Why do people like to be scared?

Dr. Margee Kerr is a “scare specialist.”  In addition to college teaching, she is the staff sociologist at ScareHouse, a “haunted house” in Pittsburgh, which apparently consults her scientific expertise in designing effects that scare people.  The Atlantic interviews her on the question of why some people like to get scared. [Read more...]

Psychology experiments often can’t be replicated

There is currently what is being described as a “crisis” in the field of social/personality psychology.  It turns out, many psychological experiments, however heralded in the media and whose findings are made a big deal of, cannot be replicated by other researchers.  Is that due to fraud?  Statistical quirks? Or does it mean that psychology is not a science after all? [Read more...]

Our new insecurity

Terrorism, the shaky economy, and now ebola–these things make us feel insecure.  Chris Cillizza says that other items in the news–the Secret Service failures, the controversy over the Ferguson police, the rise of ISIL in Iraq despite our military’s prowess–adds a further level of insecurity, that those who are supposed to protect us can’t.  See what he says after the jump.  What do you think of his analysis? [Read more...]

“Vegetative” patients who respond to Hitchcock

Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been studying the brain activity of people who are in a “vegetative state.”  A recent experiment showed a classic episode, “Bang!  You’re Dead!” from Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show, directed by the master of suspense himself, to two unresponsive people with brain injuries, as well as two healthy people.  One of the “vegetables” showed identical brain responses to the healthy viewers.  After the jump, an account of the research, plus the video of the episode. [Read more...]

What Christians know about each other

Justin Taylor posts a startling quotation from Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Life Together, about what a Christian “who lives beneath the cross of Jesus” knows about sin, himself, and other sinners.   And how this knowledge of the human heart, as revealed by the Cross, goes deeper than that of any psychologist. [Read more...]

How to identify a narcissist

Psychologists have used a 40-question test to diagnose the condition of narcissism, a syndrome of extreme self-regard and lack of empathy for others.  A study has determined, though, that it is possible to diagnose narcissism by asking the subject only one question.  And that question is. . . . [Read more...]


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