We make many decisions every day, from choosing whether to buy skim or whole milk, to deciding which way to turn at an intersection. How confident you feel about your choices will influence your behavior.
New research shows that the mere presence of a first class cabin on an airplane—plus the added experience of having to shuffle through this cabin while boarding—contributes to “air rage,” both among economy and first class passengers.
The Food and Drug Administration wants to ban electrical stimulation devices used to treat behavioral problems, saying they pose an “unreasonable and substantial” risk to public health. Uh, you think?
A new government reports shows that suicide rates in the U.S. have soared since 1999, with the most dramatic increases occurring among young white females and Native Americans. So why are Americans suddenly killing themselves in droves? It’s a major public health issue with no easy explanations.
Indiana Jones proved just how useful a good bullwhip can be, both as a tool and as a weapon, but people are still surprised when neuropsychologist Jessica Cail tells them that one of her favorite hobbies is practicing whip-cracking. She talks about this peculiar sideline in the latest installment of the NOVA video…
They may just be plastic, metal and wires, but robots can elicit... physical responses in humans. That’s according to a new study by researchers who analyzed what happened to volunteers when they touched automatons in areas that would be thought of as intimate on an actual human being.
Dealing with people who exhibit passive-aggressive behavior is easily one of the most challenging aspects of our social lives. Here’s what you need to know about this annoying personality quirk and how you can handle people who express their hostility in indirect and backhanded ways.
There’s no better way to settle an argument than a round of rock-paper-scissors. But while you might think you have fool-proof set of tactics, a new study reveals why many of us suck so hard at the game.
In 2012, Instagram started moderating certain terms used by pro-anorexia groups, making it one of the more tightly moderated social media platforms. A group of Georgia Tech researchers decided to study if banning such words helped the communities using them. Instead, they found that it may make matters worse.
Scientists deprived a group of study participants of different amounts of sleep. Some got a full night’s sleep, others got their hours of sleep cut down, and some got no sleep whatsoever. After a while, the slightly-deprived people were as bad off as the people who had gotten no sleep. The difference was, they didn’t…
Everyone reading this has stared at a targeted ad wondering why anyone thought it applied to them. A new study shows that making people guess why a targeted ad applies to them, and feel flattered by it, gets them to open their wallets—and just maybe become a better person.
Remember last November when Canadian scientists published a study using the tweets of Deepak Chopra to demonstrate how some people can interpret utter bullshit as deeply profound observations? It’s now sparked a counter-argument and a sharp rejoinder—two respectable scientists arguing about the meaning (or lack…
Human beings will put too much trust in robots even when those machines are broken or make obvious mistakes. All we need to do is slap the words “emergency” on the robot’s side to make people surrender their logic.
A new study in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication takes a look at how the physical activity of a player changes depending on whether or not the game they’re playing uses a normal or obese avatar. There’s one problem. Neither of the avatars look obese. We spoke to one the scientists involved to see what…
Let’s face it, we’ve all been wondering why so many rich, successful, powerful people are cheating, lying, disgraces. Is it that only unethical people make it to the top? At least one study indicates that this is not the case—it’s that winning itself makes people behave unethically.
While investigating non-English words associated with positive emotions and concepts, a British researcher recently discovered 216 foreign words for which there is no English translation.
I hate being tailgated. Once, I surprised the hell out of myself when I initiated an exceptionally dangerous game of tit-for-tat with an offending tailgater that involved high speeds and some rather dangerous cutting-off maneuvers. After a few minutes, I snapped out of it and let the driver go. But the incident…
There’s no time like the present to grow or refine ourselves a little bit more, and few resources are as helpful as TED talks. In that vein, here are the top 10 TED talks we’ve featured on Lifehacker or that have been popular on TED.
Can you train a kid to hate sugar? Karl Duncker was a psychologist prowling around Britain in the 1930s. He was a master researcher on peer pressure who offered London children fictional “hemlock” to see if he could sway them to avoid sugar.
Over the past several years, a number of surveys have come out extolling the benefit of experiential goods versus material goods. But those studies may have missed something crucial, according to a new study by Canadian psychologists.