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How Your Brain Decides Without You

An increasingly well-supported working hypothesis called predictive coding is when perceptions are driven by your own brain and corrected by input from the world. There is simply too much sensory input to take in, so the brain has to find other ways to work, which means it constantly predicts. When the sensory information that comes in does not match your prediction, you either change your prediction—or you change the sensory information that you receive. We see what we want to see.

  • November 14, 2016

We’ve Got Human Intelligence All Wrong

The human brain has nearly 100,000 times as many neurons as the bee brain, yet the rudiments of many of our most valued behaviours can be seen in the teeming activity of the hive. So what’s the point of all that grey matter we hold in our skulls? And how does it set us apart from other animals? Does size matter?

An Ivy League Professor Says There Are Only Three Types of Friendships We Make

Friendship isn’t always as serendipitous as it might feel; according to new research, there are just three ways people typically structure their social lives. When striking up new connections, people are either “tight-knitters,” “compartmentalizers,” or “samplers,” according to Dartmouth sociology professor Janice McCabe. Which one are you?

The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

Tech companies use the insights of behavior design to keep us returning to their products. But some of the psychologists who developed the science of persuasion are worried about how it is being used. The more influence that tech products exert over our behavior, the less control we have over ourselves. Trick or tech.

How Airbnb Uses Data Science to Improve Their Product and Marketing

Having grown quickly from a niche site providing accommodations for high profile events, Airbnb turned the hospitality and travel industry on its head and generated a great deal of press and brand recognition in the process. Since its humble beginnings, Airbnb has made no secret of its heavy use of data science to build new product offerings, improve its service and capitalize on new marketing initiatives. Here’s how they do it – and what you can learn from them.  I dream of data.

It Doesn't Matter When You Eat

There are so many myths and strangely specific rules about when to eat to lose weight, but alone they do nothing to help. Eat a hearty breakfast and light all day. Eat small meals every few hours. Rules around when you eat are less important than you think, and even when they do help, they’re not for the reasons you think. Eat this up.

Do Men and Women Really Have Different Personalities?

While our physical differences in size and anatomy are obvious, the question of psychological differences between the genders is a lot more complicated and controversial. There are issues around how to reliably measure the differences. And when psychologists find them, there are usually arguments over whether the causes are innate and biological, or social and cultural. Are men and women born different or does society shape them that way? As they say, men are from Mars.

People Are Losing it Because NASA Kind of Changed Our Zodiac Signs

Do you have that cute little zodiac tattoo on your ankle? Did you begin your morning by reading that this is the year to come out of your shell and be assertive to find love and professional success? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, we have some bad news for you. NASA has informed us that there are actually 13 constellations in the Zodiac — not 12.  I've been living a lie.

  • September 20, 2016

Why Are Babies So Dumb If Humans Are So Smart?

As a species, humans are incredibly smart. We tell stories, create magnificent art and astounding technology, build cities, and explore space. But our intelligence comes with a curious caveat: our babies are among the dumbest that exist. A baby giraffe can stand within an hour of birth. A human infant can’t even hold up its own head. Humans are born quite helpless, but, fairly early on, we start becoming quite smart, again far more so than any other primate. What if this weren’t a contradiction so much as a causal pathway? I'm only human.

  • September 8, 2016

Truth, Lies and Stereotypes: When Scientists Ignore Evidence

There are good reasons for the bad reputation of stereotypes: disproportionate media representations of African-Americans as criminals, women as fit for nothing but child-rearing and homemaking. Such characterizations are inaccurate, immoral and repulsive, to say the least. But as biased and destructive as these images may be, many stereotypes turn out to hold kernels of truth. Which raises the question: what do people actually believe about groups, and are those beliefs inaccurate? You think, therefore I am.

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