Essential Reads

Forgetting Apple’s Logo: Why We Forget What We Often See

Things we see constantly can be easily forgotten because we see them so often.

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

What the gold-white, blue-black dress debate reveals about how our brains work

Why We Hate It When People Invade Our Space

John Travolta and Joe Biden put it in the news, but it's an everyday problem.

Why You Were Born to Gossip

According to one theory, everything we say takes the form of gossip.

Recent Posts on Cognition

Why Machines May Be The Best Therapists

Research shows that robots elicit more accurate memories than people, suggesting that machines could have a big future in psychotherapy—especially with psychotics.

Relationship Feng Shui: 3 Ways to Remove Negative Energy

Ever wonder why you turn people off? Or why someone you know is so hard to be around?

The Incredibly Heavy Burden of Guilt

By Travis J. Carter Ph.D. on February 22, 2013 in Make Up Your Mind
There's been a lot of work showing, incredibly, that some of the metaphors linking physical states to mental states, like physical warmth translating into social warmth, might literally be true. A new paper expands on this, showing that a sense of physical heaviness is related to feelings of guilt, but more importantly, it seems to show why.

More Noise, More Hearing Loss, More Isolation

By Katherine Bouton on February 22, 2013 in What I Hear
What happened to me, and why it may happen to you.

Strategies to Strengthen Executive Function

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on February 22, 2013 in Don't Delay
A reader of my last post agreed with the points made about self-regulation failure, but noted, “when the [procrastination] habit has been 'cemented,' things are not so simple.” Another reader wrote, “Please tell more about how self-regulatory skills can be learned.” Here are some research-based strategies to strengthen executive function.

Young and Old Alike Show Less Empathy Than the Middle-Aged

By Robin Marantz Henig on February 22, 2013 in Cusp
I'm always made uncomfortable by studies that assert that Millennials are the most narcissitic generation in history. To me, being young has always meant being self-absorbed; in many ways, that's what youth is for. But a new study that reaches a similar conclusion is less offensive, since it's not just the very young who are self-absorbed; the very old are, too.

Branding Conservatives

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 21, 2013 in One Among Many
Are conservatives afraid to try new consumer products? Why knows (cares?). Are liberals prone to statistical illusions? Here’s a case of 1.

How Is Doing a Crossword Puzzle Like Changing a Habit?

By Meg Selig on February 21, 2013 in Changepower
Want to change a habit? Here are 7 ways crossword puzzles can help.

Where Does Your Hope Come From?

By Shane J. Lopez Ph.D. on February 21, 2013 in Making Hope Happen
Where does your hope come from? Take this simple test to find out now.

Money Will Buy You Health Care—It Won't Buy You Health

For our health care system to start to work we need new definitions of health.

On Laughter and Tears

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on February 20, 2013 in Time Out
You cry at happy weddings and sad movies…is that what makes you human?

Conservatism as Disease

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 20, 2013 in One Among Many
From the cutting edge: Conservatives prefer familiar brands over generic or novel products. The finding says more about the state of psychological science than the state of the union.

Headline Today: Misleading Reports Lead to ADHD Confusion

Skewed ADHD coverage undermines care and amplifies the difficulties for parents. There is much to refine about how best to diagnose and treat ADHD, and about the potential for medication misuse. Yet we leave families hanging when we falsely suggest ADHD is an artifact of a busy society, caused by parents, or that treatment is always ineffective or unsafe.

3 Tips on Moving From Fear to Faith

Can you push through your fear and move forward with faith?

Positive Fantasies Can Reduce Future Effort

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 20, 2013 in Ulterior Motives
It is important to visualize what is going to happen in the future. When you are making plans to accomplish a goal, it is valuable to think through all of the things that can go wrong. That simulation of the future can help you to figure out what you are going to do to overcome the obstacles that may keep you from achieving your aims.

Alternatives: Moderate Drinking Treatment Hits Los Angeles

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on February 19, 2013 in All About Addiction
Nearly all addiction treatment in the U.S. is abstinence-based even though abstinence is the least likely outcome for people suffering with substance-related problems. Is it any wonder that 90% of people who experience problems don't even seek treatment and that those who do perform so poorly? It's time we treated the actual problem in front of us.

What Should We Mean When We Say "Universal"?

By Jesse Marczyk on February 19, 2013 in Pop Psych
Socially strategic semantic disagreements with implications for our view of human nature.

5 Success Tips for Anxious or Sensitive Entrepreneurs

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on February 19, 2013 in In Practice
How to succeed at entrepreneurship if you're prone to anxiety or sensitivity.

Can Big Science Figure Out Consciousness?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on February 18, 2013 in Saving Normal
President Obama multibillion dollar 'decade of the brain' will discover a lot, but don't expect it to solve the mysteries of consciousness or find the cause of schizophrenia.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 3)

By Michael Jawer on February 18, 2013 in Feeling Too Much
Beyond the dissociative form of PTSD is a strange condition known as alexithymia. This term describes people who seem not to understand that they even have feelings.

Three Treatment Issues When you have OCD and Social Anxiety

By Dr. Barbara Markway Ph.D. on February 18, 2013 in Shyness Is Nice
OCD can complicate treatment for social anxiety, but it needn't derail it. Here are three key issues to address.

Are We About to Map the Entire Human Brain?

By Bruce Poulsen Ph.D. on February 18, 2013 in Reality Play
The Obama administration is about to announce a 10-year scientific project to map the human brain. The proposal, which may be announced as early as March, will include efforts to map the functions and activities of the billions of neurons in the human brain, much like the Human Genome Project.

Giftedness: What Are We Testing?

By Tracy P Alloway Ph.D. on February 18, 2013 in Keep It in Mind
A recent article in the NYT on testing for giftedness suggests that the test scores let in the well-prepared students rather than those who are “gifted”. This made me wonder: What are we testing when we test for "giftedness"? Test taking skills or an ability to think creatively and innovatively?

Why do people deny violent media effects?

By Brad J. Bushman Ph.D. on February 18, 2013 in Get Psyched!
Most of us don’t like to admit that the things we enjoy doing might also be bad for us, whether that be playing violent video games or eating chocolate. Although playing a violent video game probably will not turn you into a murderer, research has consistently shown that violent media affect males and females of all ages.

Why Self-Deception Can Be Healthy for You

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on February 18, 2013 in The New Resilience
Some forms of deceiving yourself serve a positive purpose for your life

Read this before paying $100s for neurofeedback therapy

By Christian Jarrett Ph.D on February 18, 2013 in Brain Myths
Looking at the literature there’s good reason to be skeptical about using neurofeedback therapy as a short-cut to elation and enlightenment. Most concerning is the way neurofeedback therapists present their services to the public. They can’t make up their minds whether to clothe themselves in the white coats of science, or to dress in the loose robes of woo.

The Positive Psychology of Kindness

Kindness in words creates confidence." Lao Tzu. Tomorrow is random kindness day. However, kindness should be explicitly taught every day and it should be taught systematically and purposefully consistent with the neuroscience.

How to Ensure You're (Almost) Always Right

By Alex Lickerman M.D. on February 17, 2013 in Happiness in this World
There are numerous cognitive biases that threaten to lead us to incorrect conclusions as we reason our way through problems: confirmation bias (where we selectively pay attention only to evidence that supports our pre-existing beliefs), non-confirmation bias (where we selectively ignore evidence that contradicts our pre-existing beliefs), and belief bias (which predisposes

The One-Question Turing Test

What the Turing test actually assesses is the mentalistic abilities of a machine—and especially its ability to lie.

Are Parents More or Less Susceptible to Catching Colds?

Are parents more prone to catch cold because they are exposed to more viruses from their children, or are they more cold-resistant. Recent research suggests that parents may have a distinct advantage in terms of their health, and here is the explanation.