Declinism, or Why “The Good Old Days” Seem So Good When You’re Older

a sepia tinged photo of an elderly couple sitting outside on lawn chairs
Image by Jan Tik / CC BY

As I’ve written many times, it can be kind of annoying sometimes, and humbling, but the truth is that the human brain is calibrated for speed, not accuracy.

It makes sense when you think of it from an evolutionary perspective. Snap decisions are crucial in survival settings. If you’re being chased by a predator,  » Read more

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Cheerleader Effect, or People Are More Attractive in Groups

cheerleaders
Image by Chris Cameron / CC BY

It all stems from a joke on the TV show How I Met Your MotherCharacter Barney Stinson points out that when women sit in groups that they all seem more attractive than if they were sitting alone. He calls this the Cheerleader Effect and likens it to how a squad of cheerleaders look gorgeous mid-routine but comparatively plain Jane alone.  » Read more

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It’s Humbling to Realize We Do Not See Things As They Really Are, But We Don’t

a fuzzy light shining behind a curtain that's been pulled back
Image by Tiffa Day / CC BY

“The brain is designed with blind spots, optical and psychological, and one of its cleverest tricks is to confer on us the comforting illusion that we, personally, do not have any…’naive realism’ [is] the inescapable conviction that we perceive objects and events clearly, ‘as they really are. ‘ We assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do.  » Read more

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No Monsters, No Saints: Abusers Can Be Kind, the Abused Can Be Abusive

a mural of a lawyer being eaten by a shark being eaten by a mosasaur being eaten by a giant squid being eaten by a large pirranha being eaten by a demon
Image by Eden, Janine and Jim / CC BY

I spent a couple of years seriously studying medical terminology, preparing to work as a medical transcriptionist. Anatomy & Physiology. Pharmacology. A multi-semester course on Disease Processes.

I noticed quickly that some of the students were troubled about what we were learning about the myriad ways that the human body can break down.  » Read more

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