The trick to persuading people you’re right, according to experimental psychology Hugo Mercier in Quartz: It’s an old trope that humans don’t like change—especially when it comes to their opinions. Ancient Greek philosophers complained about the masses refusing to heed their advice. Scholars spearheading the scientific revolution in the 17th century bemoaned their predecessors’ stubbornness. And today, everybody complains about their brother-in-law who won’t admit […]

How perspective shapes reality Models are always imperfect, and the ones we choose greatly shape our experience Picture Jupiter’s moons orbiting the planet. Do you see small dots bouncing back and forth in straight lines as if bound to Jupiter by springs, as Galileo once did? Or an overhead view of small bodies circling the planet in elliptical […]

What lurks beneath Towards the end of 1892, ‘Miss Lucy R’, a pale and delicate English governess living in Vienna, made her way to the surgery of a young neurologist on Berggasse 19 for the treatment of a ‘suppurative rhinitis’. Miss Lucy was tired, in low spirits and complained of ‘a muzzy head’. And though she had […]

Whalevolution Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, slowly, from land to sea, through deep time Descending from creatures that were terrestrial and then amphibious before they were aquatic, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) possess some of the animal kingdom’s most fascinating evolutionary histories. This video from the UK artist Jordan Collver traces the evolution […]

Neuroscientists working on the “hard problem” of consciousness may be doomed to fail. But there is meaning — even pleasure — in the Sisyphean task Early in my neurology residency, a 50-year-old woman insisted on being hospitalized for protection from the FBI spying on her via the TV set in her bedroom. The woman’s physical examination, lab tests, EEGs, scans, and formal neuropsychological testing revealed nothing unusual. Other than being visibly terrified of the TV monitor in the ward […]

Jonathan Haidt is famous for explaining how liberals and conservatives think. Now he’s wagering that social psychology can calm the campus culture war Timothy Fadek Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at NYU’s business school, is a founder of Heterodox Academy, which promotes wider “viewpoint diversity” in academe. On a February morning in Washington, a hotel ballroom is packed with people eager to hear Jonathan Haidt explain what’s wrong with higher education. His talk is part of the […]

The future is emotional Early last year, the World Economic Forum issued a paper warning that technological change is on the verge of upending the global economy. To fill the sophisticated jobs of tomorrow, the authors argued, the ‘reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical’. Around the same time, the then president Barack Obama announced a […]