If you do something wrong that hurts someone else, you feel guilty. Guilt is a valuable emotion, because it helps to maintain your ties to the people in your community. It provides a painful consequence for actions that would weaken the groups that you belong to.
It is tempting to think of our eyes as video cameras that take in information about the world and try to give us a reasonably accurate picture of what is going on in the outside world. The reality is that what we see relates to what we can do.
We’re approaching the playoffs in hockey and basketball. An exciting win by a team creates a lot of excitement, and in that excitement people often engage in behaviors that carry some risk. What factors promote this kind of risky behavior?
In any group, some people emerge as the leaders. Those leaders have high status within the group, because others end up following what they decide. What factors determine whether people want leadership roles?
Philosophers and observers of human behavior have noticed that people often make moral claims that they cannot live up to. But, people's behavior often does not live up to these standards. These observations have spurred a number of lines of psychological research.
Forgiveness can be difficult. When someone does something wrong to you, it often takes time and effort to get beyond what they did and to forgive. A common observation, though, is that older people (in their 70s and 80s) are much more forgiving than young and middle-aged adults.
I’m sure that you have had the experience of hopping into the grocery store when you are hungry. As you walk through the aisles, all kinds of snacks and chips seem to leap from the shelves into your cart. Why does this happen?
Often, I hear people repeat the phrase, “Life is a journey, you have to enjoy the ride.” If you want to set up your life so that you can enjoy as many of the moments as possible, though, are there particular experiences you ought to strive for?
In many first-world countries like the United States, only a fraction of the eligible voters actually vote. That means that we could speculate about what would happen if all of the available voters turned out for an election. How do voters think elections would change if everyone voted?
Parents try to treat their children fairly. Employers keep their employees happy by making everyone feel like the work setting is fair. So, how do we decide what is fair? It depends on who's in charge.
As a college professor, I see differences among students in their amount of procrastination all the time. Some students get things done early, while others wait for the last minute. What causes these differences in procrastination?
In all of the current political campaigning, none of the politicians are avowed atheists. There is a range of religious affiliations among candidates, but none of them claim to have no belief in God at all. New research suggests that people are prejudiced against atheists, because they find them untrustworthy.
Ulterior Motives is about the interface between motivation and thinking. Your goals have a huge influence on your behavior. The active goals that you have also influence your emotions, which in turn affect your preferences and thinking. The beauty of this set of topics is that it ultimately covers just about every area within cognitive science.