Category: Psychology

  • How Corporations Created ‘Cool’

    How Corporations Created ‘Cool’

     A philosopher / neuroscientist and  a political scientist, wrote a book on how we as a consumer follow up the superficial trends that corporations make for us. Their book, Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World tries to show how the concept of “cool” lure us into buying more. Continue reading  

  • We All judge Ourselves Too Harshly

    We All judge Ourselves Too Harshly

    It’s easy to feel like we aren’t good enough. We all judge ourselves too harshly, and reflect on our failures too critically. In an earnest resolve to “expect more” from ourselves, we dwell on the areas in which we need improvement, taking some of our most important accomplishments for granted. But we’re better than we…

  • The Reliability of Memory

    The Reliability of Memory

    I teach a course on personal identity, and one of the authors we read is John Locke, the 17th-century English philosopher who tells us that our memory constitutes who we are. He poses the following thought experiment: if a prince and a cobbler were to exchange memories, so that the body of the cobbler carried…

  • Positive Thinking is Negative

    Positive Thinking is Negative

    Why doesn’t positive thinking work the way you might assume? As my colleagues and I have discovered, dreaming about the future calms you down, measurably reducing systolic blood pressure, but it also can drain you of the energy you need to take action in pursuit of your goals. In a 2011 study published in the…

  • Kindness Improves Your Physical Attractiveness

    Kindness Improves Your Physical Attractiveness

    One of the most robust findings in social psychology is the beauty-is-good stereotype: physically attractive people are perceived and treated more positively than physically unattractive people . But here’s the thing: I have definitely met attractive people who went from hot to not the second they opened their mouths! Vice-versa, some people are so kind…

  • Why Some people Are Always Miserable

    Why Some people Are Always Miserable

    In her article, The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People, Family Therapist Cloe Madanes, gives us a road-map to misery, and successful self sabotage, even with complete exercises. I myself, mostly identified with number twelve in her list: Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how happy, fortunate life was before…