline.

Remembering the Future

How should I spend my lottery winnings? I haven’t won yet, but I can see myself winning. I can easily imagine what I will feel when I win the lottery. But how is it possible when I haven’t ever won the lottery before? How can I imagine a future that hasn’t happened?

How to Change the World

I’d love to change the world. But mostly I feel completely powerless. I’m not an important person. I don’t make big political decisions. My decisions and behaviors don’t feel earth-shattering. Nonetheless I am changing the world every day.

The Need to Understand Tragedy

Last week was horrific. Terrorist attacks and tragic explosions. One city locked down because of terrorism and another destroyed by a fertilizer plant explosion. Like you, I’ve been following the news trying to understand why these things happen. But I’ve also been wondering why are we so fascinated with understanding why?

Stress Bad, Mindfulness Good

Stress is bad. In the immediate moment and over the long term, stress attacks your ability to think by shrinking your mental capacity. But some simple techniques may restore the mental capacity that stress steals away.

Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?

I admit it. I’ve become dependent on my cell phone. But how can I tell if this is unhealthy; if I am addicted to my cell phone?

Embarrassing Memories: Sharing and Not Sharing the Self

Some memories are left unshared. Generally, we like to tell each other stories and share our memories. But maybe there are some things we choose to not share. We hide these memories from each other, developing an untold or hidden self.