There is no doubt that humans are special among all of the animals on Earth. Although, we are special, we are also members of the animal kingdom. Yet, language distorts the relationship between humans and the rest of the animals.
Narcissists are people who dream big. They generally think of themselves as being more intelligent and exceptional than they are. Because of their high levels of self-confidence, they are also tapped to be leaders in many situations. So, should we just let the narcissists take over?
Psychology research has the power to change the world. But the quality of the recommendations we draw from the research is only as good as the data on which those recommendations are based. So, it is worth looking under the hood on research a bit and thinking about some of the weaknesses in the way that data are collected.
We all need to make plans for the future, and many of those plans involve estimating time. One factor that may influence your judgments of the amount of time a project will take is the amount of time before you start.
There are two kinds of dieters in this world. Those who see a piece of chocolate cake as a monumental hurdle to be overcome, and those who see that same piece of chocolate cake as a reminder that they are on a diet. How can you turn yourself into the second kind of person?
We like to think we have a tremendous amount of control over our own behavior. Yet, our habits have a huge influence on the way we act. In general, we like to do what we did last time in the same context.
When you're at a party and you meet new people, you'd like to have some way to get to know about them quickly. Finding out about their musical taste is helpful. When you discover that you share musical taste with someone, it increases how much you like them.
When people are part of a group, they often have to work together toward a common goal. How do you motivate everyone in the group to work toward the goal? How does the strength of people's identity as a group member affect their motivation?
There are many products that aim to protect us in various ways. Despite the best intentions of these products, though, they sometimes fail. How can we minimize the strength of the betrayal we feel when protections backfire?
When you wander through the grocery store, there are lots of products that tie themselves to social causes. The idea is that everybody wins--the company, the charity, and the purchaser. It may not work out that well for the charity, though.
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.