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Einstein beats Mother Theresa as the hero of the world

Einstein beats Mother Theresa as the hero of the world

Heroes and villains don’t only exist in comic books. The real world is full of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys (and girls). Being an exceptional scientist or humanitarian will most likely land you on the heroic side of history. Obviously, dictators who have oppressed millions of people are more likely to be seen as the villains of world history. For a number of influential figures, our perception of their achievements however strongly depends on how our particular cultural region was affected. For example, even though the abolition of slavery by Abraham Lincoln makes him a historical hero in American eyes, people from other countries might value Mandela’s struggle against apartheid, or even Princess Diana much more. And what about more controversial figures such as Che Guevara and Napoleon? In this blog, I will review a brand new study in which it was tested who the heroes and villains of our shared, global history are. / more

From the Editors: Commentary for Embodiment Special Issue

From the Editors: Commentary for Embodiment Special Issue

Wellington, New Zealand, is considered a windy city (twice as windy as Chicago). It is also a hilly city. Victoria University, where I spend my day, is on the top of one of those hills and while that means I have a wonderful view, there are times I despise the walk up from town. Particularly the last bit (the ‘final insult’ as I think of it), from where I can almost see my office. Thanks to Shame Cole and Emily... / more

Time to unwind: When autonomy and motivation add weight to recovery

Time to unwind: When autonomy and motivation add weight to recovery

Extended working hours and off-job duties leave increasingly less time for a person to recover. Thus, the more important it becomes for a person to seek activities that really help to unwind from daily hassles. But is there anything such as the right or even wrong recovery activity? And what role does motivation play in this regard? In this blog post I will elaborate on these questions by reviewing recent research. / more

A Mind For Numbers. How To Excel At Math And Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra).

A Mind For Numbers. How To Excel At Math And Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra).

When I first started to teach myself how to program, I self-diagnosed myself with dysprogrammeria - a natural inability to understand any computer language. No matter how much time and effort I invested, I could not stretch my brain enough to understand all the new concepts. I was glad to find out that the author of “A Mind For Numbers. How To Excel At Math And Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)”, Barbara A. Oakley, must have felt similar when she first started learning engineering at the age of 23. However, she decided to take classes in engineering and 30 years later, as a professor of mechanical engineering, she is sharing her experience of how to rewire a “humanistic brain” into a “technical brain”. / more

Empowering cartoonists, deterring killers, protecting bystanders: Can psychology contribute?

Empowering cartoonists, deterring killers, protecting bystanders: Can psychology contribute?

We respond on many levels, like our readers, to the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo staff in France. The human tragedy makes us sad and angry. The moral atrocity screams for outraged condemnation. The sense of threat calls out community determination, courage, and sacrifice. The counter-mobilisation of millions, and of world leaders, evokes pride and grim satisfaction. / more

On kissing in elevators and flirting in the office: A cross-cultural perspective on normative behavior.

On kissing in elevators and flirting in the office: A cross-cultural perspective on normative behavior.

Imagine you are walking around the city center. It is a warm summer evening and the street is deserted, no children or cars are around. The pedestrian light to cross the street is red. What do you do? Keep waiting for the light to turn green or just cross? And why? Because it is your own free choice? If you decided to ignore the red light and cross the street, you just broke what is called a... / more

Children are poor witnesses. Or are they?

Children are poor witnesses. Or are they?

In a recent murder case, a 6-year-old girl claimed immediately upon arrival of the ambulance and police to have witnessed her father stabbing her mother (Brackmann, Otgaar, Sauerland, & Jelicic, 2014). Does such an account really reflect what happened and should it be used as evidence in court? In criminal cases, it is important to decipher whether eyewitness statements are credible or not. Indeed, erroneous eyewitness statements can have severe consequences, such as wrongful imprisonment and waste of resources. The... / more

Solid science: How graduate students foster research transparency

Solid science: How graduate students foster research transparency

Reproducibility is seen as the gold standard for solid science. However, three are few incentive to work transparently, and even less incentives to conduct replication studies. To change this, more and more teachers are assigning replication studies to graduate students as a class assignment. Will this turn early career researchers into witch hunters? / more

Becoming superhuman: Is it all in your mind?

Becoming superhuman: Is it all in your mind?

Everyone loves a good comic book hero, but what if superhuman feats were something you could learn to do in real life? In this post, we will share some recent scientific evidence that suggests that through mindfulness, people can learn to control their minds, bodies, pain tolerance and emotions in ways that seem almost superhuman. / more

Who gives a Tweet? Fandom, social identity, and why people take to Twitter

Who gives a Tweet? Fandom, social identity, and why people take to Twitter

When we think of the world in terms of categories and different groups of people, we think of the various groups to which we belong and our identities within such groups. The groups to which we belong impact how we perceive ourselves, how others perceive us, and the extent to which we express our social identities in order to bolster our self-esteem. This blog will examine how and why people are motivated to express their social identities using social media and, more specifically, will propose that Twitter serves an important identity function for group members. / more

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