psychology

 

Murder Your Darling Hypotheses But Do Not Bury Them

Posted 28 April 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings." Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863–1944). On the Art of Writing. 1916   Murder your darlings. The British writer Sir Arthur Quiller Crouch shared this piece of writerly wisdom when he gave his inaugural lecture series at Cambridge, asking writers to consider deleting words, phrases or even paragraphs that are especially dear to them. The minute writers fall in... Read more

“She’s strong for a girl”: The Negative Impact of Stereotypes About Women

Posted 8 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

This is a guest blog post by Ulli Hain (Twitter: @ulli_hain, Email: hain.ulli[at]gmail.com). Ulli is a postdoctoral researcher in the field of autophagy and also a science writer/blogger. Her blog Bench and Beyond reports on interesting scientific studies and explores life as a scientist including issues of gender and science. We have all heard the stereotypes: women can’t drive, they don’t understand computers, and how many blondes does it take to screw in a light bulb? But those are all in good... Read more

Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?

Posted 2 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

There are at least two ways of how the topic of trust in God is broached in Friday sermons that I have attended in the United States. Some imams lament the decrease of trust in God in the age of modernity. Instead of trusting God that He is looking out for the believers, modern day Muslims believe that they can control their destiny on their own without any Divine assistance. These imams see this lack of trust in God as... Read more

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

Posted 5 January 2015 by Jalees Rehman

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.                                     William Butler Yeats – from "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven"       Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct... Read more

Moral Time: Does Our Internal Clock Influence Moral Judgments?

Posted 20 October 2014 by Jalees Rehman

Does morality depend on the time of the day? The study "The Morning Morality Effect: The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior" published in October of 2013 by Maryam Kouchaki and Isaac Smith suggested that people are more honest in the mornings, and that their ability to resist the temptation of lying and cheating wears off as the day progresses. In a series of experiments, Kouchaki and Smith found that moral awareness and self-control in their study subjects decreased... Read more

The Psychology of Procrastination: How We Create Categories of the Future

Posted 12 October 2014 by Jalees Rehman

"Do not put your work off till tomorrow and the day after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who puts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin."        Hesiod in "The Works and Days" Paying bills, filling out forms, completing class assignments or submitting grant proposals – we all have the tendency to procrastinate. We may engage in trivial activities... Read more

Does Reading ‘Moral’ Stories to Children Promote Honesty?

Posted 16 June 2014 by Jalees Rehman

  All over the world, young children are exposed to classic fairy tales, myths and other stories. Most kids love hearing the stories, but in addition to being a fun activity, story-telling is also thought of as an educational tool which can promote moral reasoning and honesty. Conventional wisdom suggests that hearing fairy tales in which dishonest protagonists are punished might help convince the listeners to become truth-tellers. There is surprisingly little scientific data to back up this conventional wisdom,... Read more

How Does Your Facebook News Feed Affect You?

Posted 3 June 2014 by Jalees Rehman

Researchers at Facebook, Inc., the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Cornell University teamed up to study whether manipulating the News Feeds of Facebook users would affect the emotional content of the users' status updates or postings. They recently published their findings in the PNAS paper "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks"  and suggest that they have found evidence of an "emotional contagion", i.e. the idea that emotions can spread via Facebook. The size of the... Read more

Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes?

Posted 7 May 2014 by Jalees Rehman

A book is a mirror: if a fool looks in, do not expect an apostle to look out. -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799) Reading literary fiction can be highly pleasurable, but does it also make you a better person? Conventional wisdom and intuition lead us to believe that reading can indeed improve us. However, as the philosopher Emrys Westacott has recently pointed out in his essay for 3Quarksdaily, we may overestimate the capacity of literary fiction to foster moral improvement. A... Read more

Lab Grown Organs and Artistic Computers in Fifty Years?

Posted 17 April 2014 by Jalees Rehman

The Pew Research Center released the 2014 survey of U.S. adults (1,001 participants, surveyed by land-line or cell phone interviews) regarding their views on technological advancements in the next 50 years. Over eighty percent of the participants said that "People in need of an organ transplant will have new organs custom made for them in a lab" and roughly half of the participants felt that "Computers will be as effective as people at creating important works of art such as... Read more