January 11, 2013 Does music have a history? Why? Listening to Bowie, and reading Gary Marcus's Guitar Zero provoke commentator Alva Noë to wonder.
November 5, 2012 What does one vote matter, your vote? Clearly the election is not going to turn on your individual action. So where does the motivation come from to get up out of your chair and head to the polling station? Commentator Tania Lombrozo digs into the psychology of our decision to vote, or not.
October 29, 2012 Humans may well be programmed to seek purpose in everything — mountains, for instance — whether one exists or not. Commentator Tania Lombrozo says that it's not irrational to seek purpose in our scientific quest to understand the natural world, but that we won't always find it.
October 24, 2012 Scientists often face a quandary when deciding how to communicate important results to the wider world. Commentator Tania Lombrozo asks whether delivering a forceful message to the public on issues of the day is more important than remaining true to the questioning nature of science when addressing a general audience.
August 2, 2012 Psychologists are learning why we rely on rituals when there's something we want but don't know how to get. In a new paper, they say we're more likely to believe a ritual will work if it involves repetition and lots of steps.
July 24, 2012 Scientists have long studied why some requests seem to be met with a yes while others get a no. Now, there's a new development: A study finds that asking for unusual favors can be very effective in getting people to comply.
July 8, 2012 TV gives you the best seat in the house. Yet televised sports are no substitute for actually being there Why? The answer has to do with the nature of human perception.
May 9, 2012 Two-thirds of Republicans say the president can do something about high gas prices; about two-thirds of Democrats say he can't. But six years ago, with a Republican president in the White House, those numbers were reversed. Researchers want to understand this flipped perception.
March 8, 2012 Eating lots of fruits and veggies gives skin a slightly yellow hue. And that's considered more healthy and attractive looking, according to a new study.
March 6, 2012 Women get satisfaction out of conflict in relationships, while men like it better when their mate seems happy. But both sexes benefit from empathizing with the other's feelings, be they good or bad.
March 5, 2012 Why are politicians and those of us who vote for them so obsessed with inconsistency? We take that question on from three angles: how our brains are wired; the psychology of judging what's consistent; and how consistency plays out in leadership styles.
March 1, 2012 How do our bodies work with our brains to generate patterns of creative thinking? Students who complete a task while sitting or walking outside a box think more creatively ("outside the box") than those who sit or walk inside it. How can this finding be explained?