We all harbor secrets. Some are big and bad; some are small and trivial. Researchers have parsed which truths to tell and which not to.
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Thinking about thinking on TV
Alan Jern Ph.D.
There were a record 559 scripted shows last year. TV has never been better, but unprecedented choice has downsides.
One of the year's best shows thoroughly examines the person behind the infamous Theranos fraud.
A new HBO show asks, "What if you trained for everyday events like runners train for marathons?" The result is amazing and has surprising implications for the field of psychology.
Two recent shows, "Love on the Spectrum" and "As We See It," help to dispel the stereotype that autistic people are less interested in social contact or relationships.
Why do some people love a show and others hate it? It may partly be due to taste, but often it may be due to differing expectations.
A massive study finds that ads designed to change your mind might be effective, but those effects are very small and extremely short-lived.
Classic Disney magic involves just understanding human psychology—especially perception.
Netflix's "Squid Game" is a suspenseful mega-hit. But it's also a great illustration of two fundamental concepts from psychology.
Showtime's "Buried" chronicles the first criminal case based on recovered memory. What does the research say about repressed memory?
More representation of autism on TV is a good thing. But if representations aren't accurate, will they increase public misunderstandings?
Some stories stay with us for weeks but others we forget within days. A new study suggests the difference may be due to how deeply we process a story and its themes.
A recent paper argues that we prefer certain types of stories because they activate pleasurable, deep-seated mechanisms that evolved for social learning and cooperation.
In Netflix's global hit 'Lupin,' master thief Assane Diop doesn't rely on gadgets or disguises. He relies on an astute understanding of the limits of perception and attention.
HBO's "Mare of Easttown" feels like a remix of plot elements cribbed from other shows. But the result is good. And studies suggest that creativity is rarely truly original, anyway.
From "Will & Grace" and gay marriage, to "24" and torture, what we watch on the screen shapes our attitudes and values, for better and for worse.
An interview with Claire Lewis, producer of the celebrated 50-year documentary series, on what she thinks the series reveals about personality, class, and development.
Binge-watching TV episodes leads to worse memory retention and is less fun than watching episodes released weekly.
Following the release of "It's a Sin" about the AIDS crisis, I talked to Dr. Martin Seltman, one of the only primary care doctors who treated AIDS in Pittsburgh in the 1980s.
Can watching shows and films featuring characters from different groups reduce prejudice toward those groups? Recent experiments suggest the answer could be yes, even if the effect is small.
Why would someone join a cult? Two recent docuseries about the NXIVM and Heaven's Gate cults suggest they used similar, effective persuasion principles we're all susceptible to.
This year gave us two TV shows, "Joe Pera Talks With You" and "How to With John Wilson," that prove there is plenty of joy to be found in the world if we're curious enough.
Why do we feel guilty for liking "bad" TV? Many psychologists believe that guilt is adaptive, but that doesn't mean it's helping us make good entertainment choices.
Some television shows can place big demands on our time and attention. Does this lead us to think these shows are better than they really are?
Alan Jern, Ph.D., is a cognitive scientist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Overthinking TV is about the collision of media and psychology. What can you learn about yourself and others by watching TV, and how does watching TV affect our culture and how we think?