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How Secrets Make Us Sick

Are you familiar with the 2005 film “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”? It’s a fantastic romantic action comedy about two married assassins who work for competing firms. The punch line here is that each of them believes their spouse to be a regular civilian — that is, until their companies team up and try to have them kill each other. […]

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Clarifying Creative Cognition

Creativity is an aspect of personality that is characterized by novel and appropriate ideas and processes. Linda Neiman, founder of Creativity at Work, a consulting, coaching and training alliance, relates that creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality and involves thinking and producing. “If you have ideas and don’t act on them,” says Neiman, “then you are imaginative but not creative.” […]

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Why Fear Sells: The Business of Panic & Paranoia

In 1957 a journalist named Vance Packard wrote “The Hidden Persuaders,” a book that pulled back the curtain on all the psychological tricks and tactics companies and their marketers and advertisers were using to manipulate people’s minds and persuade them to buy. It was shocking. It was groundbreaking. It was controversial. And it’s nothing compared […]

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The Neuroscience of Jokes

“A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes have rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator” […]

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Until Inspiration Comes Along: Five Habits of Creative People

You may still be a writer in search of an agent, or an artist in search of a patron, but you’re determined to get that first creative endeavor finished some time this year and show the world what you’ve got. Here are just a few habits that creative people — many of them well known — practice daily. Feel free to make them your own, and pretty soon you’ll be creating your masterwork. […]

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Music, Rhythm, and the Brain

Music is part of our life. Music has had deep roots in human culture throughout history. Listening to, enjoying or playing music sometimes gives us pleasure, sadness, comfort and even touches us deeply, causing life-changing experiences. Why does music have such a powerful affect on our brain? […]

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At A Loss for Words: Writer’s Block and the Brain

He’d lost his magic. The impulse was spent. His talent was dead.” So opens “The Humbling,” one of the last novels by celebrated author Philip Roth. Although it tells the story of a washed up stage actor at the end of his career, these three short sentences sum up what every writer dreads the most — losing whatever it is that drives them to write every day, finding themselves unable to do the very thing that keeps them relevant. […]

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Finding the Spark: Five Myths About Creativity

Our brains have the power to find a path where none is visible, and to make new paths where none have been set. But we tend to be confined to the personality we have experienced, to the self we know, and find it difficult to move beyond it. This limits our own creativity. It is when we go beyond what we know and what we have experienced […]

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Your Brain on Jazz

Listening to the velvet nuances of jazz may be a musical dessert for the ears, but it can also help reduce anxiety and improve one’s focus. Asked why jazz could have such an effect, Dr. Mark Jude Tramo, a professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, says that, “jazz stretches […]