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From Heavens to Hells to Heroes

From Heavens to Hells to Heroes

The poet John Milton gave highest praise to the human mind when he wrote in 'Paradise Lost', "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." I have been celebrating that mental agility for most of my life, as a research psychologist for the past fifty years, but even before that as a child of only five years. Before I describe how I helped to... / more

Exposing an Armed Criminal: What Can We Learn from Psychology and the Police?

Exposing an Armed Criminal: What Can We Learn from Psychology and the Police?

How vulnerable are armed criminals? Can one predict their intentions and actions just by watching them walking or standing somewhere? Psychologists and the police believe this is possible. They think this can be done by reading subtle clues in the appearance of a person. These clues can be meaningless for a novice, but are significant for a trained person. / more

‘Forever and a Day’ or ‘Just One Night’? On Adaptive Functions of Long-Term and Short-Term Romantic Relationships

‘Forever and a Day’ or ‘Just One Night’? On Adaptive Functions of Long-Term and Short-Term Romantic Relationships

A happy, fulfilling, faithful and ‘till death do us part’ type of relationship seems to be an ultimate aim for most people. If you consider the typical storyline of popular fairy tales, like, Snow White and Cinderella, they portray an attractive couple overcoming number of difficult circumstances to rejoice committed relationship and “live happily ever after” and ”till death do them part”. The main actors in these screenplays are young, attractive and healthy individuals at the peak of their reproductive age, and willing to commit to each other for the rest of their lives. / more

The Double Edged Passion

The Double Edged Passion

Humans are passionate creatures. Our passions drive us, gives us a sense of belonging, and unite us as few other things can. Still, there are only a couple of passions that have been constants down the ages, passions that people from every place and culture can agree on. Love is one, but another is that "those no-good bastards over there are trouble." Of course, we quibble endlessly over the exact definition of "those" -- every culture, pretty much, has had... / more

On Mirror Neurons or Why it is Okay to be a Couch Potato

On Mirror Neurons or Why it is Okay to be a Couch Potato

Have you ever wondered why, when you see someone stretch out and yawn, suddenly, you start to feel drowsy and feel the urge to do the same? Or how about the tendency of people to copy each other’s postures? In social psychology this phenomenon is called postural mirroring. All this mimicking is the result of so-called mirror neurons in our brain. / more

There’s Something About Zero

There’s Something About Zero

For some people, looking at one or more of the numbers in the image will be an aesthetically unpleasant experience. “But zero is black!” they will think to themselves. Those with black (or red, or upper left, or shy, or any other type of additional sensation) zeroes are synaesthetes – for them, the perception of a stimulus (the inducer) in one sense will activate a sensation (the concurrent) in... / more

The Media: Carriers of Contagious Information

The Media: Carriers of Contagious Information

The media play a critical role in modern society because they are the carriers of information about how people behave. And, the evidence from social science is clear that information about others’ behavior can have a contagious effect—leading observers to behave similarly, which can lead still more and more observers to conform (Cialdini, 2001). In the economic arena, marketing professionals understand how to harness this power. Television commercials depict crowds rushing into stores and hands... / more

The Naked Power: Understanding Nonverbal Communications of Power

The Naked Power: Understanding Nonverbal Communications of Power

Because  power is something we often avoid discussing openly, its  nonverbal communication is fascinating to lay people and psychologists alike. When directly asked, people interpret many different nonverbal signs as indicating high or low  power – unfortunately, these ideas are often exaggerated and misguided. Likewise, social psychologists still have no good understanding of the nonverbal cues to  power. This article sheds more light on what is actually... / more

Creativity is More Than a Trait: It’s a Relation

Creativity is More Than a Trait: It’s a Relation

What is all the commotion about  creativity? Whatever definition this vogue expression is dressed in, it has apparently captured the awareness of countless authorities for educational, economical, governmental and last but not least, scientific issues. Moreover, the media is filled with references to  creativity or its synonyms. Ochse (1990), the author of a renowned book on the determinants of creative genius, contested that "our quality of life, perhaps our very survival as a species,... / more

Are Stereotypes True?

Are Stereotypes True?

Are African Americans really better at basketball than Caucasians? Are blonds really dumber than brunettes? Are women really worse at math than men? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is no. Let me explain by focusing on the stereotype that women can’t do math. At first glance, this stereotype seems to be true. For instance, men continue to outperform women on the math sections of the SAT and GRE, and... / more

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