My Speech at the Austin March for Science

On April 22, 2017, Marches for Science were held all over the United States. I was given the chance to speak at the march that was held in Austin, Texas. Here are my remarks.

Note to Self: It Is Easiest to Avoid Abstract Temptations

Which would you rather have, a dessert or a mouthwatering warm chocolate chip cookie?

People Know Their Errors in Duration Estimates

There are many situations in which we must learn to respond at a particular time. What information does the brain have to make this happen?

To Reach Your Goals, Like What You Do

One of the hardest tradeoffs for people to make is between what they desire to do in the short-term versus what they want for themselves in the long-term.

What Happens When You Lie by Telling the Truth?

Deception is a common activity among people. There are many ways to do it, and they have different influences on ourselves and other people.

Cracking a Joke At Work Can Have a Surprising Payoff

Humor is common in the workplace. Does it make help people to achieve their goals at work?

Lack of Sleep Leads to Harsher Punishments

There are lots of benefits for getting good sleep. How does it affect the way you judge other people?

Pleasurable Activities Can Reduce Fear After Disasters

Although disasters are common (there are about 650 reported disasters a year), there is little research on how people deal psychologically with disasters they experience.

Status in a Group Affects Generosity Toward the Group

Groups of people naturally form groups that have status hierarchies. How does someone's status affect their generosity toward other group members?

People Mistrust Science in General, But Not Specific Studies

This has been a difficult era for science in the public eye. How does the uncertainty of science affect people's trust in it?

How Do You Decide Things Are Getting Worse?

Lots of things in life happen in sequences. How much evidence do you need to decide that something fundamental has changed?

Foreign Travel Can Lead To Immoral Behavior

In previous blog entries, I have talked about research suggesting that there is a positive impact of foreign travel. There may be a downside as well.

Specific Anchors Are Sometimes Good When Negotiating

One of the biggest cognitive influences on any negotiation is the anchor. Some research suggests that specific anchors can benefit sellers in negotiations. Is that always true?

Brain Training Is a Good Idea That Didn’t Work

It is hard to create practical applications of any science, and psychology is no exception. Working memory training is a great example of a good idea that did not pan out.

When Do You Regret Actions and Inactions?

There is a tendency for people to regret actions they take that lead to bad outcomes rather than the actions they have not taken. Does that always happen?

Your Confidence in Knowledge Depends on What Experts Know

You have lots of beliefs about the way the world works. How do you assess your confidence in what you understand?

New Evidence Suggests Men Are Not Better Map Readers

There are remarkably few stable sex differences in cognitive abilities. One ability that has shown consistent sex differences, though, involves spatial perspective taking.

How Do People Explain Puzzling Behaviors?

Suppose you see somebody do something odd. How do you explain what they just did? A new paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin answers that question.

How Sleep Enhances Studying

Research suggests that spreading your study time out helps you learn. Studies also suggest that sleep helps you learn. A new study explores what happens when you combine the two.

The Value of Proper Police Lineup Procedures

Police lineup procedure has been influenced by psychological research. One thing the police do is to minimize the effects of distinctive features of faces. Here's why they do that.

New Data Confirms Increased Political Polarization

As the Presidential election in the US approaches, it is interesting to think about how political affiliation works.

Should You Play Brain Games?

Brain games are marketed as a way to improve general mental agility. A new analysis explores the (shaky) evidence for this claim.

Why Some People Blame the Victims of Crime

There are many situations in which people blame the victims of crimes for what happened to them. Are there factors that predict when this happens?

Kids Learn That Robots Are Not Just Things

One of the most complicated tasks children have to perform is learning about the types of objects in their world. Robots are a particularly complicated kind of object.

People Think Popular Actions Are the Right Actions

How do people figure out what they should be doing? New research explores the relationship between the way you explain things and your ethical judgments.

Video Game Play Benefits Coordination

Over the years, I have written a lot about both the potential dangers and benefits of playing video games. Does game play benefit coordination?

Kids, Chimps, and Cooperation

People are pretty good at sharing when they are cooperating. When does that ability develop? Is it uniquely human?

Talent Matters for Excellence

When looking at the performance of a world-class performer like Usain Bolt, it is easy to ask about the role of talent in highly skilled performance.

This Is the Secret to Getting Anything Done

We've all had the experience of intending to do something and then forgetting when the time comes to do it. This happens because you are not reminded to perform the action.

Specific Commitments Can Change Behavior

Psychology has learned a lot in experimental studies about how to change behavior. Will that work in the real world?