June PsychNotes

You’ll probably get the urge to yawn if you stare at this yawning dog. Why? Because you’re a kind and empathetic person, of course! That explanation, and more, in this month’s thrilling edition of PsychNotes. …

May PsychNotes

Image: Johns Hopkins University.Here’s a little challenge for ya. Take a look at this chart of cognitive biases and see if you can identify two that you’re especially guilty of, and two that you’re reasonably good at avoiding. I suffer inordinately from reactive devaluation and gambler’s fallacy, and I’ve gotten reasonably skilled at avoiding confirmation bias and hyperbolic discounting, when I try. How about you? …

April PsychNotes

Harvesting the spaghetti crop, 1957The first mass media April Fool joke was reportedly the BBC’s 1957 Panorama segment on spaghetti harvesting, for which a cameraman hung “pounds of spaghetti over trees in a little Swiss village” and persuaded locals to harvest the crop. The BBC was inundated with calls. “[T]he majority either wanted to know where they could see a spaghetti harvest, or obtain information to start a spaghetti farm” (Humphrys 1999).

It was a simpler time. Here are some research goodies from last month. …

Men, Never Marry a Misstery

Never Marry a MysteryHey, you wanna buy a car? Here’s my offer: If you give me $50,000 I’ll deliver a vehicle to you next year. Until then, you don’t get to drive it or see it. Maybe it’s a new Lamborghini, or maybe it’s a ’77 Pinto with a tendency to explode.

Any takers? I didn’t think so. No one with a lick of common sense would take that deal, yet I routinely meet men, and more than a few women, who use that method to make a much more important decision: they marry people they haven’t truly gotten to know. Occasionally they get lucky, but more often they deeply regret it. …