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- Feb 16 20176 minutes
The Man Who Played with Absolute Power: A chat with the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment.
In his 2008 TED Talk, Philip Zimbardo introduced his subject by showing his audience M.C. Escher’s Circle Limit IV, a set of black and white tessellated angels and demons. The art, Zimbardo explained, reminds us that “good and evil are the yin and ya
- 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 2 201714 minutes
The Challenges of Autism in Small-Town America
Lacking easy access to specialized care, some families are turning to video-conferencing for treatment.
- 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
- Jan 1 20172 minutes
Research-Backed Ways To Impress Anyone In Two Seconds
Got two seconds? Make the most of them.
- Feb 3 20173 minutes
Acid Is the New Xanax
Writer Ayelet Waldman was on the verge of suicide until she self-medicated with LSD.
- 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
- Jan 13 20172 minutes
A Woman Was Killed by a Superbug Resistant to All 26 American Antibiotics
Yesterday morning, I published a story about the silent spread of resistance against the antibiotic of last resort, colistin—a major step toward the emergence of a superbug resistant to all antibiotics. While reporting this story, I interviewed Alex
- Feb 9 201712 minutes
Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?: Some psychologists believe suicide and depression can be strategic.
I had a tough time in high school. Like many other young adolescents, I saw myself as fundamentally flawed, and felt a searing isolation. Nothing I looked forward to brought any hope. I stopped getting out of bed. I cut myself. I drafted a suicide no
- Jan 14 201710 minutes
Tiny Amounts of LSD for Depression
Instead of an “acid trip,” she took an “acid errand.”
- Feb 16 201710 minutes
Atheism, the Computer Model: Big data meets history to forecast the rise and fall of religion.
In the United States, the nones have it. The nones being people with no organized religion and increasingly no belief in God or a universal spiritual power. They have the momentum, attention, and an expectation that in the future they will become a m
- Sep 22 201613 minutes
Hallucinogen Therapy Is Coming: How shrooms can spring people from fears and destructive habits.
Three years later Daniel Kreitman still chokes up when he talks about what he saw, and how it changed him. Kreitman, an upholsterer by trade, had taken psilocybin, a hallucinogen derived from mushrooms, in a trial at Johns Hopkins University School o
- Apr 21 201624 minutes
Not All Practice Makes Perfect: Moving from naive to purposeful practice can dramatically increase performance.
In just our fourth session together, Steve was already beginning to sound discouraged. It was Thursday of the first week of an experiment that I had expected to last for two or three months, but from what Steve was telling me, it might not make much
- Jul 1 20161 minute
Make the Gym Pay Off
THE MONEY LINK: Sticking with a fitness routine isn’t always easy. Try focusing on the potential rewards: Heading to the gym at least three times a week has been linked to higher pay—7% more for men, 12% for women, according to Cleveland State associ
- Jun 6 20163 minutes
Be Happier By Knowing Your Future Self
Aren’t you positively brimming with joy, now that winter has gone? No? Me neither. Yet several months ago, I couldn’t wait for the Ottawa snow to melt and spring to start. Now that it’s here, though, I can’t really tell what I thought was so exciting
- Sep 26 20161 minute
Why We Should Watch Our Internal Clocks
IN OUR RELENTLESS QUEST TO LIVE healthier, happier, more productive lives, we often overlook a powerful tool within us: our internal sense of timing. The human body is genetically designed to coordinate the “when” of almost all aspects of life—sleep,
- 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 15 20168 minutes
How to Tell If You’re a Jerk: If you think everyone around you is terrible, the joke may be on you.
Here’s something you probably didn’t do this morning: Look in the mirror and ask, am I a jerk? It seems like a reasonable question. There are, presumably, genuine jerks in the world. And many of those jerks, presumably, have a pretty high moral opini
- Mar 1 20157 minutes
A Winning Personality: Why Ambiverts Make Great Entrepreneurs
Ambiverts are individuals with characteristics of both introverts and extroverts. Could this balance equip them to be superior business leaders?
- Feb 1 20174 minutes
The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind
Luck can seem synonymous with randomness. To call someone lucky is usually to deny the relevance of their hard work or talent. As Richard Wiseman, the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, in the United K
- Jan 20 20173 minutes
Clinics seeking a profit and patients desperately wanting a baby has resulted in a booming business, but of nearly 30 fertility clinic add-ons reviewed by researchers, only one increased a woman’s chances of having a baby.
- May 7 20165 minutes
This Man Wants Magic to Be a Branch of Psychology
In his rather untidy office at Goldsmiths, University of London, the cheerful and vaguely rumpled Gustav Kuhn grabs what looks like a wire-frame pyramid off of an otherwise empty shelf. Holding it gently, his Swiss-English accent crackling over our t
- 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 6 20175 minutes
Attitude, Not Quantity, Makes Homework Effective
A smile pulled the corner of Yú’s* mouth. “There is a saying in China,” she says. “‘No students compete. Parents compete.’” The polished Beijing native, who is both a mother and a grandmother, leaned forward with flawless posture as she reminisced ab
- Aug 14 20144 minutes
Why We Procrastinate: We think of our future selves as strangers.
The British philosopher Derek Parfit espoused a severely reductionist view of personal identity in his seminal book, Reasons and Persons: It does not exist, at least not in the way we usually consider it. We humans, Parfit argued, are not a consisten
- Aug 6 201519 minutes
Postcards From the Edge of Consciousness: Sensory deprivation goes from CIA torture manuals to a yoga studio near you.
I am fresh from the shower, wrapped in just a towel and smelling of mild herbal soaps (both shower and soaps are required), standing at the door to the tank. It resembles a shower door—knee-high, sliding—and opens to reveal a tub bigger than a bathtu
- Jan 1 20162 minutes
Is This the Biggest Advancement in Diabetes Management Since the Insulin Pump?
A well-designed printing process can help low-income diabetics get the care they need.
- Jun 11 20164 minutes
Loneliness Is a Warning Sign to Be Social
In 2002, a group of adults aged 50 and over answered a series of questions about their physical and mental health. A subset of the questions went as follows. How often do you feel … 1) A lack of companionship 2) Left out 3) Isolated from others Th