The Stowaway’s Story Chimes with the Explorer in Us All

Stowaway Perce Blackborow and Mrs Chippy aboard Shackleton’s Endurance, 1914-1917. Photo courtesy Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge By Laura Gwen Shapiro / 04.01.2018 Novelist and Documentary Filmmaker Whatever currency drives adventure, whether fame or fortune, a stowaway trying to cash in on glory often features in the story. Sometimes, they’re escaping a bad situation; sometimes, they’re wannabe[…]

Our Dreams Have Many Purposes, Changing Across the Lifespan

Photo by stephentrepreneur, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Patrick McNamara / 03.09.2018 Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry Boston University School of Medicine Although radically different in terms of their content and feel, the rangeof dream states are just as complex as waking states. If we look across an individual’s lifetime, we find that children’s dreams are very different[…]

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee – It’s Why Your Cuppa Tastes So Good

The smell of freshly brewed coffee is hard to beat. Michael Yan/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND By Don Brushett / 10.20.2014 Research Associate Southern Cross University Most of what we taste we actually smell. The only sensations that we pick up in our mouth are sweet, sour, bitter, umami and salty. Without its smell, coffee would have only a sour or[…]

What Everyone Gets Wrong about Lonely People

Because loneliness is now considered a public health issue—and even an epidemic—people are exploring its causes and trying to find solutions. / Photo by Annie Theby, Unsplash Those trying to cure a loneliness epidemic by bringing people physically closer to their neighbors are oversimplifying its modern meaning. By Amelia S. Worsley / 03.22.2018 Is loneliness our modern[…]

William Sargant’s World of Psychosurgery, Brainwashing, and Exorcism

William W Sargant, 1948. Wellcome Library reference: PP/WWS/A/19. Mike Jay delves into the personal papers of one of the first ‘media psychiatrists’ of the 20th century. By Mike Jay / 04.02.2014 Author and Cultural Historian In some respects, Sargant was a distinguised establishment figure. He was co-author of ‘An Introduction to Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry’, the[…]

Fact-Checking: More than Meets the Eye

We don’t automatically question information we read or hear. Gaelfphoto/Shutterstock.com Cognitive psychologists know the way our minds work means we not only don’t notice errors and misinformation we know are wrong, we also then remember them as true. By Dr. Lisa Fazio / 03.29.2018 Assistant Professor of Psychology Vanderbilt University Here’s a quick quiz for you:[…]

The Reason We Like the Tidy Feelings of Home is Evolutionary

James Vaughan/Flickr By Dr. John S. Allen / 04.25.2016 Neuroanthropologist and Research Scientist University of Southern California Is your house tidier than it used to be? If it is, then you have probably read Marie Kondo’s international bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011). Kondo’s book is ostensibly a manual for home improvement. She suggests[…]

A History of Loneliness

Edward Hopper’s ‘Office in a Small City’ (1953). Gandalf’s Gallery By Dr. Amelia S. Worsley / 03.19.2018 Assistant Professor of English Amherst College Is loneliness our modern malaise? Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says the most common pathology he saw during his years of service “was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Chronic loneliness, some say,[…]

An Introduction to Intelligence, Its Measurements, and Its Extremes

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.09.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Intelligence 1.1 – Defining Intelligence 1.1.1 – Introduction Over the last century or so, intelligence has been defined in many different ways. The meaning of the word “intelligence” has been hotly contested for many years. In today’s psychological landscape, intelligence can[…]

Cognition: The Psychology of Knowledge and Information Processing

Image from Life Science Databases via Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.06.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – History of Cognition 1.1 – Introduction “Cognition” is a term for a wide swath of mental functions that relate to knowledge and information processing. 1.1.1 – Cogito Ergo Sum Maybe you’ve heard the phrase I think , therefore[…]

An Introduction to Social Psychology

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Defining Social Psychology: History and Principles Introduction The field of social psychology is growing rapidly and is having an increasingly important influence on how we think about human behavior. Newspapers, websites, and other media frequently report the findings of social psychologists, and the results of[…]

The Sociology of Socialization

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – The Role of Socialization 1.1 – Introduction Socialization prepares people for social life by teaching them a group’s shared norms, values, beliefs, and behaviors. 1.1.1 – Overview The role of socialization is to acquaint individuals with the norms of a given social group or society.[…]

Sensation and Perception: How We Interpret Our World and Shape Reality

Image from event-horizon / Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.25.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Sensation 1.1 – Introduction Sensation involves the relay of information from sensory receptors to the brain and enables a person to experience the world around them. 1.1.1 – Overview Sensation and perception are two separate processes[…]

The Conditioning, Cognition, Biology, and Psychology of Learning

Image from The Blue Diamond Gallery / Creative commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.26.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Learning 1.1 – Defining Learning Learning involves a change in behavior or knowledge that results from experience. 1.1.1 – What is Learning? Learning is an adaptive function by which our nervous system changes[…]

States of Consciousness

Photo Credit EMSL, Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.22.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Consciousness 1.1 – Introduction 1.1.1 – Philosophy of Consciousness Despite the difficulty in coming to a definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. Philosophers since the time[…]

What was the Beguiling Spell of Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’?

Detail from the Mandala of Jnanadakini, 14th century, Tibet. / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York By Dr. Antonio Melechi / 02.19.2018 Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Sociology University of York The first decades of the 20th century saw a raft of psychological terms fall into popular usage. Freudian notions of ‘denial’ and ‘displacement’, ‘projection’[…]

Language and Its Development

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.15.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Language 1.2 – Introduction 1.1.2 – Overview Language is the ability to produce and comprehend both spoken and written (and in the case of sign language, signed) words. Understanding how language works means reaching across many branches of psychology—everything from basic[…]

The History of Dance as Therapy

American dance therapist Marian Chace therapist in a dance therapy session. Image credit: American Dance Therapy Association By Julia Nurse / 10.12.2016 Web Content Officer Wellcome Library While researching the role of dance as a form of therapy for the latest Wellcome Collection exhibition ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond‘, I discovered a richly illustrated cross-cultural[…]

What the Joyous Solitude of Early Hermits Can Teach Us about Being Alone

Loneliness (feeling alone) and solitude (being alone) are not the same thing. jessicahtam By Dr. Kim Haines-Eitzen / 02.08.2018 Professor of Early Christianity Cornell University In today’s world, loneliness seems to have reached epidemic proportions. Countless studies have highlighted the serious and negative impact that loneliness has on our health, our sense of well-being, and our ability to thrive[…]

Art as Solace in Dark Times

By Dr. Ruchama Johnston-Bloom / 12.21.2016 Assistant Director of Academic Affairs CAPA The Global Education Network Around this time of year, I often find myself telling people about the mixture of holidays I grew up celebrating as a child. My back-to-the-land hippie parents, one Jewish, one not, both fairly atheist, kept what they liked from[…]

Nostalgia Can Be Good for Us

By Dr. John Medina / 01.21.2018 Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering University of Washington School of Medicine I want to describe the delightfully entitled “Counterclockwise Experiment” because its results are chock full of good news for aging historians. Doing so requires starting with something less delightful, unfortunately. In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing, and probably very[…]

The Human Brain’s Bandwidth for Visual Images is Severely Limited

All too much; Ikea shoppers overwhelmed in the showroom, 6 July 2014, Beijing, China. Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty By Dr. Rebecca Keogh / 12.18.2017 Postdoctoral Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience University of New South Wales Imagine you are at Ikea to pick up a sofa for your new flat. You see one you like, a wine-coloured two-seater[…]

How the Orchestra is Arranged by the Biology of the Brain

Charlie Nguyen/Flickr/Creative Commons By Richard Kunert / 04.20.2016 PhD Candidate Donders Institute Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Imagine yourself at a concert hall looking at a symphonic orchestra on stage. Have you ever noticed that high-pitched strings sit left of low-pitched strings? Going from left to right, one usually sees violins, violas, cellos and double[…]