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 Conspiracy Effect

Why exposure to popular conspiracy theories can make you less pro-social

Recent Posts on Cognition

The Traumatized Brain

A new blog about brain injury from the authors of the upcoming book, The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury.

3 Ways to Boost Your Mental Strength

If you want a strong mind, you need to exercise it daily.

What Is Love?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on August 31, 2015 in Hot Thought
The best way to state the nature of love is to identify standard examples, typical features, and explanatory roles. Love is an emotion consisting of patterns of neural firing that represent a lover, a loved one, intense feelings, and caring behavior, all tied to chemical changes in the brain.

Innovators: Beware the Hindsight Bias

By Drew Boyd on August 30, 2015 in Inside the Box
Hindsight bias, also known as the “knew-it-all-along effect”, is the inclination to see events that have already occurred as being more predictable than they were before they took place. Hindsight bias causes you to view events as more predictable than they really are. After an event, people often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually happened.

Rise of the Machine Empaths

By Maureen Seaberg on August 30, 2015 in Sensorium
Catherine Johnston, 24, has a rare form of mirror-touch synesthesia which extends to machines.

The Psychology of Physics

By Mario D Garrett PhD on August 29, 2015 in iAge
Perhaps Classical Mechanics was more a Treatise on Psychology rather than Physics

Solving Problems in Your Dreams

By Kristian Marlow on August 29, 2015 in The Superhuman Mind
Combine your next all-nighter with meaningful rest through lucid dreaming.

The Sweetness of September

By Rictor Noren on August 29, 2015 in Music Maker
John Field guides us gently through this change of seasons, and invites us into a deeper conversation with ourselves.

Who's More Rational, Human Animals or NON-human Animals?

By David Ropeik on August 28, 2015 in How Risky Is It, Really?
Discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion, and about human cognition, are challenging our views of which species on the Tree of Life are more rational.

Murder and the Digital Self

By Ian H. Robertson Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in The Winner Effect
Social media have changed us into directors of scripts of our own lives. This creates a detachment and possibly a change in "self", making us spectators and would-be journalists who act out our scripted fantasies, which in some tragic cases such as the Virginia live TV shootings, include murder.

The Superhuman Athlete

Find out how Olga Kotelko stays fit physically and mentally at the age of 95.

Between the World and Me: Walk a Mile in Someone’s Shoes

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
To understand someone else, the advice is to walk a mile in that person’s shoes. Putting on shoes isn’t the way into another person’s existence. I need to get inside that person’s experiences. But how can I walk a mile inside someone else’s skin? I know one way to move inside someone’s experience – and it isn’t by putting on shoes.

Does Anticipating Temptation Help You Resist Temptation?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
In Smart Change, I talk about the importance of planning for temptations. The idea is that temptations are hard to deal with in the moment, because they suggest something that would feel good to do right now. Those temptations can capture your motivational system and drive you to do something that is not in your long-term best interests.

Why Are Today’s College Students So Emotionally Fragile?

Brain research reveals why controlling parents stunt their children's growth.

Language Learning in a Multilingual Country

What is everyday interaction like in communities where everyone speaks several languages? What language learning strategies do they use? What assumptions do they make about language learning? Dr. Leslie C. Moore answers questions about the two multilingual communities in northern Cameroon where she did her research and about her own language learning in the field.

Why Does Physical Activity Improve Cognitive Flexibility?

By Christopher Bergland on August 25, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
People who are physically active tend be better at thinking outside the box. Why is this? New research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers some valuable clues.

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

New data shows that dogs, like young human children, continually watch the social interactions going on around them and use information from what they observe to decide who to avoid in the future.

Making New Friends at School

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on August 25, 2015 in Once Upon a Child
One friend can’t be expected to match a child’s friendship needs at all levels, so they may have one friend that is mostly companionship, another for intimacy and another for silly games. So that’s the nature side of making new friends; what of the nurture side?

We Are All Fallible Experts

Our ability to abstract, infer, and categorize is a gift. But it's also the root of prejudice and stereotyping.

Why America Can’t Read

Advanced research in cognitive science including brain scan science is demonstrating that explicit spelling instruction may be the missing link to reading success in America where sixty-five percent of fourth graders read below proficiency levels.

LSD, Suggestibility, and Personality Change

A recent study found that LSD increases suggestibility. Research suggests that psychedelic drug use can increase openness to unusual ideas, such as spiritual and paranormal beliefs, in the long-term. Could this be be due to a long-lasting increase in suggestibility and related personality traits?

The Superhuman Mind

It is possible to acquire extraordinary cognitive skills after brain injury. But it is, of course, unwise to bang your head against a wall and hope you do it the right way and become a genius. But there are other shortcuts to develop extraordinary skills without engaging in any kind of wild and risky behaviors.

Psychotherapy as a Learning Experience

Therapy is a learning experience. Perhaps findings from the neuroscience of learning and memory can suggest ways to improve the storage of memories that are formed during a therapy session.

Open the Windows!

Fresh from Nature air is good for body and mind.

The Gorilla in the Concert Hall

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Talking Apes
Inattentional deafness can have serious real life—as well as life and death—consequences.

The Conspiracy Effect

Can merely being exposed to popular conspiracy theories make you less pro-social?

Can a Building Make You Sad?

By Colin Ellard Ph.D. on August 22, 2015 in Mind Wandering
Time worn principles in architecture suggest that we might like buildings that mirror the proportions and harmonies of the human form. But what about faces? New research shows how computer analysis of building facades might be used to show how face-like images on the surfaces of buildings affect our emotions.

Poison Apple: Technology Fads Make Your Kids Dumber

Students have confused the ability to look up a fact with actual knowledge.They can Google the who, what, and when, but can't explain "why."

The Psychology of Dual Enrollment: The K14 Model

Dual enrollment offers a pathway that enables high school students to concurrently enroll in college courses and earn credits toward high school diploma and a college degree. This is a breakthrough strategy and a must read in order to have the full perspective!

Can You Escape Bias?

Is is possible to be completely bias free? Even with the best of intentions, the forces of social conditioning can interfere with our perceptions and constructions of one another. Have you ever misjudged someone, or been on the receiving end of wrong assumptions? How can we overcome these limiting tendencies in favor of embracing and appreciating our many dimensions?