What can neuroscience tell us about novels, poems, and plays? Can fiction help us develop real-world cognitive skills? And can writers exploit our mental weaknesses—for our own good? These are some of the questions we'll be asking on this week’s show, “Your Brain on Literature.”
What’s the latest scientific insight about unconscious beliefs, desires, and motivations? Do contemporary experimental psychologists do any better than Freud? Could anyone do worse? On this week’s show we’re asking: What has replaced Freud?
If you repeat something often enough, people are more likely to believe it. That's a phenomenon called the illusory truth effect. It can happen with smart people, and even when the statement is already known to be false. So why does repeating something make people more likely to believe it?
Continuing my series of puzzles to distract you from the current crisis, this month I'm asking: What is an identity? I mean the kind of identity that makes you a member of a certain social group (call these collective identities, social identities, or group identities), though that’s a rough characterization.
Most people seem think that knowing themselves is a good idea, or at least say that that’s what they think. “Know thyself,” is uttered reverently—as though it’s self-evidently a wonderful goal. I’m going to put self-knowledge on trial, and I’ll say up front that the case for the defence looks pretty thin.