Psychology

Why We Can’t Forget about the Brain

Iain McGilchrist— It might seem reductive to link the highest achievements of the human mind, in philosophy and the arts, to the structure of the brain. I believe it is not. For one thing, even if it were possible for mind to be ‘reduced’, as we say, to matter, this

Continue reading…

Addicted to Distraction

Judson Brewer— This is where the magic happens. Once behavior and reward are paired, the dopamine neurons change their phasic firing pattern to respond to stimuli that predict rewards. Enter the trigger into the scene of reward-based learning. We see someone smoking a cigarette, and we suddenly get a craving.

Continue reading…

Beyond Buddhist Exceptionalism

Evan Thompson— Confusion reigns in the debates about science and religion. Nowhere is this more evident than in the special treatment Buddhism receives. People say Buddhism is the most science-friendly of religions. According to a widespread view, Buddhism at its core isn’t so much a religion as it is a

Continue reading…

An Overlooked Key to Conflict Resolution

Donna Hicks— I was in my office one afternoon, working on a project for an organization in Northern Ireland, when the phone rang. I picked it up, and on the other end of the line was a consultant who had been working for a major U.S. corporation for several years.

Continue reading…

The Context Of Meaning

Nick Chater— In an ever more mechanized world, and with science revealing the hidden processes of nature with ever more precision, the desire to reassert the value of the non-mechanical, the spiritual and the emotional can seem increasingly urgent. We humans struggle to find meaning in a world apparently governed

Continue reading…

What Got Antivaxxers to Vax in New York City

Richard Robb— In fall 2018, measles returned to New York City. It was hardly surprising, given the alarmingly widespread resistance to vaccination. According to a recent survey, 2% of Americans believe vaccines are unsafe and ineffective and another 6% believe the side effects of vaccination outweigh the benefits. Many antivaxxers maintain

Continue reading…

There Are No Non-Believers

Agustín Fuentes— We all believe. But we are not all religious. Belief is an evolved capacity that incorporates our neurobiology, our behavior, our cultures, our histories, our individual development and experiences. This enables humans to live in the here and now, in the moment, in the material world, and to

Continue reading…

Can Human Beings Understand the Economy?

Pascal Boyer— It is in the nature of human beings that they create societies. Philosophers have known and said that much for millennia. These days, scientists can paint a detailed picture of how evolution by natural selection made us social animals, providing us with those capacities and preferences that makes

Continue reading…

Why Multilingualism Matters – A Q&A With Marek Kohn

In a world that has global English and translation technology, it’s easy to assume that the need to use more than one language is diminishing— but it is more important than ever, argues science writer Marek Kohn. His new book exploring bilingualism and plural language use is Four Words For Friend: Why

Continue reading…

Understanding Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” asked the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998, considering the case of Otto, a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Otto always carried with him a simple spiral notebook as a memory aid, in which

Continue reading…

  • 1 2 8