Highlights of “Building Minds”

IMG_6666

For those who missed “Building Minds: Microchips & Molecules”, here is a taste

Continue reading

Benefitting Ourselves While Benefitting Others: The Importance of Generativity

3426731464_a5665515d8_o

  “How to Talk About Dying” was the name of one of the “Most Emailed” articles on The New York Times website in early July. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, written by bestselling author and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Dr. Atul Gawande, has an average of 5 out of 5 stars with nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon.com. What used to be a very unsexy topic in our culture – having a…

Continue reading

My Graduate School Survival Guide

STRESSED-COLLEGE-STUDENT

Disclaimer: Technically, I have not yet ‘survived’ grad school. But, with three out of five years under my belt, I like to think I’ve acquired some useful wisdom. Although there is no one-size-fits-all model for successfully navigating grad school, here I’ll outline some strategies that I find particularly effective for maximizing efficiency and maintaining solid work-life balance. Stay organized (and give your brain a break) Although I pride myself on having strong memory skills, grad…

Continue reading

The Neuroscience of Altruism

Volunteer

At times, it is tempting to take a rather cynical view of human nature. After the latest revelation of political corruption, exposure of fraud, or swiping of the last space in the crowded supermarket parking lot that you had been waiting 10 minutes for, we may want to conclude that people are fundamentally selfish. A great deal of research has investigated the neural mechanisms that may support anti-social behaviors, such as aggression or the absence…

Continue reading

Outreach Event: Thought Suppression vs. Mindfulness!

Infinity, pizza, spiders, shoes, pizza, iPhones, sleep, pizza, code names, iPads, games, pizza… When we asked elementary students to think about anything these were the responses. However, when we asked elementary students to think about anything but a yellow jeep, the kids told us they thought of the yellow jeep about 100 times in a minute. One child even thought of yellow pizza. Why? Well, as we explained this past Friday at the PIA Outreach Event…

Continue reading

“Building Minds: Microchips & Molecules” Symposium – May 18, 2015

Building Minds Poster

Psychology in Action is proud to announce the fourth annual Psychology Interdisciplinary Events symposium, Monday, May 18th, 2015, from 4 to 6pm in UCLA’s CNSI Auditorium. The discussion will focus on various attempts to create artificial minds and what they tell us about our own minds. The event is completely FREE and open to the general public! We hope to see you there! Featuring – James K. Gimzewski, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, UCLA – Timothy…

Continue reading

Signal Detection: Decision Making in Uncertainty

by Christoph Michels - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yellow_umbrella.JPG#/media/File:Yellow_umbrella.JPG

We all experience uncertainty: How did I do on that test? What do they think of me? Where did I leave my keys? Is my phone ringing? In these and other uncertain situations,

Continue reading

Mind the Explanatory Gap

Dualism is dead – it’s been dead for a while now, actually, and is beginning to smell a bit. Somebody ought to take it out. Ask any scientist, philosopher, or academic involved in the study of the mind and you will discover this in no uncertain terms for yourself. The notion that the mind and body are separate is an antiquated one heavily influenced by religious ideas about the separation of the soul and the…

Continue reading

Love Me Tinder: A Psychological Perspective on Swiping

bc7ea090480b87344e98f2c3bab1888a

Several months ago, I wrote a post about how online dating has shifted the way people search for and establish romantic relationships in the modern era. Notably absent from that article was any mention of what has become the fastest growing, and arguably the most popular, dating app of the past several years: Tinder. Why didn’t Tinder make it into my discussion of the potential benefits and drawbacks of online dating? To put it simply,…

Continue reading

Music Reaches Down to Our DNA

  You’ve likely experienced strong emotions while listening to music. Would it surprise you to know that, at the same time, something as fundamental as the expression of your genes was potentially being altered? Chakravarthi Kanduri and his colleagues1 at the University of Helsinki found evidence for such deep effects. They collected blood samples before and after participants of varying aptitude listened to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major. These samples were compared…

Continue reading

Outreach Event: Brain Awareness Week 2015!

Imagine your typical morning. You crave some sugary cereal to get you fueled for the day ahead. You dash out the door to realize you forgot your keys. And – especially for you teenagers – as you’re heading out to school, you realize that you’d rather go on a spontaneous adventure today… Is it possible that all these behaviors are connected? Psychology in Action outreach coordinators Jenna Cummings and Nicco Reggente, and PIA member Micah…

Continue reading

An Illustrative Guide to Statistical Power, Alpha, Beta, and Critical Values

bell-curve-joke

From my interactions with undergraduate students, it seems that even though these definitions are easy to recite, they are difficult to be integrated into a comprehensive whole. I hope here to show how to conceptually integrate them into a cohesive picture. Everything begins with reality: the “Reality Continuum” I call this green line “Reality Continuum” (rather grand, no?) because you will take your ideas, and do a reality check against it via data analysis (within the traditional statistical framework–it is definitely NOT…

Continue reading

Psychology and the Everyday

Elephant & Egret

I’d like to start off a bit unusually today. Specifically, I’d like to make a request of you, dear reader. Nothing terribly difficult, but I realize it’s strange to have an article ask you to do something. If you’re on board so far, I’d like to ask you to choose a number between 1 and 10. Multiply that number by two. Add 8 to this number. Divide this resultant number by 2, and then subtract…

Continue reading

What color is the dress, really?

dress-blue-or-black-white-and-gold-676x450

One of the top social media items today regards the color of the following dress:   Is it blue and black? Or white and gold? The internet is in a disarray and a great debate has ensued. Even Taylor Swift has chimed in (her vote is blue and black). I see white with a gold fringe. Actually both answers can be correct. The phenomenon for why the dress can be both blue with black fringe…

Continue reading