Normative Happiness

Is happiness a subjective, inner, feeling, or is it subject to analytical examination? If so, can your life and your happiness be objectively evaluated? Many philosophers but few psychologists believe so.

Real Happiness

Is there such a thing as bogus happiness or bovine contentment among humans? Yes, there is: at least in thought experiments. Unabashedly hypothetical, thought experiments can show you what you would not want.

Naturalizing God

God is dead, but Neo-Darwinian psychologists believe that she must live in your imagination so that you may live in a prosocial and thus prosperous society. Really?

All That Jazz

Jazz is a hotbed for creative expression. The collaboration among the members of the band and the improvisations by the soloist are the two sides of jazz’s creative dialectic.

Interstellar Parochial

Emotionally unidimensional McConaughey’s Cooper unifies quantum and relativity theory, saves humanity, and finds love. Meanwhile, Michael Caine and Matt Damon explore life on the other side of the wormhole as supporting actors.

Not a Prayer

Brown University commencement exercises include a non-sectarian prayer. I think it is time to let it go.

Lazy Professor

What do professors do before they walk into the classroom and after they leave? It’s a mystery all right. Well, no longer. Here’s a partial list of activities.

Social Mindfulness

Giving up a choice so that someone else might have it shows social mindfulness. How is this different from just being nice? It is surprisingly hard to tell.


Have you ever been ditched by a lover for someone better, with your now ex-lover promising to come back to you when done with the new flame? If so, did you leave the door open? I did not think so.

Peak Experience and Happiness

Attention happiness seekers. A new study shows you will suffer social exclusion if you bliss out alone first. How good are the data, though?


Rejecting a low offer in a bargaining context may be scary for fear that all might be lost. Reviewing one’s own and the other party’s preferences may allay this fear and lead to a better outcome.

Earned Helplessness

How a bachelor gets a date, a dog food, and a blogger a post.

In the Beginning Was the Story

Religion and science tell stories to explain the world. That’s where the commonality ends, but at least we have that.

Situation Room

Are situations like people? Can they be described and sorted? A recent study says yes.

Creation Myth

Creativity is important and fun. Now let’s look at the dark side. Can it drive a wedge between us?

Happiness Between Philosophy and Psychology

You know what it feels like to be happy. Why are philosophers and psychologists still debating?

Will in Chains

Being a determinist and having no pretensions to possess a free will has not bothered me one bit. You should not worry either. These chains don’t hurt.

McDonald's and Culture

Food and drink are culturally variable, and so is the design of the places that offer them. A general nod to “cultural differences” does not explain much, especially when the purveying corporation is the same globalized one.

Pathetic Ingroup Bias

Ethnocentrism (aka ingroup-favoritism in academic speak) is considered a bane of humanity but it feels terrific during the World Cup. Its power is so great that people look for pathetic extensions when the primary passionate form of ethnocentrism is no longer available. To see how this works, let’s take a look at the “Brazilian Dilemma.”

Saxon Science

Social psychology suffers from a surplus of data, although most believe that there are not enough data. How about a bit more theory?

The Happiness Offensive

The race is on to increase human happiness across the board. Is this a realistic endeavor, or will it lead to a topia (u or dys)?

Larger than Leif

An ancient Viking comes to larger than life on the History Channel. Love him or hate him, he’s a complete man, in a Nietzschean sort of way.

False Consciousness of Happiness

So you think you know how to be happy? Think again and feel again.

Self-Help Unbound

A trip to the local bookstore (we still have one) ended in the self-help section and an aggravated state of agony.

Love in the Time of Chivalry

Response to temptation is supposed to reveal one's character. Yet, it may not be wise to seek temptation or set it up. Cervantes tells a cautionary tell in Don Quijote.

Grudge: Holding One

Forgiveness at all cost is not a good idea. Sometimes a grudge is worth holding, though it is difficult to know when the time has come.

In Defense of the Eyeball Test

Some findings are perfect without being too good to be true. In such a case, statistics are beside the point.

Bias in Self-Knowledge

When people hold false beliefs about themselves, it is usually their judgment that is blamed. Now there is a proposal to blame—and change—reality itself. Where will that lead us?


The psychology of patricide, the killing of the father.

Accuracy of Self-Knowledge

The lack of perfect self-knowledge is a puzzle. Should we not be the experts on ourselves? A new review of the literature confirms that accuracy is neither nil nor close to perfect.