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Jim Davies

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    This Is How Your Brain Walks the Dog—a Dialogue

    Habits: You two were arguing, I just kept walking. Felt like the right thing to do.Photograph by evrymmnt / Shutterstock INT. HOME OFFICE—DAY BODY, a middle-aged woman, is working at a computer, trying to finish a plan for the household budget. Habits Oh! It’s time to walk the dog. BODY stops typing. Central Executive Uh, […]

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    A Simple Way to Reduce Cognitive Bias

    It’s encouraging to know that merely paying attention to the details of your environment can make you a little more rational.Illustration by yulianas / Shutterstock Would you like to be more rational? Of course you would. Who doesn’t want to behave and think more reasonably? Good news: New research, from Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, suggests […]

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    Can You Treat Loneliness By Creating an Imaginary Friend?

    Tulpamancers imagine talking to the tulpa, sometimes for more than an hour a day, and eventually, perhaps after several months, the tulpa will start talking back.Photo Illustration by LeaDigszammal / Shutterstock Did you ever have an imaginary friend? If you didn’t, chances are you know someone who did. Imaginary companions, as scholars call them, are […]

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    This Vision Experiment Resolved a Centuries-Old Philosophical Debate

    “We conclude,” the researchers wrote, “that objects have a remarkably persistent dual character: their objective shape ‘out there,’ and their perspectival shape ‘from here.’”Photograph by Ryan DeBerardinis / Shutterstock Imagine you are looking at a manhole cover a few paces away on the street. It looks circular, but this is because of some impressive perceptual […]

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    Most of the Mind Can’t Tell Fact from Fiction

    Even after you understand how an illusion operates, it continues to fool part of your mind. This is the kind of double knowledge we have when we consume fiction.Photograph by KieferPix / Shutterstock Stories, fiction included, act as a kind of surrogate life. You can learn from them so seamlessly that you might believe you […]

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    We Aren’t Selfish After All

    In turbulent times, people go from “me” thinking to “we” thinking.

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    Most of the Mind Can’t Tell Fact from Fiction

    Even after you understand how an illusion operates, it continues to fool part of your mind. This is the kind of double knowledge we have when we consume fiction.Photograph by KieferPix / Shutterstock Stories, fiction included, act as a kind of surrogate life. You can learn from them so seamlessly that you might believe you […]

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    The Neural Similarities Between Remembering and Imagining

    The act of recalling something that happened to you looks very much like what happens when you imagine something new.Photograph by HBRH / Shutterstock Imagine a living room. Not yours or your friend’s or one you saw in a home makeover show, but one purely from your imagination—perhaps your ideal living room. You should have […]

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    Many of Our Beliefs Are Unconscious: A Response to Nick Chater

    After a few years of driving, you are able to hold conversations while navigating a busy city. How is this possible without unconscious thought?Photograph by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock Nick Chater has put forward a bold claim in his recent book, The Mind Is Flat, as well as in an article and interview in Nautilus: that […]

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    Why Is There So Much Hate for the Word “Moist”?

    A lot of people don’t like the word “moist.” Several Facebook groups are dedicated to it, one with over 3,000 likes, New Yorker readers overwhelmingly selected it as the word to eliminate from the dictionary, and Jimmy Fallon sarcastically thanked it for being the worst word in the English language. When you ask people why […]