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.
February 7, 2012 A fresh analysis finds no increase in suicide among young people taking Prozac. The results add a wrinkle to the long-running debate over the safety of the medicines for the treatment of depressed young people.
January 23, 2012 The antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin. When the drug was introduced in the 1980s, it helped solidify the idea in many minds that depression was the result of a chemical imbalance. But the real story is far more complicated.
January 2, 2012 In the 1970s, a sizable number of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam self-identified as heroin addicts. But when they returned stateside, the number of these soldiers who continued their addiction was surprisingly low. Why? Turns out a massive disruption in their environment and routine played a big role in helping them change their behavior.
December 23, 2011 When a Mumbai hotel was besieged by terrorists in 2008, something extraordinary happened: Workers didn't flee. They stayed behind to help save guests at the risk of their own lives. What could possibly explain it? A new study attempts to answer that question.
December 5, 2011 "It's all about telling stories," says the author of a new psychological study, "so creative people are likely to be able to tell themselves better stories, which would allow them to cheat more on the one hand, but not feel worse about it on the other."
September 27, 2011 In November 1941, two warships from Australia and Germany clashed off the coast of western Australia. Both sank. Despite extensive search efforts during and after World War II, the ships weren't found until 2008, after a team of psychologists analyzed the statements given by the surviving German crew members.
September 12, 2011 In his work with the dying, a psychiatrist asks patients to write a formal narrative of their life — a document they can pass on to whomever they choose. He's noticed that the stories people tell about themselves as they face death are often very different than the stories they tell at other points.