How Aging Shapes Narrative Identity
It’s not just our flesh and bones that change as we get older.Photograph by dirkmvp41 / Flickr In 2010, Dan McAdams wrote a biography about George W. Bush analyzing the former American president using the tools of personality psychology. It was, in his own words, a flop. “I probably had three readers,” McAdams laughs. But […]
Eating for Peace
How cuisine bridges cultures.
What Medicine Is Learning from Animals That Resist Cancer
Beating cancer might come from animals that evolved defenses against it.Photograph by Patrick Bouquet / Flickr In recent years, naked mole rats, elephants, and bowhead whales have caught the attention of cancer researchers. At first glance, these three don’t have much in common: naked mole rats are subterranean rodents; elephants roam above ground; and bowhead […]
To a Cigarette Maker, Your Life Is Worth About $10,000
Since there is one death for every million cigarettes sold (or smoked), a tobacco manufacturer will make about $10,000 for every death caused by their products.Illustration by Raxon Rex / Flickr If you had to put a price on your life, what cash amount do you think it would be? What about $100,000? That was […]
How the Tension Between Mercy and Blame Shaped Our Legal Codes
When we make moral judgments, says Fiery Cushman, the lead researcher at Harvard’s Moral Psychology Lab, the “more primitive, so to speak ‘you caused it, you should suffer’ response never goes away.”“The Barque of Dante,” by Eugène Delacroix (1822) One day in July 1884, four shipwrecked men aboard a lifeboat headed northwest off the Cape […]
Is Violence Declining Because We’re Evolving More Patience?
“Forms of impulsive behaviors involve discounting of future consequences, including both rewards and punishments. Violence is often impulsive.”Photograph by doble.d / Getty Something like 10,000 years ago, near Lake Turkana in Kenya, a group of hunter-gathers went on a raid, sparing a few young men and women to take as the spoils of victory. At […]
The Man Who Played with Absolute Power
A chat with the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment.
Plants Have an “Ear” for Music
While he was a soldier stationed in a Korean demilitarized zone in the 1960s, the late Dan Carlson, Sr. was horrified when he saw a mother intentionally cripple her child to receive food subsidies. Moved by that experience, he enrolled after returning home at the University of Minnesota under his GI Bill, and buried his […]
Hard-Wired for Heroism
On August 21, 2015, Anthony Sadler, 23, a California college student, was riding a train from Amsterdam to Paris with his friends, Aleksander Skarlatos and Spencer Stone. Skarlatos was an Oregon National Guardsman on who had just wrapped up a tour in Afghanistan, and Stone, an American Airman 1st Class in the U.S. Air Force. […]
The True Nature of an Internet Troll
Although the phrase “to troll” only recently entered the mainstream lexicon—partially thanks to the rise in popularity of online discussion forums like 4chan and Reddit, as well as massive multiplayer online games—trolling dates back to chatrooms in the ‘80s. Back then, “trolls” referred to online instigators of disparaging and, essentially, pointless arguments, or “flamewars.” Nowadays, […]