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The Mind

Collective behavior: How animals work together

Studies of birds, fish and ants reveal the hidden ways groups coordinate movement, which might influence engineers designing drone armadas and efficient information flow

Speaking of pandemics: The art and science of risk communication

Public health messages should be loud and clear, so that everyone listens and stays safe. But that’s easier said than done — especially with a case as complex as Covid-19.

How we make decisions during a pandemic

From mask wearing to physical distancing, individuals wield a lot of power in how the coronavirus outbreak plays out. Behavioral experts reveal what might be prompting people to act — or not.

Keys to coping with lockdown

Studies on astronauts and Antarctic crews reveal how extreme confinement affects small groups. Scientists are racing to figure out isolation’s impact on the rest of us.

Under-diagnosed and under-treated, girls with ADHD face distinct risks

It took a long time to figure out how attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder presents in girls and women and the problems it can create. A pioneering study helped change that, but the condition is still often missed.

Psychotherapy on the couch

Studies show talk therapy works, but experts disagree about how it does so. Finding the answer could help professionals and patients.

Out of the mouth of babes

Learning a language is child’s play, but linguists are still trying to understand how children do it so easily

Treating the growing trauma of family separation

War, disasters, trafficking and immigration are tearing millions of children from their parents all around the world. A psychologist explores how to help them recover.

Living with chronic illness: Why some cope and others don’t

What helps some people diagnosed with cancer, heart disease or diabetes stay relatively happy and healthy, while others are devastated? Psychologist Vicki Helgeson explains the traits and mindsets that can make the difference.

Why scientists need to be better at data visualization

The scientific literature is riddled with bad charts and graphs, leading to misunderstanding and worse. Avoiding design missteps can improve understanding of research.  

Revenge is bittersweet at best

Research is starting to reveal how the urge for vengeance may have evolved, when it can be useful and what could prevent the violence it can provoke

What electronic games can teach us

Digital play can enhance certain types of learning, but how to harness that potential for the classroom remains a prize question

How maternal mood shapes the developing brain

Stress and anxiety during pregnancy can mean a higher risk of offspring developing ADHD, depression or other conditions. Medical psychologist Catherine Monk explains how prenatal mental care benefits mothers and babies.

Total recall: A brilliant memory helps chickadees survive

In winter, the birds must remember where they’ve hidden tens of thousands of seeds. Biologist Vladimir Pravosudov explains what this can teach us about how the brain evolves.

The brain, the criminal and the courts

States of mind that the legal system cares about — memory, responsibility and mental maturity — have long been difficult to describe objectively, but neuroscientists are starting to detect patterns. Coming soon to a courtroom near you?

Sex strategies of the evolutionary kind

For women, a short-term fling may involve a quest for good genes or just a good time. It’s a puzzle for the researchers looking at how people choose mates.

Always look on the bright side of life

How a positive outlook may buffer us from stress and ward off health problems 

Short-circuiting the suicide cascade

Psychologists are seeking better ways to cut the link between dire thoughts and fatal action. Among their strategies: individualized plans for pulling back from the brink, and limiting access to deadly means, especially guns.