Psychology

This year’s picks include Fresh Banana Leaves, Origin and Starry Messenger.

The Best Books of 2022

The Ten Best Science Books of 2022

From a detective story on the origins of Covid-19 to a narrative that imagines a fateful day for dinosaurs, these works affected us the most this year

Previous research has shown that dogs respond to pet-directed speech, but there's less research on cats' responses. 

Cats React to ‘Baby Talk’ From Their Owners, but Not Strangers

New research provides evidence cats see their person as “more than just a food provider”

A scary figure emerges in a doorway at Dystopia Haunted House.

Can Experiencing Horror Help Your Brain?

The "recreational fear" that arises from visiting haunted houses and watching scary movies may provide psychological benefits

The project started eight years ago, when artists Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott had no words to describe the anxiety they were experiencing over California’s drought.

Art Meets Science

How Two California Artists Can Help Personalize Your Eco-Grief

Alicia Escott and Heidi Quante founded the Bureau of Linguistical Reality to create words to help describe people's feelings about climate change

Scientists are beginning to understand when and why minds start to wander.

Why Do Our Minds Wander?

A scientist says mind-wandering or daydreaming help prepare us for the future

A night of tossing and turning might lead to more selfish behvaior the next day, a new study suggests. 

Sleep Deprivation Could Make People More Selfish, Study Finds

Researchers measured charitable donations, looked at brain scans and conducted questionnaires to track changes in generosity

Patients who are struggling with everything from ADHD to eating disorders have turned to art therapy for help.

The Future of Mental Health

How Making Art Helps Improve Mental Health

With depression and anxiety on the rise during the pandemic, more professionals may adopt art therapy as a treatment

Scientists asked participants to record their emotions and hunger levels five times a day for three weeks.

Getting 'Hangry' Is Real, Science Suggests

A new study explores the link between hunger and anger in the real world—and finds a connection

More than 10,000 mental health apps are available, according to one estimate. In order to pick the most reliable ones, researchers say you should consider their privacy policies, effectiveness, and costs.

The Future of Mental Health

Can a Mental Health App Help You Deal With Anxiety?

Experts say the aids can be a first step to meaningful treatment if you choose an app based on three criteria

Later this summer, people will be able to call, text or online chat the number 988 to connect with mental health counselors.

The Future of Mental Health

Beginning in Mid-July, Dial 988 for the Mental Health Hotline

The three-digit code will be like 911, but for mental health emergencies only

Li Shiu Tong and Magnus Hirschfeld at the 1932 conference for the World League for Sexual Reform

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Gay Asian Activist Whose Theories on Sexuality Were Decades Ahead of Their Time

In the 1930s, Li Shiu Tong's boyfriend, Magnus Hirschfeld, was a prominent defender of gay people. But Li's own research has long been overlooked

As of 2019, doctors can prescribe an FDA approved ketamine-based antidepressant for treatment-resistant depression.

The Past, Present and Future of Using Ketamine to Treat Depression

The drug's initial successes have upended what many neuroscientists know about the brain and mental illness

School children protest climate change outside the Scottish Parliament in 2019 as part of a worldwide demonstration.

The Future of Mental Health

Your Crushing Anxiety About the Climate Crisis Is Normal

A Stanford researcher shares what she’s learned about the ways climate change affects mental health and offers practical advice

Many Americans struggle with risk assessment when making decisions during the pandemic.

The Future of Mental Health

Why It’s So Hard to Make Risk Decisions in the Pandemic

Our brains weren’t built to do public health calculus like this, but following a few pieces of advice from the experts will help as you weigh your options

The results of the analysis—that society’s concept of “person” prioritizes men over women—suggests a “fundamental bias in our species’ collective view of itself,” write the researchers in the paper.

Gender-Neutral Words Like 'People' and 'Person' Are Perceived as Male, Study Suggests

Researchers found that society's concept of "person" and similar terms prioritizes men over women

Runners in Hawaii exercise at sunset. Exercise has profound effects on brain structure and provides more subtle mental health benefits as well.

The Future of Mental Health

How Exercise Boosts the Brain and Improves Mental Health

New research is revealing how physical activity can reduce and even ward off depression, anxiety and other psychological ailments

This image shows the Wordle instruction page.

Why the Online Game Wordle Went Viral, According to Psychology

Users are sharing their game grids, which show how they played without spoiling the answer for others

Eating disorders affect hundreds of millions around the world and are dominated by negative thoughts and behaviors around food, eating, weight and body shape. Current research reveals the best evidence-based psychological therapies and some new avenues for treatments.

The Future of Mental Health

The Search for a Better Treatment for Eating Disorders

Cognitive behavioral therapy is working well for some, but scientists are seeking new innovations to help people with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating

Dozens of Smithsonian Institution professionals share their favorite reads from this year.

The Best Books of 2021

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2021

The writings of many fine authors support the research and ambitious undertakings of an Institution rising to the challenges ahead

With the Phobys app, people with arachnophobia can overcome their fears by viewing a virtual spider. 

New Research

Got Arachnophobia? There's an App for That

Smartphone app helps fearful individuals overcome phobia of spiders

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