The Psychology of Star Wars: Dark Side Edition

Star Wars makes lots of claims about our darker emotions. Are they accurate?

Why Daydreaming Is Good for Us

Though many of us were told by our grade-school teachers to get our heads out of clouds, research shows that this may not have been good advice.

Five Questions to Decide If a Therapist Is Right for You

Although search engines make finding therapists simpler than ever, it’s easy to suffer from information overload. Five questions can help you cut through the confusion.

Is Psychology Really a Science?

Is psychology a science or is it better classified as one of the humanities, like philosophy, theology, or literature? It’s a bit of a sore spot for most psychologists.

Why Giving Up Can Sometimes Be Good

As children, many of us were told, “Never give up.” But new research shows that giving up on a dream can sometimes be the healthiest option.

Does What Doesn’t Kill us Really Make us Stronger?

As the U.S. reels from two deadly hurricanes, it’s easy to wonder if there’s any meaning to suffering.

Does the Unconscious Really Exist?

One of the oldest ideas in psychology is that we have an unconscious mind that, despite our best intentions, is the real controlling force in our lives. But is this really true?

Why the Five Stages of Grief Are Wrong

Despite our society’s widespread belief that grief proceeds in five simple stages, research shows that this isn’t the case. So what is true?

How Terrorism Changes Us

The London Bridge attack is the latest terror incident to rock the UK in the past 10 weeks. How are acts of terror changing us?

Are Therapists Just Rent-a-Friends?

If you had real friends, some people say, you wouldn’t need a therapist. Is psychotherapy really just a substitute for friendship or is there more to it?

Why Do People Believe Things that Aren’t True?

In the face of our “post-truth” era of politics, it’s hard to know what to believe. According to research, whether we know it or not, most of us harbor false beliefs. Do you?

Is Mental Illness Real?

Some say calling psychological difficulties "illnesses" takes away people’s responsibility for their actions; others argue that mental disorders are as real as physical diseases.

The Brain's Fixation on the Short Term Is Hurting Politics

When the Senate used the nuclear option, changing how it confirms Supreme Court nominees, some who voted for it said it was a bad idea. A cognitive bias explains why they did it.

How to Talk About Politics in a Post-Truth World

Political discussions are increasingly devolving into accusations of “lying" and "fake news.” How do we have real conversations in this world of “alternative facts"?

Was Trump’s Speech Good Only Because of the Contrast Effect?

Seventy-eight percent of viewers rated Trump’s Congressional appearance positively. Is it possible they fell prey to the psychological illusion known as the contrast effect?

What If We Were All Politically Conservative?

Some psychologists believe that even liberal people, deep down, possess inherently conservative instincts.

Why the "Like" Button May Be Killing Activism

Is all the liking, retweeting, and commenting going on in American politics actually doing any good? Or are we just indulging in a form of entertainment and self-aggrandizement?
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Hope and Hopelessness in Trump's America

Not only does hopelessness feel bad, it’s associated with inaction, making it a recipe for disaster in a democracy. So how do those in the political opposition remain hopeful?

Will We All Just Get Used to Trump?

Although many believe that public resistance to Trump will increase over time, basic psychological principles predict otherwise.

Does Truth Still Exist, or Are There Just Alternative Facts?

Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Trump, introduced a new term into most people’s lexicon: “alternative facts.” What does this phrase tell us about what it means to be human?

Should We Blame Depression for the Germanwings Crash?

In the aftermath of the Germanwings Flight 9525 tragedy, the media quickly pointed to the co-pilot's "severe depression" as a possible cause of the crash. Was this really the cause? Or does this tell us more about our society's continued stigmatization of mental illness than of what really happened?
Can Art Heal Loss and Trauma?

Can Art Heal Loss and Trauma?

Artists expressing suffering through their work is nothing new. Art therapy is also nothing new. But, recent years have seen an uptick in the number of exhibits combining the two in innovative and meaningful ways. The purpose of these exhibits is artistic, yes. But they’re also intended to help heal suffering. Does it work?

Could the Recent Airline Disasters Cause Us All PTSD?

People watched in horror on July 17 as a Malaysian airliner was shot down from the skies of eastern Ukraine and again Wednesday as TransAsia flight GE222 crashed. As the world continues investigating the circumstances surrounding these events, loved ones could face more than just grief. They could face symptoms on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. What about the rest of us?

Monty Python's "Bright Side of Life" Offers Some Bad Advice

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of Monty Python's seminal achievements, "The Life of Brian." In the film's iconic final scene, viewers are given some strong (albeit tongue-in-cheek) advice through the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." But is this actually good advice? Or might there be something dangerous in positive thinking?
Forgiving the Unforgivable: 20 Years After Genocide

Forgiving the Unforgivable: 20 Years After Genocide

In April, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council tasked Clementine Wamariya and other delegates to attend the twentieth anniversary commemoration of Rwanda’s genocide. Along with countless other victims, Clementine asks whether it's possible to forgive the seemingly unforgivable.

Writing Wrongs: Writing About Trauma Leads to Better Endings

Oxford Dictionaries and countless media outlets dubbed 2013 “the year of the selfie.” Some have said the increase in self-focused Facebook posts, Tweets, and Blogs is part of an epidemic of narcissism. But might there be some real value here?

Will Technology Replace Traditional Psychotherapy?

The new iOS upgrade has made headlines this past week. But technology upgrades are happening across a variety of domains, including in psychotherapy. As therapy apps, online support groups, and video counseling blossom, we ask whether people should be worried or thrilled.

Colorado Flood: Will Social Support Recede With the Waters?

Aid and national sympathy poured into Colorado during the past week, as victims faced flooding of unthinkable proportions. But research shows that, as the flood waters recede, social support is likely to diminish with them, leaving some survivors feeling abandoned. Is there anything we can do to stop this from happening?
Grudge Match: Can Unforgiveness Be Bad For Our Health?

Grudge Match: Can Unforgiveness Be Bad For Our Health?

In the week after the Jewish Day of Atonement, we reflect on forgiveness in the midst of a chaotic world. Can unforgiveness be bad for our heath? Can forgiveness help us to live a healthier, happier life?
Zero Worship: Did Surviving Cancer Make Armstrong a Hero?

Zero Worship: Did Surviving Cancer Make Armstrong a Hero?

The recent Lance Armstrong PR nightmare leads us to ask why we so easily accord survivors role-model status, and should we?