The Impact of Vocational Interests on Life

There are many characteristics of people that affect the choices they make in life. We often focus on personality traits. But what about interests in work?

Keeping Secrets Is Bad for You. This Is Why.

It seems obvious that keeping secrets is bad for you. It may also seem obvious why secrets are bad for your well-being. You're probably wrong about that.

Self-Concept Influences the Tendency To Network

The phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters” has become a cliché, because it is true. What affects people's tendency to build their network?

Humor Sometimes Makes Stressful Situations Better

Jokes and witty conversation can make you feel closer to the people around you. Is this how humor helps with stress?

Moral Beliefs Affect Liking for Other Groups

It is unsurprising that we like people who believe what we do. Does any difference in moral values decrease how much time we want to spend with them?

Seeing Things from Another's Perspective Creates Empathy

Often, when you have a difference in opinion with someone else, you are encouraged to “see the world from their perspective.” What does that mean?

Portion Sizes and Sugary Drinks

There is a growing consensus that high doses of sugar can cause serious health problems. Can policies aimed to curb consumption of sugary drinks actually work?

Anger and Disgust at Moral Violations

When people respond to immoral acts, they often respond with anger or disgust. Does that mean that these two emotions are really two sides of the same coin?

Do Collisions Make Young Drivers Safer?

I have three kids, and over the years, I have seen each of them get a driver’s license and go out on their own. I worried when they took off in their cars.

Why Do People Still Think Pluto Is a Planet?

When I was growing up, the list of planets in our solar system included a small planet far from the Sun called Pluto. Then, things changed.

Familiar Stories Are Often Liked Better than New Ones

Blockbuster season at the movies is upon us again. And when we look at the slate of movies coming out, there is the usual collection of sequels.

Helping Other People With Their Problems Helps You Too

When you experience sadness, anxiety, or depression, it is helpful to reach out to other people for help. Why does this help?

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.

Pages