Humans Are Bad at Predicting Futures That Don’t Benefit Them Between 1956 and 1962, the University of Cape Town psychologist Kurt Danziger asked 436 South African high-school and college students to imagine they were future historians. Write an essay predicting … Continue reading Unrealistic optimism
We’re surprisingly unaware of when our own beliefs change If you read an article about a controversial issue, do you think you’d realise if it had changed your beliefs? No one knows your own mind like you do – it … Continue reading Are your beliefs inconsistent?
How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media Hours after the Las Vegas massacre, Travis McKinney’s Facebook feed was hit with a scattershot of conspiracy theories. The police were lying. There were multiple shooters in the hotel, not just one. The … Continue reading Cultural hacks
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted … Continue reading Looking at screens
Believing widely doubted conspiracy theories satisfies some people’s need to feel special Unrelenting faith in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence is a trait of believers in conspiracy theories that has long confounded researchers. For instance, past research has demonstrated … Continue reading The psychology of conspiracy belief
Rationalizing the “Irrational” Economists are famous for attempting to rationalize seemingly irrational behavior. One of the more extraordinary is Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy’s theory of rational addiction, in which they hypothesized that addicts plan their consumption of addictive goods. … Continue reading Misunderstanding irrationality
Artisanal Tacos on Paper Plates In June, the venerable Katz’s Delicatessen, one of America’s oldest restaurants, opened its first satellite in 119 years. For the location, the proprietors chose the windowless basement of a shopping mall in Brooklyn, across from … Continue reading The rise of food halls