July brought the pleasure of attending Stanford University’s introduction to psychology teaching conference, hosted by its Psych One program coordinator, Bridgette Martin Hard.Read More
Some recent naturalistic observations illustrated for me the results of longitudinal studies of human development—studies that follow lives across time, noting our capacities for both stability and change.
My procedure, though time-consuming, was simple:Read More
Social support can take many forms. A helpful tweet, the annual Facebook birthday barrage of well wishes, and long conversations with friends and family can put things in perspective and reduce our stress. But, according to recent research from Renison University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Waterloo, these acts of kindness backfire when interacting with people who have low self-esteem.Read More
Lloyd Cosgrove was his town’s city manager, butcher, and Presbyterian minister. He had a shiny head, bushy eyebrows, and a whooping laugh. If you want Lloyd to remain unique, try not to think about him too much.Read More
Most of us have read over and again that the human brain has 100 billion neurons. With no source but legend for that big round number—and not wanting merely to echo an undocumented estimate from other books—I set off in search of a more precise estimate. Surely someone must have sampled brain tissue, counted neurons, and extrapolated a nerve cell estimate for the whole brain.Read More
Why don’t people vote? This question puzzles pollsters, political candidates, and people who cherish the right to choose their elected officials. To predict voter turnout, all you might need is a test tube, a willing participant, and a little saliva.Read More
In all of recent psychological science, there has been, to my mind, no more provocative studies those by Benjamin Libet. His experiments have seemingly shown that when we move our wrist at will, we consciously experience the decision to move it about 0.2 seconds before the actual movement. No surprise there. But what startled me was his reportingRead More
We’ve all experienced the pleasure and subsequent pain of mindless eating. Just sit in front of the TV, open a bag of chips, and watch your favorite show. Now do the same thing with the TV off. In which situation did you eat more?Read More
Is religion toxic to human flourishing . . . or is it supportive of human happiness, health, and helpfulness? Let’s make this empirical: Is religious engagement associated with humans living well, or with misery, ill-health, premature death, crime, divorce, teen pregnancy, and the like?
The answer differs dramatically by whether we compareRead More
My last post—noting the new worldwide estimate that 37 percent of men and 38 percent of women are overweight—got me to wondering if we have other examples of all-humanity data. One is our species’ life expectancy, which has risen from 46.5 years in the early 1950s to 70 years today. What a gift—two dozen more years of life!
And then we have new data from the Gallup World PollRead More
We receive help every day. I don’t grow the food I eat, knit the clothes I wear, or assemble the TV I try to avoid. I don’t even cut my own hair. Nope, I rely on others to help me. But how do I get help when it involves asking?Read More
If asked that question, who would come to your mind?
For a forthcoming Archives of Scientific Psychology report, Ed Diener (University of Illinois), Shigehiro Oishi (University of Virginia), and JunYeun Park (University of Illinois), painstakingly assembled data from citations, textbook page coverage, and major awards.
Their top three, in order, were ...Read More
Climate change is upon us. The recent National Climate Assessment, assembled by a large scientific panel, confirms that greenhouse gases continue to accumulate. The planet is warming. The West Antarctic ice sheet is doomed. The seas have begun rising. And more extreme weather will plague our future.
Alas, most of the American public is not yet alarmed about this weapon of mass destruction. The 31 percent whoRead More
Psychology is ripe with history. Unlike many sciences, psychology grips us because we are its main characters. People have more experience with quarrels than with quarks. But one of psychology’s most famous case studies continues to evolve.Read More