Psychology

When we pass through an art gallery, what determines our idea of beauty? A University of Sydney study of how people rate the aesthetics of each artwork shows part of our art is due to the painting you saw a few moments before. The research, led by Ph.D. student Ms. Sujin Kim in the School… Read more

Imagine you’re a lecturer teaching a celebrated novel that features violent scenes – say, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). It transpires that one of your students has themselves been a victim of violence and now, thanks to your words, they are reliving their trauma. Could you, should you, have done more to protect… Read more

In 2008, psychologists proposed that when humans are shown an unfamiliar face, they judge it on two main dimensions: trustworthiness and physical strength. These form the basis of first impressions, which may help people make important social decisions, from who to vote for to how long a prison sentence should be. To date, the 2008… Read more

It’s not something most Harvard faculty spend much time contemplating, but Tomer Ullman likes to think about magic. In particular, he likes to think about whether it would be harder to levitate a frog or turn it to stone. And if you’re thinking the answer is obvious (turning it to stone, right?), Ullman says that’s… Read more