Personality


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Detail from Senecio by Paul Klee. 1922. Oil on gauze. Kunstmuseum, Basel. Photo by Corbis
Essay/
Philosophy of mind
I am not a story

Some find it comforting to think of life as a story. Others find that absurd. So are you a Narrative or a non-Narrative?

Galen Strawson

Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum

Essay/
Personality
Spot the psychopath

Psychopaths have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness. But they are more like you and me than we care to admit

Heidi Maibom

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Essay/
Knowledge
Bad thinkers

Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character

Quassim Cassam

'Moral features are the chief dimension by which we judge'; detail from The Conversion of Saint Paul by Caravaggio 1600-1601. Photo courtesy Wikimedia
Essay/
Ethics
The self is moral

We tend to think that our memories determine our identity, but it’s moral character that really makes us who we are

Nina Strohminger

People make their way amid debris near the World Trade Center in New York, 11 September 2001. Photo by Gulnara Samoilova/AP/PA

Essay/
Cities
The intimacy of crowds

Crowds aren’t really crazed – they are made of highly co-operative individuals driven to shared interests and goals

Michael Bond

Chatterton by Henry Wallis 1856, Tate Britain. Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Mood and emotion
Why the long face?

Sadness makes us seem nobler, more elegant, more adult. Which is pretty weird, when you think about it

Adam Roberts

Stanley Milgram and his 'shockbox'. Photo courtesy The Chronicle of Higher Education

Essay/
Bioethics
The psychology of torture

The Milgram experiments showed that anybody could be capable of torture when obeying an authority. Are they still valid?

Malcolm Harris

A shy Yves Saint Laurent is pushed onstage to be acclaimed for his Spring-Summer collection, Paris, January 1986. Photo by Abbas/Magnum

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
The crystalline wall

Shyness is a part of being human. The world would be a more insipid, less creative place without it

Joe Moran

Photo by Gallery Stock
Essay/
Personality
How luck works

You’re at the casino and you win big – a lucky fluke, divine intervention or inner smarts? The answer’s against the odds

Carlin Flora

Fifteen-year-old Sangita stands in the remains of her room after the earthquake that struck central Nepal in April 2015. ‘I am lucky that I’m still alive... Our neighbours died, their bodies are still under the rubble.’ Photo by Vlad Sokhin/Panos

Essay/
Values and beliefs
The unreality of luck

Optimists believe in good luck, pessimists in bad. But if it’s all a matter of perspective, does luck even exist?

Steven Hales

In the toyshop, 1950. Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty
Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Hesitate!

Quick decision-making might seem bold, but the agony of indecision is your brain’s way of making a better choice

Stephen M Fleming

Essay/
Ethics
Moral luck

Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn’t. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not?

Robert J Hartman

Adolf Hitler addresses the audience at the Berlin Sportpalast in 1942. Photo by Ullstein Bild/AKG
Essay/
Personality
Why we love tyrants

Psychoanalysis explains how authoritarians energise hatred, self-pity and delusion while promising heaven on Earth

David Livingstone Smith

Photo by Corbis

Essay/
Ethics
Be not brave

Cowards have been shamed, beaten and shot, yet their failing has an important social function. Let’s hear it for cowardice

Chris Walsh

Visitors take a selfie photograph in front of Girl with Peaches (1887), by Russian artist Valentin Serov at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Photo by Alexander Kurov/TASS/Getty

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Modesty means more, not less

True modesty is not to be timid or meek but a way of being in the world that means you don’t get in the way of your life

Nicolas Bommarito

Photo courtesy the Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A Countway Library of Medicine. Gift of Jack and Beverly Wilgus
Essay/
Ethics
The Phineas Gage effect

When someone changes for the worse, we see a totally different person. But what happens if the change is for the better?

Kevin Tobia

Photo by Rafa Elias/Getty
Essay/
Biography and memoir
The coward

My husband got the death threat, but I went into hiding. Are some brains wired for courage and others for fear?

Caren Chesler

Illustration by Matt Murphy
Essay/
Illness and disease
Unravelling man

Bipolar disorder can rage through life like a hurricane. So why does the US healthcare system leave us to cope alone?

Kristin Ohlson

Siberia, Bratsk. 1967. Photo by Elliot Erwitt/Magnum

Essay/
Ethics
A touch of evil

Lying, cheating and arrogance might be morally repugnant, but a little dose of nastiness can be a creative thing

Kristin Ohlson