Category Archives: Psychology

People vary in how well they recognize, match or categorize the things they see – an ability researchers call ‘o’

Some people are inherently better at tasks like reading X-rays. SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images By Isabel Gauthier, Vanderbilt University and Jason Chow, Vanderbilt University Like snowflakes, no two people are exactly the same. You’re probably used to the idea that people differ substantially in personality and in cognitive abilities – skills like problem-solving or… Read More »

Why criticism has more impact than praise

Sarah Griffiths writes: As children we are often told that sticks and stones can break bones, but words can never hurt. Yet with the benefit of experience, adults understand that this old proverb is far from true – while physical injuries can take a matter of weeks to heal, negative comments can scar us for… Read More »

The art of active listening

M M Owen writes: Writing in Esquire magazine in 1935, Ernest Hemingway offered this advice to young writers: ‘When people talk, listen completely… Most people never listen.’ Even though Hemingway was one of my teenage heroes, the realisation crept up on me, somewhere around the age of 25: I am most people. I never listen.… Read More »

Young people are lonelier than ever

Vice reports: At the beginning of 2022, a TikTok video of a tearful woman talking about friendship and loneliness made the rounds on Twitter. “I have people who love me and who care about me but it was so clear that I’m a Tier 2 or a Tier 3 friend and that resulted in me… Read More »

Ten practical ways to improve happiness

Arthur C. Brooks writes: Here’s some very bad happiness advice based on very solid happiness research: Feel important. Be happily married. Be Danish. Depending on how happiness is measured, all of these things really are associated with a happier life. But they’re unhelpful because they are not actionable in any practical way. Very few people… Read More »

The beauty of life

Joshua Hicks and Frank Martela write: When we think about lives filled with meaning, we often focus on people whose grand contributions benefited humanity. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela surely felt they had a worthwhile life. But how about us ordinary people, toiling away in a typical existence? Many scholars agree… Read More »

Even worms feel pain

David P. Barash writes: Who feels more pain, a person or a cat? A cat or a cockroach? It’s widely assumed animal intelligence and the capacity to feel pain are positively correlated, with brainier animals more likely to feel pain, and vice versa. But what if our intuition is wrong and the opposite is true?… Read More »

The inner lives of farmed animals

Lori Marino writes: We’ve all heard them and used them – the common references to farmed animals that appeal to the worst part of human nature: ‘pearls before swine’, ‘what a pig’, ‘like lambs to the slaughter’, ‘bird brain’. These phrases represent our species’ view of farmed animals as not particularly bright, uncaring about their… Read More »

Hope isn’t optimism

David B Feldman and Benjamin W Corn write: Hope is not wishful thinking, optimism, or ‘the power of positive thinking’. There’s nothing wrong with being optimistic, of course. Research shows that optimism is associated with many beneficial outcomes. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same as hope. The Cambridge Dictionary defines optimism as ‘the feeling… Read More »