Essential Reads

The Shot Clock and the Body Clock

How circadian rhythms win basketball games

March Madness

Why you should consider mental health services when choosing a college

The Bourgeois Revolution

Our fantasies and expectations about family life arose two centuries ago

Does Creativity have its Dark Side?

When creativity turns malevolent, you'll want to stay out of its way

Recent Posts on Sport and Competition

The Success Principles of Breaking Boards Bare-Handed

I always thought that all those martial artists breaking boards were just trying to show how tough they were--until I did it myself. And then after teaching it, forget about it! The physical and spiritual teachings to be taken away from breaking a board are some of the most invaluable in the world.

What Your Selfies Say About You

By Peggy Drexler Ph.D. on September 16, 2013 in Our Gender, Ourselves
Selfies are a manifestation of society’s obsession with looks and its ever-narcissistic embrace. There’s a sense that selfie subjects feel as though they’re starring in their own reality shows, with an inflated sense of self that allows them to believe their friends or followers are interested in seeing them lying in bed.

A Plea For Collaboration Among Online Sleep and Dream Orgs

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on September 15, 2013 in Dream Catcher
Online sleep and dream communities are beginning to build vast collections of dreams and related sleep data. These communities should establish baseline data formatting conventions to make future collaborative efforts possible and fruitful.

How to tell the difference between good and bad competition

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on September 14, 2013 in Off the Couch
Bob* was a college professor who was worried that he was not going to get tenure. Although he was very popular with his students, he knew that he hadn’t published enough.But his competitive impulses were getting in his way. And as a result, Bob couldn't write a word.

Animals Compete and It's Not Always Pretty

Competition triggers strong feelings because it has life-or-death consequences in the state of nature. We've inherited a brain that cares about social rivalry. Instead of getting upset about it, I like to learn from hummingbirds. They live in a perpetual arms race with flowers, but they don't waste energy getting mad at flowers. They just keep strengthening their wings.

Who's a "Sport Psychologist?"

If you want to work with a "sport psychologist", who do you go to? It's less obvious than it may seem. Figuring out who is competent and what's the best "fit" may be the most important things to consider.

Sticking to Your Path When the Way Looks "Closed"

By Susan Biali M.D. on September 13, 2013 in Prescriptions for Life
When the path to your dreams appears blocked or impassable, it's easy to give up and turn around. Here's why you shouldn't.

TV Winners

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on September 13, 2013 in In Excess
Over the past decade I have written a number of papers on various forms of television gambling. I have noted that various interactive television (i-TV) services are increasingly being linked to actual television programs. But are these TV programs a form of gambling in disguise?

Envy and Schadenfreude on the Mississippi

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on September 12, 2013 in Joy and Pain
The young Mark Twain knew a boy who worked on a steamboat. Twain felt a "tranquil contentment" when this boy's boat blew up. Why?

Can E-Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit?

By Matthew J. Edlund M.D. on September 12, 2013 in The Power of Rest
E-cigarettes create controversy and profits - almost equally. New data argue they can help people quit smoking - but will they also promote it?

Nadal Is Strong Enough To Cry. Are You?

By Peter Bregman on September 11, 2013 in How We Work
Rafael Nadal, who just won the U.S. Open for the second time, is my hero. His athleticism is extraordinary. His focus is awe-inspiring. His skill is, clearly, second to none. His will is unremitting. It's a joy to watch him in competition. Yet those are not the reasons he's my hero.

Diana Nyad and Swimming Torture

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on September 11, 2013 in The Last Taboos
Endurance swimming need not be torture

The Plight of Being a Boycotter

By Eric Horowitz on September 11, 2013 in The Inertia Trap
When you refuse to do something for a moral reason, it poses a threat to the moral standing of those who have chosen not to refuse to do it. In order to mitigate the threat, they may respond by viewing you in a more unfavorable light.

Better Fathers Have Smaller Testicles, But…

By Jesse Marczyk on September 10, 2013 in Pop Psych
Recent research suggests that men with smaller testicles make better fathers. Well, sort of...

Liberalism’s Legacy, Part II

FDR and LBJ enacted four principles, but one thinker challenged them all.

Make Your Self-Talk Work for You

We all talk to ourselves, but only some of this internal conversation can actually guide us toward being happier and more effective. By engaging in constructive self-talk, you can boost your self-esteem, motivate yourself, and respond to challenges. Learn from the pros how to make your self-talk work for you.

Individual Differences in the Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment has long been held up as an example of the power of strong situations to overcome individual differences in personality and choices. The SPE not only did NOT show this, it was not even an adequate test of such a claim. People can still make personal choices even in tough situations.

Six Secrets for Finding and Keeping Lifelong Love

By Rita Watson MPH on September 09, 2013 in With Love and Gratitude
Even as we graduate from the wishful thinking of "Someday my price will come," to a more calculated matchmaking society -- we remain in search mode. The key questions so many ask are quite simply: “What are the secrets for finding and keeping lifelong love?”

Fathers, Sons and Sports

By Mark Banschick M.D. on September 09, 2013 in The Intelligent Divorce
A father teaches much to a son. It is so much more than having fun. A young man grows to be a mature man who knows how to behave. While a mother's role is crucial, a dad can make all the difference. Here's a modern story of a boy without a dad. It's an important tale.

Why Rude People Get Dates

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on September 09, 2013 in Head Games
Insults can create an attraction all its own.

Is It All Right for Serena to Throw Her Racket?

By Stanton Peele on September 09, 2013 in Addiction in Society
Serena Williams's anger is a regular part of the American sports landscape.

9 Ways to Increase Your Charisma

By Ruth Blatt Ph.D. on September 07, 2013 in The Rock Band Project
Prince believed that charisma can be learned. He was right. Research shows that charisma can be broken down to specific communication strategies. Learn how to be a more effective communicator using these examples from rock stars.

Crazy Clown

We all know that there are some scary clowns out there. Stephen King's "Pennywise the Dancing Clown" from the novel "IT" comes to mind, but while this child-killing clown is evil, there is another clown in the competition... and this one is known as "Crazy Clown".

Is Facebook Making You Depressed?

Social networks can have unhealthy side effects, encouraging negative social comparison, which can lead to rumination and depression.

Does Meditation Make a Difference? Perspective from 35 Days

By Julie K Hersh on September 06, 2013 in Struck By Living
What are the benefits of daily meditation? As a newbie meditator, I pause to reflect on my first 35 days.

Lighting Up an Old Argument About Smoking

The old argument that smokers can quit but lack self-control has reappeared with the publication of a recent study by two behavioral scientists.The logic of the argument, however, may not be up to snuff (pun intended).

What Motivates Fantasy Football Players?

By Matt Beardmore on September 05, 2013 in Time Out!
Some play to win and collect money. Others play to connect with friends and family and enjoy some good-natured trash talk. Fantasy football is officially back.

The App of God

By Nir Eyal on September 04, 2013 in Automatic You
Red States and Churches sending a message to Silicon Valley.

Three Pressing Problems in Sleep Research

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 04, 2013 in Fighting Fear
Not everything is known about sleep. Three pressing problems in sleep research are presented.

The Dying Art of In-Person Communication

By Victor Lipman on September 04, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
How often do you send an email or text to someone to avoid in-person communication? Or call someone after hours so you can leave a message and avoid a conversation? There are clear business benefits to good old-fashioned talking to someone.