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In the Journals

Are We Too Optimistic About Optimism?

Woman celebrating by raising her arms up and looking upwards

By Elizabeth R. Tenney, Jennifer M. Logg, and Don A. Moore

Volkswagen of Moral Psychology

Image of Volkswagen engine bay

By Jonathan Haidt, Jesse Graham, and Peter Ditto

One of us bought a Volkswagen Turbo Diesel Sportwagen on August 24. The car seemed too good to be true, offering three features that are usually incompatible: great performance, great gas mileage, and low tailpipe emissions. A few weeks later, he learned that the impressive specs described to him in the showroom were not correct. Volkswagen diesel engines change their behavior radically when they undergo emissions testing.

Judging Political Hearts and Minds

Image of silhouettes of people protesting

By: James Cornwell

The Attractiveness of Confidence

Image of a couple leaning away from each other but holding onto each others arms to keep standing

By: Sean Murphy

Some of the most common advice given to singles looking to attract a partner is to ‘just be confident.’ Folk wisdom suggests that confidence is highly attractive to potential partners, and research has confirmed that men and women rate confidence as a very attractive trait in a potential partner (Buunk, Dijkstra, Fetchenhauer, & Kenrick, 2002).

Reducing temptations by setting better goals

Image of healthy food on green grass, separated by a road, and junk food on top of a broken ground texture

By: Marina Milyavskaya

Everyone has goals that they strive towards. Whether it is to spend more time with family or eat less junk food, goals are ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives. However, despite the prevalence of goals, failures in self-regulation abound. You need only to look at the current epidemic of obesity and the parallel financial success of the diet industry to know that while many people have goals associated with weight loss and are sinking money into pursuing them, most are failing at these goals.

Being Able to Search the Internet Inflates How Much We Think We Know

Image of a computer keyboard with a green search button

By: Matthew Fisher

Why is the sky blue? Why do we yawn? How is glass made?

Beliefs about innate talent may dissuade students from STEM

Three young children solving multiplication problems on a chalkboard

By: David Miller 

This post originally appeared on The Conversation on June 9, 2015. It is reposted with permission.

“It’s OK – not everyone can do difficult math.”

How Fairness Leads to Waste (and One Way to Prevent It)

Image of woman holding blindfold over her eyes

By: Shoham Choshen-Hillel, Alex Shaw, and Eugene M. Caruso