Essential Reads

Another Flashbulb Memory Bites the Dust

Guest post: I remember 9/11 so clearly in my mind. And so wrongly.

A Simple Way to Stop Relationship Arguments From Spiraling

First thing's first: Are you even fighting about the same thing?

Why Anticipatory Nostalgia Promotes Gratitude

Thinking ahead can transform everyday life into something worth appreciating.

Are You in Cognitive Decline?

When do cognitive abilities peak?

Recent Posts on Cognition

Online Personality Disorders

In my work as a web psychologist, I’m exposed to many different types of user behavior and online decision-making processes. Although each person is different and has an individual style, I have identified six recurring patterns of behavior that I identify as specific “online personality types.” In this piece, I’ll discuss the six pattern types, explain the psychological d

Finding the Truth through Forensic Media Psychology

In years ahead, law schools, schools of psychology, television, media and film, business schools and schools of public policy will offer courses, certificates and degrees in Forensic Media Psychology; a field whose time has arrived.

Cause and Effect in Wine Drinkers’ Health

We think we know what causes what. But research shows we are greatly mistaken, and often confuse correlation with cause.

Dog's Brains Are Tuned to Recognize Human Faces

Recent fMRI data shows that dogs' sensitivity to human faces and expressions may be wired into the canine brain.

How to Avoid Thinking of Oneself as a Victim?

By Sheila Kohler on May 21, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
When my older sister was killed by her husband after a history of battering, I was in a rage. I sat down and wrote a novel in three months. I wrote out of anger and the sense that my sister had been a victim, an innocent, martyred woman, the mother of six small children, whose husband had killed her by driving a car off the road on a dry night no other car in sight.

VA Emails Discuss How to Handle "Problem" Vet

By Eric Newhouse on May 20, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Ever wonder what the VA is saying behind your back? Charles Gatlin did. So he and his wife requested—and received—hundreds of pages of emails that testify to a growing rift between a vet and the agency designated to serve him.

Another Flashbulb Memory Bites the Dust

Guest post by a student who has a memory of September 11th, 2001, that is vivid, clear, and wrong.

A Simple Way to Stop Relationship Arguments From Spiraling

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The most common forms of miscommunication that lead to heated arguments are also the ones we least expect.

Why Anticipatory Nostalgia Promotes Gratitude

By Jaime Kurtz Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Happy Trails
Think ahead—what might you miss as you embark on your summer travels?

Vet Wins Partial Victory on TBI Rating Challenge

By Eric Newhouse on May 19, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
A VA appeals panel has ordered a full neuropsychological workup for a former Army captain, Charles Gatlin, who challenged his TBI disability rating on the grounds that the VA's RBANS screening test wasn't capable of measuring the brain injury he suffered from a car bomb in Iraq. It's a ruling with implications for all vets, but the VA says its policy won't change.

Are You in Cognitive Decline?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
I speak to a lot of corporate audiences. Regardless of the topic I am speaking about, I get a lot of general psychology questions from the crowd. The most popular question is about cognitive performance and aging. People in their 50s and 60s begin to worry that they are not going to be able to keep up mentally with their younger colleagues.

Mental Subtraction: A Simple Trick to Boost Gratitude

Among the stories of tragedy following a plane crash in 2012, was a story of appreciation–a missed connection prevented one man from boarding that plane and when news of the crash aired he broke down, unable to believe how lucky he was. His wife told reporters she couldn't imagine life without him; but, for a few minutes, she had been forced to imagine the unimaginable.

Beliefs About Brain Training: Why They Could Be Hurting Us

Can brain training help or hurt? It may depend on your attitude about what you expect to get out of it.

Give Your Mind a Rest: Practice Not-Thinking

Discursive thinking—the constant stream of one thought following another—is a deeply ingrained habit. It’s so ingrained that we often start thinking just to occupy our minds.

Reading Faces

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 18, 2015 in Talking Apes
The language you speak can influence the way you perceive the emotional expressions of other people.

How Technical Devices Influence Children's Brains

Guest blog by Dan Riseman, president of Riseman Educational Counseling, covers children's brain development. Here are some dos and don'ts regarding devices.

How to Be Empathetic

“All you ever wants to do is try to fix things.” “You just don't get it.” Judgments like these and countless others verbalized or thought in the context of interpersonal relationships point to one popular problem: the lack of empathy for the other. This blog provides nine guidelines for addressing this block to successful relationships.

A Lesson From Junior High Exile

By Kaja Perina on May 14, 2015 in Brainstorm
The inner voice is both symptom and salve, partly indicating what you believe about yourself and partly indoctrinating you into a way of thinking, as I discovered in a middle school library long ago.

New Evidence on Dreams and Memory

The dream lag effect, wherein images from daily events appear in dreams 5-7 days later, appears to be restricted to personally significant events only.

ADH—Squirrel

A college student on why she is happy to be living with ADHD even though it's a struggle

Spring Forward or Fall Back?

The biggest unsolved problem of neuroscience can't be solved by neuroscience alone. Neuroscience needs embodied cognitive science. The brain doesn't generate the mind; it facilitates it.

Diametric Differences in Seeing the Other’s Point of View

Both tendencies to autism and proneness to psychosis induce perspective-taking errors, but their interaction reduces these errors: a finding only explicable by the diametric model.

How do Bilingual Infants Separate their Languages?

Infants who acquire two or more languages from birth have to distinguish and differentiate the spoken input they receive into distinct languages. Professor Janet Werker who has been at the forefront of research on this topic tells us how they do it.

Lessons in Speaking From The Heart

By Greg O'Brien on May 12, 2015 in On Pluto
Laughter can be a powerful antidote to dementia—the pain, conflict, and stress of it. A good laugh, doctors say, reduces tension and can leave muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, and triggers the release of endorphins—the natural drug of choice.

Mathematics Fluency Training - It Works!

By Michael Hogan Ph.D on May 12, 2015 in In One Lifespan
Numeracy – our everyday play with numbers – is essential to the rhythm of life and our adaptive success as a species. There is a wonderful beauty in numbers that infants and toddlers intuitively appreciate as those around them play with numbers in song, story, dance, and life drama. But why is it that we so often hear an emerging negative attitude in relation to maths?

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

Many humans find First Cause arguments for the existence of God compelling. Why? There are two collaborating reasons: Our confusion over infinity, and our lack of confusion over the strange notion of being self-caused -- a property often attributed to God. Both of these implicate our amazing and puzzling ability to conceive.

Play Like Lebron: How Disconnecting Boosts Your Performance

By Jonathan Fader Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in The New You
Before a big game, distractions in all shapes and sizes can cloud your thinking. That’s why LeBron James has disconnected from his social media accounts and smartphone for the fourth straight NBA postseason. But is this really necessary?

Is Life Just a Sequence of Random Events?

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
How do we understand the role of luck in our lives? If value and meaning can only be achieved by a sequence of events, does that sequence reflect a pre-determined pattern? Whose pattern? Where does this line of thinking take us in terms of planning? How are artists and entrepreneurs different from the rest of us? How do we find meaning in life?

Description and Experience

However much we think we know, experience still comes a surprise. This will always be so - and thank goodness for it!

Boost Your Insights, Part I

This first of a 2-part discussion of ways to increase insights reviews of 5 popular ideas: increase swirl, encourage failures, be open to new ideas, apply critical thinking, and get into a quiet, meditative mood. Each suggestion has some unfortunate drawbacks. Assessing their strengths and limits may provide suggestions for a better strategy, to be described in Part II.