75 Great Articles and Essays
Essential reading about the mechanics of thought
The compulsion to see what lies beyond that far ridge or that ocean is a defining part of human
identity and success.
Inside the new social science of genetics
Why Our Brains Love Origins
After preaching that humans live by animal laws of aggression and selfishness, evolutionary
psychologists are finding the animal kingdom is not as brutal as they imagined.
Moody. Impulsive. Maddening. Why do teenagers act the way they do? Viewed through the eyes of
evolution, their most exasperating traits may be the key to success as adults.
A fascinating profile of a man who is helping other blind people to see using echolocation.
How researchers can tap the plasticity of the brain to hack our 5 senses, and build new ones
How a neuroscientist from Stockholm can use mannequins, rubber arms and virtual reality to transport
you outside your own body.
Is it possible that some people are wired to take in more sensory information than others, and that
are our attitudes towards sensitivity are misguided?
How the subtlest shift in perception can create whole a new way of seeing the world.
A classic article about a pair of twins whose art unlocks the secrets of perception.
The window to your soul may be easier to unlock than you ever thought possible.
A perfunctory gesture? Hardly. It defines the exchange. A hands-on study of a
Maintaining eye contact feels awkward, even creepy. At first. Then it just
The bias against short men hurts them. It is unfair. It is irrational. So why is it not taken
seriously? A serious question: especially if you happen to be short.
The Psychology of Society
What do monkeys have to do with war, oppression, crime, racism and even e-mail spam?
For decades sociologists and philosophers have suspected that behaviors can be “contagious."
Changing the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.
What do debutante balls, the Japanese tea ceremony, Ponzi schemes and doubting clergy all have in common?
How a simple game could increase something as profound as fluid intelligence?
How increasingly sophisticated TV programming may be driving up our IQs.
Amos Tversky and the built-in kinks in human reasoning.
You are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are
Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in
something the harder it becomes to abandon it.
Why some people choke and others panic.
The New Science of Choking Under Pressure
The Psychology of Money
I have a gift. I didn't make people go weird around money.
No matter how you chart the trends in earning and spending, everything is up, up, up. But if you made a chart of American
happiness since the end of World War II, the lines would be as flat as a marble tabletop.
The most impressive people I know are all procrastinators.
When you waste your own time, it’s called idleness. When others waste your time, it’s called waiting. I enjoy idleness. I don’t
What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?
Go ahead and let your thoughts wander: An ‘idle’ brain may be the self’s workshop.
Procrastination is fuelled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
This one pretty much does what it says on the tin.
Okay, so it’s not exactly doing nothing, but close enough.
A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types – quick and dramatic, or careful
The double-edged sword of extraordinary mental potential.
Putting the idea of inborn genius into question.
What characterizes the thinking strategies of the Einsteins, Edisons, daVincis, Darwins, Picassos,
Michelangelos, Galileos, Freuds, and Mozarts of history?
What do Wayne Gretsky, Yo-Yo Ma, and a brain surgeon named Charlie Wilson have in common?
Why do we equate genius with precocity?
The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play
Experiments in sensory deprivation
Can conditioning and persuasion be used to make an ordinary person commit armed robbery?
Is it possible to use hypnotism to transform an innocent victim into a killer, and make him forget it ever happend?
The Guilt Trip - How easy is it to use feelings of guilt to make someone confess to a crime they didn’t commit?
A fascinating exploartion of the mechanics of language
A group of brave volunteers spends a weekend naked in the name of science
A surprsing look at the way we perceive colour
A journey through the weird and wonderful world of optical illusions
The best science and tech writing from around the internet
The best writing about staying healthy, medicine and disease
How I trained my brain and became a world-class memory athlete.
In the archives of the brain our lives linger or disappear.
Our memories naturally degrade, but each time you return to a memory, you reactivate its neural
network and help to lock it in. The effect on retention of learning in this manner is staggering…
A breakthrough drug can erase your worst memories -- but not everyone thinks you have the right to take it.
Given the chance to observe our behaviors, computers can run simulations,
modeling different versions of our path through the world and give us rules to
There is a state of blessed calm available to those who have taken careful
measure of their habits and made all the changes suggested by reason.
Humans make errors. We make errors of fact and errors of judgment. We have blind spots in our field
of vision and gaps in our stream of attention. That is, some of us do. Others use data.
Provide people with information about their actions in real time, then give them a chance to change
those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors.
Distractions are not just a plague on our work - sometimes they are our work.
The Hazards of Confidence
Be positive, look on the bright side, stay focused on success: so goes our modern mantra. But
perhaps the true path to contentment is to learn to be a loser
Is there a formula, some mix of love, work, and psychological
adaptation, for a good life?
An elusive human annoyance may finally be yielding its secrets
We can learn a lot from psychopaths. Certain aspects of their personalities and intellect are often hallmarks of success.
What is blushing? No one knows for sure, but it can ruin your life.
Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.
To understand the story of humanity, it is not enough to ask, what is the plot? We must also ask, what were they smoking?
Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or
ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and
maladroit at small talk?
A journey through the emotionally charged world of the lucid dreamer.
You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.
Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane
because you attribute your motivation to the money, not your internal feelings.
Willpower is a finite resource.
You can experience emotional states without knowing why, even if you believe you can pinpoint the
The American shopper has never been so fickle. What are stores, including the new flagship designer
boutiques, doing about it?
What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?
How the Information Age could blow away the blockbuster.
If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do
Both consumerism and capitalism are driven by competition among consumers for status.
Companies seek to encourage the public’s habit of casual or non-essential spending whenever they can…
How online companies get you to share more and spend more
If high-tech work distractions are inevitable, then maybe we can re-engineer them so we receive all of their benefits but few of
It was interesting how late brain changed its focus from the phone to the steel fence post sliding
across my hood
One man’s quest to go from manic multitasker to Zen unitasker in one month flat.
Why the recent spate of diatribes against the attention deficit generation may be barking up the
When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.
Which of the following people would you say is the most admirable: Mother Teresa, Bill Gates or
How our 'two-speed brain' affects or choices and reactions, and helps explains our intuitions and
lack of rationality.
How TV and computer games make you smart.
How our habits reveal us, and what can do to steer them.
A fascinating investigation into the way we make decisions and why, in some cases, less information
may improve our judgement.
What sets high achievers apart from normal people?
A journey through the strange psychology of self-delusion.
The psychology of improbable events, and the effect it has on our lives.
Adventures in memory.