Candy Crush is a lot like life. I don’t mean to say life is just a grid of colorful confections waiting to be destroyed by your pointer finger; I mean to say they both rely on the same set of cognitive processes. Here’s a rundown.
The running joke about New Year’s resolutions is that they don’t outlast the hangover. But if you’re going to make a resolution to improve yourself, New Year’s Eve is a good time to do it. Recent research helps explain why we pick this date for personal renovation, and how we can restart the clock if we slip up.
In recent years, psychologists have come to understand religion and paranormal belief as resulting from simple errors in reasoning. What has not been clarified is exactly how the various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural—until now.
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion describes the year following the sudden death of her husband. At one point while collecting his clothes for donation, she stops. She can’t give away all of his shoes, for he might need them if he returns. This is the magical thinking of the title.
It’s often said that there are no atheists in foxholes. While this isn’t technically true—a group called The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers even keeps a roster of them—new research suggests that inducing fear of death at least makes atheists a little less entrenched in their beliefs.