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[…]

Why Sad Songs Can Be Feel-Good and Noise Music Can Be Nice

Lauren C/Flickr/Creative Commons By Princess Ojiaku / 01.14.2016 Adele’s heartbreaking ballad Hello, about a lost lover, has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks, while 25, the album from which it comes, broke records for the highest number of album sales in its first week (3.48 million). Sad songs can be immensely popular, often moving us in a more memorable way[…]

Earworms: How and Why Music Gets Stuck in Your Head

By Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos / 09.10.2016 Sociologist Have you ever had a song playing in  your mind that you just can’t tune out? The social science term for this is “involuntary musical imagery” (IMI) otherwise known as an “earworm.” In this post, I’ll discuss research about IMI, focusing on data from a study by Victoria Williamson and colleagues tracing[…]

Blocking the Noise in a Seemingly Senseless World

By Gilbert Ross / 01.05.2018 Is Loss of Sense-Making Threatening Our Existence? We are living in a point in time of our evolution where the amount and quality of problems we are facing are existential in nature or, that is, they are pointing towards gloomy scenarios of auto-destruction. From the accelerated degradation of our biosphere, overpopulation,[…]

Schizophrenia’s Tangled Roots

Symptoms of schizophrenia and related disorders likely arise from a perplexing interplay of social, environmental, psychological, and biological factors. / Apfelshaft123, Flickr, Creative Commons As an increasingly complex picture of schizophrenia emerges, researchers are recognizing that a more individualized and humane approach is needed to better understand and treat the condition. By Michael Balter /[…]

Would Life Be Worth Living if Work Dominated Your Every Moment?

Workers Leaving the Factory Lithograph, 1903 by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. Image courtesy www.famsf.org By Andrew Taggart / 12.20.2017 Trainer Banff Creative Arts Center Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly,[…]

The Holiday-Suicide Myth and the Intractability of Popular Falsehoods

James Stewart and Donna Reed in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA By Dr. Dan Romer / 12.21.2017 Research Director Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania For years, the media have reported that more suicides occur during the holidays than at any other time. Many of these stories, no doubt, are meant to help people cope[…]

Why a Grateful Brain is a Giving One

By Dr. Christina Karns / 12.19.2017 Associate Researcher Brain Development Lab University of Oregon When you think about gratitude and its place in our culture, you might not immediately think about morality—that is, matters of right and wrong. Often, we make gratitude sound like it’s all about you. In the domain of self-help, we hear that gratitude[…]

During the Holidays, Giving Gifts to the Dead Can Help You Cope with Grief

A toy truck left at a tombstone in a Montreal cemetery. Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Jenna Drenten / 12.20.2017 Assistant Professor of Marketing Loyola University Chicago Every December, my family decorates two Christmas trees: one for our living room and one for the cemetery, where my sister is buried. She died when she was 15 years[…]

Why Do We Wrap Presents?

Buppha Wuttifery/Getty Images Wrapping paper is a striptease that hides and reveals, transforming otherwise ordinary objects into gifts. By Chip Colwell / 12.19.2017 The holiday season is here. That means presents under Christmas trees, next to menorahs, accompanying Kwanzaa candles, traded at white elephant parties. All of these gifts, despite the sweeping breadth of beliefs[…]

‘Let the Soul Dangle’: How Mind-Wandering Spurs Creativity

Detail from The Red Balloon Paul Klee, 1922. Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Wikimedia      By (left-to-right) Dr. Julia Christensen, Dr. Guido Giglioni, and Dr. Manos Tsakiris / 12.05.2017 Christensen: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology, Newton International Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience, City University, London Giglioni: Cassamarca Lecturer in Neo-Latin Culture and Intellectual History (1400-1700),[…]