Psychology

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 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

Firefighters walk towards one of the towers at the World Trade Center before it collapsed on September 11, 2001.

Innovation for Good

9/11 Changed How Doctors Treat PTSD

New research in the 20 years since the September 11th attacks has led to better therapies for those diagnosed with trauma disorders

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, won a third award in the behavioral and social sciences category of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her prototype of a video game feature to assess anxiety. In addition to her STEM research, Alqahtani is a poet and artist.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of 'Minecraft'

A man in Laruns, southwestern France, whistling as a form of speech. Like others in the Canary Islands and elsewhere, local people have learned to whistle their language to communicate across long distances. Linguists are studying whistled speech to help understand which sound elements are essential to comprehension.

More Than 80 Cultures Still Speak in Whistles

Dozens of traditional cultures use a whistled form of their native language for long-distance communication. You could, too.

In an event where a cheetah attacks an impala and the prey survives, the trauma can leave lasting effects on the survivor’s behavior that resemble post-traumatic stress disorder in people.

Do Wild Animals Get PTSD?

Many creatures show lasting changes in behavior and physiology after a traumatic experience

Some of the details between the film and its source material are, of course, different, but the themes at their respective hearts remain consistent.

'The Green Knight' Adopts a Medieval Approach to 'Modern' Problems

A new film starring Dev Patel as Gawain feels more like a psychological thriller than a period drama

In work and in personal life, virtual communication kept us in touch during Covid — but oh, those endless Zoom meets! There’s psychological and sensory science behind why they wear us down, and much promise to be realized once we iron out the wrinkles.

How the Pandemic Has Revealed the Promise and Perils of Life Lived Online

For good and for bad, Covid has propelled us even faster into immersive communication technologies

The researchers taught 26 volunteers to use mouth clicking to observe nearby objects and navigate outdoors.

New Research

People Can Learn Echolocation in Ten Weeks

Researchers taught 12 people who are blind and 14 people with sight to use clicks to navigate their environments

A young puppy responds to a human pointing to a treat during an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona.

New Research

Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans

A new study finds very young dogs with little human contact can understand pointing gestures—and that the ability has a strong genetic basis

This month's book picks include The Engagement, How the Word Is Passed and Drunk.

Books of the Month

The Fight to Legalize Gay Marriage, the Woman Who Couldn't Be Silenced and Other New Books to Read

These June releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

Bodies lose their vigor with the passing of the years, but emotional well-being tends to improve, studies find. Among the observations: Though older people may have fewer social contacts, those they retain bring more satisfaction and meaning.

Why Do Older Individuals Have Greater Control of Their Feelings?

Psychologist Susan Turk Charles talks about findings that reveal the elderly have higher emotional well-being

The impulse to check your phone after someone nearby checks theirs is an example of the chameleon effect, new research suggests.

New Research

Research Shows Checking Your Phone Is Contagious Like Yawning

The 'chameleon effect' helps people blend into a crowd

Some facets of the 1918 influenza pandemic echo today's crisis: There were mask mandates, campaigns against spitting and pleas for people to cover their mouths, and more than half a million Americans died. The decade that followed the pandemic, however, was marked by social change and economic prosperity—for some.

What Caused the Roaring Twenties? Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

As the U.S. anticipates a vaccinated summer, historians say measuring the impact of the 1918 influenza on the uproarious decade that followed is tricky

Many people think that liars will give themselves away through nervous mannerisms like shrugging, blinking or smiling. But the scientific evidence tells a different story.

Why You Can't Spot a Liar Just by Looking

Psychologists say you can't confirm deception by the way a person acts—but experts are zeroing in other methods that might actually work

What if literature was an invention for making us happier and healthier?

Eight of Literature's Most Powerful Inventions—and the Neuroscience Behind How They Work

These reoccuring story elements have proven effects on our imagination, our emotions and other parts of our psyche

A new study finds most conversations don't end when we want them to.

New Research

Most People Don't Know When to Stop Talking, According to Science

A new study finds folks are pretty bad at guessing whether to wrap up a chat or keep talking

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