General

This Halloween I Will Face My Greatest Fear

Yes, that's Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Also my long time nemesis. I hate her. She stole my perfectly good name and turned it into a joke. On her About Me page she says, "When you hear the name Elvira only one person comes to "

Excuse me? And what does that make me? Chopped liver?

You might be thinking, "Gee, Elvira, why would it scare you to be associated, even loosely,...
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Brain and Behavior

Design Can Encourage Greater Self-Disclosure

Every day, our behavior is directly influenced by a number of factors, some of which we may not even be consciously aware of. How things are designed is one of those factors.

Psychology researchers call it fluency while web developers call it usability, but they're both basically talking about the same thing -- how well something is designed can directly impact how much people use it. And not only...
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General

The Homeless Highway Gentleman

The homeless highway gentleman walks as if he's on a mission. He walks alongside a busy stretch of highway in southern New Hampshire every day, roughly at the same time, wearing the exact same clothes.

You can tell he's a gentleman because he wears a faded, outdated tan sports jacket. It's seen better days, but so has the gentleman. He's older, balding, and very much on his own. And yet, when...
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Video: Depression Is Like a Pumpkin

This is one of my earliest videos but one of my favorites. It is my version of the Zoloft commercial, where the egg chases the butterfly, until he (the egg) poops out. Then, after he takes his meds, he's back catching butterflies again. Except that I don't have Pfizer's budget, and I'm somewhat technologically challenged. And no, I don't think meds are the cure all.

So, in the spirit of October, I present to you (maybe Pfizer will pay me millions to write their next commercial?) ... Depression Is Like a Pumpkin. Click through to view the video...

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Brain and Behavior

Oprah: The 7 Year Old With Schizophrenia

On October 6, 2009, the popular television show Oprah aired a program about a 7 year old girl, Jani, who has "schizophrenia." Schizophrenia is fairly rare within the population to begin with; it's nearly unheard of in children as young as 7. That's what made this an interesting and engaging program. The disorder apparently started at 2, with imaginary friends who started showing up...
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Anxiety and Panic

Behavioral Economics: This Is Your Brain On Money

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that with recession-related anxiety saturating the very air we breathe, we might be a bit slow to trust our financial decisions.

For decades, economists did not find much merit in connecting psychology with finance. That changed when a young economics professor from the University of Chicago, Richard Thaler, introduced himself to two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Together they are credited with founding behavioral economics.

Behavioral economics, and...
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Brain and Behavior

Why Sleeping On It Helps

We're often told, "You should sleep on it" before you make an important decision. Why is that? How does "sleeping on it" help your decision-making process?

Conventional wisdom suggests that by "sleeping on it," we clear our minds and relieve ourselves of the immediacy (and accompanying stress) of making a decision. Sleep also helps organize our memories, process the information of the day, and solve problems. Such wisdom also suggests that conscious deliberation...
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