D: The Dark Factor of Personality

Ethically, morally, and socially questionable behavior is part of everyday life and instances of ruthless, selfish, unscrupulous, or even downright evil behavior can easily be found across history and cultures. Psychologists use the umbrella term âdark traitsâ to subsume personality traits that are linked to these classes of behavior â most prominently, Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and […]

The Lifespan of a Lie – the Stanford Prison Experiment

It was late in the evening of August 16th, 1971, and twenty-two-year-old Douglas Korpi, a slim, short-statured Berkeley graduate with a mop of pale, shaggy hair, was locked in a dark closet in the basement of the Stanford psychology department, naked beneath a thin white smock bearing the number 8612, screaming his head off. It […]

On Cumulative Advantage and How to Think About Luck

In the late 1970s the view in the publishing world was that an author should never produce more than one book a year. The thinking was that publishing more than one book a year would dilute the brand name of the author. However, this was a bit of a problem for Stephen King, who was […]

The emotions we feel may shape what we see

Our emotional state in a given moment may influence what we see, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. In two experiments, researchers found that participants saw a neutral face as smiling more when it was paired with an unseen positive image. Source: medicalxpress

Why symmetry gets really interesting when it is broken

A hypothetical alien visitor, sent to observe all of human culture – art and architecture, music and medicine, storytelling and science – would quickly conclude that we as a species are obsessed with patterns. The formal gardens of 18th-century England, the folk tales of medieval Germany and the traditional woven fabrics of Mayan civilisation have […]

Can a Wandering Mind Make You Neurotic?

On the positive side, mind-wandering promotes planning for the future, allowing my daughter to lay the groundwork for financial security and a career with a long endgame. And it may be an essential ingredient in creativity. Several studies have shown that creativity blossoms under the same conditions that encourage mind-wandering—for example, an incubation period in […]

Ratings inflation on Uber and elsewhere

Uber asks riders to give their drivers a rating of one to five stars at the end of each trip. But very few people make use of this full scale. That’s because it’s common knowledge among Uber’s users that drivers need to maintain a certain minimum rating to work, and that leaving anything less than […]

The lucid dreaming playbook: how to take charge of your dreams

In Tibetan Buddhism, the group of tantric techniques known as milam aim to reveal the illusory nature of waking life by having practitioners perform yoga in their dreams. It’s a ritualised version of one of the most mysterious faculties of the human mind: to know that we’re dreaming even while asleep, a state known as […]

Time to talk about why so many postgrads have poor mental health

There is a problem with the culture in science, and it is one that loads an increasing burden on the shoulders of younger generations. The evidence suggests that they are feeling the effects. (Among the tweets, one proposed solution to improving the PhD is to “treat it like professional training instead of indentured servitude with […]

Metaphors can change our opinions in ways we don’t even realize

When we think about metaphor, we might think about how we typically learn about metaphor in school: as a poetic device or a rhetorical flourish. But, metaphors are not simply confined to the world of poetry—they are all around us. We describe time as money (“spending time”), arguments as war (“you attacked my argument,” “I […]