The Psychology of Chocolate

Judging by my nephew’s sugar-coated face and chocolate-covered hands this weekend, Valentine’s Day is quickly catching up with Halloween as a candy-focused holiday for the young (for the older and frugal of us, the days after the holiday are the best time to indulge). To mark the celebration, let’s look back at the chocolate and sugar themed…

Positive emotions may reduce racist perception

As tempting as it can be to dismiss the fanciful sounding ideas of “the power of a positive attitude”, every now and then a scientific study will show that positive emotions reach into unexpected corners of our brains to tweak our thoughts and actions in small yet significant ways. As one example, simply being joyful or…

Reading a horse’s mind and brain

I cannot say that I have ever given horse brains much thought. Monkey brains, rat brains, even sea slug brains have played a much greater role in our understanding of modern neuroscience. Horses do make at least one appearance in psychology, in the form of the cautionary tale of Clever Hans, who demonstrated that horses are at the very…

Pass the Salt, Neurons

Sometimes, I am baffled by how my mind works – how some thought springs to life in a burst of creativity back in the non-conscious reaches of my brain. Today is not one of those days. At least, not entirely. I owe my chemistry teachers of a decade ago, and the FDA nutrition labeling guidelines,…