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More than meets the eye: Physical sensations influence first impressions

More than meets the eye: Physical sensations influence first impressions

People are special. Person perception is quite different from rock perception, for example. Geologists, those with a rock in their shoe, and pet rock owners aside, the perception of a rock is often merely the perception of a collection of lines and surfaces. Yet people are not simply collections of lines and surfaces. People have inner worlds such as mental states and... / more

What can metaphors tell us about personality?

What can metaphors tell us about personality?

Our language is filled with metaphors (Gibbs, 1994). We have “bright” ideas, try to stay “balanced”, and feel “close” to others, but sometimes feel “down”, have “dark” thoughts, and “explode” with rage. What is the purpose of such language? 

According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980; 1999), metaphors allow us to understand abstract thoughts and feelings that cannot be directly seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. Stated a different way, we may speak metaphorically because...

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Seeing mountains in molehills: Embodied visual perception of the environment

Seeing mountains in molehills: Embodied visual perception of the environment

You have likely experienced the phenomenon. Perhaps it occurred on the walk from the train after an exhausting day at the office. Or maybe you noticed it on the uphill trek to class while lugging a backpack stuffed with textbooks. That hill looming in front of you—surmountable most days and probably no more than a few degrees incline —right now looks more like Mount Everest. Likewise, the six-block walk from the train appears to stretch for miles. The... / more

Social: why our brains are wired to connect.

Social: why our brains are wired to connect.

Humans have large brains. According to the social brain hypothesis, proposed by Robin Dunbar, the social environment played a large role in the evolution of the human brain’s structure and function. Today, typing “the social brain” in google scholar results in more than 10.000 hits. More than half of those hits refer to papers or books published since 2010. Conclusion: the social brain is a “hot” term in psychology. In his book “Social: Why our brains are wired to connect” Matthew Lieberman outlines his view on why we have a social brain, and how our social brain processes the world around us. Applying his view more broadly, he also explains what having a social brain may mean in dealing with social issues such as education, work and building social connections. / more

Are voters rational?

Are voters rational?

Are voters rational? As a part of a three-part series on the subject of voter rationality, my colleagues Matt Motyl, Mark Brandt, and I will discuss some theories and research dealing with voters’ attitudes and behaviors. We hope you will stay a part of the conversation with us! / more

The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has been called a lot of things, from a “game changer” and “a breath of fresh air”, to “hypocritical”, “sexist”, and “sneaky”. So why has the campaign, whose major innovation was to use ads that featured real women rather than airbrushed models or celebrity spokespersons, sparked so much controversy? Taking a social psychological perspective, this article attempts to address the good, the bad, and possibly even the ugly side of Dove’s Campaign for... / more

The curse of lovely: How to break free from the demands of others and learn to say no

The curse of lovely: How to break free from the demands of others and learn to say no

Reading a self-help book is like talking to a stranger in a bar – you either identify with the person’s story immediately and feel like you can talk the whole night or you don’t, which is when you try to move to another table. Regarding Jacqui Marson’s book “The Curse of Lovely” I felt similar. After reading the first chapter I couldn’t fully identify myself with the author’s personal story so I was tempted to classify the book as “not for me”. And as can happen in a bar, when a person you didn’t like at first becomes a friend, my first impression of “The Curse of Lovely” turned out to be wrong after I continued reading it for a while. I found myself identifying with the problems and nodding approvingly more and more often. / more

The reason I jump: The inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism by Naoki Higashida

The reason I jump: The inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism by Naoki Higashida

The concept of this book The Reason I Jump: The inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism by Naoki Higashida is based on a fascinating idea. A 13-year-old boy with autism answers questions about his inner life that the outer world wants to know to understand autism better. The book was first published in Japanese in 2007, and translated into English in 2013. / more

Publish and prosper: a strategy guide for students and researchers

Publish and prosper: a strategy guide for students and researchers

If you are a graduate student just starting your academic career or a relatively new assistant professor, I highly recommend Nathaniel Lambert’s Publish and prosper: A strategy guide for students and researchers. This is a highly readable – I read it in a single day, and I am a slow reader – accessible, and engaging book in which Lambert offers valuable strategies for enhancing your research productivity. / more

Searching for meaning

Searching for meaning

If I just had space to write about one criticism pertaining to the presented book, it would be that the title "Searching for Meaning - Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope" gives only a vague notion about the information that is actually contained within. / more

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