Category Archives: psychology

Second most popular TED talk of all time, on “power posing”, disavowed by senior author

The second most popular TED talk of all time, with over 32 million views on TED, is by Harvard Business School associate professor Amy Cuddy, called “Your body language shapes who you are”. (You can also see the talk on YouTube, where it has over 10 million views. Cuddy appears to be on “leave of absence.”) […]

Big Think: 3 questions will tell you how religious you’re likely to be

I’m not so sure that “The Big Think” (TBT)  website deserves its name, as the Thinks there are often pretty small. But this headline caught my attention (click on screenshot to go to the site; h/t reader Ant): “So what are the questions?”, you’re asking yourself. I’ll give you those in a second. First, a bit […]

ID advocates mock determinism, insist on libertarian free will and human exceptionalism

The boys over at the Discovery Institute (DI) spend a lot of time mocking me online, but I rarely pay attention. And when I do, I’m sort of flattered, and for two reasons: they think that what I write here is important enough to attack, and because when those creationist mushbrains go after me, I know I’m doing […]

Mass murderers: mental illness or extreme ideology?

Anders Breivik is the Norwegian white supremacist who killed 77 of his countrymen in 2011: 8 in a car bomb in Oslo, and then 69 later that day in a worker’s camp on an island. Many of the dead were young people. Before the murders he had written manifestos about his opposition to Muslims in his […]

Who would you trade places with?

I don’t know why, but this question struck me as I was taking a walk yesterday.  And I suppose all of us ponder it sometimes: we see some famous person, or courageous person, or person doing good works, and think, “Boy, I’d like to trade places with him/her!” I don’t think about that often, as […]

Bear and Bloom: An experiment on the illusion of conscious will

“Because it lags slightly behind reality, consciousness can “anticipate” future events that haven’t yet entered awareness, but have been encoded subconsciously, allowing for an illusion in which the experienced future alters the experienced past.”  —Adam Bear In discussions about our idea of “agency” (or, if you will, “choice” or “free will”), I’ve described experiments showing that […]

Google Doodle celebrates Freud (I don’t)

I’m not a big fan of Freud; in fact, I’m not even a tiny fan. He regarded psychoanalysis as a “science”, but it was really a pseudoscience, designed as a self-contained, airtight system of explanation rendered immune to disconfirmation by its slippery acolytes and its ability to explain everything—thereby explaining nothing. And there’s no evidence that […]

What have you changed your mind about?

UPDATE: I’d forgotten, but perhaps not completely, that John Brockman edited a book in 2009 in which he asked Science Heavy Hitters the exact question above.  This was based on a 2008 Edge Question, and you can find a lot of the answers here. I don’t think I contributed to that annual question (I’ll be […]

Psychology studies may be more reproducible than we thought

On September 3 of last year, I described a paper by the Open Science Collaboration (OSC; reference and link below) that tried to estimate the reproducibility of studies published in high-quality psychology journals. It was a complicated paper, but its results were deemed sufficiently important to be published in Science. And those results were in the main disheartening: only […]

Does seeing things from God’s point of view make you less biased?

Does seeing things as if you were God rather than yourself make you less biased towards members of outgroups? Acccording to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jeremy Ginges et al. (reference below, free access, and Scott Atran is a co-author), the answer is “yes.” This was the result of […]