Sometimes people don’t accept “good enough,” and they pursue perfection with counterproductive, or even disastrous, results. This phenomenon is so common that we have multiple sayings warning us not to fix what ain’t broke and not to gild the lily. So what drives people to go ahead and fix what isn’t broken anyway? A new…

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Some amount of stress is often a part of work, but too much stress can start to interfere with people’s ability to get their work done. An important question is under what conditions stress begins to derail people’s work lives. Understanding that might help with knowing what strategies people can use to cope with stress…

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Is learning a programming language like learning any other kind of language? Intuitively, you might expect the answer to be no. Programming languages are made up of different components than natural languages, and they’re used for a different purpose. But a new study from researchers at University of Washington suggests that to some extent the…

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To some extent, we have all conducted our own one-person real-life experiments with sleep deprivation. One thing I’ve noticed in my own such experiments is that if I’m going to have my sleep cut short, I’d rather do it by going to bed late than by waking up early. One especially late night by itself…

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“Dear diary, today I had cereal and orange juice for breakfast.” That kind of diary entry might make for fairly boring reading, but it’s exactly what the authors of a recent study on nutrition habits and school performance were interested in. In the study, 294 British teenagers kept food diaries for a week, reporting the…

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If your parents told you to always say your thank yous when you were growing up, chances are they understood on some intuitive level that these two simple words carry a lot of power. Now there’s some science to back that idea up. A study published in Journal of General Psychology asked 136 participants to…

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The more psychologists learn about awe, the more they’re coming to see it as an emotion that brings out some of the best of human behavior. Awe seems to drive scientific inquiry, with scientists being more prone to awe and non-scientists becoming more interested in science when they experience awe. Feelings of awe can also…

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One of the counterintuitive ideas in psychology that has become popular lately is that our body language isn’t just an expression of our attitudes but can actually change those attitudes. A 2010 paper suggested, for example, that adopting more confident body language might really make one more confident. That idea then entered the mainstream through…

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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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