Work harder by remembering you don’t have to work

What things will you do this week, not because you particularly want to, but because you feel you have to? For many people, this probably includes everything work related, from waking up early in the morning, to gritting teeth through a rush hour commute, to trying to stay awake through a particularly torturous meeting. Whatever…

Mornings are only moral for morning people

This is Part II of a series of three blog entries, based on a series of three articles in which two teams of researchers go back and forth on what they think is the influence of time on day on our decisions. Part I was posted last Thursday, and Part III will be posted this…

Do we really prefer shocks to thoughts?

If you found yourself left in a bland room for 15 minutes, with instructions to remain in a chair and just think, and the only alternative to just sitting and thinking was to deliver a mild electric shock to your ankle…would you shock yourself? Does the thought of being alone with your thoughts for just 15 minutes…

Everyday sadism and squashing bugs revisited

The karmic retribution for my recent exploration of whether willingness to kill bugs reflects “everyday sadism” is, apparently, a near-midnight discovery of the largest cockroach i have ever seen, running laps around my living room ceiling, and quite willing to remind me that, oh yeah, cockroaches can fly. As I texted my sister (note to self:…

Not quite ready to call squishing bugs “sadism”

I admit, I have sometimes wondered what leads people into the career euphemistically we might euphemistically call “pest control” or more realistically declare “extermination”. I have been greatly relieved that people have chosen such career paths and are so available to handle wasp nests in my attic, and unable to fathom why anyone would opt to spend…

One Meditation Session to Let the Past Go

Here’s a conundrum I’ve encountered on quite a few trips to nice restaurants: I anticipate a delicious meal, followed by some wonderful chocolate-and-ice-cream concoction I could never possibly make at home. The meal is in fact delicious, so much so that I eat quite a bit of it. My dessert arrives, and is also delicious…but…

At the Speed of the Unconscious Mind

This is the week when I get to introduce a new batch of students to the idea that our unconscious minds can make better decisions than our conscious ones (if you’re not an expert, anyway). Which may be even more important to know, given some new evidence about just how quickly our unconscious minds can…

Too much chocolate: Why we gather more than we need

Every week or so I encounter the story of another person who has “escaped the rat race”, or stepped outside the cultural expectations of McMansion, sports car, and other conspicuous consumption. The latest is Mr. Money Moustache, who has made headlines for retiring at 30, from an everyday kind of job. These pioneers often have…