Psychology Today

I am a contributing editor at Scientific American and write the Brain Waves blog for Psychology Today (you can find those posts here). My work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Vogue and many other publications. Earlier in my career, I was on staff at Newsweek, and People, among other places and I’ve included a few of my old favorites from those days.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

New research reveals how pronouns help us cope with negative experiences.

You is one of the most common words in the English language. Turns out you might be using it in ways you didn’t appreciate. Grammatically, you is a second-person pronoun used to refer to someone who is not, well, you. Psychologists who study this call it “the verbal equivalent of pointing to one’s audience.” But you is…

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The Three Basics of Friendship

Want to know who your real friends are? Look for these three essential things.

Friendship may sometimes feel complicated, but it turns out that recognizing your true friends can be surprisingly simple. There are some fundamental elements that every close bond — including those with family and romantic partners — shares: To call someone a friend, the relationship must be long-lasting, it must be…

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So You Think You Can Dance?

A new study reveals the moves that make for good dancing.

Dance like no one is watching—or so they say. But people often are watching. Truth be told, they’re judging your moves. A study published last week in Scientific Reports used video of a variety of dancing women to pinpoint how observers distinguish good dancers from bad. If you care about such things, there’s one…

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Pregnancy Changes the Brain for the Better

New research shows long-lasting changes that bond mothers to babies.

Pregnancy doesn’t just leave stretch marks. It changes a woman’s brain in ways that are “pronounced and long-lasting” and that appear to help new mothers bond with their babies. Those are the striking conclusions from a study published this month in Nature Neuroscience that the authors say is the first evidence of…

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Growing Up and Gazing Down at Mom

Thoughts on the moment when your kids are taller than you are.

My youngest son grew up the other day. He is now officially taller than I am. I knew this was coming. If you are a mother of boys, it’s a near certainty that you will one day be the shortest in the family. My older two sons are now nearly…

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The Slippery Slope of Dishonesty

A new study proves that once you start lying, your brain stops noticing.

If you say you have never lied, you are almost certainly lying. Only little lies, you say? Well, it’s long been thought that’s where the seeds of dishonesty are usually sown. Even convicted swindler Bernie Madoff thought so. According to his secretary, he said: “Well, you know what happens, it starts…

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