Cognition Essential Reads

Race as a Social Construction

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in Without Prejudice
With the release of an autobiography by the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, a biracial South African man, there are renewed questions about how we categorize people into racial groups.

New Evidence Suggests Men Are Not Better Map Readers

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 30, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
There are remarkably few stable sex differences in cognitive abilities. One ability that has shown consistent sex differences, though, involves spatial perspective taking.

Where Does Our Moral Sense Come From?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in Talking Apes
Our intuitive morality may have been shaped not by the day-to-day dilemmas we face but rather by the opinions of others.

Improving the Experience of Online Education

By Andy Tix Ph.D. on November 28, 2016 in The Pursuit of Peace
Can online courses provide the kind of experience crucial for students to develop critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity? New research suggests the answer is "yes."

Stress Can Do This Strangely Positive Thing to You

By Ian H. Robertson Ph.D. on November 28, 2016 in The Stress Test
Is there an upside to stress?

4 Different Ways to Think of Retirement

Each perspective on retirement provides unique & useful psychological insights and practical guidance.

Can People Overcome Their Implicit Biases?

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence probably underestimates the pervasiveness and the near inevitability of implicit bias.

Parenting Matters, Especially for “Difficult” Kids

By David Rettew M.D. on November 25, 2016 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
No pressure, but a new study indicates that parenting behaviors matter most for temperamentally challenging kids.

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 24, 2016 in Canine Corner
The dog's tail is not simply a signal flag conveying his mood. It has some other important purposes.

These Dishes Didn’t Wash Themselves

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in Mental Mishaps
Does anyone ever notice the work you do? Think about your unnoticed housework. All of those dishes washed and all of that laundry folded. Will anyone ever notice?

Prehistoric Languages… and Prehistoric Minds? Part II

The linguistic mind of our great, great [...] great grandparents

A Brief History of Fake News

By William Poundstone on November 22, 2016 in Head in the Cloud
Mark Zuckerberg wants to get fake news off Facebook, but it won't be easy. "Obviously a joke" is in the eye of the beholder.

What Factors Go Into the Development of Expertise?

Here's where the science of expertise is to date.

What Is Different in the Bilingual Brain? Part II

By Francois Grosjean Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in Life as a Bilingual
Recent research has shown that the bilingual brain uses the same neural structures and resources as the monolingual brain but in different ways. A specialist continues explaining.

Prehistoric Languages and Prehistoric Minds, Part 1

New research provides a deeper understanding of the languages of our great great great [...] grandparents.

Do We Interpret Dog and Human Emotions in the Same Way?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 17, 2016 in Canine Corner
Recent data answers the question of whether the brain processes emotional expressions of humans and dogs in the same way.

Rhetoric, Violence, and Redemption

Social pain—rejection, shame, disrespect—resonates in the "pain center" of the brain, impairing cognitive capacities. This opens the door for violent responses to Trump's rhetoric.

A Coffee Maker or a Time Machine?

Recent studies on memory explain why spontaneous involuntary memories of our past are more vivid and emotionally intense than the memories we access intentionally.

Why We Like Online Shopping, and Delayed Gratification

Need it, find it, buy it (and then wait for it in the mail) actually makes for an enjoyable experience, and the perfect return shopper, according to delayed gratification.

How Hamilton, Ross, and Resilient Children are Alike

Turmoil in politics can be stressful. We look at examples of how people have moved ahead despite major challenges.

Daily Physical Activity Boosts Brain Power and Self-Control

By Christopher Bergland on November 14, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Physical activity has the power to boost your brain power and increase your self-control, according to a new study.

How Not to Believe

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on November 13, 2016 in One Among Many
The Mandela effect says that if many (how many?) ‘remember’ that the great man died in prison, then it was so, if only in a parallel universe. I consider this dangerous nonsense.

The Perils of a Life in Isolation

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on November 12, 2016 in Out of the Ooze
When we experience social isolation, the lack of emotional support and comradeship can increase our anxiety and hinder our ability to cope with unusual sensory information.

Four Words Americans Don't Understand

By William Poundstone on November 11, 2016 in Head in the Cloud
Eighty percent of the public hasn't a clue what a PPO is. But there's a way to make health insurance policies simpler.

Fighting Climate Change in a Post-Factual Age

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on November 10, 2016 in Critical Feeling
Climate change is abstract, distant, and easy to deny. But we can fight it if we know how.

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 09, 2016 in Talking Apes
The subjective experience of a self that is independent of the body is compelling, yet difficult for neuroscientists to explain.

How Sleep Enhances Studying

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 07, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
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.

Is There Consciousness in Everything?

A new volume of papers on panpsychism—the view that every physical particle in the universe harbors consciousness—discusses the roots of consciousness.

Adolescence and Creativity

By Albert Rothenberg on November 05, 2016 in Creative Explorations
Although young children are often free and spontaneous and therefore considered to be creative, true creativity begins in adolescence with the structuring of developmental tasks.

Harvard Study Decrypts the Ancient Mystery of Consciousness

By Christopher Bergland on November 05, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
In a groundbreaking new study, neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School may have unearthed the seat of human consciousness.