Category Archives: psychology

In defense of the passive voice, argued by Harvard linquist Steven Pinker

If you’re interested in improving the quality of your writing, watch or listen to this lecture by Steven Pinker based on his book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Or check out his recent articles in The Guardian, and other publications, such as Passive Resistance – The active voice isn’t always the best choice in The Atlantic.

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Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students?

When kids don’t get a chance to play on their own, they grow fearful and depressed because only during playtime do they get to be the adults—to learn how to make decisions, deal with consequences, solve problems and really be a person instead of a precious possession or pet.

Source: Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students? – Hit & Run :

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Alain de Botton’s “The Art of Travel”

I highly recommend if you plan to travel, and I just listened to it (during my commute). Surely it’s better with the video. It’s based on the author‘s book The Art of Travel.


THE ART OF TRAVEL, presented by Alain de Botton (and based on his bestselling book of the same name), looks into the philosophical impulses behind travelling and in doing so offers a profound and often witty view of some of the deeper issues underlying travel and our desire for it.

Thanks to Russ Roberts for interviewing Alain de Botton at EconTalk about his book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.




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D. G. Myers on Cancer, Dying, and Living @ EconTalk

I highly recommend this recent EconTalk interview with literary critic D.G. Myers. Here’s the summary:

D.G. Myers, literary critic and cancer patient, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the lessons he has learned from receiving a cancer diagnosis six years ago. Myers emphasizes the importance of dealing with cancer honestly and using it as a way to focus attention on what matters in life. The conversation illuminates the essence of opportunity cost and the importance of allocating our time, perhaps our scarcest resource, wisely. The last part of the conversation discusses a number of literary issues including the role of English literature and creative writing in American universities.

More: D. G. Myers on Cancer, Dying, and Living | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Thank you Russ Roberts and D.G. for engaging in and sharing this wonderful conversation.

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Taking a Walk May Lead to More Creativity than Sitting, Study Finds

From the American Psychological Association:

When the task at hand requires some imagination, taking a walk may lead to more creative thinking than sitting, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.“Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking,” said Marily Oppezzo, PhD, of Santa Clara University. “With this study, we finally may be taking a step or two toward discovering why.”

More: Taking a Walk May Lead to More Creativity than Sitting, Study Finds.

Via Steve Goldhaber.

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Video Games Build Strong … Brains?


Researchers studied 152 adolescents who played video games for an average of 12.6 hours per week. They found that gaming correlated with increased thickness in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left frontal eye field.

A study of people aged 60-85 years old published in Nature found that cognitive control is improved by playing a custom-designed, three-dimensional video game. That is, the participants enhanced their ability to multi-task, as well as their working memory and their ability to sustain attention.

via Video Games Build Strong Brains.

This echoes a portion of the book Everything Bad is Good for You.

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Global warming: fits left’s social justice agenda. #Geoengineering makes left-wingers question AGW science, freed-market supporters less skeptical

From Shikha Dalmia writing in The Week:

Lefties and enviros merged into the modern-day progressive movement only when the New Left was persuaded that environmental degradation and social injustice were manifestations of the same greed-ridden system. Global warming, in a sense, combines this twin critique of capitalism on the grandest possible scale, indicting the rich West for bringing the world close to catastrophe by hogging a disproportionate amount of the global commons, leaving less for the developing world.

This is why, despite the demonstrated impossibility of imposing a global emission-control regime after the failure of the Kyoto treaty, liberals continue to demand that the West unilaterally cut emissions, even though this will arguably make little difference to global temperatures. It is a matter of cosmic justice, as far as they are concerned.

Indeed, if there is any doubt that liberal alarmism no less than conservative skepticism is driven by ideological commitments — and not a realistic assessment of actual risk and achievable solutions — Yale University’s Dan Kahan research ought to put them to rest. He found that when geo-engineering — pumping sulfates into the atmosphere to deflect heat — is offered as the solution to climate catastrophe instead of emission restrictions, liberals become far more questioning of global warming science. Why? Because, presumably, it does nothing to curb Western greed. Conversely, geo-engineering makes conservatives far more accepting of the science, likely because it avoids Big Government.

Read more: On global warming, conservatives have a blind spot — and liberals have tunnel vision – The Week.

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