Environmental Psychology: How Your Surroundings Shape Your Mind

Look up from your screen for a second. Where are you right now? Do you feel comfortable, curious, a bit cramped? Notice how the environment around you affects your experience. Humans constantly change their environment, and in turn, the environment changes our behaviors. Environmental psychology focuses on the interplay between people and their surroundings: how … Read More

Groupthink: when collective decisions go wrong

Despite the best intentions, a group of people make unwise decisions because of a collective desire to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions. In striving for conformity, there can be a loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. This phenomenon is called “groupthink”. Here is a personal example. When arranging to meet up … Read More

How to overwrite your cognitive scripts

Although we think we are fully aware and in control of our everyday decisions, we actually often follow a series of cognitive scripts. These cognitive scripts often develop in childhood and are personal to you. However, as they are commonly based on a sequence of events that we expect to occur in given situations, many … Read More

Present bias: how instant gratification impacts your long-term goals

How many times have you heard the phrases “live for the moment”, “you only live once”, or “seize the day”? This advice may sound great for adding some spontaneity to your life, but seizing short-term opportunities can lead you to settle for a small present reward rather than wait for a larger future reward. This … Read More

The psychology of unfinished tasks

Unfinished tasks can feel overwhelming, leading to procrastination and slowing your progress. On the other hand, the annoyance of having all of these unfinished tasks on your to-do list may motivate you to tackle them at the next opportunity. These contradictory experiences are due to two effects: the Zeigarnik effect and the Ovsiankina effect. A … Read More

How developing mental immunity can protect us from bad ideas

Every day, a new video goes “viral”, and an “infectious” idea starts spreading. Mental immunity is a psychological theory that is also known as cognitive immunology. With origins dating back 70 years, this field of research is based on the premise that not only is there an immune system for the body, but an immune … Read More

The psychology of regret: how inaction affects our sense of self

We all have experienced regret, perhaps after making a hurtful comment or acting in a way that later turns out to be harmful. Regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment at something that you have done, or failed to do. Psychologists Shai Davidai and Tom Gilovich have investigated the psychology of regret, illuminating a … Read More

Emotional agility: how to build resilience in times of crisis

“Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility.” This quote by Dr Susan David perfectly encapsulates the importance of emotional agility. We love and we lose, we are healthy and ill, we complain about someone, then we miss them when they’re gone. The complex interplay between beauty and fragility is at the core of life. Dr … Read More