A look behind a changing mind

Successfully changing someone’s mind is incredibly challenging, especially because in some cases providing evidence that contradicts someone’s firmly-held beliefs may actually strengthen their confidence in their original stance. Picture yourself, for instance, convincing someone who is pro-life to be pro-choice, or vice versa. Challenging, but not impossible. Challenge Accepted GIF from Barney GIFs While we can attribute holding onto beliefs (even if they are false or outdated) to obstinance, the implications are slightly different for…

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The Overview Effect

“It’s hard to explain how amazing and magical this experience is. First of all, there’s the astounding beauty and diversity of the planet itself, scrolling across your view at what appears to be a smooth, stately pace… I’m happy to report that no amount of prior study or training can fully prepare anybody for the awe and wonder this inspires.” ~Kathryn D, NASA Astronaut (cited in Robinson et al., 2013, p.81) “If somebody’d said before…

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Outreach Event: Explore Your Universe 2016!

What if you saw something, but it wasn’t really there? What if a still image suddenly started moving? Or, if a yellow box was actually brown? Kids and their families were fascinated by the display of visual illusions from the Psychology in Action (PIA) outreach team at UCLA’s 8th annual Explore Your Universe (EYU) science festival last week. With exciting science demos, fun activities and interesting talks, the event brought science to life for people…

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Biological and Environmental Impacts on Emotion Regulation

A fundamental aspect of the human experience is undeniably emotion. Love, anger, happiness, fear: these are concepts that we are all intimately familiar with, but their subjective experience can vary widely person to person. Take, for instance, you are sitting at the bus stop. You happen to be running late, for a pretty important meeting, and all of a sudden the bus you have been waiting for for the last twenty minutes speeds past you…

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Outreach Event: Brain Awareness Week 2016

Sleep! Taste! Heart rate! Emotions! Memory! These were only a few of the winning performances by middle school students during Brain Charades, a Psychology in Action (PIA) led event during Brain Awareness Week. The PIA outreach team was on the frontlines, as middle school students battled it out in head-to-head competition – acting out various functions of the brain for their teammates to guess. Students played for the championship through several bonus rounds where they…

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Adele and the Margaret Thatcher Effect

Adele’s face is the latest victim of a viral illustration of perceptual illusions. During the past week, an image of Adele’s upside down-face has gone viral on the internet, with instructions that read “turn your phone upside down” or “look at the image upside down.” If you haven’t done the experiment yourself, it looks something like this. Both images are the same, but the message of the image is drastically different. In the left picture,…

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Can I become more inspired?

  “Do one thing every day that scares you.” —Eleanor Roosevelt     Happy new year! (It still counts as the new year, right?) How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like a lot of people, you might be beginning to lose sight of them. Research has found that a little over a third of us fail at our resolutions within a month.1 Luckily it is not too late to hit…

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Outreach Event: Explore Your Universe 2015!

Imagine your watching your favorite sport, and a gorilla walks right through the game. Think you would notice it? Think again. This exemplar of our selective attention was just one of the many beliefs flipped on its head by members of the Psychology in Action (PIA) outreach team at last Sunday’s 7th annual UCLA Explore Your Universe (EYU) event. As one of the largest science outreach events in all of southern California, the event sought…

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Highlights of “Building Minds”

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

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

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…

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Signal Detection: Decision Making in Uncertainty

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,

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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…

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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…

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Psychology and the Everyday

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…

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What color is the dress, really?

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…

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