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By Hugo Alves | The best cognitive science and psychology articles from all around the web.

When Emotional Intelligence Goes Wrong

People skills can be dangerous.

“People skills” are almost always assumed to be a good thing. Search employment ads and you will find them listed as a qualification for a startling array of jobs, including Applebee’s host, weight-loss specialist, CEO, shoe salesperson, and (no joke) animal-care …


Delusions of Success: How Optimism Undermines Executives' Decisions

by Dan Lovallo and Daniel Kahneman

For most of us, the tendency toward optimism is unavoidable. And it's unlikely that companies can, or would even …

Atheists' Emotional Health Doesn't Suffer from Non-Belief

Does God give believers a mental health boost? Two psychologists argue that it's just not so — atheists are just as emotionally stable as those with …


Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs

Fading fast at 11 p.m., Elizabeth texted her dealer and waited just 30 minutes for him to reach her third-floor New York apartment. She handed him a wad of twenties and fifties, received a tattered envelope of pills, and returned to her computer.

Her PowerPoint needed another four hours. Investors …


Psychology of the Turing test

To understand AI is to understand humanity’s edges.

As recently popularized by Hollywood, the Turing test has been a classic baseline for deeming a …


Press me! The buttons that lie to you

Does it help to push the buttons on pedestrian crossings, train doors and thermostats? Often the answer is “no”, as Chris Baraniuk discovers.

The tube pulls in to a busy station along the London Underground’s Central Line. It is early evening on a Thursday. A gaggle of commuters assembles inside and …


Telling the time of day by color

New research has revealed that the color of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology …

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The Machines Are Coming

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — THE machine hums along, quietly scanning the slides, generating Pap smear diagnostics, just the way a college-educated, well-compensated lab technician might.

A robot with emotion-detection software interviews visitors to the United States at the border. In field tests, this …

Business Technology

How to influence the way other people see you

Few facts about daily social life are quite as troubling as this one: you don’t really have the faintest idea how you’re coming across to others. Reading Heidi Grant Halvorson’s new book, No One Understands You And What To Do About It, you start to feel it’s a miracle that two humans ever manage a …


Psychology students are seduced by superfluous neuroscience

It feels as though we're living through an age of neuro-mania. Not only is neuroscience on the end of some eye-spinningly massive new grants, there …


When is Revenge Most Satisfying?

On the morning of March 16, 1968, a company of American soldiers entered a small hamlet in central Vietnam on a “search and destroy” mission to root …

Seymour Hersh

Men Strive To Give More To Charity When The Fundraiser Is Cute

We donate to charities for lots of reasons: because we're generally magnanimous people, because we care deeply about certain issues or because it's the only way to get Meg to stop talking about the plight of the endangered proboscis monkey.

And for men, there may be another force at play: a …


The Neuroanatomy Lesson

How Successful People Stay Calm

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with …


Yes, You Can Catch Insanity - Issue 23: Dominoes

One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of …


The surprising downsides of being clever

Can high intelligence be a burden rather than a boon? David Robson investigates.

If ignorance is bliss, does a high IQ equal misery? Popular opinion would have it so. We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan …


Why I taught myself 20 languages — and what I learned about myself in the process

During the past few years, I’ve been referred to in the media as “The World’s Youngest Hyperpolyglot” — a word that sounds like a rare illness. In a …


The surprising downsides of being clever

Can high intelligence be a burden rather than a boon? David Robson investigates.

If ignorance is bliss, does a high IQ equal misery? Popular opinion would have it so. We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan …


9 psychological reasons why we love lists

The internet is awash with information that’s been sliced and diced into bite-sized chunks. But why do we find it so appealing? Claudia Hammond explores the canny mind tricks behind the buzz.

1. We know exactly what we’re getting

Whether it’s the 10 ways your body is disgusting or the 100 greatest …


Unequal, Yet Happy

THE gaping inequality of America’s first Gilded Age generated strong emotions. It produced social reformers like Jane Addams, anarchist agitators like Emma Goldman, labor leaders like Eugene V. Debs and Progressive politicians like Theodore Roosevelt. By the 1920s, sweeping legislation regulating …


Kids As Young As 5 Know It's Sometimes Nicer to Lie

One of the best (and, sometimes, worst) things about being around young kids is how honest they are. A 3-year-old I know, for example, recently (and …


Why People Care More About Pets Than Other Humans

Newspaper editors tell me animal abuse stories often get more responses from readers than articles about violence against humans. Do Americans really …


Researchers Found the ‘Bystander Effect’ in 5-Year-Olds

The “bystander effect” is one of the better-documented and more unfortunate aspects of human nature. As Psychology Today sums it up, the effect …


Mental Health for the Masses

Ricardo Muñoz thinks that MOOCs get a bad rap. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses, Internet-based higher education available to anyone in the world, regardless of age or qualifications, and usually for free. MOOCs have become very popular in recent years, and now attract millions of …

Mental Health

The Sound of Employability: Interviewers Judge Your Voice

New research has identified one factor that can make a job applicant come across as smarter, warmer, and ultimately more employable: the sound of …


More Sex Talk from the Love Scientist - Facts So Romantic

Doris Day and Rod Taylor face off in a scene from the 1965 movie Do Not Disturb.Photo by Camerique/Getty Images Last month in my Nautilus interview …

Doris Day

Focusing the Brain on Better Vision

As adults age, vision deteriorates. One common type of decline is in contrast sensitivity, the ability to distinguish gradations of light to dark, making it possible to discern where one object ends and another begins.

When an older adult descends a flight of stairs, for example, she may not tell …

Brain Fitness

Why the Gettysburg Address Is Still a Great Case Study in Persuasion

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War, a war that began on April 12, 1861. It was just a month after the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln. He had not won a majority vote – far from it. He’d only won about 40% of the popular vote, and some states didn’t even …

Gettysburg Address