The coronavirus is really just an inanimate packet of genetic material.
Carol Yepes/Moment via Getty Images
Thinking of SARS-CoV-2 as an invisible enemy with an evil personality and humanlike motivations is a natural offshoot of the way people evolved to anthropomorphize so as not to overlook threats.
Reading lets you experience another time, place, even mind.
People have changed over time, growing ever more distant and isolated from others – while at the same time finding new ways and technologies that let individuals connect and feel with others.
Understandings of truth may be found in the Muses’ words.
Jacopo Tintoretto's The Muses/Wikpedia
Is making sense of a story more important than getting at its truth? Looking at the treatment of myth in ancient Greece may help us navigate what is true, and whether that matters.
Imitation is the sincerest form of being human?
A quirk of psychology that affects the way people learn from others may have helped unlock the complicated technologies and rituals that human culture hinges on.
Fake news works at a cognitive level to shape our perceptions and drive our decisions.
We fall sway to fake news because it grabs our attention through outlandish claims, suggests false memories and contains appeals to our emotions that align with our politics.
You might just be getting better at the game you’re practicing.
There are reasons to be skeptical, of both the quality of the evidence presented so far and the questionable assumptions that underlie claims of improved cognitive function after brain training.
How can both be sure the other hit it out?
J and L Photography/Getty Images (for web use only)
Sports fans see it all the time: two people arguing about a split-second difference in who did what. New research suggests human beings have a bias to perceive their own actions as happening sooner.
If the goal is to communicate, why should the speaker bear all the burden?
It can be hard to understand a non-native speaker of your own language. But conversation is a two-way street and linguists are figuring out how native listeners can improve their half of the interaction.
One way to see the value of meaning is to share information and cooperate with others.
The self-help books are full of advice on how to get meaning in life, but it helps to understand what meaning actually is. Science may be able to provide some answers.
If consciousness is a by-product of our brains' nonconscious processes, where does that leave us?
Distractions at work can take up more time than you think, but doodling may just help you get through that lecture or meeting.
Multitasking may not be what you think it is and it might not even help you be more productive if you choose to do the wrong things at the same time.
Even people who claim to hate routines probably follow quite a few.
Why do people constantly ‘move the goalposts’ when making judgments?
It's a psychological quirk that when something becomes rarer, people may spot it in more places than ever. What is the 'concept creep' that lets context change how we categorize the world around us?
When you quit in frustration, little eyes are watching and learning.
Persistence and self-control are valuable traits that can help kids succeed in school and beyond. A new study suggests infants can learn stick-to-itiveness by watching adults persist in a difficult task.
Everyone sees them all, but we don’t all give them the same distinct names.
People across the globe all see millions of distinct colors. But the terms we use to describe them vary across cultures. New cognitive science research suggests it's about what we want to communicate.
OK, I’ve got this….
Feel like something will be easy to remember? Your prediction may be influenced by how clearly the information was presented in the first place.
British Chess Championship.
Pat Baker from Gloucester, England/wikipedia
Practice may not make perfect, suggests new study.
Yeah, I’m not hearing that.
Woman picture via www.shutterstock.com.
Quirks of human psychology can pose problems for science communicators trying to cover controversial topics. Recognizing what cognitive science knows about how we deal with new information could help.
The modern world is a complex place, even if we don’t think it is.
Humans have limited ability to understand complexity, but there are serious dangers if we oversimplify things too much.
Use your hands, think more clearly.
Thinking isn't just about grey matter. It can develop from counting your pinkies too.