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Psychology

Essays and videos offering insights into the self, relationships, cognition and neuroscience
The empty brain | Aeon
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Neuroscience

The empty brain

Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

Robert Epstein

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now | Aeon
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Economics

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

What know-it-alls don’t know, or the illusion of competence | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

What know-it-alls don’t know, or the illusion of competence

Kate Fehlhaber

The play deficit | Aeon
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Childhood and adolescence

The play deficit

Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never grow up

Peter Gray

English is not normal | Aeon
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Language and linguistics

English is not normal

No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language

John McWhorter

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you | Aeon
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Social psychology

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you

Clifton Mark

Gentle medicine could radically transform medical practice | Aeon
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Medicine

Gentle medicine could radically transform medical practice

Jacob Stegenga

Indifference is a power | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Indifference is a power

As legions of warriors and prisoners can attest, Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity

Lary Wallace

The macho sperm myth | Aeon
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Human reproduction

The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin

Night school | Aeon
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Consciousness and altered states

Night school

New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?

Kenneth Miller

Lifestyle changes, not a magic pill, can reverse Alzheimer’s | Aeon
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Medicine

Lifestyle changes, not a magic pill, can reverse Alzheimer’s

Clayton Dalton

The meanings of life | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

The meanings of life

Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?

Roy F Baumeister

Gender is not a spectrum | Aeon
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Gender and identity

Gender is not a spectrum

The idea that ‘gender is a spectrum’ is supposed to set us free. But it is both illogical and politically troubling

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

Childhood, disrupted | Aeon
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Childhood and adolescence

Childhood, disrupted

Adversity in childhood can create long-lasting scars, damaging our cells and our DNA, and making us sick as adults

Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Master of many trades | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

Master of many trades

Our age reveres the specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things

Robert Twigger

Kept women | Aeon
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Sex and sexuality

Kept women

Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?

James Palmer

Off-beat Zen | Aeon
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Consciousness and altered states

Off-beat Zen

How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West

Tim Lott

The problem of mindfulness | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

The problem of mindfulness

Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos

Sahanika Ratnayake

How the light gets out | Aeon
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Consciousness and altered states

How the light gets out

Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?

Michael Graziano

The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology | Aeon
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Personality

The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology

Christian Jarrett

A theory of jerks | Aeon
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Ethics

A theory of jerks

Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude

Eric Schwitzgebel

Kids? Just say no | Aeon
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Ethics

Kids? Just say no

You don’t have to dislike children to see the harms done by having them. There is a moral case against procreation

David Benatar

Why self-harm? | Aeon
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Addiction

Why self-harm?

Cutting brings relief because emotion and pain criss-cross in the brain. Can we untangle the circuits and stop self-harm?

Carrie Arnold

War in the womb | Aeon
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Evolution

War in the womb

A ferocious biological struggle between mother and baby belies any sentimental ideas we might have about pregnancy

Suzanne Sadedin