Cognition Essential Reads

Our Top-Down Brains and How They Help Us Adapt to the World

What you see is often not a matter of the stimuli that are in front of you, but a matter of your expectations. The “affair of the dress,” and whether you see it as white-gold or blue-black is just another example of our top-down brains.

Social Intelligence and Nonverbal Communications

By Joe Navarro M.A. on February 27, 2015 in Spycatcher
Why exercising social intelligence matters and why it can dominate a news cycle

Born to Gossip

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Talking Apes
Since our brains are finely tuned for coordinating our relationships with others, it’s not surprising that language is structured to convey social information.

Think You Can't Get Drunk on Soda Water? Think Again.

Don't blame it on the alcohol! Blame it on your expectations about drinking.

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Animals and Us
From an evolutionary point of view, the enjoyment of pain would seem to be maladaptive. Is there an animal analog of finding sexual satisfaction in being whipped, poked with needles, or having hot wax dripped on your skin?

Online Dating: The Dark Side

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Love, Digitally
These people use devious psychological ploys. Have you ever been suspicious about an online relationship?

What Do Scientists Know About Finding a Purpose in Life?

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Curious?
Providing information on the science of a purpose in life. heavy, beautiful, and of paramount importance

A+ Students/C- Learners: Education’s Report Card

By APA Division 15 on February 24, 2015 in PsychEd
Today’s educational system is contributing to an undesirable and unanticipated problem—the production of many achievement-oriented, high-performing students who are, at best, mediocre learners. This is a bold and controversial claim that demands substantiation. beginning with what distinguishes good students from good learners.

How Technology is Tricking You Into Tipping More

By Nir Eyal on February 23, 2015 in Automatic You
Digital payment systems use subtle tactics to increase tips, and while it’s certainly good for hard-working service workers, it may not be so good for your wallet. Here's the hidden psychology of why you unconsciously pay more.

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat. Here are eight negative attitudes of chronically unhappy people...

Mindfulness for Chronic Pain

By Michael Hogan Ph.D on February 20, 2015 in In One Lifespan
There is a strong emerging body of evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches for a range of difficulties, including chronic pain. We tried to take mindfulness for chonic pain online. We called our programme Mindfulness in Action (MIA). The results of our MIA trial were interesting.

Flapping Tongues and Brawny Brains

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 20, 2015 in Talking Apes
Lifelong bilingualism is one source of cognitive reserve, but there are plenty of options for monolinguals, too.

An Ode to Common Core Kindergarten Standards

There is much wrong with American kindergartens—but Common Core State Standards are not to blame. If interpreted correctly, Common Core standards for literacy enable us to help enhance the kindergarten experience for all kindergarten children—from the underprepared to the most gifted and advanced.

How Old Is Language?

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in Language in the Mind
Can the time-depth of language be uncovered without a time-machine? Recent evidence, ranging from genetic dating, to new archaeological finds, is transforming what we know about language's vintage.

Hyper-Mentalism, Hyper-Empathizing, and Supernatural Belief

Researchers reveal that the predictions of the diametric model are fulfilled where supernatural beliefs of various kinds are concerned.

Conflicting Goals Can Make You a Better Decision Maker

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
We tend to think of conflict as the enemy of good decision making. But, it turns out that when people have two conflicting goals that they are grappling with, they are likely to think carefully about choices in order to resolve the conflict.

Are Humans Unique?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
The argument for human uniqueness is of mostly historical interest. As we gained more understanding of animal behavior, we learned that their psychology has more in common with us than had been imagined previously.

Can Daily Hugs Help Prevent Common Colds?

By Sian Beilock Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in Choke
Life can be stressful. Whether its dealing with tension at work or at home, many of us often feel under the gun. As it happens, when we are stressed out by those around us, we are more likely to get sick when exposed to a cold. So, what can be done to buffer ourselves from illness in times of stress? On answer might surprise you: daily hugs.

Moving Toward Compassion in the Psychological Sciences

By Steven C. Hayes Ph.D. on February 17, 2015 in Get Out of Your Mind
We practice a kind of hypocrisy in the behavioral health area that’s not only embarrassing but counterproductive.

Can Dogs Recognize Emotions Just by Looking at a Human Face?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 17, 2015 in Canine Corner
New data shows that dogs need only a glimpse of your mouth or your eyes to determine whether you are happy or angry.

Why We Remember What We Want to Remember

When public figures erroneously report on events that didn’t actually happen in their lives, the whole world knows about it. However, false memories are a common occurrence in everyone’s day-to-day thinking. Remembering what you want to remember may be more a matter of identity than of failing memory.

Flow and Happiness

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in One Among Many
What is the relationship between the state of ‘flow’ and happiness? I suggest here that flow is beneficial but limited in scope because it is bound up with work and expertise.

7 Bad Ways To Quit If You Want A Fresh Start

By Peg Streep on February 16, 2015 in Tech Support
When you leave a situation, a job, or a relationship, what's your quitting style? You will want to avoid all seven of these for sure......

10 Ways to Tell How Realistic You are about Love

We all hold beliefs about love and the importance it have for our happiness. This 10-item scale will tell you how realistic or unrealistic you are about what to expect from your closest romantic partners, how responsible you are for other people's happiness, and whether you're driven by the need for approval.

The Role of Sleep in our Lives

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Sleep Newzzz
Many scientists studying sleep and dreams believe that dreaming does have a purpose.

Fifty Shades of Grue

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Talking Apes
Language doesn’t bind us to a particular world view, but it does dominate the way we perceive and think about our experiences.

Thirst Responders

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in In Excess
Most people have probably heard of ‘binge drinking’ and ‘binge eating’. But what about binge gambling? Binge gambling shares many similarities with other binge behaviours including loss of control, salience, mood modification, conflict, withdrawal symptoms, denial, etc. This blog looks at an interesting case study of binge gambling

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
I have written a few times about the influence of sleep on thinking. High school students who stay up late perform more poorly in school the following day. A lack of sleep may cause you to mix together different memories that did not occur together. In young adults, sleep also affects the ability to learn new procedures.

Psychological Strength Research That Everybody Needs to Know

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in Curious?
New research puts two psychological treatments of depression to the test. Should we choose a treatment that capitalizes on people's strengths or one that compensates for their deficits and weaknesses? Both make sense. The beauty of science is that we can compare these approaches. Find out the results.

The Silver Lining Around Fearful Living

By Liane Gabora Ph.D. on February 07, 2015 in Mindbloggling
One good thing about fear, other than it stops you from doing stupid, dangerous stuff, is that can hold you back from learning the facts inside out, which may help keep that creatively inspiring sense of wonder and possibility alive.