Sukha Wellness Institute

Rereading ‘the Gift of Fear’ in the Age of Mass Shootings

It’s been 25 years since Gavin de Becker’s influential book “The Gift of Fear” was published, teaching readers how to tell the difference between “true fear” and “unwarranted fear” by trusting their intuition. De Becker opens the book with a story about a woman who was raped and nearly murdered after letting a man into her apartment, …

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Empathizing With the Opposition May Make You More Politically Persuasive 

Trying to understand people we disagree with can feel like an effort hardly worth making, particularly in contentious political environments in which offering even the smallest olive branch to the opposition can be perceived as betraying our own side. Research in Psychological Science, however, suggests that cross-partisan empathy may actually make our political arguments more …

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Talking With Birds: The Fascinating World of Avian Intelligence

Can birds be as intelligent as chimpanzees or dolphins? Can they communicate and use language like a child would? Can they even outsmart undergraduate students?  A line of research started more than 40 years ago continues to reveal new findings about parrots’ intelligence and even their ability to use English speech to communicate with humans.  …

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The Forgotten Lessons of the Recovered Memory Movement

Most students in psychology and psychiatry programs today are too young to have any firsthand memory of the moral panic engendered by the recovered memory movement in the 1980s and early 1990s. This was a time when therapists proudly advertised their ability to help clients unearth supposedly repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse; the accusations …

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Decoding Emotions

We like to think that all humans are born with the same core emotions: anger, fear, joy, sadness and disgust. But what if that’s not true? This week, psychologist Batja Mesquita offers a different model of emotions — one that can help us to better understand our own feelings and those of the people around us. …

Encouraging Girls to Roleplay as Successful Female Scientists Could Help Close the Gender Gap in STEM

Make-believe doesn’t usually have a place in laboratory settings, but research just published in Psychological Science suggests that girls may persist longer in science activities when they pretend to be successful female scientists. This kind of play-based intervention could help close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields by boosting girls’ …

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Fetuses Smile for Carrots but Grimace Over Kale, Study Suggests

While it is known that some children are not huge fans of greens, a new study suggests that such dietary preferences could come about before they’re even born. Fetuses create more of a “laughter-face” in the womb when exposed to the flavor of carrots consumed by their mother and create more of a “cry-face” response when …

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The September Collection: New Technology Can Be Scary, Why to Stop Worrying and Love the Eco-Apocalypse, and Much More 

What determines how we feel about new technologies? Can an existential approach help us deal with apocalyptic fears about the climate crisis? And does having brothers or sisters influence our personality? New research in APS journals explores these questions and much more, including what makes a joke funny and how social support can prevent depression …

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Playing an Instrument Is Linked to Better Cognition

From strumming a guitar next to a campfire to entertaining guests with a piano piece at a formal dinner, being able to play a musical instrument is unquestionably rewarding. Yet, evidence suggests that the rewards go far beyond the elation of performing well in front of others—those who play instruments have often been found to perform …

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