Essential Reads

Three Theories Tell Us That We Can All Be Britt McHenry

Under the right circumstances our ugly impulses can get the best of all of us

A Psychologist’s Guide to People Watching

What to look for when you’re looking at people

Putting Music to the Words

Some species sing, some species call, but only humans do both

Meet Danielle Meitiv: Fighting for Her Kids’ Rights

She’s accused of child neglect for allowing her children some freedom.

Recent Posts on Sport and Competition

The Perversion Files

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
A recent settlement regarding the Boy Scouts of America's private records about sexual abuse once more relegates them to the realm of secrecy.

How to Live, Love, and Laugh

By Nancy Berns Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in Freedom to Grieve
A life worth living is not the same as a life free of problems. We learn from our troubles and we grow when we focus on how to keep living life to its fullest even while facing trials.

Doing the Right Thing: An Interview with Stevan Harnad

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Readers will find here a wide-ranging interview/dialogue with Dr. Stevan Harnad, the founder and former editor-in-chief of the highly influential journal called Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS). Dr. Harnad is a broad, eclectic, and thoughtful man and this discussion covers many topics including research methodologies, computers, and animal ethics.

Superstitions and the Super Bowl

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on January 28, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
Put on your team jersey and don your special hat. Make sure you have the right chips and dips. Are your friends ready? Will everyone be in the correct seat on the couch drinking the exact right beverage? Your team is depending on you. You’ve got to help them win. If you get any of this wrong, your team will lose and it will be your fault.

There's More to Yoga Than a Yoga Butt

The mental rewards of meditation.

Creativity of Science Nobel Laureates and Other Prizewinners

By Albert Rothenberg on January 28, 2015 in Creative Explorations
The term creativity has been positively applied to a wide variety of actions and activities ranging from changing course or successfully making and doing something differently to the achievements of great art, literature, and science. The work described reports empirically discovered specific cognitive processes leading to outstanding creative achievements.

This Is Your Brain on Love

Remember the 1980s public service ad where the guy fries an egg and says: This is your brain on drugs? It is clear to most people that addictive drugs cause unnatural reactions in the human brain – reactions that sometimes lead to strange behaviors. But doesn’t love sometimes cause similarly strange behaviors?

Top Ten Career Tips for Starting Out

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 28, 2015 in How To Do Life
Keys to career success for new graduates or people changing careers.

Suspended for Winning?

This article discusses the suspension of coaches following overwhelming victories after a high school basketball coach was recently suspended following a 161-2 win.

The Effects of Synchrony on Conformity

By Art Markman Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Teams tend to do things together. Soldiers march in step. Athletic teams do stretches and simple drills together as a unit. In public schools, all students repeat phrases together like the Pledge of Allegiance. At stadiums, fans will chant together and make similar movements.

The Burden of Expectation: A Lesson From an Olympic Champion

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in The Power of Prime
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 19-year-old ski racing phenom, has certainly put herself between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the expectations she has created from her short, though illustrious, career. The hard place is that the 2015 World Ski Championships will be contested in Shiffrin’s home town of Vail, Colorado. The expectations on her get ratcheted up big time.

17 Rules to Guide You Through Any Conflict

Whether in your relationships or your work life, it’s inevitable that you’ll be involved in a conflict with someone over something. These 17 principles will guide you in learning how best to put your emotions, motives, and communication skills to settle any of those conflicts in to produce successful results.

Sporting Chances

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in In Excess
Games of chance (like lotteries) offer no significant edge to serious gamblers and are unlikely to be gambled upon. Serious gamblers gravitate towards types of gambling that provide an appropriate mix of chance and skill. This is one of the reasons why horse-race betting is so popular for gamblers. But what else do we know about the psychology of horse-race betting?

Bad Sports: 'Deflategate' and the Psychology of Cheating

By Jason Powers M.D. on January 27, 2015 in Beyond Abstinence
A study suggests that most cheaters, if found guilty, wouldn't experience much remorse. Researchers found that the "high" may be mitigated by the magnitude of the perceived consequences. However, over time and perhaps through self-reflection, cheaters may become more likely to regret their actions.

The Inherent Paradox of Online Dating

The trauma of online dating

Best Parenting Books of 2014?

By Polly Palumbo Ph.D. on January 26, 2015 in Momma Data
Do you avoid parenting books? Do you devour them? In either case, here are some books worth reading that aren't the typical "how to parent" fodder. These thought-provoking selections question what we know about brain science, adolescence, child vaccinations, anxiety and postpartum depression among other topics. No potty training or self-esteem building tips included.

Youth Sports 101 Revisited: More Tips for Moms and Dads

Youth sports are not a free babysitting service! To help youngsters get the most out of athletics, parents can make positive contributions by following some effective guidelines.

Why Friendships Are So Vital

By Jennifer Verdolin Ph.D. on January 25, 2015 in Wild Connections
Lasting friendships are built on repeated actions that foster cooperation and support that can have immediate benefits which, over time, increase your survival and success. But not all friendships are created equal and it can be critical to determine what the true nature of your friendships are.

Music and Dreams: The Case of the Beatles

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on January 25, 2015 in Dream Catcher
Why are some forms of music relatively rare in dreams? Dreams screen out redundant and parasitic forms of information but will process musical phrases that violate expectancies

How Abusive Bosses Can Destroy Teamwork

By Ray Williams on January 24, 2015 in Wired for Success
There is increasing evidence that there is a clear link between bad leaders and employee health and productivity problems, which is turn, can be a huge liability for organizations.

Are You a Debbie Downer?

Some people see the glass as totally empty, most of the time. What makes a Debbie Downer so negative, and what can you do if suspect you are one?

The Two Greatest Motivators for Students

By Tim Elmore on January 22, 2015 in Artificial Maturity
In a world that’s saturated with stimulants—video, music, chemicals, images, social media, meds, and digital content—it’s increasingly difficult to motivate or inspire students.

How Evolutionary Science Can Make Us Morally Better

Because morality is so important, we ought to make sure that we're doing it right. Evolutionary science can help us with that.

Compete Like You Train or Train Like You Compete?

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 20, 2015 in The Power of Prime
One of the first questions that I ask athletes and coaches I work with is: Should you compete like you train or train like you compete? By far, the most frequent response is: You should compete like you train. This answer seems perfectly reasonable if you think about it. When you train, you’re relaxed, feel no pressure, and are only focused on performing your best.

How to Have a Well-Behaved Child, Part 3

By Kenneth Barish Ph.D. on January 19, 2015 in Pride and Joy
Self-regulation, especially in childhood, is not learned well from consequences or punishment. The threat of punishment has its place, but it is a small part of learning discipline and self-control.

10 Ways to Overcome Fear of Missing Out

In our previous blog we addressed the concept of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and the dangers of being possessed by this insidious condition. In this posting we are offering ten valuable practices that are guaranteed to help to free you from the grip of FOMO and to enhance the quality of your relationships as well as the overall quality of well-being in your life.

Why Writing Matters

At the end of life, people sometimes find time and focus to do things they've always wanted to do. Often, surprisingly, it's writing.

Painkillers and the NFL: Why the Players Sued

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on January 13, 2015 in Brain Babble
The legalities of the claim that the NFL got their players addicted to painkillers will likely be argued for a long time. But the questions remain: why are prescription opioids used so often for pain relief, and why are they so addictive?

Neuroscientists Identify How Mindset Alters Pain Perceptions

By Christopher Bergland on January 13, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists have identified a specific brain pathway that makes independent contributions to perceptions of pain and can be altered by changes in mindset.

The Effects of Psychology on Athletic Performance

Understanding of psychology’s effect on athletic performance has broadened with increased study in the field of athletics at both the university and professional levels. Numerous psychological influences on athletic performance have been discovered, including many that are subconscious.