Popular Science
3 min read
Psychology

How To Smile Without Looking Like A Creep, According To Scientists

Not all smiles are created equal. tonipostius via Flickr How much teeth should you show when you smile? How wide should your grin be, and what if it’s crooked? Using a variety of computer-animated faces, researchers from the University of Minnesota have done their best to isolate the traits of a winning smile. At first glance, this may seem like a laughing matter. But for people with paralysis or other medical conditions, being physically unable to smile can cause communication problems, anxiety, and depression. The new study, published today in PLOS One, could help doctors who perform facial
Newsweek
16 min read
Politics

ISIS's Indoctrinated Kids: A Future of Violent Jihad?

The blue-eyed boy with the chubby cheeks still talks about the after-school movies he used to love so much. This was three years ago, when he was just 9 and living on the outskirts of Raqqa, in northern Syria. Sometimes, his father would take him and his little brother to an outdoor makeshift theater downtown, or he’d go with his teacher and classmates. They’d sit on plastic chairs and munch on cookies in front of a big-screen TV shielded from the sun by an umbrella. The films varied, but the plot was always the same: Black-clad members of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) “liberated” ci
The Wall Street Journal
4 min read
Psychology

Harness The Power Of Trash Talk To Improve Your Performance

One recent evening after work, Wallace Bruce set off for a run. The 30-year-old actor had taken a few months off from exercising, so he planned an easy loop through his Los Angeles neighborhood.He was five minutes from his house and had just broken a sweat when a man with white hair, also jogging, blew past him. Mr. Bruce estimated him to be in his late 70s. Ten yards down the road the man turned his head back and shouted: “Keep up… if you can!” Although Mr. Bruce chuckled to himself, he immediately picked up his pace. “A ‘game-on’ type of instinct kicked in,” he says. “I thought, ‘Alright old
Nautilus
7 min read

Where Did Time Come From, and Why Does It Seem to Flow?

Paul Davies has a lot on his mind—or perhaps more accurate to say in his mind. A physicist at Arizona State University, he does research on a wide range of topics, from the abstract fields of theoretical physics and cosmology to the more concrete realm of astrobiology, the study of life in places beyond Earth. Nautilus sat down for a chat with Davies, and the discussion naturally drifted to the subject of time, a long-standing research interest of his. Here is a partial transcript of the interview, edited lightly for length and clarity. There might be some pre-geometry, that would give rise to
Nautilus
8 min read

Why You Need Emoji: Emojis are the body language of the digital age.

The use of emojis has become a global phenomenon. By 2015, over 6 billion emojis1 were being sent every day by over 90 percent of the world’s online population.2 Emoji, today, dwarfs even the reach of English. For some, emojis are prompting warnings about the death of real language. Professional art critic and contrarian Jonathan Jones, writing in The Guardian newspaper in 2015, contended that “After millennia of painful improvement, from illiteracy to Shakespeare and beyond, humanity is rushing to throw it all away.” Emoji is, he proclaimed, a “huge step back for humanity.” His derision is cl
NPR
3 min read

Is Your Boss Too Controlling? Many Employees Clash With Micromanagers

Micromanagement is routinely the top complaint people have about their bosses, and in today's good job market where workers have more options, that's a bigger problem for employers. People might have their own definition of when a manager crosses into being too controlling, but most people would probably agree that Marjon Bell's former boss would fit. On her first day on a marketing job at a Virginia Beach, Va., insurance company, Bell's boss sent an email barring employees from bringing cell phones to the office. The email said that moms, especially, spent too much time on their phones checki
Entrepreneur
3 min read
Psychology

How Entrepreneurs Can Resist Shiny-Object Syndrome

Have you ever worked with someone who is full of big ideas and constantly hops from one project to the next? If so, you’ve likely encountered a case of what psychologists call shiny-object syndrome. This is when someone is so distracted by the world around them that they’re forever drawn toward new ideas, people and stimuli. Related: 10 Tips to Turn Your Brain Into an Idea Factory You likely know these people. Maybe you’re even one of them. Entrepreneurs are especially prone to shiny-object syndrome. After all, we have a lot on our plates, we love new people, we’re always on the hunt for the n
The Atlantic
2 min read
Psychology

To Remember Random Errands, Turn Them Into a Story

Who among us has not walked into a Target mentally chanting something like “Eggs, shaving cream, toothpaste, toilet paper” only to get home and realize we’ve forgotten the toothpaste? Looks like we’re using mouthwash tonight! If you’ve got a lengthy to-do list, and you’re not ready to commit to bullet journaling or whatever to keep track of it all, Gary Small, the director of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, has a little trick to hold it all in your head: Turn the words into a story. He demonstrated this trick on Saturday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is
The Wall Street Journal
4 min read
Tech

Robot Psychologists Study Cognition In AIs To Discover How They Learn And Make Errors

Artificial-intelligence engineers have a problem: They often don’t know what their creations are thinking.As artificial intelligence grows in complexity and prevalence, it also grows more powerful. AI already has factored into decisions about who goes to jail and who receives a loan. There are suggestions AI should determine who gets the best chance to live when a self-driving car faces an unavoidable crash.Defining AI is slippery and growing more so, as startups slather the buzzword over whatever they are doing. It is generally accepted as any attempt to ape human intelligence and abilities.O
Popular Science
4 min read
Science

Grandma's Insomnia Might Be A Product Of Evolution

The study was carried out among the Hadza people of Tanzania, who sleep in an environment similar to that of early humans: no artificial lights, heat, or air conditioning. David Samson If your sleep is getting worse with age, evolution might be to blame. A study recently published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that humans' age-specific sleep patterns may have evolved to protect mixed-age groups from potential danger in the night. And in this scenario, the elderly members of these groups may have drawn the short straw—their restless sleep made them perfect for the night watch. “Lo
The Guardian
4 min read
Psychology

If Dogs Could Talk, They’d Tell Us Some Home Truths | John Bradshaw

On 1 April 2010, Google announced a breakthrough for the animal kingdom: an Android App that would allow an impressive range of species, from guinea pig to tortoise, to speak in English. The date was, naturally, significant. Presumably the advertised “animal linguistic database”, against which the “neurobiological acoustics” of the animal’s utterances would be compared, never existed. The “tortoise” file would have been pretty limited, in any case. Now, the idea of talking animals has resurfaced as part of Amazon’s “Shop The Future” concept, but this time it seems more serious. It’s mainly f
STAT
6 min read
Psychology

This Biotech Aims To Transform The Diagnosis Of Mental Illness. Michael Phelps Backs It. Can It Really Work?

A small Australian biotech has drawn big-name backers — including swimming superstar Michael Phelps — to its audacious goal: to develop a quick, cheap, and objective way to diagnose an array of mental illnesses. The tool would be a stunning breakthrough in the field of mental health —  if it works. And there’s the rub. Researchers have been trying for decades to find reliable biomarkers for mental illness — that is, tangible biological clues that conclusively indicate whether a person has a particular psychiatric disease. Effort after effort has failed, leaving doctors to diagnose such conditi
STAT
4 min read
Psychology

Peer Counseling For Clinicians Provides Immediate Support — And Pays Off For The Hospital

Nursing school prepared my colleagues and me to provide compassionate care for our patients and their families. Sadly, it didn’t prepare us to do that for each other. I’ve spent most of my 19-year career in pediatric nursing at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have countless memories of brave children, loving and supportive family members, and amazing teamwork. But I also remember sometimes feeling doubtful, sad, fearful, or anxious. What’s missing from those memories is the part where I sat and talked about those feelings with a trusted peer — because that didn’t happen. Things sometimes happen to p
STAT
3 min read
Psychology

Trump’s New York Times Interview Is A Window Into His Psyche

President Trump’s interview this week with the New York Times made headlines for his revelation that he would never have chosen Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Here at STAT, however, we combed through the transcript of the Oval Office interview for something else: examples of the emotional subtexts that psychiatrists and psychologists told us offer a window into the president’s mind. Overall, Trump was more articulate than he has been in some recent appearances, an important reminder than his tortured syntax might r
Ad Age
3 min read

Marcel Is Just a Baby Compared to JWT's Pangaea

Nearly two years before Publicis dropped its Marcel news at the Cannes Lions, JWT embarked on an artificial intelligence mission of its own. In 2015, the agency quietly began developing Pangaea, an A.I.-powered system that's helping to turn the agency network's 12,000-strong staff into an information and problem-solving resource. Pangaea takes its cues from the supercontinent that inspired its name -- by bringing together the JWT community across all cultures and disciplines. It invites any employee to pose a question or problem to the entire network in the hopes that they'll get useful advice
Ad Age
3 min read
Psychology

You Are Not Your Customer

Most business books will tell you that the secret to success is grounded in becoming a customer of your own products and services. Put yourself in customers' shoes to see how they interact with your product and what the overall experience feels like. The main idea is that being a good customer will make you a good leader. That idea is wrong. All too often, leaders think that their personal experiences with their brand are accurate reflections of all customers' experiences with their brand. They make decisions based on what would personally make them happier, and focus on details of the experie
TIME
2 min read
Psychology

Naomi Watts’ Deceptive Therapist Just Can’t Help Herself On Gypsy

D.D. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, the field that Naomi Watts’ character Jean Holloway practices on the new Netflix drama Gypsy, is meant to put into place new patterns of thought and behavior in order to break old cycles. No surprise she can’t heal herself: Jean spends her hours off-duty repetitiously gorging on bourbon, spying on her patients’ personal lives and engaging in extramarital liaisons. To craft a new pattern for her thoughts would be to impose one for the first time—she’s all random acts of hedonism. Watts digs into an outsize role that’s the opposite of her current turn on Show
The Atlantic
5 min read
Psychology

The Post-College Therapy Void

Before he arrived at Wichita State University, Steve Paniagua had never seen a therapist. He’d struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies for years, but his family could never afford treatment. As soon as he got to the Kansas school, Paniagua called the school’s counseling center. He learned that he could meet with a licensed therapist as often as he needed to, free of charge. “For two years, I would go maybe once a week to the counseling center,” Paniagua said. “It was that extra support that I needed. If something bad happened, I always knew I could go there and be a little bit safer
The Wall Street Journal
4 min read
Psychology

Your Work Friend Is Letting Your Team Down—what Should You Do?

It’s great to have a friend on your team at work—unless your friend isn’t pulling his weight.It may not feel like your place to tell a friend to work harder, but ratting him out to the boss isn’t very appealing, either. Walking the line between being a good friend and a good employee requires figuring out whether your friend is likely to listen to any critique you give, and if so, delivering the message in a kind but firm way.Tattling on a teammate can backfire. John Malloy once complained to his boss that his friend, a fellow assistant coach on an elite college swim team, was running disorgan
The Atlantic
4 min read
Psychology

When Potential Mentors Are Mostly White and Male

Stacy Blake-Beard was 29 years old when she was starting out as a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Not only was she the youngest faculty member, but she was also younger than most of her students. One day, one of her doctoral students came into her office to discuss a research project. “[The student] looked over at me and asked, ‘How old are you, anyway?’” Blake-Beard recalls. “I think I did not fit her image of what a doctoral advisor would be.” The idea that Blake-Beard’s age somehow prevented her from being an effective professor was a bias she often faced as
The Atlantic
12 min read
Psychology

Therapy for Everybody

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee—The first patient of the morning had been working 119 hours a week. Greta (not her real name) had been coming home late at night, skipping dinner, and crashing into bed. One recent night, her college-aged daughter melted down, telling an exhausted Greta that her parents’ marital tensions were putting a strain on her. “She’s like, ‘Why don’t you just divorce him?’” Greta recounted to her psychotherapist, Thomas Bishop, who was perched on a rolling stool in the bright examination room. “‘Why don’t you just do it and get it over with?’” Greta planned to stay with her husba
Popular Science
3 min read

You Have A Lot To Teach Your Grandkids, And That Might Explain Menopause

With their grandmother's help, these kids could have an evolutionary advantage. Pexels Humans, killer whales and pilot whales. What do we all have in common? Surprisingly, the answer is menopause. But scientists still haven’t quite figured out why this phenomenon exists. After all, if the purpose of evolution is to make sure that we most effectively pass on our genes, then why would women stop reproducing after a certain age? A study published on Thursday in PLOS Computational Biology may offer some insight into the evolution of menopause in humans. Using a computational model, the researchers
Popular Science
4 min read

Sniffing Insulin Might Help People Eat Less

Sorry, food. Pixabay Lots of people rely on insulin injections to manage their blood sugar. But after nearly a century of helping diabetics, the hormone is starting to look appealing for other uses as well. According to a new study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, even individuals without diabetes might one day use insulin around mealtimes—but as an appetite-suppressing nasal spray. It's still early days, but in this study, “we show that insulin is not only involved in metabolic eating, it is also important for regulating hedonic eating,” explains author Stefanie Brassen, a neurosci
Nautilus
7 min read

The Strange Similarity of Neuron and Galaxy Networks: Your life’s memories could, in principle, be stored in the universe’s structure.

Christof Koch, a leading researcher on consciousness and the human brain, has famously called the brain “the most complex object in the known universe.” It’s not hard to see why this might be true. With a hundred billion neurons and a hundred trillion connections, the brain is a dizzyingly complex object. But there are plenty of other complicated objects in the universe. For example, galaxies can group into enormous structures (called clusters, superclusters, and filaments) that stretch for hundreds of millions of light-years. The boundary between these structures and neighboring stretches of
Mic
1 min read
Psychology

Science Figured Out The Key To A Perfect Smile. Can You Master It?

Trying to take a fire selfie? Thankfully, science is here to help you navigate how to perfect your smile. Researchers at the University of Minnesota explored the good and bad of smiles and published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE. “A lot of people don’t understand how important their smiles are and how important this aspect of communication we do with each other every day is,” Stephen Guy, a co-author of the research from the University of Minnesota, told The Guardian. The team of scientists, led by assistant professor of psychology and statistics Nathaniel E. Helwig, recruited parti