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Category: Human Nature

Something Smells Fishy

It’s more than a metaphor. The subtle scent of rotting fish raises suspicion. We don’t only become suspicious of the fishy smell itself, but to whatever task that happens to be occupying our attention. Researchers Norbert Schwarz and Spike Lee (not that Spike Lee) write in their paper:  “… exposure to fishy smells is sufficient…

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The Psychology of Finding What You’re Looking for

By many measures, the world of today is a lot better than that of even 100 years ago. Literacy, life expectancy, and number of people above the poverty line have all increased dramatically. That’s not to say there aren’t many more problems to solve, and that we don’t have further uphill to climb in already improving…

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The Nourishing Relationship Between Nature and Your Brain

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau spent over two years in…

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What Makes the Human Brain So Special?

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a Brazilian neuroscientist and author of The Human Advantage, takes us into the evolution of our cognitive abilities. She starts by debunking a common myth: that larger brains are smarter brains. “If all brains were made the same way and you were to compare animals with brains of different sizes, larger brains should…

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