Essential Reads

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Happy?

Does AI spell the doom of humankind? Or should we welcome it? Given the significant limitations of human rationality, only AI can help humans to solve many difficult problems.

The Neuroscience of Finger Length Ratio and Athletic Prowess

By Christopher Bergland on October 14, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists have found a correlation between finger length ratios and brain function. A new study reports that having a shorter index finger may indicate athletic potential.

In Defense of the Value of Football

Despite the recent fears of CTE, football remains a valuable tool for developing youth.

A Fundamental Source of Error in Human Judgment

By Gary Smith Ph.D. on October 07, 2016 in What the Luck?
We encounter it almost every day, yet almost nobody understands it.

More Posts on Sport and Competition

Will the Obama Girls Stay Up Late for Miss America 2016?

By Hilary Levey Friedman Ph.D. on September 10, 2015 in Playing to Win
What does Vanessa Williams' return to the Miss America Pageant say about our changing society?

Developing a Science of Interrogation

By The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues on September 10, 2015 in Sound Science, Sound Policy
The most effective interrogation techniques are those that emphasize cooperation and relationship building. Confrontation is far less effective.

Laird Hamilton and the Art of Surfing

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on September 10, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Laird Hamilton, who is often considered one of the greatest athletes in the world, shares how intrinsic motivation and sense of purpose drive him to continued achievement.

What We've Got Wrong With the K-State Marching Band Story

By Kimberly Sena Moore Ph.D. on September 08, 2015 in Your Musical Self
The Kansas State University marching band director is in hot water following this weekend’s halftime performance. However, this 3-second segment is taken out of context. With the drill in motion, the announcement, and the music it all makes sense. So who are the real losers in this story?

Why Roger Federer Is Great

By Stanton Peele on September 08, 2015 in Addiction in Society
Roger Federer has remained at the very top of an individual professional sport, tennis, through his mid-thirties. What about him allows him to do this, and what can we learn from it?

We Study Play Because Life is Hard

By Bernard L. De Koven on September 08, 2015 in On Having Fun
Allow me to introduce you to a friend and scholar who recently passed away. He was an inspiration to me and so many people who have come to believe that play is an important part of life.

Bike Helmet Laws and the Law of Unintended Consequences

By Steve Stewart-Williams on September 07, 2015 in The Nature-Nurture-Nietzsche Blog
Bicycle helmet laws reduce head injuries - because they put kids off riding their bikes.

5 Lessons I Learned From Trying Paddleboard Yoga

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on September 06, 2015 in Urban Survival
Getting bored of your usual yoga routine? Try paddleboard yoga and get over the fear of falling.

Parental Participation Prizes

By Hilary Levey Friedman Ph.D. on September 03, 2015 in Playing to Win
Everyone has an opinion on participation trophies, but here is some practical advice for parents and coaches for the fall season.

Superfluidity: Decoding the Enigma of Cognitive Flexibility

By Christopher Bergland on September 02, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
Brain researchers have developed new tools for predicting levels of cognitive flexibility and "superfluidity" of thought.

How Trump Trumps Pressure

By Hendrie Weisinger Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in Thicken Your Skin
What do Tom Brady and Donald Trump have in common?

Loving Competition

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 26, 2015 in On Having Fun
Of all the spaces in which we find each other, this space, the space between, the moment lightly held, where we face each other freely, is where the play is deepest.
Doctor Yum

When Should Your Young Athlete Specialize?

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in The Power of Prime
This question torments every parent who wants to support their children’s efforts as they pursue their own personal greatness in a sport. If you want your kids to stay healthy, stay motivated, and perform better, the experts and the research say that multisport participation is the way to go. But the messages from our culture tell parents something very different.

One Reason Being a Perfectionist Isn’t All Bad

By Christopher Bergland on August 22, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
Do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist? New research identifies how various forms of perfectionism can have a bright side and a dark side.

This Is Your Brain On College Football

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
Beyond Social Tribalism, BIRGing, CORFing, and Tailgating - the brain needs its football.

5 Lessons From Informal Sports

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 20, 2015 in On Having Fun
“Real life is an informal game. The rules are endlessly modifiable and you must do your part to create them. In the end, there are no winners or losers; we all wind up in the same place." - Peter Gray

The Imagery Edge--Part I

Imagery is one of the key psychological skills for optimal performance. In this story, a tennis player develops images to help cope with post-surgical pain.

America's Infatuation with Jim Harbaugh

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 16, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
While other college coaches are busy strategizing to win football games, Jim Harbaugh is conquering a nation without trying.

What Excuse Do You Use to Not Workout?

By Gregg McBride on August 15, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
After learning what my amazing and beautiful friend Karen has gone through, health-wise, I realized that I never have a reason to not move my body in some productive way (even if only taking a 10 minute walk around the block if that's all I have time for)—and that I need to make every exercise session a celebration of life and health when doing so.

The “Exercise Hormone” Irisin Is NOT a Myth

By Christopher Bergland on August 14, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
The Harvard scientists who discovered the powerful health benefits of the "exericise hormone" irisin have confirmed that human irisin circulates in the blood at nanogram levels and increases during exercise. Their latest findings were published in Cell Metabolism on August 13.

Concussion care coming to a clinic near you

By Harry Kerasidis M.D. on August 13, 2015 in Brain Trauma
While concussions flash across our screens every day, the industry is catching up to the vast consumer demand for education and tools to apply on youth and high school athletic sports. However, a new trend has been developed which would create a win-win situation for the concussed individual and healthcare provider.

Play Has Become A Drag for Kids and the Results Aren't Good

By Richard Rende Ph.D. on August 12, 2015 in Inside Parenting
More than 70% of kids give up sports by age 13 because it's not fun. High-achieving students are "overloaded and underprepared" before they start college. Squeezing all the joy out of play and learning is not a recipe for success. Embracing parenting practices that put the fun back in childhood will nurture "doers" who will be primed for later self-driven achievement.

Can you be addicted to adrenaline?

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 08, 2015 in Science of Choice
People who seek high- sensation experiences are more vulnerable to substance abuse.

Grid Irony? Taunting Initiatives and the NFL

With taunting penalties on the books since the mid 1980's, the NFL has the opportunity to take on much more than jeers, derision, and game-related 'in-your-face' posturing. By modelling and showcasing what it already proclaims—that ridicule, disparagement and discrimination will not be tolerated—the league reinforces social, anti-bullying agendas.

Examining The Performance-Gender Link In Video Games

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on August 05, 2015 in Pop Psych
Understanding the strategic hostility of men's responses to women in competitive video games

The Cult of Barre

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in Millennial Media
The fusion of yoga, pilates, and ballet in one sounds may sound enticing...but the reality can be less than desirable.

How Does Your Cerebellum Counteract "Paralysis by Analysis"?

By Christopher Bergland on August 04, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists from McGill University have discovered that the cerebellum learns to expect the unexpected and can help counteract "paralysis by analysis" in both life and sport.

The Huntress Hunts You

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
The latest celebrity trophy hunter is a femme fatale who sees killing as therapy. Her motives help us understand the dilemma of everyone who’s ever felt like a Nobody in a Dead End job, in need of some life-saving heroic purpose.

Is This the Best Reason to Finally Start Doing Yoga?

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on August 02, 2015 in Urban Survival
Yoga amps up your body's natural defenses against toxins. Find out how yoga might be the next "new" antioxidant and defense for your immune system.

How to Stop Choking Under Pressure

By Jonathan Fader Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The New You
Every athlete in the world, at one time or another, has choked under pressure. Sometimes, athletes are able to bounce back. Other times, a botched play can haunt an athlete for the rest of his or her career.