Secrets of the Creative Brain
As a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who studies creativity, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted and high-profile subjects over the years, but Kurt Vonnegut—dear, funny, eccentric, lovable, tormented Kurt Vonnegut—will always be one of my favorites.
What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?
One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp.
This Is Your Brain on Silence
One icy night in March 2010, 100 marketing experts piled into the Sea Horse Restaurant in Helsinki, with the modest goal of making a remote and medium-sized country a world-famous tourist destination.
We Are All Confident Idiots
The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.
Why We Procrastinate
The British philosopher Derek Parfit espoused a severely reductionist view of personal identity in his seminal book, Reasons and Persons: It does not exist, at least not in the way we usually consider it.
Learning How to Exert Self-Control
PARIS — NOT many Ivy League professors are associated with a type of candy. But Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, doesn’t mind being one of them. I’m with Mr. Mischel (pronounced me-SHELL) in his tiny home office in Paris, where he spends the summer with his girlfriend.
The slow death of purposeless walking
A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk? Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all.
Buy Experiences, Not Things
Live in anticipation, gathering stories and memories. New research builds on the vogue mantra of behavioral economics. Forty-seven percent of the time, the average mind is wandering.
Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling
It is quiet and dark. The theater is hushed. James Bond skirts along the edge of a building as his enemy takes aim. Here in the audience, heart rates increase and palms sweat. I know this to be true because instead of enjoying the movie myself, I am measuring the brain activity of a dozen viewers.
A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D.
ATTENTION deficit hyperactivity disorder is now the most prevalent psychiatric illness of young people in America, affecting 11 percent of them at some point between the ages of 4 and 17.
The Limits of Friendship
Robin Dunbar came up with his eponymous number almost by accident. The University of Oxford anthropologist and psychologist (then at University College London) was trying to solve the problem of why primates devote so much time and effort to grooming.
The Upside of Pessimism
The theory of defensive pessimism suggests that imagining—and planning for—worst-case scenarios can be more effective than trying to think positively. I have pretty low expectations for this article. Oh sure, I spent a lot of time on it, and I personally think it’s a great read.
Why Teenagers Act Crazy
ADOLESCENCE is practically synonymous in our culture with risk taking, emotional drama and all forms of outlandish behavior. Until very recently, the widely accepted explanation for adolescent angst has been psychological.
How to Tell When Someone Is Lying
On January 27, 2008, Penny Boudreau’s twelve-year-old daughter, Karissa, went missing in her hometown of Bridgewater, Canada. That afternoon, mother and daughter had had a fight in a grocery-store parking lot.
The psychology of torture
The year was 1960, and Dr Stanley Milgram had a theory about Germans. Only 27 years old, Milgram was a rising star in social psychology. He had just finished his doctorate work at Harvard on the phenomenon of conformity and begun a prestigious professorship at Yale.
The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis
What a growing body of research reveals about the biology of human happiness—and how to navigate the (temporary) slump in middle age This summer, a friend called in a state of unhappy perplexity. At age 47, after years of struggling to find security in academia, he had received tenure.
Against Empathy
When asked what I am working on, I often say I am writing a book about empathy. People tend to smile and nod, and then I add, “I’m against it.” This usually gets an uncomfortable laugh.
The self is moral
One morning after her accident, a woman I’ll call Kate awoke in a daze. She looked at the man next to her in bed. He resembled her husband, with the same coppery beard and freckles dusted across his shoulders. But this man was definitely not her husband.
Psychopaths: how can you spot one?
We think of psychopaths as killers, alien, outside society. But, says the scientist who has spent his life studying them, you could have one for a colleague, a friend – or a spouse There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people.
The New Yorker
One morning every spring, for exactly two minutes, Israel comes to a stop. Pedestrians stand in place, drivers pull over to the side of the road, and nobody speaks, sings, eats, or drinks as the nation pays respect to the victims of the Nazi genocide.
Not so foolish
Humanity’s achievements and its self-perception are today at curious odds.
What It’s Like to Spend 20 Years Listening to Psychopaths for Science
Kent Kiehl was walking briskly towards the airport exit, eager to get home, when a security guard grabbed his arm. “Would you please come with me, sir?” he said. Kiehl complied, and he did his best to stay calm while security officers searched his belongings.
The Science of Conquering Your Greatest Fears
Many things scare me: the huge rock at the bottom of Boulder Garden on Colorado’s Gunnison River that has flipped my kayak numerous times; the chutes off the stormy top of the Big Sky tram; sullen men with clubs who lurk in Kenya’s Ngong Hills (I met them a while back).
A Revolutionary Approach to Treating PTSD
Bessel van der Kolk sat cross-legged on an oversize pillow in the center of a smallish room overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur. He wore khaki pants, a blue fleece zip-up and square wire-rimmed glasses. His feet were bare.
The Female Sociopath
It's so zen until your eyes bug out. This dog was excited to see its owner. So excited that we threw some happy hardcore on top to more accurately express the level of hype a dog can feel.