Backsliding comes with almost every new habit you're trying to ingrain. I call it the "Dwindle Effect" because the initial impetus to change an old habit can wane.
Without us knowing, our brains are busy making associations. While on the surface we may sincerely believe that men and women are equal, or that people on benefits are just regular folks who happen to need help, our unconscious minds might not be so progressive.
Regret gets a bad press. It is a painful emotion experienced upon realising that a different decision would have led to a better outcome.
As I was walking through the V&A museum in London a few days ago, two statues immediately grabbed my attention. It was Heraclitus and Democritus, a couple of Greek thinkers known as the “weeping and laughing philosophers”.
What could I do to enhance the enjoyment or fulfillment of this action? Or, how would I relate to this action if my goal was to get as much enjoyment or fulfillment as possible out of it?
If you have trouble losing excess weight, it's likely that your body and mind are conspiring to keep that extra weight on you. When you're bored or sad or upset, the brain's natural tendency is to make the body do something to feel better, and food provides the immediate gratification.
Have you ever told a friend experiencing a troubling situation “I know exactly how you feel”? This empathic response is usually driven by a connection we’ve made with our own similar experiences.
Facebook recently announced that it now has over 2 billion monthly users. This makes its “population” larger than that of China, the US, Mexico and Japan combined.
Most parents view their children’s playing of electronic games as potentially problematic – or even dangerous.
Sometime around 2011 or 2012, it suddenly became very easy to predict what people would be doing in public places: Most would be looking down at their phones.
Tourette syndrome is a mysterious medical curiosity that has puzzled doctors for more than a century. People who have it suffer from tics and other behavioral problems, such as obsessive compulsive traits and attention deficit disorder.
You may think that you love your child more than your best friend, or your husband more than the store clerk. But Love is one. It has no degrees and can’t really be separated into different forms.
Many consumers like the products they buy, but some people go beyond liking. They actively advocate for the companies and concepts behind those products.
Around one in five people in Western countries could be putting their health at risk simply by going to work.
Selling access to rewards programs that offer cash for meeting weight loss goals may incentivize program participants to lose more weight, new research suggests.
The word “addiction” brings to mind alcohol and drugs. Yet, over the past 20 years, a new type of addiction has emerged: addiction to social media.
Puberty hormones might impede some aspects of flexible youthful learning, a study with female mice suggests.
Most of us have probably seen the video of Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick scolding one of his own drivers, cursing and lamenting that “some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit.”
Every parent dreads the day their child asks where babies come from. But perhaps we should be more concerned about how children learn where other things come from.
Many people have probably heard the term “positive psychology”, but know little about what it means in practice. Positive psychology aims to find ways to make life better for people, and ensure they’re the most mentally healthy person they can be.
Understanding how the human brain works is one of the most important goals of science. And one of the first steps to uncovering its secrets lies in working out how the brain is actually organized.
North America is in the midst of a drug overdose disaster. In British Columbia, Canada, where nearly 1,000 people died of overdose in 2016, officials have declared a public health emergency.
When leaders abuse their power over others, they end up feeling the negative effects, too, a new study suggests.
Many people have intuited that nature has healing powers, but now researchers are discovering more about how our bodies and minds benefit from our interactions with nature.
You've probably heard about those addiction studies with caged lab rats, in which the rats compulsively press the heroin dispensing lever again and again, even to the point of choosing it over food and starving themselves to death. These studies seemed to imply some pretty disheartening things about human nature.
People with loosely knit Facebook friend groups—small numbers of friends who don’t know each other well—tend to react more dynamically when excluded in real-world social situations, a new study suggests.
Men who took high doses of testosterone performed worse on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection—the process in which we stop to consider if our gut reactions are right.
The portrayal of a heartbroken woman devouring a tub of ice cream under a duvet is a well-established television cliché – think Bridget Jones
Six decades of research suggest the effect of media violence on aggressive behavior is the same across different cultures.
It is so common for self-employed people to have ADHD, the disorder could be renamed “the entrepreneur’s trait.”
How much do you trust your memories? Do you consider the events and perspectives you remember as gospel truth, or as more malleable, fickle things that bend and warp with time and shifting context?
Running on a shoestring budget, Future in Our Hands-USA helps people living almost 7,500 miles away in Kisumu, Kenya, get clean water from new wells.
The Republicans’ controversial effort to repeal the perhaps optimistically named Affordable Care Act because of rising premiums may be fatally stalled.
The idea that selfies are somehow damaging our mental health is spreading. There is concern that there may be a link between an apparent recent rise in mental health concerns in millennials and taking, editing and posting selfies online.
The Victorian government has announced it plans to teach its Respectful Relationship program to preschoolers as a way to target and prevent sexist behaviour among children aged three and four years old.
Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and consider college, research shows.
Since the later part of the 20th century, schools in Australia have opted for strict uniform policies, where students will wear an identical set of clothes. Often that extends to the style of hair that’s allowed; what backpack, shoes, and even, in some instances, what underwear to wear.
We move through our daily activities in terms of our past experiences, which are the building blocks of our personal belief systems. Our belief systems are the glasses through which we each view the world and anticipate what is likely to unfold. Our behavior is always loyal with our beliefs...
Hibernating animals awaken in spring. Likewise, humanity has been asleep, mired in illusion, and it is now awakening. We glimpsed this truth in our winter dream; now millions of us stir, awaken, and begin to build our truthful experience.
Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has dropped dramatically since the landmark publication of the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health.
That males are naturally promiscuous while females are coy and choosy is a widelyheld belief. Even many scientists – including some biologists, psychologists and anthropologists
With the avalanche of unkind words and deeds engulfing our lives today, it's time to buck the trend and resist. The goal is to move from judgment and feelings of separation to acceptance and connection. Acts of kindness are what will get us there.
Though it is more commonly known these days for its part in the Disney Princess franchise, Beauty and the Beast is an enduring tale which has sparked film adaptations and novelizations across centuries.
Imagine you were recently promoted at work. You now command a higher salary, lead more people and control more of the organization’s resources.
Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You’re convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone.
I work hard to refrain from judging other people, even when they are making it very, very hard to not judge them. I have come to realize that judgment is not really my job.
Gender plays a significant role in the relationship between a person’s weight and the socioeconomic status of the people in their lives, research suggests.
“Wrong life cannot be lived rightly”. So wrote the 20th-century German philosopher, Theodor Adorno. He was referring to the kind of life which defenders of Western liberal capitalism have long claimed to be the ultimate model for all others.
Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing American journalist who is proud of his abusive online posts, was permanently banned from Twitter last year after a particularly offensive tirade.
During the three years I’ve spent researching and writing about shyness, one of the most common questions people ask is about the relationship between shyness and technology.
Children with high and medium academic ability at age 11 are more likely to use cannabis in late adolescence compared to children with low academic ability, according to a new study published in BMJ Open.
Humans beings appear to be hardwired to have a sense of fairness. This is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective
It’s always distressing and tragic when we hear a report of shark attack. But what is the actual likelihood of dying due to a shark encounter?
Believing is as automatic as walking or talking or sneezing, and about as noteworthy. Deprived of our-ists and -isms, would we behave differently than we do now? Who would we be without our beliefs?
If the critic is such an unwanted guest, why are so many people plagued by it? Nature rarely, if ever, makes anything that does not serve a purpose. So what is the purpose of the critic, and how did it get there?
Are you lying? Do you have a racial bias? Is your moral compass intact? To find out what you think or feel, we usually have to take your word for it.
At the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, the first in E L James’ trilogy of novels now adapted as films,
A new study shows that some people have a mild but consistent set of tendencies to take the quicker and simpler path when thinking about logical challenges, the people around them, the societies they live in, and even spirituality.
Is using a hand-held mobile phone really that dangerous when driving?
By the age of six, girls become less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their own gender and are more likely to avoid anything they think may require it.
Almost three decades ago, in his book The Culture of Narcissism, the iconoclastic American thinker Christopher Lasch wrote that in postwar America emerged a certain type of being, which in clinical terms falls under the category of “narcissistic personality disorder”
Have you ever wondered why you were prone to bouts of moodiness or why you were always so easy going? Turns out personality could be linked to brain shape, according to new research.
Consider slogans such as “Make America great again”, used by Donald Trump, or “Take back control”, used by the Brexit campaign. Both slogans were the perfect pitch to mobilize what are called collective narcissists.
Self-righteousness, gratitude, sympathy, sincerity, and guilt – what if these social behaviours are biologically influenced, encoded within our genes and shaped by the forces of evolution to promote the survival of the human species?
Let's face it, we all get angry from time to time. Anger is a common human emotion. Yet, eventually you have to let go of your anger and go on with your life and learn from these experiences so that you may be able to avoid them or at least deal with them better in the future.
How can we learn the important lessons without having to go through an ordeal? We don’t have to take ourselves to the edge of death, because if we listen to what’s happening and act on it, then we can learn the lesson just as well. After all, there are several ways to learn...
Empathy is the ability to share and understand the emotions of others. It is a construct of multiple components, each of which is associated with its own brain network.
Finally a new year is here after the most politically divisive 12 months in a very long time. In the UK, Brexit shattered dreams and friendships. In the US, the polarisation was already huge, but a bitter election campaign made the divisions even deeper.
Many public conversations we have about science-related issues involve communicating risks: describing them, comparing them and trying to inspire action to avoid or mitigate them.
Everyone has experienced guilt at one time or another. In fact, millions of people are burdened by feelings of guilt of all sorts.
Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions that require us to make effective or lasting changes? I would argue the problem isn’t that we try and we fail –– the problem is how we treat ourselves when we fail.
Every year you set out determined to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. But year after year you fall off track and quickly abandon them. So why are resolutions so hard to keep?
The election divided the year into “before” and “after.” But there remain signs of hope for 2017.
Anyone who has ever tried to give up drinking, or goes somewhere and says they’re not drinking, knows people encourage us to drink and are unhappy when we don’t.
A quick thought experiment: imagine if you’d been told on January 1 of everything that lay ahead in 2016. Would you have believed that...
Most people who play lotto have at least some kind of intuitive understanding they are probably not going to hit the jackpot.
It’s often said that a person’s tolerance rises with their education level. So on this basis, the higher a person’s educational attainment is, the more likely they are to accept racial or ethnic minorities.
Who gets to walk on the red carpet? What makes red-letter days so special? Where is the red line that must not be crossed?
In recent years, we’ve started to see cases of promising sharing and collaborative practices falling into the traps of neoliberal ways of thinking and doing
There are many benefits to knowing more than one language. For example, it has been shown that aging adults who speak more than one language have less likelihood of developing dementia.
On average, Americans spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook. That’s a lot of online socializing. It’s also about the same amount of time workers take for their lunch break.
Worldwide, it has been a rough year for democracy. Citizens in the UK, the United States and Colombia made critical decisions about their nations’ future, and – at least from the perspective of liberal values and social justice – they decided poorly.
Christmas is traditionally a time for giving. And for most of us, giving means buying – the perfect excuse for major retailers to conduct an advertising assault that pulls on our heart strings and empties our pockets.
In a newly published study, we found that employees who “cut corners” tend to be morally compromised, low in conscientiousness, self-focused and impulsive. This in addition to the potential for corner-cutting to increase risks.
Donald Trump’s astonishing rise to the presidency has put racism at the heart of American politics. But it’s important not to overstate America’s progress during the Obama years, nor to ignore the ways in which racism extends far beyond...
Of the approximately sixty to seventy thousand thoughts we have each day, most of them are exactly the same as the thoughts we had yesterday. Not incidentally, most of these thoughts seem to be negative or critical, which is why...
It was a few days after Halloween, and the Butterfingers had already disappeared. A bowl of Tootsie Rolls and lollipops sat on a shelf in the meeting room, resigned in their plain, wrinkled wrappers, and waiting for a desperate staffer.
The shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the starting gun for many to the annual ritual of excessive spending over the Christmas period. The average Black Friday consumer is expected to spend £203 ($252 US) on the day this year, double last year’s figure.
Customers who are fearful are more likely to be ethical in a tricky situation as the stakes increase, while angry customers will behave unethically no matter what the stakes, our research shows.
Unpleasant things happen in life. They happen to everyone. The only difference between a happy person and one who gets depressed is how they respond to disasters. Imagine you have just had a wonderful afternoon and when you return home, you find a huge truckload of dung has been dumped right in front of your door...
For most of us, the fear of punishment or social rejection keeps us from behaviour deemed unacceptable and prevents us from committing crimes. But how many would transgress if they knew they could get away with it?
Scientists have studied twins for many years to understand how genes and environments influence differences among individuals, spanning conditions such as cancer and mental health to characteristics such as intelligence and political beliefs.
On the night of the US election, Manhattan’s magisterial, glass-encased Javits Centre stood with its ceiling intact and its guest-of-honour in defeated absence.
What do you look for in a partner? Surely that depends on what the partner is for – you’d probably want a business partner to be innovative, a choir buddy to be musical and a romantic partner to be attractive and funny.
Mahatma Gandhi once instructed his devotees to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” His point was: don’t identify the problems of the world and kvetch over the shortcomings of humanity. He advocated instead actively embodying the higher qualities of being...
Privacy campaigners this week applauded Facebook’s decision to block big UK insurance firm Admiral from using young people’s social media data to help set their car insurance premiums.
The recent finding that telling lies induces changes in the brain has stimulated a number of misrepresentations that may wreak more harm on our understanding than the lies on which they report.
Do you feel like your mind freezes during exams? Do you find yourself thinking “I really can’t do this”? Does your heart race fast or do you find it hard to breathe during exams?
There is a story that has kept popping up in my work over the years. It is one of the tales of Nasruddin, a Sufi amalgam of wise man and fool. He has the peculiar gift of both acting out our basic confusion and at the same time opening us up to our deeper wisdom.
No matter what challenges or difficulties you are facing, it can be a big help to remember that if you can only do one minute at a time, there's nothing to worry about. One minute at a time. That’s all you have to do.