Category Archives: Psychology

Can progressives be persuaded that genetics matters?

Gideon Lewis-Kraus writes: [Kathryn Paige] Harden understands herself to be waging a two-front campaign. On her left are those inclined to insist that genes don’t really matter; on her right are those who suspect that genes are, in fact, the only things that matter. The history of behavior genetics is the story of each generation’s… Read More »

Why walking helps us think

Ferris Jabr writes: In Vogue’s 1969 Christmas issue, Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” He drew a charming one himself. Several decades later, a… Read More »

IQ tests can’t measure it, but ‘cognitive flexibility’ is key to learning and creativity

Einstein thought imagination was crucial. Robert and Talbot Trudeau/Flickr, CC BY-NC By Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Christelle Langley, University of Cambridge, and Victoria Leong, University of Cambridge IQ is often hailed as a crucial driver of success, particularly in fields such as science, innovation and technology. In fact, many people have an endless… Read More »

On dream sharing and its purpose

Matthew Spellberg writes: Among certain philosophers it is a commonplace that dreams are radically private, that no one can follow you into them. A fragment from Heraclitus distills the problem: “The universe for those who are awake is single and common, while in sleep each person turns aside into a private universe.” Hegel, commenting on… Read More »

William James: Free will requires that we be able to exorcise habits

Gordon Marino writes: William James (1842–1910) is arguably one of the most brilliant and fecund minds this nation has ever produced. James and his friend Charles Sanders Peirce were the progenitors of the only distinctly American philosophical movement, pragmatism. The Principles of Psychology, published in 1890, marked James as the first prominent American psychologist. His… Read More »

Do we have free will? Maybe it doesn’t matter

Jim Davies writes: Belief is a special kind of human power. Agustin Fuentes, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame, eloquently claims as much in his recent book Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being. It’s the “most prominent, promising, and dangerous capacity humanity has evolved,” he writes, the power to… Read More »