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

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

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

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

Is social psychology ready for the big science revolution?

Is social psychology ready for the big science revolution?

In this blog post, I will describe perhaps the greatest challenge facing social psychology (and other social sciences) in the coming decades: The curation and increased accessibility of research findings. I describe several big science efforts that lead to an eventual goal – a search engine of research findings capable of producing instant empirical summaries and translating findings using lay terms. / more

Hot or cold morality? (Part 1)

Hot or cold morality? (Part 1)

How do we make moral judgments? Are people cold, calculating Vulcans? Or are they affectively hot hedonists? Researchers often present morality as a war between vying ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ processes, but in this two-part blog post I argue that the distinction is a false choice. Morality is both hot and cold, but not in the way previous research leads people to believe. / more

Sorry, the relationship with your mother still matters for your achievement in life

Sorry, the relationship with your mother still matters for your achievement in life

Play dates or homework? Piano lessons or TV? Mothers generally want the best for their children. However, what is ‘the best’? Happiness or academic achievement? And, how should parents go about raising their children in the ‘best’ way possible? One answer to this question is to be a ‘tiger parent’. This rather harsh ‘Chinese’ parenting style has been advocated to guarantee successful children. In this post, I will discuss if this means that all mothers should become a bit more ferocious when it comes to parenting. / more

Never give up: The persistence of misinformation effects

Never give up: The persistence of misinformation effects

Politicians, corporations, journalists and even scientists sometimes do it – they tell people things that later on turn out to be incorrect. Yet, getting rid of this so-called misinformation is often easier said than done as false beliefs are particularly sticky. In this blog, I zoom in on the current state of the art in misinformation research. / more