The Pedagogy of Feeling Bad: A Desire for Catharsis in Cinema

Nikolaj Lübecker argues for the ethic of “feel-bad” films, movies in which desire for catharsis is built up but ultimately denied in a variety of ways. He draws on directors such as Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Michael Haneke, and many others. By Roman Friedman PhD Student in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership (EPOL)[…]

Porridge is Funnier than Oatmeal, and Booty is Funnier Still

Ha! Photo by Getty Images    By Dr. Thomas Hills (left) and Tomas Engelthaler (right) / 11.20.2017 Hills:  Professor of Psychology Engelthaler:  PhD Candidate in Psychology University of Warwick ‘Which word is funnier: porridge or oatmeal?’ This is the question one of us recently posed to the other. Clearly, the notion was insane. Surely finding something funny requires context[…]

Where the Beauty Lies

Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons By Dr. Mark English / 11.26.2017 The neurologist treating my mother’s Parkinson’s disease, an old-school physician with a heavy Afrikaans accent, first suggested using music as part of her treatment some ten years ago. We probably would have got around to it anyway, as she had had some early training[…]

Social Media as Masochism

Using social media can be a masochistic means of escaping the self By Rob Horning / 05.15.2016 When I read anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll’s book on gambling, Addiction by Design, it started me thinking of how machine gambling works as an analogue for social media: Both facilitate an escapism through engagement, an immersion in immediate risk-taking routines that obscures[…]

The Age of Disruption

TV control room in Toronto / Photo by Loozrboy, Wikimedia Commons Technology is changing society at breakneck speed but considerations of human impacts lag far behind. Dinyar Godrej sketches out some of the key political battles ahead. By Dinyar Godrej / 11.01.2017 We are always at the threshold of the future. But whereas in the past, the path[…]

How to Grow from Your Pain

By Mark Manson / 11.23.2017 Learning to Transmute Our Sufferings A poor, black female in the segregated South, Johnson didn’t exactly have a bright future to look forward to. She endured the hardships that virtually all African Americans endured during and beyond segregation—second-class citizen status, economic and social exclusion, living in near-constant fear of physical[…]

Pavlov and His Dogs: How Associative Learning Really Works in Human Psychology

When the ringing of a bell comes to mean something more. Maisei Raman/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Edward Wasserman / 11.16.2017 Professor of Experimental Psychology University of Iowa My ears perked up when, in recent weeks, I heard Donald Trump and Ivan Pavlov mentioned twice in connection with each other. After all, I’m an experimental psychologist who journeyed[…]

How to Avoid a Life of Misery

Simple, yet effective, advice for living life to its fullest from Ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus By Zat Rana / 11.15.2017 Could it Really be this Simple? Few who knew Epictetus would have considered him lucky. He was born a slave 2,000 years ago. He lived and died in poverty. He was permanently crippled from a[…]

Believing in the Kindness of Strangers

When rain from Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and surrounding areas, some people were more eager to volunteer than others. michelmond/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Kristin Brethel-Haurwitz / 11.12.2017 Postdoctoral Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience University of Pennsylvania Would you risk your life for a total stranger? While you might consider yourself incapable of acts of altruism on that scale,[…]

Rough, Smooth, or Deep: Why the Sound of a Voice is Multisensory

Sarah Vaughan by William P Gottlieb. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Pavlo Shopin / 11.15.2017 Lecturer in the Philosophy of Language, Comparative Linguistics, and Translation National Pedagogical Dragomanov University To make sense of human voices, we rely on senses beyond hearing. The songs of Taylor Swift can be sweet and soft. Lady Gaga’s singing feels[…]

Decision Making Under Stress

By Dr. Emma Barrett and Dr. Nathan Smith / 10.30.2017 Barrett: Research Fellow in Psychology, Lancaster University Smith: Honorary Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School In 2014, 29-year-old Mohammed Uddin spent a few weeks with the Islamic State in Syria. On his return to the UK he was arrested and in 2016 convicted of preparing[…]

Why Exhaustion is Not Unique to Our Overstimulated Age

Marriage A-la-Mode, Plate II, Engraved by Bernard Baron, 1745 / Wellcome Library By Dr. Anna Katharina Schaffner / 07.06.2016 Reader in Comparative Literature University of Kent Is ours the most exhausting age ever? Many sociologists, psychologists and cultural critics argue that the rapid spread of exhaustion syndromes such as depression, stress and burnout are consequences of[…]

Embedded Beings: How We Blended Our Minds with Our Devices

Photo by Gonzalo Baeza/Flickr    By Dr. Saskia K. Nagel and Dr. Peter B. Reiner / 10.04.2016 Nagel: Assistant Professor is Philosophy and Ethics of Technology, University of Twente (The Netherlands) Reiner: Professor and Cofounder of the National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Like life itself, technologies evolve. So it is that[…]

Do You Have a True Self?

By Dr. Art Markman / 11.02.2017 Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing University of Texas at Austin Chances are you have lots of beliefs about yourself and other people. You use these beliefs to help predict why people do what they do. If someone yells at you, you might forgive them because[…]

What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us about Dealing with Our Own Grief

Confucius sculpture, Nanjing, China. Kevinsmithnyc, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA By Dr. Alexus McLeod / 10.30.2017 Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian/Asian-American Studies University of Connecticut November 2 is All Souls’ Day, when many Christians honor the dead. As much as we all know about the inevitability of death, we are often unable to deal with the[…]

The Science of Fright: Why We Love to be Scared

Scary pumpkins are the least of what frightens us at Halloween, a day devoted to being frightened. asife/Shutterstock.com    By Dr. Arash Javanbakht, M.D. (left) and Dr. Linda Saab (right) / 10.26.2017 Javanbakht: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Saab: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Wayne State University Fear may be as old as life on Earth. It is[…]

What is Your Phone Doing to Your Relationships?

New research is exploring how phubbing—ignoring someone in favor of our mobile phone—hurts our relationships, and what we can do about it. By Dr. Emma Seppälä / 10.10.2017 Lecturer and Director of Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project Yale University Phubbing is the practice of snubbing others in favor of our mobile phones. We’ve all been there, as[…]

How Teens Today – the iGens – Are Different from Past Generations

A psychologist mines big data on teens and finds many ways this generation—the “iGens”—is different from Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. By Dr. Diana Divecha / 10.20.2017 Developmental Psychologist Every generation of teens is shaped by the social, political, and economic events of the day. Today’s teenagers are no different—and they’re the first generation whose[…]

How to Use Intuitive Inquiry to Deal with and Help Solve Problems

By Dr. Marjorie Schuman / 10.20.2017 Clinical Psychologist “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin Everyone has problems Everyone has problems: situations or circumstances that are unwelcome and cause perplexity or distress. This universality suggests that problems[…]

Split the Brain, Split the Person

Charles Bell The Anatomy of the Brain. / Wellcome Images By Dr. Yaïr Pinto / 09.26.2017 Cognitive Psychologist and Physicist Assistant Professor of Psychology University of Amsterdam The brain is perhaps the most complex machine in the Universe. It consists of two cerebral hemispheres, each with many different modules. Fortunately, all these separate parts are not[…]

On Shared False Memories: What Lies behind the Mandela Effect?

Huh? Shazaam? Courtesy Touchstone/Interscope/Polygram By Caitlin Aamodt / 02.15.2017 PhD Candidate in Neuroscience University of California, Los Angeles Would you trust a memory that felt as real as all your other memories, and if other people confirmed that they remembered it too? What if the memory turned out to be false? This scenario was named the ‘Mandela[…]