Even when we have proof, we see what we want to see

As anyone who has ever favored one team over another knows, opponents have a habit of playing dirty and referees make plenty of unfair calls. But this happens on both sides. On November 23, 1951⁠, Dartmouth traveled to Palmer Stadium in New Jersey to play Princeton. Here are some facts: it was the last game…

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Why We’re Not as Hardwired as We Think: All Think is Groupthink

To survive, reproduce, and flourish, species have to develop ecological adaptations to their environment. Humans have mastered the art of living in every possible climate and landscape on earth—provided we’re in groups. Our natural environment, the one we’ve evolved special adaptations to, is the presence of other humans. Since humans and chimpanzees split from a…

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Why Your Boss Doesn’t Realize They’re an Asshole

Here’s part of the chapter “Our Greatest Strengths Are Our Greatest Weaknesses” by Gordon Livingston in the criminally under-read Too Late Smart, Too Soon Old: There are certain personality characteristics that are highly correlated with academic and professional success: dedication to work, attention to detail, ability to manage time, conscientiousness. People who have this constellation…

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Just how lazy are we?

Organisms want to maximize rewards while minimizing costs—and the law of least effort applies to mental as well as physical labor. Unless we’re given a damn good reason why our brain should get off the couch and change, “thinking” is costly. Our brain’s default mode is sweatpants, using our automatic assumptions to guide its portal…

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The Most Important Thing to Learn About Your Brain

Here’s the most important thing I ever learned about the way we see the world and process information…. The brain is in charge of two very different goals: 1. Successfully move our bodies around through space and time (accomplish tasks needed for survival) 2. Use as little energy as possible. Even though it accounts for…

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Happiness or Meaningfulness: Pick One

Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker. That’s one of the takeaways in Some Key Differences between a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life, a paper by Roy Baumeister, author of Willpower and one of my favorite social psychologists. Satisfying one’s needs…

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I’m so bored. But why?

On Wednesday, researchers from York University published a paper in Perspectives on Psychological Science that uncovers the nature of boredom. And found that we get bored in the following circumstances: We have difficulty paying attention to the internal information (e.g., thoughts or feelings) or external information (e.g., environmental stimuli) required for participating in satisfying activity We’re…

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