Violent Expression: Sign of Our Deep Need to Communicate?

When notions of fair play are violated, our ability to speak helps keep the peace. We are capable of sudden, violent physical outbursts, but calm expressions of anger through language can keep us from resorting to brute force – sometimes.

Lashing Out: Why Do We Blame?

The scapegoat psychology of snappy judgments. Our pressing need to vent the stress of negative emotions makes us prone to lash out, even at those who don’t really deserve our ire. But knee-jerk responses don’t always solve our long-term problems—and can even make the world stage a darker, more dangerous place in which to live.

Meditating on Mindfulness

How meditation boosts mental dexterity and eases the pain of depression. Science shows that our malleable minds have more power than we sometimes give ourselves credit for when it comes to dispelling the darkness within. Recent studies indicate that meditative practices confer other psychic benefits as well.

Why Sex Can't Always Be Stellar

How hit-and-miss intimacy keeps us strongly connected. Our best efforts in the bedroom don’t always produce the fireworks we’d like. Why isn’t the love we take always equal to the love we make?

Your Guilty Conscience's Secret Message

What guilt might be saying about your friendships. When our consciences kick up a guilt-ridden fuss, it is often in an effort to preserve something that is most precious to us, namely friendship. Feelings of guilt could mean we owe someone – big time.

Working Hard or Slacking Off?

What down time tells us about our drive. Why workplace slacking isn’t really a question of character, but more a response to the nature of the workplace itself.

Career Advancement or Child Sacrifice?

Can the search for security be a cradle of infanticide? The slaughter of innocents can never be pretty. Is the impulse to kill offspring the product of an unhealthy mind or a starkly adaptive form of evolutionary advancement? The evidence is far from clear.

Are Colleges Policing Our Thinking?

The psychology of crime prevention. “C’mon, punk, make my day” sounds just right when accompanied by a cold stare and a very large hand gun, but there’s little room for Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry on today’s college campuses, where police are turning to behavioral psychology to keep the peace.

Now Arriving: A Cure for Lateness

Why we are late and what we can do about it. Nearly everyone is late occasionally. But when the problem is persistent, and better-late-than-never isn’t getting us the outcomes we want, is there a solution? It turns out there is – if we are willing to play games.

The Secret Life of the Multi-Tasking Mind

How to achieve peak performance when it comes time to focus. A new study reveals that we don’t multi-task in quite the way we are accustomed to imagining. How do the best teachers, trainers, and coaches help us unlock our fullest potential?

Going In Alone or Friends With Benefits?

Why we need the company of others. There may be more benefits to companionship than bosom buddies might suspect, especially when it comes to overcoming ourselves.

Anatomy of a Brain Fart

Why we blow mental raspberries. We speak out of turn or lose our train of thought. We forget the name of someone we’ve known for years. We suddenly forget how to perform a routine task like feeding ourselves. What gives? Why do our brains betray us in such awkward, embarrassing ways?

Can Smiling Make Us Happy?

How facial expressions influence our moods. Feeling down? Stick a pencil in your mouth. But be careful where you place it. Altering your facial features to create smiles or frowns might well alter your mood and affect your outlook on life—at least for a while.

Monsters of the Mind

Is there a perceptual basis for the darkness that lurks within? Primed by cultural metaphor, we know just what to do with primitive fears when they are triggered – we make monsters. Studies of perceptual illusion and false memory tell us we are highly susceptible to the darkness within.

The Shocking Truth about Identity

How surprises can alter our sense of self. By the time you arrive home today, you may not be the person you are now. That’s because surprises can come at any time—and they set off chemical cascades that rearrange our inner landscapes, affecting our view of ourselves and of the world around us.

'Now Please' -- Getting it in the Moment, Whatever it Is

How to get what you want sooner rather than later. What happens when the desire for instant gratification (ours) meets perpetual procrastination (theirs)? It turns out that our own messages – especially our hidden ones – can heavily influence our outcomes.

Motivating the Joy Response

Is the exuberance of joy a natural pressure relief valve for stress? It may well be that joy is the emotional payoff for persistence when life seems most overwhelming.

Setting Muddled Thinking Straight

Realigning the tumblers when the mind serves lemons. Some minds work more like slot machines than others. Pull the lever of conjecture and the tumblers start turning. When they stop, who wins the jackpot – and who ends up falling just short?

Why Do We Lie?

Just who is brainy enough to master the art of the bluff? If lying creates headaches, then why do we do it? Because, let’s face it, we just can’t seem to help ourselves.

How Do We Put Our Minds to Rest?

Dialing down the dimmer switch of consciousness. Is the need to rest our minds equally deep in each of us, or can some of us get by on half measures?

Is Taking the Initiative a Sign of Intelligence?

Dolphins and lawyers have creativity in common. Can a housekeeping dolphin land a career as a maid? Or a high-priced lawyer troubleshoot electrical problems? You bet. The ability to use intelligence in creatively adaptive ways has profound implications when it comes to navigating life’s little challenges.

Matching Wits: Dolphin vs. Primate

Gauging the depth of our intelligence. Unlike many other animals – but very much like humans – dolphins possess an unusually high degree of self-awareness and are capable of abstract thought. When it comes to dazzling displays of intellect, sometimes they even manage to upstage us.

Could Pi Have Tamed the Tiger?

Hard-wired to believe – but in what? Alone in a lifeboat with a predator too close for comfort, could Pi have really survived his ordeal? Why how we answer may speak volumes about who we are.

Is the Pain of Punishment Too Much to Bear?

Why bolder is better when it’s time to get tough. Most of us are used to choosing between the lesser of two evils, but when it comes to punishment, it turns out that the greater the short-term pain (within reason, of course, and definitely not physical), the greater the long-term gain is likely to be.

How Do You Gift-Wrap Your Message?

Does it really matter how we say what we say? When it comes to communication, there’s a big difference between being polite and being enthusiastic. It turns out that we humans are not alone in caring about how messages are delivered. Other animals besides ourselves mount behavioral responses to the ways in which we gift-wrap what we say.

Is Your Communication Hot or Cold?

What children and dolphins know about expressing ourselves in the moment. In the adult world of propriety and inhibition, there are all sorts of reasons for not speaking up when we should. Children and dolphins know better. Why is timing so essential when it comes to speaking up? The window of opportunity on having our say doesn’t stay open for long.

Unauthorized Entry?

You’ve got to respect the work ethic of a guard dog who’s never off duty. Problem is, how do you unplug such a dedicated guardian of homeland security when you want a little shut-eye? Shh, don’t tell: I’m training my neighbors’ dog—on the sly.

Pigeons as Trained Killers? Fahgettaboutit

Facial recognition abilities may make pigeons ideal assasins. It’s a bit disconcerting to be told that the pigeon you’ve recently befriended would make an ideal assassin, but that’s what the guy who looked like Santa Claus, but talked like Al Pacino was telling me. Enough to confuse a guy – knowwhatimean?

What To Do When the Fit Goes Hissy — In Public

A survival guide for disallowing the unallowable. The cherubic face that so beguiled you just a moment ago is twisted with demonic rage. Your child appears possessed. There are hot tears and there is screaming. It’s the moment all parents dread – the public tantrum. How to strap in, hunker down, and wait it out while the whole world watches your every move.

Cursing Echo: Can Dolphins Help Us Speak Our Mind?

Last in a series about addiction and recovery. Do recovery communities help or hinder? In their quest for recovery, addicts can easily find themselves echoing messages all but drained of personal meaning. The result can be an endless cycle, not of addiction, but of growth-blocking compliance to a will not really their own.