Essential Reads

Murder and the Digital Self

Social media have changed us into directors of scripts of our own lives

Does Anticipating Temptation Help You Resist Temptation?

Sometimes, thinking about ethical temptations in advance helps.

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

Dogs don't like people who are unhelpful or uncooperative to their loved ones

The Surprising Power of Conspiracy Theories

New research shows how conspiracy theories take hold, and refuse to let go.

Recent Posts on Cognition

Can Drinking Make Men Smarter?

On April 11, 2012, the New York Daily News published an article titled Beer Makes Men Smarter, which got a lot of attention. Is that really true?

Do Happy, Healthy Brains Need Meat?

By Drew Ramsey M.D. on May 10, 2012 in The Farmacy
If the human brain requires animal nutrients for healthy functioning, how can it be ethical to deprive the brain of what nature says it needs?

Fraud, Disclosure, and Degrees of Freedom in Science

The problem of fraud in science is much broader than the few cases of deliberate, large-scale fraud might suggest. Recently cases of deliberate fraud have been uncovered in the study of primate cognition (Harvard), the health benefits of resveratrol (U Conn), and numerous social psychology findings (Tilburg U, Netherlands).

Time to Cover Your Clocks

Plain old linear time has its usefulness, but reinventing time can help you find the endless time of a flow state.

Your Mind at Rest

When you close your eyes and let your mind wander, where does it go? Could depression be a disorder of excessive mind-wandering?

The Cognitive Consequences of My Sister’s Cardiac Arrest

My younger sister had a cardiac arrest four years ago, when she was almost 14. She has had to deal with decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, and emotional trauma. This is her story.

Two Key Steps To Finding Happiness

Years ago, I had a client who struggled with being overweight. Sally felt fat, unattractive, and hopeless.

The Geography of Learning: How Culture Shapes Memory

Study shows cultural attitudes can shape what people learn. Asians remember the forest, Americans and Europeans remember the trees.

It’s All About Me! Recovery for Adult Children of Narcissist

If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother!” I guess this quote came from Freud, the father of psychology? Well, that could bring a whole bag of analysis and interpretation, but what’s really significant for adult children of narcissistic parents is to embrace self-recovery.

Animal Consciousness and Science Matter

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 07, 2012 in Animal Emotions
A new book encourages skepticism and agnosticism on animal consciousness and mistakenly claims that anthropomorphism is anti-science. Anthropomorphism is not the only argument for animal consciousness. Science has shown that many other animals are sentient and conscious beings and this must be factored into continued efforts to protect them from harm.

Finding a Good Psychotherapist

How to find the best psychotherapist for you.

Can Sipping Water Make You Smarter?

In a new study, undergrads who brought water with them to exams outperformed those who didn’t—but why? There are at least three possible explanations.

"What Do You Mean... Human?"

Does a dissolution of all desires make a person more than, or merely other than, human? And what would happiness be without the pursuit?

Does Gender Matter in the Addicted Brain’s Response to Stress?

Current research indicates that a person goes through three phases when developing a drug addiction and that particular brain regions are associated with each phase.

Why Are We so Obsessed With Improving IQ?

Does knowing your IQ really matter? A response to David Hambrick's New York Times opinion piece, "I.Q. Points for Sale, Cheap."

It’s Smart to Sleep

The second best thing parents can do to promote brain health in children is to speak to them about healthy eating, exercise, and sleeping. The best thing parents can do is set healthy examples for children to follow.

Where Do You Fall on the Burnout Continuum?

All too often, burnout victims don't see it coming until it's too late, but it doesn't have to get to that point. If you identify signs of burnout early enough, you can reverse the downward spiral. So the question is: where do you fall on the burnout continuum?

The Good, the Bad and the Addicted: Addiction and Normality

Addictive behavior is a pretty good social adhesive until it is not. Can't live with it and can't live without it.

Killing and the Vicious Imagination

Is Bales a “bad apple” or a prisoner of a system that encourages vicious imagination?

Refreshment From Freud's Faucet

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on May 05, 2012 in Evil Deeds
Sigmund Freud's "psychoanalysis" is the seminal fount (or faucet) from which all forms of contemporary psychotherapy more or less flow. Sunday, May 6, is his birthday.

Get Ready for the Real Battle of the Sexes

Henry Kissinger once said "Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy." That may be true, but in the meantime, this 16-item psychological Battle of the Sexes quiz can give you some ammunition of your own.

Making Sense of Wason

The Wason Selection Task has been claimed to prove the existence of a cheat-detection module in the human mind, but parallel mentalistic and mechanistic modes of cognition explain the findings better.

The Rise of the PhDiva

Why has the choice for women been between books or looks? Some women like sparkles, and still possess an IQ that dazzles. The feminist movement has too often been focused on men. The time for women to set the agenda has been long overdue. Welcome, the PhDiva.

Will a New Bed Cure My Insomnia?

How to tell whether changes to your environment may or may not help you sleep better.

Emotion Is Reversed in Left-Handers' Brains

The way we use our hands may determine how emotions are organized in our brains. Discovery that approach motivation reverses hemispheres between right-and left-handers may lead to safer neural therapies for depression.

Baboons Distinguish Real Words From Nonsense Words

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 03, 2012 in Animal Emotions
Non-reading baboons can learn to distinguish written real words from nonsense words. Recognizing visual word forms is a key component of literacy and these data provide the first animal model. Once again, we learn that we are not alone in demonstrating some fascinating and sophisticated cognitive skills.

Talking to Yourself As Opposed to Hearing Voices

Anxiety is a mishmash of physiological reactions, catastrophic thoughts and behaviors. Like salivation, it prepares us to do something. Fear persists as long as we try to escape from the fear physically or otherwise. Only by truly giving up and relinquishing control does the fear decrease.

Intellect and Intelligence

In those long ago days just after World War II, when reading Psychology at the University of London, it was constantly stressed that Intellect and Intelligence should not be seen as synonymous terms—even though their symbiotic relationship in consciousness must be recognized.

Wolves, Dogs and People: Is It Time to Reassess Our Beliefs About Attachment?

An important difference between dogs and wolves in how they relate to humans has been demonstrated to be the result of genetics rather than life experience.

What Brain Science Can Teach You About Sex

This post is an introduction to a succession of posts I’ll be doing that explore the latest findings on human sexual desire. In particular, the series will focus on the various brain cues that fire the erotic imagination of males and females, regardless of . . .