Cognitive bottlenecks: the inherent limits of the thinking mind

The “thinking mind” is the part of the mind that seeks to make sense of the world; it analyses situations, imagines scenarios, evaluates solutions, and tells stories. It’s an inherent aspect of what makes us human. However, it’s limited by multiple cognitive bottlenecks. Why does it matter? Because these cognitive bottlenecks limit how much information …

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The dangers of apophenia: not everything happens for a reason

Humans love patterns. Sometimes that’s helpful, but other times… Not so much. Apophenia is the common tendency to detect patterns that do not exist. Also known as “patternicity”, apophenia occurs when we try to make predictions, or seek answers, based on unrelated events. Apophenia can lead to poor decision-making. For instance, many people choose their …

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Weak arguments and how to spot them

We consume an inordinate amount of information, whether it’s blog posts, podcasts, social media content, online videos — a constant stream of data and claims we need to process and assess. When you are pressed for time, how can you quickly tell the difference between a strong argument and a weak argument, and why does …

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The psychology of negative thinking

Of course, we all have negative thoughts from time to time. After all, our thought processes are affected by what we experience around us, and it’s normal to experience both good and bad times. However, when negative thinking becomes the norm, it can contribute to mental health problems including social anxiety, low self-esteem, and even …

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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 …

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Mae Jemison: the power of developing multifaceted skills

Mae Jemison is the first African American woman to orbit the earth. She knew that she wanted to be a scientist since kindergarten. Not only did she grow up reading books about space, but she also loved science fiction books where black women were the heroes of the story. At 16, Jemison graduated from high …

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Rosalind Franklin: the power of unbounded curiosity

Rosalind Franklin was a groundbreaking scientist whose story is tied to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. Franklin and her Ph.D. student used x-ray technology to photograph DNA that showed the molecule’s structure. However, when two other well-known scientists published a paper about the double-helix findings, they never gave Franklin credit for her …

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Vera Rubin: The power of evidence-based visual thinking

Vera Rubin was a powerhouse in astrophysics, though she rarely gets the credit she deserves. Rubin is responsible for discovering dark matter, which makes up 84% of the material that exists in the universe. Born in 1928, a young Vera became enthralled with space while staring at the stars outside her bedroom window. After receiving …

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Elizabeth Blackwell: the power of applied education

Born in 1821, Elizabeth Blackwell did not intend to become a physician. In her book Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, she shared that “the very thought of dwelling on the physical structure of the body and its various ailments filled me with disgust.” But the course of her life changed when …

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