Archive for the ‘Blog’ category The seemingly endless stream of sex scandals by powerful politicians in the United States raises a question: Does this say something about men, or does it say something about power? New research suggests that power, not being a guy, is the corrupting factor. Powerful people tend to see themselves as more attractive than they [...] Tragedy tends to bring out the best in people, according to new research into cooperative behavior. The more people are affected by tragedy, the more they cooperate and engage in “prosocial” behavior. In a study of 2,447 residents in five provinces at the epicenter of a 2008 earthquake in China, researchers found that residents [...]

Madeleine Brand had me on her KPCC public radio show today to talk about illusory correlations (as they apply to the Juan Williams controversy) and the action bias (as it applies to the upcoming 2010 midterm elections). Listen here or download the file here Ever hear of the phenomenon called an “illusory correlation”? It explains why commentator Williams, who was recently fired from NPR, associates Muslims at airports with terrorists. I am going to be writing my next column for Slate about this issue. To whet your appetite, here’s a radio interview about illusory correlations and other biases [...] Lots of people come home from work feeling upset. But it turns out there are systematic gender differences in the way heterosexual men and women bring work-related unpleasant feelings home. Men, on average, tend to shield their families from unpleasant things that happened at work, and the more satisifed men are in their relationships, [...] Have you ever noticed when you are sad or angry that doing something mentally difficult — solving a puzzle or remembering a poem — tends to make you temporarily “forget” to be sad or angry? The moment you finish the difficult and engrossing task, the negative emotion often comes right back. New research suggests [...] People who use Botox for cosmetic reasons report that they are able to use their faces in less mobile ways. That’s not surprising, given that botox impairs the muscles that produce wrinkles in the forehead and other areas. One byproduct of smoother skin is that users are not able to register emotional expressions in [...] One of the interesting dimensions of the hidden brain is the way in which seemingly unrelated experiences are brought together in the unconscious mind. People who are given a warm drink to hold, for example, might be more likely to experience an interpersonal interaction as being warm, even though the cup of coffee has [...] Both men and women change the pitch of their voices when they are trying to convey romantic interest, but the nature of those voice changes might surprise you. Psychologist Susan Hughes at Albright College recently asked a group of college students to leave voice mail messages via Skype to a fictitious person. The psychologist [...] President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court highlights the power of frames in politics. In recent years, conservative presidents have appointed conservative justices, whereas liberal presidents have appointed moderates. Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan herself once noted the irony inherent in this process. In the University of Chicago Law [...]