What Is Hindsight Bias?

The tumor that appeared on a second scan. The fourth-quarter comeback to win the game. The guy in human resources who was secretly accepting bribes. The situation may vary each time, but we hear ourselves say it over and over again: “I knew it all along.” The problem is that too often we actually didn’t…

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How Hierarchical Is Language Use?

It has been a basic assumption of language scientists for more than 50 years, that sentence structure is fundamentally hierarchical, made up of small parts in turn made of smaller parts, like Russian nesting dolls. But a new study from Cornell University suggests language use is simpler than they had thought. Co-author Morten Christiansen, Cornell…

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Can Overconfidence Raise Your Social Status?

People are very frequently overconfident, researchers have long known. We tend to believe we are more physically talented, socially adept, and skilled at our jobs than we actually are. For example, 94% of college professors think they do above average work, something that is impossible, statistically speaking. But this overconfidence can also have detrimental effects…

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Meditating Older Adults Feel Less Lonely

Mindfulness meditation reduces loneliness in older adults, and may lower their risk of inflammatory diseases, a new Carnegie Mellon University study suggests. For older adults, loneliness is a major risk factor for health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s, and death. Attempts to diminish loneliness with social networking programs like creating community centers to…

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What Is Dysthymia?

Dysthymia, sometimes also called neurotic depression, dysthymic disorder, or chronic depression, is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as in depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms. The concept was coined by Robert Spitzer as a replacement for the term “depressive personality” in the late 1970s. According to the fourth…

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Hedonic Adaptation Prevention Model May Help People Stay Happy Longer

“Variety is the spice of life”, they say. And “happiness isn’t getting what you want, but wanting what you get”. Cliches? Maybe, but both sayings appear to have a psychological basis, according to a new study by an University of Missouri Columbia psychologist who identified two keys to becoming happier and staying that way. “Although…

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Bilingualism Enhances Attention And Fine-tunes Hearing

A new Northwestern University study provides the first biological evidence that bilinguals‘ rich experience with language fine-tunes their auditory nervous system and helps them juggle linguistic input in ways that enhance attention and working memory. Northwestern bilingualism expert Viorica Marian teamed up with auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus to investigate how bilingualism affects the brain. In…

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What Is Declarative Memory?

Declarative memory, also referred to as explicit memory is one of the two main types of long-term human memory. It is the conscious, intentional recollection of factual information, previous experiences and concepts. Declarative memory can be divided into two categories: episodic memory, which stores specific personal experiences, and semantic memory, which stores factual information. Declarative…

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Depressed Mothers Disrupt Babies’ Sleep

Women who are depressed are more likely than other mothers to needlessly wake their babies from a sound sleep out of worry. Douglas M. Teti, professor of human development, psychology, and pediatrics and associate director of the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State, says: “We found that mothers with high depressive symptom levels are…

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