How to activate your brain's superpowers.
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Errors in perceiving, remembering, and thinking.
Ira Hyman Ph.D.
She couldn’t find her sweater anywhere. Naturally, she began to wonder who stole her sweater. Thus began the case of the missing sweater.
I’m interested in Kavanaugh’s calendars from 1982. Many people have looked at Kavanaugh’s calendars, but have not seen the same thing. Are these honest differences in perception?
Memory is constructive. People can even create entirely false memories in response to suggestions and biased beliefs about the past.
Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, has been accused of sexual assault. The alleged assault occurred in high school. How reliable is memory after 35 years?
She asked me simple questions. Is this a bill? Do I have to pay this? The questions arose from fake mailings targeted to confuse seniors.
Fake news. Misinformation on Facebook and Twitter. Conspiracy theories. Alternative facts. Lies. The truth is being attacked. What can we do to defend it?
Everybody dances. Whether performing on a stage or simply nodding their heads, everyone can keep the beat. Is this a uniquely human ability? Can animals dance?
Separating children from their families causes lasting harm. How can someone do this? And should we pity those ordered to do this harm?
People leave their new cars running in their garages and die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Anyone can make this mistake. You may be at risk.
I’m sure I could surf. I’ve watched surfing videos on YouTube. It looks easy. I’m confident I could stay on the board and ride the wave. I’ve learned by watching. Or maybe not.
Humans are lousy drivers. We get distracted and bored. We drive when we’re tired and drunk. Maybe the robots and self-driving cars can save us from ourselves. Or maybe not.
Some places seem haunted, not by ghosts but by the past and our memories.
Do you worry about rumors? Are you concerned about fake news? False information might change other people. Of course, you’re immune, aren’t you?
If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, you’ve probably experienced conversational loops. A topic comes once and within a few minutes, you're back to it again, stuck on repeat.
What if a college education makes things worse? Should we worry about the value of education in the post-truth world?
Sometimes we get caught telling a whopper. And sometimes, our whopper may not actually be a lie. How should you respond?
How we rewrite and romanticize memories of protests.
I love football. I played when I was young. I appreciate the beautiful ballet of violence. But I wonder if I should boycott the sport.
When the Nazis, KKK, and white supremacists march in your town, should you go to the counter-protest?
Have you used autopilot when driving? I don’t mean a self-driving car; I mean those times when you space out for a moment, your mind wanders, and your autopilot keeps you moving.
Have you seen them at the parks and in the coffee shops? Parents hypnotized by their phones and computers; unaware of what their children are doing. What happens to those children?
Bureaucrats have minds. Really. Nevertheless, they frequently display theory of mind failures – an ability they should have developed as preschoolers.
Impulse shopping. I walk into the store with a shopping list, but come out with things that were not on my list. Is there any hope? Maybe your cell phone can save the day.
Nonetheless, science is embroiled in politics. Why is science so controversial, and why are the scientists planning a big march?
Can anyone become a monster? We like to think that only unusual and horrible people do evil things. But what if anyone, even a basically good person, will perform evil actions?
When you quietly agree with the statements of a group, how does conforming change you? Can you retain your original views? Does conforming alter the way you see the world?
Does the truth matter to you? No one likes being lied to, or at least that is what we say. But the truth is that we seem to like some lies.
Does anyone ever notice the work you do? Think about your unnoticed housework. All of those dishes washed and all of that laundry folded. Will anyone ever notice?
Memories can hide and wait. The election has provided a moment for sexual harassment and assault memories to return to awareness and become part of a national conversation.
Donald Trump is easily the most unusual and risky presidential candidate I’ve seen in my life. And that may be a winning strategy in this year’s election.
Ira E. Hyman, Jr., Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Western Washington University.