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- Feb 2 20179 minutes
Against Willpower: Willpower is a dangerous, old idea that needs to be scrapped.
Thomas1 was a highly successful and mild-mannered lawyer who was worried about his drinking. When he came to see me at my psychotherapy practice, his wine intake had crept up to six or seven glasses a night, and he was starting to hide it from his fa
- Feb 9 201715 minutes
Love Is Like Cocaine: From ecstasy to withdrawal, the lover resembles an addict.
George Bernard Shaw knew the power of romantic love and attachment. Both, I will maintain, are addictions—wonderful addictions when the relationship is going well; horribly negative addictions when the partnership breaks down. Moreover, these love ad
- Apr 1 20141 minute
3 Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People
Unfortunately, you can't change them. But you can change the way you interact with them.
- Feb 3 20174 minutes
Trump Says a Lot, but Not With Words
The president-elect is a fascinating study in the power of nonverbal forms of communication.
- Feb 9 201726 minutes
Bias In The ER: Doctors suffer from the same cognitive distortions as the rest of us.
The dazed young woman who arrived at Sunnybrook Hospital, Canada’s first and largest regional trauma center, from a head-on car crash presented the surgeons treating her with a disturbing problem. In addition to her many broken bones, the rhythm of h
- Feb 16 201711 minutes
The Anatomy of Charisma: What makes a person magnetic and why we should be wary.
For weeks I had been researching what science has to say about the power of charisma. Why do some people so clearly have it and others don’t? Why do we fall so easily under its influence? Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselve
- Feb 17 20176 minutes
How to Understand Extreme Numbers
The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died this month at age 68, brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations. He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 t
- Feb 22 20176 minutes
5 Languages That Could Change the Way You See the World
I went to my neighbor’s house for something to eat yesterday.Think about this sentence. It’s pretty simple—English speakers would know precisely what it means. But what does it actually tell you—or, more to the point, what does it not tell you? It do
- Feb 14 20172 minutes
Love Can Make You Smarter
Love is supposed to make you stupid. We’re used to seeing the lover as a mooning fool, blind to his lover’s faults and the goings-on of the outside world, or even as a person who has lost all sense of rationality or propriety, driven to a kind of mad
- Sep 5 20161 minute
The Bright Side of Darker Emotions
IT’S NATURAL TO WANT TO BE HAPPY all the time. But it’s telling that most of what many consider to be our seven basic emotions—joy, anger, sadness, fear, surprise, contempt and disgust—reflect the dark side of the human experience. These emotions are
- Feb 6 20176 minutes
Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power
Cailin O’Connor—a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician—may not enjoy tense situations, but they fascinate her. Last year, in a Huffington Post article titled “Game Theory and The Walking Dead,” she wrote that the zombie show’s “plot lines are ri
- Jan 5 20174 minutes
What Sea Slugs Taught Us About Our Brain: Neuroscience:The simple nerve cells of sea creatures helped scientists fathom human memory.
When Leonid Moroz, a gregarious Russian-born neuroscientist and geneticist at the University of Florida, began studying ctenophores nearly a decade ago, he had a fairly simple goal in mind. He wanted to determine exactly where the blobby marine creat
- Jan 26 201711 minutes
The Multiple Multiverses May Be One and the Same: Physics:If multiverses seem weird, it’s because we need to revamp our notions of time and space.
The name of the image—the “Flammarion engraving”—may not ring a bell, but you’ve seen it many times. It depicts a traveler wearing a cloak and clutching a walking-stick; behind him is a varied landscape of towns and trees; surrounding all is a crysta
- Oct 24 20162 minutes
The Literacy of Long-Form Thinking
A man from ancient Rome said it was better to know nothing about a subject than to half-know it. I’m worried that this Republic of ours is set on proving his wisdom all over again. Only, we aren’t even bothering to know 50% of what’s going on. Seems
- Dec 21 20166 minutes
Virtual Reality Can Leave You With an Existential Hangover
After exploring a virtual world, some people can’t shake the sense that the actual world isn’t real, either.
- May 1 20163 minutes
Don't Pop Your Top: 5 Thoughts to Keep You Calm in an Angry Moment
Even when anger takes over your brain, your inner Hulk can stay restrained.
- Dec 9 20164 minutes
Profanity's Roots In Brain Chemistry? Damn Right
Swearing has its own home in our brains, separate from where we generate polite conversation.
- Jan 5 20179 minutes
Is the Chinese Language a Superstition Machine?: How ambiguity in language can create unique taboos.
Every year, more than a billion people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and engage in a subtle linguistic dance with luck. You can think of it as a set of holiday rituals that resemble a courtship. To lure good fortune into their lives, th
- Jun 13 201312 minutes
The Coin Toss and the Love Triangle: Information Theory:There are two flavors of uncertainty in our lives. Math helps with both.
Chance appears to name a single, unitary thing. But its genealogy, its family history, turns out to be a tangled one. One way to understand its branching origins is to turn to literature: We may look, in turn, to two very different novels.Anton Chigu
- Nov 27 20162 minutes
Sucking at Stuff
Where, how, and why to play piano, bake sourdough, and learn Thai massage in spite—and because—of the fact that you’ll be very bad at it. At least at first.
- Jun 1 20161 minute
Leaders: Who's Shaping Your Company's Culture?
If corporate culture starts at the bottom, you're in trouble.
- Aug 1 20152 minutes
Don't Just Build a Business -- Build a Business With Soul
You need more than brains to create and sustain a business that has a lasting impact.
- Oct 17 20138 minutes
Secrets That Won’t Rest: A family therapist uncovers the cost of keeping silent.
One hot Thursday in July, I met a gangly young man at Washington D.C.’s Union Station. Energetic and slightly nervous, he politely shook my hand and ushered me to a silver sedan where his girlfriend, Sarah, was at the wheel. Although he introduced hi
- Feb 23 20173 minutes
Why The Dark Side Of The Force Had To Be Dark: The innate meanings of color and intensity.
You don’t have to look very hard to see that our culture has some pretty powerful associations between colors and feelings. As a recent example, the new Pixar film Inside Out has characters representing emotions, and the color choices for these chara
- Jul 1 20161 minute
Closing a Deal at a Bar? This Research Can Help.
Rule No. 1: Get to the bar early, so you control who sits where.
- Nov 27 20161 minute
Bumbling is Good for the Brain
JIHAN THOMPSON NEURONAL CONNECTIONS ARE created in the brain when you attempt something new. Plenty of research indicates this, including a 2010 study in The Journal of Neuroscience that found that even after just two sessions of practicing a new ta
- May 30 20133 minutes
A Crowdsourced Expert Interview: Nautilus readers delve further into the idea that metaphors make us human.
In “Metaphors Are Us,” biologist and neurologist Robert Sapolsky made a good case for why symbolic thinking may be the key feature separating humans from our nearest animal relatives. But that essay didn’t end the discussion, which spilled onto socia
- Dec 12 20161 minute
Building the Workforces Businesses Need
JOHN RICE WHEN A COMPANY INVESTS IN A country, it asks: Do we have the right people with the right capabilities? This makes people think of new facilities, new jobs. Too often they forget the importance of developing new skills. Most educational sy
- Oct 9 201412 minutes
The Artist of the Unbreakable Code: Composer Edward Elgar still has cryptographers playing his tune.
You’d be forgiven if, settling into the fall 2003 “Literature of the 16th Century” course at University of California, Berkeley, you found the unassuming 70-year-old man standing at the front of the lecture hall a bit eccentric. For one thing, the cl
- May 14 20131 minute
Are We Important to the Universe?
Is there something special about humanity’s method of understanding the world around us? If there are other intelligent beings in the world, would their knowledge be important in the same way?David Deutsch‘s research suggests an affirmative answer to