Here's Why Your Resolutions Can't Rely On Willpower Alone

What if the reason our New Years resolutions often fail has less to do with willpower and more with something we chronically ignore right from the start?

Why Drinking When You're Stressed Is Risky Business

Here’s something to keep in mind as the holidays unfold: If you drink alcohol when you’re stressed, you may be flipping a switch that makes heavier drinking all the more likely.

This Is How We Make Our Worst Decisions

The brain is an energy hog that uses 15-20% of the body’s circulating blood glucose each day, and that energy isn't insignificant when it comes to making sound decisions.

How to Create Your Way to Better Stress Management

A new study offers compelling evidence that adults seeking stress relief, no matter how artistically gifted or experienced, should stop making excuses and start making art.

Study: Engaging With Social Media Can Drain Your Brain

The retweet has become a major social currency of our time. It seems harmless to share whatever grabs our attention, but is that really the case?

Why We Hate Not Knowing for Sure

We evolved to respond to uncertainty for good reasons, and that response is still strong with us even if the reasons have changed. Uncertainty is stressful like nothing else.

How Your Size Affects How You Experience the World

Obesity isn’t just unhealthy, it also creates a perceptual obstacle that limits physical activity.

How Sleep Apnea Causes Biochemical Havoc in Your Brain

For the one in 15 adults suffering sleep apnea, every night is a journey into treacherous territory. Now a study shows more precisely what the condition is doing in the brain.

Your Brain's Inner Supervisor Is An Uncertainty Solver

The brain does some remarkable things when we aren’t paying attention. Consider how you engage tasks throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning, a script starts playing that runs you through task after task from the moment you step out of bed to the moment you get into your car on the way to work. And you don't really have to think through any of it.

Why You Trust Your Friends Even When They're Ripping You Off

Your brain wants to trust. We’re wired for social connection—not just casual meet and greets, but genuine connection—and trust is what makes it work. But that same drive to trust, essential though it is, also makes us natural born suckers.

The Curious Connection Between Distraction and Impulsivity

Science is steadily uncovering a link between handicapped working memory resources and handicapped impulse control, with all its unfortunate shortcomings.

Why Jobs That Make You Think Are Good Brain Medicine

Adding to an already robust catalog of research showing that thinking-related challenges are like exercise for the brain, the latest study shows that jobs involving high levels of “executive, verbal and fluid” tasks enhance memory and thinking abilities for years to come.

Your Brain Never Stops Playing the Confidence Game

We seem to be equipped with a way to detect the level of confidence embedded in others’ voices, and even a loud tone—if lacking the confidence intangible—isn’t likely to cause much more than irritation.

Simple Life Hacks to Lose Weight and Improve Your Health

Much of the self-improvement industry is focused on ways to cattle prod our willpower into healthier habits. Behavioral psychologists, on the other hand, have conducted a wealth of research showing that skillful hacks to our homes and offices can produce results that tweaks to willpower, however forceful, rarely make stick.

Why Stress Can Make You Do Some Unusual Things

Researchers have shown that not only does stress predispose us to wanting pleasure, it makes our desire for it drastically out of proportion to our enjoyment. The reward never reaches the level of our want.

Why Happy People Often Seem Tone Deaf To Negative Emotions

A new study finds that feeling positive doesn’t make you any better at empathy than others, and in some ways it’s a handicap.

Neuroscience Explains Why the Grinch Stole Christmas

If Cacioppo could persuade the Grinch to step into his fMRI, he'd likely observe a result consistent with those of a brain imaging study he conducted to identify differences in the neural mechanisms of lonely and nonlonely people.
Are You Vulnerable to the Hipster Effect?

Are You Vulnerable to the Hipster Effect?

There is a group-sense inherent in human nature that lines us up favorably with birds and bees and ants and fish, though with us the dynamic is less reactive. Rather than reacting to an immediate cause, our patterns emerge in the form of social conformity. The irony is that we (particularly in Western cultures) pride ourselves on our alleged individuality.
How Your Eyes Give You Away

How Your Eyes Give You Away

If you’ve ever wondered how skilled sales professionals seem to know exactly when to turn on the turbo boosters to get you to make the deal – take a good long look in the mirror. Those two orbs staring back at you show your cards.
The Surprising, Infuriating Power of Overconfidence

The Surprising, Infuriating Power of Overconfidence

Belief sells, whether it’s true or not. In the case of overconfidence, the belief in one’s ability—however out of proportion to reality—generates its own infectious energy. Self-deception is a potent means of convincing the world to see things your way.

Gut Feeling: How Bacteria Manipulates Your Brain

The next time you can’t figure out why you’re suddenly craving a huge slab of ultra-decadent chocolate cake—consider the possibility that it’s not just you doing the craving. New research suggests that the armies of bacteria living in our guts can pull the strings in our brains to get what they want.

The Happiness Equation

I can’t pretend to understand how the researchers developed the equation, but one word in their lengthy explanation resonates with my math-addled brain: expectations. After all the complex analyses, it really all comes down to what we expect and how strongly we expect it.

Why Is Being Alone With Our Thoughts So Hard?

Have we become so enraptured with gadgets, social media and the dull roar of crowds that we can’t stomach facing ourselves?
Why Profile Photos Are Liars

Why Profile Photos Are Liars

Psychology researchers want us to know something about our profile photo-centrism – it’s a lie, and it’s leading us to draw conclusions that likely have zero basis in reality.

Can Money Really Buy Happiness? Well, Maybe

"Everyone has been told if you spend your money on life experiences, it will make you happier, but we found that isn't always the case," said Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at SF State and co-author of the study. But "extremely material buyers, who represent about a third of the overall population, are sort of stuck." They aren't happy either way.
You're Not Yourself When You're Hungry, and That's a Problem

You're Not Yourself When You're Hungry, and That's a Problem

We’ve all known people who should have to wear a flashing red DANGER! sign if they miss lunch, though even without the warning we instinctively know to steer clear if someone is running on empty. A grumbling stomach means dropping blood sugar, and most of us know that means trouble -- but could the glucose crash be crashing our relationships far more than we realize?

Which of Us Are the Most Trusting?

A new study is giving the mistrustful among us something to consider: intelligence strongly correlates with generalized trust. “Generalized trust” in this case refers to a belief that most people can be trusted—that, on average, your fellow man or woman is probably a good egg.

How Video Games Can Help Us Achieve Mindfulness

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers see the new genre of video games as just the beginning of a focus-enhancing revolution in digital tech. Through an initiative called Games+Learning+Society (GLS), they are pioneering efforts that marry entertainment with enrichment, and building it all on a platform of solid science.

When the Market Gets Risky, Risk Takers Get Hormonal

A new study suggests that the massive stress of ongoing market volatility, triggering a deluge of cortisol, could be the reason why stock traders become ultra-conservative at the very points at which a heartier appetite for risk could help a shaky market recover more quickly.
Balancing Our Brain's Self-Control Seesaw

Balancing Our Brain's Self-Control Seesaw

Self-control and desire sit on opposite sides of a cerebral seesaw—and as we all know, it's frequently unbalanced. New research reveals why.