Trigger warnings are least likely to help those who value them the most

by Scott Barry Kaufman, September 1, 2018 in Blog

A new paper by Izzy Gainsburg and Allison Earl at the University of Michican dives deeper into the trigger warning phenomenon increasingly prevalent on college campuses (see the new book The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt). The researchers define trigger warnings as “statements that warn of a negative emotional response […]

The “Heritability of Intelligence” Probably Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

by Scott Barry Kaufman, August 29, 2018 in Blog

In recent years, the field of behavioral genetics has made some important strides in unearthing some of the thousands of genes that are likely associated with IQ. While the association of any particular gene with IQ is minuscule, the more we discover their combined influence on the development of brain networks that support cognition (such […]

The Dark Core of Personality

by Scott Barry Kaufman, August 5, 2018 in Blog

Over 100 years ago, Charles Spearman made two monumental discoveries about human intelligence. First, a general factor of intelligence (g) exists: people who score high on one test of intelligence also tend to score high on other tests of intelligence. Second, Spearman found that the g-factor conforms to the principle of the “indifference of the […]

STUDY ALERT: Are bigger brains smarter? Evidence from a large-scale pre-registered study

by Scott Barry Kaufman, in Study Alerts, Blog

A positive relationship between brain volume and intelligence has been suspected since the 19th century and empirical studies seem to support this hypothesis. However, this claim is not uncontroversial because of concerns about publication bias and the lack of systematic control for critical confounding factors (e.g., height, population structure). We performed a pre-registered study of […]

STUDY ALERT: The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S)

by Scott Barry Kaufman, July 18, 2018 in Study Alerts, Blog

The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S): A multifactorial measure for a complex emotion David B. Yaden, Scott Barry Kaufman, Elizabeth Hyde, Alice Chirico, Andrea Gaggioli, Jia Wei Zhang, Dacher Keltner Abstract Awe is a complex emotion composed of an appraisal of vastness and a need for accommodation. The purpose of this study was […]

STUDY ALERT: Cognitive Aging and Long-Term Maintenance of Attentional Improvements Following Meditation Training

by Scott Barry Kaufman, June 13, 2018 in Study Alerts

Cognitive Aging and Long-Term Maintenance of Attentional Improvements Following Meditation Training Anthony P. Zanesco1 & Brandon G. King2,3 & Katherine A. MacLean3 & Clifford D. Saron3,4 Abstract Sustained attention is effortful, demanding, and subject to limitations associated with age-related cognitive decline. Researchers have sought to examine whether attentional capacities can be enhanced through directed mental […]

Why Quieting the Ego Strengthens Your Best Self

by Scott Barry Kaufman, May 21, 2018 in Blog

We live in some times. On the one hand, things are better than they’ve ever been. Overall rates of violence, poverty, and disease are down. There have been substantial increases in education, longevity, leisure time, and safety. On the other hand… We are more divided than ever as a species. Tribalism and identity politics are […]

What Does a Messy Room Say About Your Character?

by Scott Barry Kaufman, May 16, 2018 in Blog

“Clean up your room. That’s a good start.” — Jordan Peterson One of Jordan Peterson’s main theories is that cleaning your room is related to lots of other positive characteristics. Now, obviously, he doesn’t mean literally cleaning your room. It’s a metaphor for getting your whole self in order first before you try to improve the […]

Embrace your (positive) destiny

by Scott Barry Kaufman, April 27, 2018 in Blog

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about destiny. I think destiny exists. Within each of us is a particular set of proclivities that when matched with just the right environmental triggers, then BAM, there it is. It’s undeniable. Even though our conscious minds may go through many tricks to deny the reality of the match, […]

The hypnotic attraction of power and fame blinds us to inner value

by Scott Barry Kaufman, March 13, 2018 in Blog

In a completely commercialized society in which salability and optimal profit constitute the core values, and in which every person experiences [themselves] as ‘capital’ that [they have] to invest on the market with the aim of optimal profit (success), [their] inner value counts as little as that of a dental cream or a patent medicine. Whether [one] is kind, […]

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