Jack of Harz

Social cooperation and mindfulness come with many facets. Here are three examples observed on the other side of the Harz mountains.

East of Elbingerode

Traveling in Saxony-Anhalt brought an opportunity to mull the psychology of the ordinary. It is not hard to do, you can try this at home. But it is better on the road.

Quiet Days in Quedlinburg

Heading towards the western fringes of the former East Germany, psychology was on my mind. Here, I share some thoughts on the psychology of money (in these here woods) and the limits of compassion.

Over Ego

To say that one is better than average is a famous bias from the social psychology textbook. In this better-than-average post, I show that it is not irrational to do so.

Game of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is good. Yet, it is not always forthcoming. This should tell us something about human psychology.

From Diagoras to Dawes and Denrell

To live is to sample – experiences. Sample the good and ignore the bad. Would that not lead to happiness? Read about the fly in the ointment.

Aggression Beyond Frustration

I have had several decades to reflect on German folkways. I find a streak of aggressiveness, that, while mostly contained, breaks through from time to time, stingingly.

Quiet Days in Charlottenburg

Returning to “The Institute,” psychology presents itself in a Germanic light. Here are reflections on the illusion of absolute value and the differences (if there is any) between equanimity and indifference.

Corrosive Communication

Sticks and stones, who believes it? Words can hurt. Here’s a look at sarcasm and the accusation of defensiveness.

Vietato L'Accesso

My students would call these notes from Northern Italy and Southern Austria random, but we know there is no such thing.

The Perils of Being Overconfident

Overconfidence in judgment and decision-making is one of the signature biases of human cognition. A new measure sheds new light.

Water Games

Negotiations are especially difficult when you are responding to the other party’s assumed instead of actual preferences.

Psychology of Money

Are you sure you want to spend your money on THAT? Dan Ariely wants you to wait and think. Same for having children.

The Shadow and His Wanderer

Indulge me in 3 lines of thought: Nietzsche on free will. How to talk to strangers on a plane. Car key design.

Making the Grade

Let’s take a look at the psychology of receiving a good or not so good grade, and reflect on feet.

Kanns' Vergessen

Psychological Science (from the eponymous journal) occasionally penetrates the academia/public membrane. Some findings go viral or merely fungal, and sometimes for the wrong reasons. See here for two examples and a word of the day for your edutainment. Never mind the title of this post. Just read on.

Game of Zoë

Following simple rules, people move around in a group until interesting patterns emerge. One sees this more clearly, though, in a computer simulation.

Verde Primaverile

As in previous, Italian-titled posts, I put together some fragments for your enjoyment and mulling. Two of today’s chips are on happiness.

Alien Landing in Sindelfingen

Imagine a world in which “learning” is easy. Believe anything! Such a world exists. It was recently put on display in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Heisenberg Capacitor

Here’s Part III of my effort to strike a blow for hedonism by nullifying Nozick’s experience machine. Reality as it is is good enough. Enjoy it.

The Experience Machine Reloaded

In a famous thought experiment, philosopher Robert Nozick tried to refute hedonism, or the idea that pleasure is the best and pain is the worst. But not so fast, please.


Breaking up is easy to do but difficult to digest. Here’s some consolation. Sort of.

Sarcasm Bites

Are you ready for sarcasm? Yes? Yeah, right!


I found 26 blog posts on happiness in my blog archive. Here’s a list of them with a brief statement of contents for each. Peace and happiness!

Happy Pie

Some say that 50% of happiness is due to genes, 10% to circumstance, and the rest to what you do. I want to believe that but can’t.

Waldeslust - Joy of the Forest

Spending a little time in Nature can break the yoke of self-domestication and bring peace and happiness. Begin with a walk in the woods.

Hoax, Dehoax, Rehoax

What harm is in a hoax? The recent hoopla over about the alleged encounter of a temporarily dead priest with mother God is instructive.

Three Dead Grannies, or the Psychology of Deadlines

A deadline is a blunt cudgel to beat students (and others) into submission. Can we do without them? [this is a rhetorical question]

Flow and Happiness

What is the relationship between the state of ‘flow’ and happiness? I suggest here that flow is beneficial but limited in scope because it is bound up with work and expertise.

Brooks's Brothers

David Brooks outed himself as an admirer of religion. When religion rears its head, reason goes down the culvert. Take a look at what he said.