November 30, 2012 A vote this weekend by a small group of academics could result in changes to several entries in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Doctors may no longer be advised to avoid diagnoses of depression after the death of a loved one, and Asperger's syndrome may be folded into the spectrum of autism.
October 23, 2012 Early on in American history, before radio and television, charisma wasn't particularly useful, one scholar says, since most decisions were made behind closed doors. Not so today. But how much difference do personality characteristics and charisma make?
October 3, 2012 In political debates, candidates frequently avoid uncomfortable topics by diverting the conversation to an unrelated strength. Many politicians hire debate coaches who have perfected this technique, called "the pivot." So why do these dodges usually evade our cognitive radar? A psychologist explains.
September 17, 2012 Teachers' expectations about their students' abilities affect classroom interactions in myriad ways that can impact student performance. Students expected to succeed, for example, get more time to answer questions and more specific feedback. But training aimed at changing teaching behavior can also help change expectations.
September 4, 2012 Every Top 40 hit in 1965 was in a major key and had a fast tempo. In 2009, more than half of the Top 40 songs were in a minor key. Has there been a shift in the emotional content of music in the past five decades, and why are we drawn to sadness and ambiguity in music?
August 17, 2012 A new study suggests using the term psychopath adds an average of five years to criminal sentences. But once a biological explanation was included, the length of the sentence dropped. In other words, our sympathy for the idea that biology might be responsible for criminal behavior is powerful.
August 1, 2012 In the wake of mass murder, the families of victims must navigate a complicated emotional landscape. But so, too, must the families of those charged with the crimes. Among the questions such families must grapple with are troubling ones about their own responsibility.
July 16, 2012 Politics has been a profession ruled by gut instinct, gurus and polls. But over the past 15 years, the primary method of scientific advance — the randomized controlled study — has been wheedling its way into politics. Bit by bit, it's challenging a lot of the conventional wisdom that dominates current political campaigns.
May 1, 2012 Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff — the past decade has brought us a long parade of headlines involving unethical behavior. And that's led researchers to a disturbing conclusion: The vast majority of us are not only capable of behaving in profoundly unethical ways, but without realizing it, we do it all the time. Exhibit A: the story of Toby Groves.