Having to Pee Increases Willpower

Next time you need to discuss something with your boss while not telling him off, or you’re headed to the candy store with a credit card, consider chugging some water beforehand. Your brain will thank your bladder.

The North-South Real Estate Bias

Billy Joel sang about his “uptown girl.” Jim Croce warned us about “bad, bad Leroy Brown,” who lived on the South Side of Chicago, “the baddest part of town.” In some cities, uptown is genuinely nicer than downtown, but might people have a general bias to prefer northern areas over southern in any city?

Don’t Try to Predict Upsets in Tournament Pools

The best way to win your March Madness tournament pool is to stick to the seedings. So why do we try to predict upsets?
“My monkey could have painted that.” Really?

“My monkey could have painted that.” Really?

How much better is abstract art than work by kids and monkeys? New research reveals the answer.

WEIRD Science: We Are the Weirdest People in the World

I am one of the weirdest people in the world. You probably are too. It's a scientific fact, now!

Inception is Easier than Extraction

I finally watched inception last night. If you're interested in the mechanics of the subconscious, it's a must-see, both expository and provocative. But it's based on the premise that discreetly planting ideas in people's heads ("inception") is much harder than discreetly extracting ideas. It seems to me that they got this reversed.

To Be Creative, Be Yourself.

Yesterday I went to "Your Brain on the Internet," a discussion that was part of the New Yorker Festival. I got at least one $30 idea out of the deal: The computer scientist Jaron Lanier noted, almost in passing, that the people he knows don't achieve creativity by trying to do something novel. They achieve it by being more themselves.

The Psychology of Penalty Kicks

Yesterday's World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands nearly ended in a penalty shootout. If it had, the kickers and keepers would have done well to know about these bits of psychological research on penalty kicks.

What You Touch Changes How You Think

Next time you visit a car dealership, avoid sitting in soft chairs and you'll negotiate a better deal. Science says so.

Harder, Better, Faster, Luckier

We can now say for sure that lucky charms and rituals actually do give you an edge, thanks to Lysann Damisch and her collaborators at the University of Cologne.

Why Dominant Women Enjoy Sexual Submission Fantasies, Part 2

My last post revealed that socially dominant women enjoy sexual submission fantasies more than other women. Why is that?

Why Dominant Women Enjoy Sexual Submission Fantasies, Part 1

It's been said that those who are easy-going in real life tend be dominant in the bedroom, and those with type-A personalities like to be submissive. But is it true?

Do Social Psychologists Cause Priming Research or Vice Versa

During one of the poster sessions at this year's Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, I spotted a poster titled "Do Social Psychologists Cause Priming Research, or Does Priming Research Cause Social Psychologists?" by Arina K. Bones and Sam Gosling. They use some creative research methods, and their findings may surprise you.

You Can Spot Couples at a Glance

You walk into a party and spot a cutie talking to someone else. Are they friends? Siblings? Or a couple?

Facebook Friends: Too Many, Too Few?

If you have too few "friends" on Facebook, people might think you're a loser. Too many and people might think you're a social slut. Is there an optimal number?

Election Superstitions

Here are 7 election-time superstitions and why we subscribe to them.