Kazantzakis's Theory of Happiness

Zorba the Greek was larger than life, in the book and in the film. Through him, author Nikos Kazantzakis speaks to us about his theory of happiness, which is very Greek indeed.

Failure to Communicate

Open communication comes with risks. The goal to reduce these risks while preserving openness creates a social dilemma. Your responses will reveal your values.


Gossip can be entertaining. We often thirst for it and delight in its consumption. There is also a dark side, however. Please don’t go there.

Hallucinated Happiness

If only imagination could sustain our happiness! Alas, we remain shackled to reality. Examples of continued attempts to psych ourselves into happiness – or others into unhappiness – range from the entertaining to the disturbing.

Biggus Bangus

In the beginning was god and god made the big bang. But who make god? Five-year olds want to know, but seasoned christian cosmogonists have forgotten this question. They rather create god in their own image – projectively.

Thinking Is Hard

We experience ourselves as thinking creatures, and our thinking seems to matter for our actions. Why, however, is thinking so hard?

Ron Swanson, Donald Trump, and You

The characters on Parks & Recreation have describable personalities, as does Donald Trump. Would he fit in? Would you?

Business as Unusual

Much like you can readily observe interesting and weird behavior among those around you, you can observe interesting and weird business practices in your hometown. Be the freakonomist on your block.

Student and professor

A personal reflection on the changing roles in the university classroom.

Insight Into Bias

Psychologists (and you) love a tale of two minds. Here’s one about how people self-enhance (or efface) and how they know that they do.
A. Monroe, used with permission

We need a folksy free will

Andrew Monroe, who is an expert on moral psychology and folk beliefs about free will responds to an earlier post on 'Free Will Depletion.'

Grade Flation

Grades are a mixed curse. We can't leave without them, unless the culture changes radically, which it won't. Here's some of the psychology between the preference for easy (and hard) As.

Free Will Depletion

After tortured administration of surgery and double-blind medicinalization, free will remains clinically dead. Here's another dyslogy.

Cookie Dilemma

When you leave a cookie and the choice to eat it to others, you better mean it. Otherwise, you are not being socially mindful but hypocritical, or just dumb.

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.
Photo by Anika Josef

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.
photo by J. Krueger

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.