For those suffering through this week’s heat wave, here is some refreshment from the archive. I also cover the link between heat metaphors and social connection in the opening chapter of On Second Thought, called The Visceral Heuristic: Cold Shoulders and Clean Hands. I love this poem by the well-named Robert Frost:
There is a new website devoted to favorite numbers, which NPR’s Robert Krulwich writes about here. It’s fascinating–and more evidence that numbers are not objective quantities. Numbers carry emotional baggage, which makes it very difficult for us to think statistically. I devote a chapter to the Arithmetic Heuristic in On Second Thought, which I excerpt… Read more
I stumbled on this short essay from Dr. Peter Janiszewski, via Travis Saunders. Both are exercise physiologists, but this piece also shows remarkable insight into human psychology. In the final chapter of On Second Thought, I discuss the default heuristic, which is simply the powerful human tendency to stay the course, change nothing. This cognitive… Read more
The penultimate chapter of On Second Thought is called The Grim Reaper Heuristic: Loneliness and Zealotry. It’s about how we protect ourselves, mentally and emotionally, against the terror of confronting our own mortality. Much of the work described in the chapter comes from what’s called “terror management theory,” which argues that we protect ourselves against… Read more
Earlier this year, the first baby boomer turned 65, and from now on, 10,000 boomers will pass that milestone every day. That’s every day–which means that more than 69 million of us will reach this symbolic age by 2030. So at this very moment, millions of working men and women are already wondering how to… Read more
Azoth Books has just published the first foreign edition of On Second Thought, in Taiwan. I love the cover!
Behavioral economist Ofer Azar ran an intriguing study of premier soccer goalies, which I describe in On Second Thought‘s final chapter, on the default heuristic. Azar, a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, studied penalty kicks. A penalty kick is awarded after a foul, and is often used as a tie-breaker in championship games. A… Read more
I’m packing for Stockholm, where I will (with Ap Dijksterhuis of Utrecht) be running a science writing workshop for psychological scientists. Come join us! Small group meeting “writing and communicating with the general public” When Tuesday July 12th, from 12pm till (circa) 4.30pm. Where Scandic Bromma Hotel, Stockholm http://www.scandichotels.com/bromma?cmpid=ppcse_201102101013 Program 12.00 Lunch 13.00 Talks by… Read more