Kelly McGonigal's Blog

December 30, 2013

Can you imagine an event in 2014 that will be important, meaningful, and shape who you are? The ability to generate such self-defining future memories is important for experiencing a sense of self-continuity -- exactly what scientists have found helps us to be, and become, the best versions of ourselves.

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Published on December 30, 2013 19:37 • 99 views

February 23, 2013

A fun 3-min video tackles the neuroscience of breaking bad habits and finding your motivation.

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Published on February 23, 2013 15:01 • 227 views

Years before I went to graduate school, when my son was still young enough to sit in the front of the grocery cart, I learned a powerful lesson about the persuasive nature of media. We were in the cracker aisle when my normally calm toddler began begging for a box of Ritz party crackers. As an organic shopper, these weren’t on my list, but somehow my son seemed to have intimate knowledge of their salty deliciousness. I struggled for a few moments before agreeing to his youthful demands. After all, what harm could a few Ritz crackers do?

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Published on February 23, 2013 06:44 • 94 views

“I can’t believe that I’m trying to start dating again at the age of fifty-three.  My niece signed me up for an online dating service, but I don’t have the stomach for this.”

“This time around I’m going to be picky. I want someone who understands me.”

“I just want a friend.”

“I just want a sexual partner.”

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Published on February 23, 2013 06:03 • 76 views

So-called “helicopter parents” are roundly criticized by everyone from teachers to media experts for smothering them with too much loving. If you want to “land your kids in therapy,” according to psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb writing in Atlantic Magazine, then by all means give them everything under the sun.  If you want them to become productive members of society with reasonably normal lives, then keep the hugs and kisses to a minimum and even deny them things once in a while.  “Well-meaning parents can ruin their children,” so the claim goes.

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Published on February 23, 2013 05:39 • 66 views

Sobbing, Carly can’t believe it. That he could have done such a thing. This boy she loved, this boy she trusted. Or thought she loved and thought she trusted. “He’s ruined everything! Betrayed everything! Everything we had! Gone, just like that!”

Her boyfriend has admitted to sleeping with another girl at the weekend.

“I can’t believe he’s done it! He promised that he’d never do anything like this! He promised!”

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Published on February 23, 2013 04:40 • 53 views

Watching politics is an occupational hazard when you’re a political science professor. And I must admit that after all my years of running campaigns as a campaign consultant and then studying politics from the academic perspective, watching politics makes my head hurt sometimes.

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Published on February 23, 2013 03:56 • 58 views

Research by Elizabeth Loftus over thirty years established that eye-witnesses’ recall of incidents could be influenced by the language of their interrogation: for example, using words like “smash” in relation to a car accident instead of “bump” or “hit” causes witnesses to report higher speeds and more serious damage. But more recent research has revealed that this so-called misinformation effect is not found if a robot does the questioning. 

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Published on February 23, 2013 02:01 • 50 views

February 22, 2013

 

It's hard to tell when I first realized my wife and I were an old, crippled couple. No, it isn't. We have stopped "going out." Not on dates, but to events, luncheons, for anything other than the physically necessary, ironically enough. And the reason we have stopped could not be more straightforward. We do not sleep well. By that, I mean that we suck at sleep.

 

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Published on February 22, 2013 23:07 • 64 views

As we hurtle ever faster into the great unknown - our future – we look back and realize how rapidly we’ve moved from roughly 1000 years of the Agricultural Age, through about 200 years of the Industrial Age, and now we have popped out of the 40-year old Information Age. The speed at which this acceleration has happened in turn has allowed us to accomplish many things simultaneously. Two of them are: Create a population explosion, and become addicted to all things virtual and visual.

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Published on February 22, 2013 21:51 • 51 views