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Posts tagged with "Psychology"

  • Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia
    Michael Shermer

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    Faulty religious reasoning and sloppy secular arguments about the afterlife earn a skeptic’s side-eye

    Awareness of one’s mortality is universal for human beings. Its conceptualization often starts at a very young age, as preschoolers observe and note the differences between alive and dead organisms. Between the ages of 7 and 10, children come to understand that death is permanent and irreversible, which often leads to anxiety or a fear… Read More
  • The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others
    Tali Sharot


    A science-based guide offers tips for exploiting and overcoming faulty decision-making

    Humans have put men on the moon. We have split the atom. We can predict tides, eclipses, and even asteroid flybys to the minute. None of this would be possible without a characteristically human form of objective, rational thinking. With facts in hand, we can use reasoning to arrive at new knowledge and make good… Read More
  • On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History
    Howard I. Kushner

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    A history of handedness shows how attitudes can influence scientific conclusions

    What causes some people to be left-handed? Is handedness a uniquely human trait? Are left-handers more likely than other people to be creative geniuses or to suffer cognitive disabilities? Historian Howard Kushner raises these and other questions in his new book, On the Other Hand. Primarily a history of handedness research, the book also has… Read More
  • The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between
    Abigail Marsh

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    The Fear Factor

    More than 20 years ago, the selfless act of a complete stranger affected the course of Abigail Marsh’s life. Now a social psychologist, in The Fear Factor, Marsh invites readers to join her as she explores the biology underlying extraordinary altruism. Translating technical papers into easily understood prose and incorporating personal stories, she answers the… Read More
  • Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions
    Alexander Todorov

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    We know better, so why can’t we stop making snap judgments based on appearance?

    Imagine you are part of an experiment. You and your coparticipants are shown photographs of two individuals and are asked to choose who is more leader-like. Unbeknownst to you, the individuals in the photographs are real-life candidates vying for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Would it surprise you to learn that the average ratings… Read More
  • Why: What Makes Us Curious
    Mario Livio

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    An inquisitive physicist delves into the psychology and neuroscience of human curiosity

    Was it really curiosity that killed the cat? In Why: What Makes Us Curious, astrophysicist Mario Livio provides the answer, although I won’t reveal it here (are you curious yet?). In the book, Livio explores curiosity by using inquisitive people, including scientists, artists, and philosophers, as anecdotal examples. He also presents ideas from psychological and… Read More
  • Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating
    Charles Spence

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    A psychologist probes the invisible influences that shape the dining experience

    How often have you returned, in thought, to a sumptuous dinner eaten some time ago? It’s unlikely that you recall the specifics of the dishes you savored with such delight, but you undoubtedly remember how the meal made you feel, and you can probably recall the atmosphere in which it was consumed. This is, in… Read More
  • The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides
    Mariano Sigman

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    The Secret Life of the Mind

    The human brain is one of the most complex organs known to modern science, and many things are yet to be understood about how it shapes our identity—or how our identity can shape it. In his first book, The Secret Life of the Mind, Argentinian neuroscientist Mariano Sigman positions readers to explore the fundamentals of… Read More
  • The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing
    Damion Searls

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    A new biography challenges common misconceptions about the Rorschach test and the man behind it

    We’re all familiar with the inkblots that make up the Rorschach test: black and white, bilaterally symmetrical figures that hover close to familiarity. Or, at least, we think we are. In modern times, the term “Rorschach test” often serves as a metaphor for our divisiveness, as shorthand for an encoded message, or as a warning… Read More
  • Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society
    Cordelia Fine

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    A spirited polemic takes aim at biological sex differences but misses opportunities to highlight relevant science

    How and why do the sexes differ? And why do we care? Few questions generate as much controversy and debate in both scientific and public arenas. In her book Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society, Cordelia Fine tackles the question from the perspective that has generated the most discussion: biological contributions to sex… Read More