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

Does discrimination fit a prototype?

Does discrimination fit a prototype?

In this blog post, I discuss what information people use to decide whether a behavior constitutes discrimination . Similar to the way people organize categories and identify objects, I review research showing that people rely on prototypes when deciding what is and is not discrimination . / more

The missing heritability problem

The missing heritability problem

In my last post I described the transition from candidate gene studies to genome -wide association studies, and argued that the corresponding change in the methods used, focusing on the whole genome rather than on a handful of genes of presumed biological relevance, has transformed our understanding of the genetic basis of complex traits. In this post I discuss the reasons why, despite this success, we still have not accounted for all the genetic influences we expect to find. / more

When science selects for fraud

When science selects for fraud

Are fraud and other questionable practices in science caused by a few bad apples, or a culture that rewards based on results, not rigor? In this post, I will argue that our scientific environment is selecting for the wrong kind of scientist. / more

The reason that you need to feel good about yourself in order to be happy might not be what you think it is

The reason that you need to feel good about yourself in order to be happy might not be what you think it is

Do you feel the need to feel good about yourself in order to be happy? Research suggests that if you have a lot of opportunities to make new friends, it is more likely that you will answer this question with a ‘yes’ than when you have more of a set group of people you spend time with. In this blog, I will describe the recent research on the influence of relational mobility and how it relates to the way in which we develop our self-esteem and happiness. / more

Patriot Acts: Why the USA’s recent decrease in national glorification might be a good sign

Patriot Acts: Why the USA’s recent decrease in national glorification might be a good sign

In this blog post, I share a recent report which says that Americans are less fervent about their country now than they’ve been in the recent past. However, I also review some political psychology research on different styles of patriotism which suggests that this particular type of decrease might actually be a good thing for Americans. / more

When having meaning in life helps – and why

When having meaning in life helps – and why

This blog examines the search for meaning in life and gives an explanation for why people seek meaning. Briefly, modern life (relative to our hunter-gatherer past) places people in an uncertain position, and meaning in life can give us a sense that difficulties in life will pay-off. / more

Look at me! (Or don’t): Of society and showing off on Facebook

Look at me! (Or don’t): Of society and showing off on Facebook

Shameless self-promotion on Facebook. Love it or hate it, there’s always someone doing it. And many of us are guilty of it. But why do we do it? Comparing Facebook users in the US and Japan, I suggest it’s the power of the social context that may determine who struts their stuff, and why. / more