Stressed Out? Try Looking at Some Trees

When you’re feeling frazzled you might reach for a Xanax. Or a drink. Or you can take advantage of a natural and cost–free remedy: looking at trees. But why does it work?

How Your Lie–Detector Chin Gives Away the Naked Truth

We surmise what lies behind facial expressions, decipher body language, and interpret tone apart from literal words. We read between the lines and hear what isn't said.

Bernie and Hillary Naked on Stage

Body language broadcasts more than people realize. Politicians try hard not to say what’s really on their mind, but sometimes they might as well be naked on the stage.

Why Ted Cruz’s Facial Expression Makes Me Uneasy

We learn to read faces from birth, and easily tell a natural smile from a forced one. The Senator’s expressions feel atypical, which leaves me feeling uneasy.

Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks Do

How did the need to show off on social media come to trump common sense for sensing danger and one's instinct for self-preservation?

Ambivalence in Addiction

The Latin word "addictum" once described the length of time an indentured slave had to serve. The person who served that sentence was the "addict." The etymology means “bound to”—just as many of us are hopelessly bound to our screens.

Poison Apple II: How Smartphones Degrade Learning

Today’s students are less capable than earlier counterparts. Ed-Tech is an alluring illusion that promises more efficient learning than actual teachers provide.

Poison Apple: Technology Fads Make Your Kids Dumber

Students have confused the ability to look up a fact with actual knowledge.They can Google the who, what, and when, but can't explain "why."

Addicted to Our Screens, or Merely Obsessed?

Digital Distractions and addiction to mediated images are imbecilizing America’s youth. The energy cost to our still Stone–Age brains explains how and why. Scientists debate whether we are addicted to our devices. What no one disputes is that our attention spans have gone to hell.

Cause and Effect in Wine Drinkers’ Health

We think we know what causes what. But research shows we are greatly mistaken, and often confuse correlation with cause.

Why Loneliness Hurts So Much

Just we feel hunger when we haven't enough food, we feel affection hunger when our needs for connection go unmet. Close relationships aren’t a luxury, but a necessity. The need for social connection is innate, just like the need for food, sleep, and air.

5 Reasons That Alcohol Makes You Fat

Most of the calories in drinks come from the alcohol more than the carbs or sugars they contain. There's no getting around the facts, which is why low-alcohol beverages are better for your waistline than low-carb varieties.

How Facial Botox Changes Your Brain—Literally

Botox injections are hardly benign. New research shows that the facial paralysis they cause remaps the brain’s sensory maps for the hands. Long term consequences are as yet unknown, and users should think twice.

Why We're All Overwhelmed Today

Prolonged and repetitive exposure to devices changes our behavior and even the way we think. The result is counterproductive interruptions and flitting from one task to another. Attention is like a spotlight: what lies outside it is in our cognitive blind spot.

When Daydreams Become a Shocking Experience

Some people prefer self-electrocution to being alone with their own thoughts. Modern life's distractions have made it increasingly harder to disengage, so that being quiet with one’s own thoughts has come to feel strange. But being able to sit and think is necessary to plan for the future and remember the past.

10 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Some subjects are worth mastering in order to succeed as adults. These lessons were the most common that recent grads regretted not having learning. But they are lessons that anyone can master at any stage in life.

“Baby Brain” and Addled Mothers–To–Be

Mothers-to-be are open to all sorts of physical accidents. Are hormones to blame?

Why Millennials Can't Anticipate or Fend For Themselves

People in their 20s do not consider themselves adults. Helicopter parents prevent children from coping with setbacks and disappointments. How will this end?

Deterrence: Bad Feelings Motivate Us More Than Pleasant Ones

Negative feelings control us more than good ones do. Understanding this can help avoid pitfalls in both finance and personal relationships, as well as eliminate second guessing.

Shielding Children from Hard Truths Hurts Rather Than Helps

Well-meaning parents try to shield their kids from unpleasant facts, assuming that tough details of reality will upset their children and inflict harm. But evidence to the contrary shows how mistaken they are.

Sleep: The Clean-Up Crew of a Dirty Mind

Your brain cleans up after the lights go out just as a party host tidies up empty glasses and smoky ashtrays once guests have gone home.

Can Fish Oil Help Preserve Brain Cells?

Fish beats fowl if you want to feed your brain cells.

Using Just 10% of Your Brain?

Hucksters boasting methods “based on neuroscience” promise to unleash hidden brain potential. What they actually unlock is your wallet. Why brain energy is limited, and multitasking is a fool's errand.

Touched by the Moon

Folklore claims that the full moon affects people, yet a lunar influence on human affairs has never been shown—until now. Sleep and subjective well-being do respond to lunar cycles, and there appears to be a second, monthly, clock in the brain besides the familiar circadian one.

Donuts Trump Healthy Desires, Hands Down

We are always of two minds when it comes to desires. We want one thing (losing weight) but undermine it by actions counter to our self-interest (eating ice-cream). Conflict is built into the human brain, and knowing what to do is not guarantee that we actually will do it.

Hand Movements Give Your Poker Game Away

What one thinks he is communicating hinges on keeping an expressionless face. But the hands, not the face, are what give away the game.

A TED-Ed Lesson on Synesthesia

Synesthesia is the genetically-inherited trait of coupling senses—such as sight and sound, or words and tastes.One in 23 people harbor the gene for this fascinating neurological trait.

The Maddening Normality of Autistic Brains

Brain scans have limitations, and "hot spots" are hardly the whole picture. For most autistics, even those with severe deficits, "You'd be amazed how normal their brains look."

It Takes Emotion, Not Facts, to Change a Habit

Everyone knows what to do to quit smoking or lose weight, yet fails to do it. Likewise, pocketbook reasoning fails to make people change their habits even when it gives them the "more money" that they say they want. The emotional jolt that prods us must be highly personal, and the feeling of what you stand to "lose" must outweigh the present feeling of reward.

Do Things Make You Happy, or Does Your Disposition?

Other people influence what we want more often than we think. Because we want others to admire us, we want the material things that we do. If we didn’t care about social status, or if neighbors laughed at instead of admired luxury cars, pricey watches, and McMansions, we would never exert ourselves trying to attain such things.