The Childhood Roots of Greed

Being willing to share resources with each other is one of the things that keeps our society functioning. That’s why one of the lessons that we commonly teach children is how to share. Of course, to varying degrees, we all ignore that lesson at times. There’s an opposite tendency to always want more of something…

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People Make Similar Judgments About Abstract Art

Abstract art might seem random or lacking coherence at first glance, but psychologists are weighing in with evidence that there really is a method in the chaos. A new study suggests that people without any special artistic experience tend to make similar aesthetic judgments about abstract paintings. In the study, researchers showed 40 participants abstract…

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Understanding “Saw but Forgot” Traffic Collisions

It’s easy to dismiss traffic collisions as being the result of inattentive or reckless drivers. But a common and more troubling phenomenon is when a driver reports they were paying attention and scanned their surroundings, but still ended up turning in front of an oncoming vehicle. A recent study by psychologists in the UK investigated…

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How Abstract Thinking Can Help You Reach Goals

There’s more than one way to look at a situation. You can look in concrete terms at the details of the situation by itself, and the specific details of it. You can also think in more abstract terms, by looking at how the situation relates to other situations and considering how it fits into the…

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Why Flipping a Coin Is a Good Way to Decide

Can’t make up your mind? Here’s a simple trick. Flip a coin to decide. And if you don’t like the outcome of the coin flip, well, sounds like you’ve made up your mind! A recent study from researchers in Switzerland looks at how flipping a coin can help with making a tough decision. The researchers…

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Anticipating Future Nostalgia

We’ve all had the experience of looking back and feeling nostalgic about a particular time in our lives. A slightly more complicated feeling is looking forward to the future to imagine how we’ll one day look back on the present with nostalgia. Psychologists call this experience anticipated nostalgia. Another way to describe it, as in…

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Praising Hard Work Can Make Infants More Persistent

When you were a kid, maybe you read The Little Engine That Could, a story about a modest train locomotive whose persistence pays off. One possible reason for this story’s popularity is that many parents see persistence as a core ingredient for life success to pass on to their children. This emphasis on hard work…

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Desire Thinking Is Common to Different Types of Addiction

Whether it’s addiction to a substance or addiction to a behavior, different types of addiction share certain features. Generally, these involve a strong urge to engage in some type of rewarding behavior despite negative consequences. For psychologists, understanding what ties together different forms of addiction is a key to learning more about how addiction works.…

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Meditation Apps Can Improve Attention, Memory

It’s sometimes said that our modern tech-driven, smartphone-oriented culture is making us all more distractible and less mindful. So how do meditation apps fit into that criticism? After all, they’re an example of people using technology with the goal of becoming less scattered and more mindful. A recent study led by researchers from University of…

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People Probably Agree With You Less Than You Think

If there’s one thing people never lack, it’s biases in how we think. One of these biases is what psychologists call the false consensus effect, where people tend to overestimate the extent to which other people share their views. To put it another way, people tend to assume that everyone else thinks the way they…

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