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Psychology Today Blog - Curious? Discovering and creating a life that matters.

Why Does Brain Training Make You Smarter?

Lumosity, a brain game app, recently paid 2 million dollars to settle charges of deceptive advertising. People want to be smarter. But what do we know about brain games?


8 Fascinating Discoveries About Yawning

Science often ignores the peculiar traits of humans and other social animals, such as yawning.


The Shortcut to Finding Pleasure From Pain

Why do people experience pleasure from pain? Who is more apt to do so? What are the lessons for dealing with stress, loss, and trauma? Read about the concept of benign masochism.


How Can Positive Psychology Be More Open to the Negative?

When people shut their eyes to the negative, they limit themselves—missing important insights that could prove to be invaluable to psychology.


3 Ways That Culture Shapes Happiness and Well-Being

It's no longer acceptable to view the body of research on happiness, meaning in life, personality, and leadership and apply it to countries around the world.


Is It a Good Idea To Build on Signature Strengths?

There is a surge of interest in assessing and using psychological strengths. In this blog post, I detail what prior journal articles, books, and expensive workshops are missing.


13 Reasons We Have Sex

New research on sexuality that offers insights into the different motives behind the act.


13 Emotionally and Intellectually Intense Books from 2015

My top 10 non-fiction books off the beaten path that I digested this yea, and as a bonus, 3 amazing fiction book recommendations.


What Is the Worst New Term Created by Psychologists?

Happiness research is all the rage. Mindfulness is the sexiest new topic in psychology. See what happens when scientists start burying their ideas in jargon.


Problems with the Research on Psychological Treatments

In this provocative blog post, I report on how much of what we know about therapy is based on clinical trials where the outcome is how much distress is reduced over weeks and months. Two, new meta-analyses provide evidence that the amount of distress people with anxiety and mood disorders experience has only a small association with how much impairment they experience.


5 Ways to Cultivate Curiosity and Courage in the Workplace

Results from the new Merck survey of 2,606 United States workers on the state of curiosity in the workplace. Learn about the 5 big barriers to curiosity at work. Learn 5 strategies for training companies, leaders, and employees to become more curious, courageous, and creative.


Does Being Religious Make Us Happy?

Forget common sense and media reports. What have scientists discovered about the link between religion and happiness? During times of trouble, do people cling to their religion?


How Many Types of Happiness Exist?

Are the prevailing conceptions of happiness adequate or accurate? How many types of happiness are there? Some new data that is about to be published gives a few answers and raises a few questions. Be prepared to change some of your views on happiness.


What Really Makes You a Happy Person?

Every month, there is a major news article about the gene for god, divorce, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. There are popular books touting a so-called fact that only 40% of happiness is due to genetics. But what does this mean? What is wrong about these statements? Read on for the answers in 500 words.


Advice for Applying to Graduate School in Psychology

Over 10 concrete suggestions for getting into graduate school in psychology. Perfect for professors to send to students. And for students, this is a resource to help you with the "insider knowledge" I wish I had when I applied.


5 Important New Insights About Why We Get Angry

Here I present "in press" research for the first time on what we learned by examining 2342 episodes of intense anger in everyday life. What we found introduces new insights into this complex emotional experience.


8 Rules for Writing Killer Articles

A brutally honest description of the process of thinking about a new book, writing a proposal, and waiting in those early stages of work....


The Greatest Mind in Psychology That You Don't Know

We lost a great one last month. Learn and read about his work.


The Art of Friendships: Lessons from David and Goliath

I have been thinking deeply about the importance of friendships. This is not the first post I have written on the topic. Here are some thoughts, extending the story laid out in Malcolm Gladwell's last book, David and Goliath....


New Discoveries About Depression

The ultimate guide to understanding depression based on the best, cutting edge science and a description from David Foster Wallace - a genius, one of the best authors of the modern era, who also killed himself to stop the unrelenting pain. What does it really feel like to be in the throes of a major depressive episode?


The Second Myth About Positive Emotions

By unraveling myths, we will make substantial inroads into emotional problems and emotional well-being. In my first post, I described the first myth about positive emotion regulation. In this second post of the series, I describe the second myth.


How Do You Run a Successful Research Lab?

How to conduct an ideal laboratory for productivity and creativity. Lessons on science and leadership and what I wish I knew when I started a tenure-track position with little guidance.


The First Myth About Positive Emotions

Learn about one of the big myths about positive emotions. Don't make the same mistakes that the majority of authors, journalists, and scientists are making.


What Do Scientists Know About Finding a Purpose in Life?

Purpose in life: heavy, beautiful, and of paramount importance.


10 Interesting Facts About Romantic Dating

Get information from a large, never to be published dataset on people's attitudes and behavior in romantic relationships


Psychological Strength Research That Everybody Needs to Know

New research puts two psychological treatments of depression to the test. Should we choose a treatment that capitalizes on people's strengths or one that compensates for their deficits and weaknesses? Both make sense. The beauty of science is that we can compare these approaches. Find out the results.


Why We Should Allow 10% of Students to Dislike Teachers

It is unacceptable to expect innovative teachers with tough standards to be loved by all students. Some suggestions for improving how we evaluate teachers.


What Your Emotions Are Really Telling You, If You'll Listen

Get access to one of the newer topics in psychology - emotion differentiation, clarity, and complexity. Life is more than whether we feel negative or positive emotions, it is about how we describe, label, understand, regulate, and use these emotions.


10 Psychological Strengths, Including the Most Valuable 2

What if we put 10 psychological characteristics that have been previously linked to well-being in direct competition? which would win? Check out this "in press" research study that has yet to be released to the public


7 Tips for Applying to a Psychology PhD Program

the unwritten, behind the scenes wisdom for getting into graduate school. share these tips with anyone you know applying to a PhD program in (clinical) psychology.


Syllabus for Fall 2012- Science of Well-Being Class- Download Here