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Psychology

Essays and videos offering insights into the self, relationships, cognition and neuroscience
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essay

Pleasure and pain

Eulogy for silence

Tinnitus is like a constant scream inside my head, depriving me of what I formerly treasured: the moments of serene quiet

Diego Ramírez Martín del Campo

Illustration of a person sitting in a room with a bed and various objects. The background is pink, and the objects include a lamp, books, clock, plants, lava lamp, slippers, and a small ball. The person appears to be drawn in a simple, sketch-like style.
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video

Sex and sexuality

After a sextortion scam, Eugene conducts an unblushing survey of masturbation

14 minutes

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video

Human rights and justice

A reporter orphaned by night raids in Afghanistan investigates their cruel legacy

17 minutes

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essay

Stories and literature

Solace and saudade

In the face of an inscrutable, indifferent universe, Pessoa suggests we cultivate a certain longing for the elusive horizon

Jonardon Ganeri & Sarah Seymour

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History of ideas

Disorient yourself

Now associated with childhood fun, the swing has a near-universal history of ritual transgression and transformation

Javier Moscoso

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essay

Mood and emotion

In praise of irritation

Unlike anger, irritation has neither glamour nor radicalism on its side. Yet it might just be the mood we need right now

Will Rees

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Mental health

Secrets hurt their holders

Holding back the truth can take a huge toll on your relationships and your mental health. Why? And is there a better way?

Michael Slepian

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essay

History

The politics of pain

Medical science can only tell us so much. To understand pain, we need the cultural tools of history, philosophy and art

Rob Boddice

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video

Dance and theatre

From calluses to burnt shoes, the elegance of ballet is built from the ground up

4 minutes

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Consciousness and altered states

You need to make friends with pain to run through the Grand Canyon and back

5 minutes

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Mood and emotion

Alone on a small island in Belgrade, a father grieves his daughter in quiet solitude

12 minutes

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Wellbeing

A unique theatre performance explores what touch means in an age of lockdown

17 minutes

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Music

Music and sex

A song can take you on a journey of ecstatic arousal. Is music imitating sex, inviting it, or something else altogether?

Michael Spitzer

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Film and visual culture

Fear not

You might think that horror movies are a delicious, trashy pleasure. But watching them has surprisingly wholesome effects

Mathias Clasen

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video

Nature and landscape

An afternoon with hobbyist diamond miners in Arkansas is a thing of rare beauty

16 minutes

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Sports and games

After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races

9 minutes

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essay

Pleasure and pain

Apocalypse, please

The COVID-19 pandemic, like other catastrophes before it, got some of us hooked on phobic energy and terror. Why?

Travis Alexander

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essay

Mathematics

Mathematics for gamblers

If philosophers and mathematicians struggle with probability, can gamblers really hope to grasp their losing game?

Catalin Barboianu

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video

Pleasure and pain

After losing his sight, a skateboarder takes an unexpected path to realising his dreams

12 minutes

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video

Love and friendship

After traumatic childhoods, two sisters dedicate their golden years to fun

15 minutes

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Neuroscience

The need to touch

The language of touch binds our minds and bodies to the broader social world. What happens when touch becomes taboo?

Laura Crucianelli

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video

Pleasure and pain

The ritualised excess of life aboard a cruise ship is tragic and parodic by turns

10 minutes

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Neuroscience

Nostalgia reimagined

Neuroscience is finding what propaganda has long known: nostalgia doesn’t need real memories – an imagined past works too

Felipe De Brigard

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Pleasure and pain

The hysteria accusation

Women’s pain is often medically overlooked and undertreated. But the answer is not as simple as ‘believing all women’

Elizabeth Barnes