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Guy in the Sky


What It’s Like to Spend a Few Hours in the Church of Scientology

Wrestling with thetans, attempting to unlock a memory bank, and a personality test seemingly aimed at people with depression. This is Scientology’s “dissemination drill” for potential new members.

X and Y


Gendering #BlackLivesMatter: A Feminist Perspective

Black men are stereotyped as violent, while black women are rendered invisible. Here’s why the gendering of black lives matters.



Should Movies Be Rated RD for Reckless Driving?

A new study finds a link between watching films featuring reckless driving and engaging in similar behavior years later.

Sociological Images


Gender Segregation of Toys Is on the Rise

Charting the use of “toys for boys” and “toys for girls” in American English.

But It's Just a Game


Why the College Football Playoff Is Terrible But Better Than Before

The sample size is still embarrassingly small, but at least there’s less room for the availability cascade.

In the Classroom


A Public Lynching in Sproul Plaza

When photographs of lynching victims showed up on a hallowed site of democracy in action, a provocation was issued—but to whom, by whom, and why?



Murder! Mayhem! And That’s Just the Cartoons!

New research suggests deaths are common features of animated features aimed at children.

Their Money


What Is the Point of Academic Books?

Ultimately, they’re meant to disseminate knowledge. But their narrow appeal makes them expensive to produce and harder to sell.

Over the Speakers


If You Get Confused Just Listen to the Music Play

Healing the brain with the Grateful Dead.

Quick Studies


The Hidden Psychology of the Home Ref

That old myth of home field bias isn’t a myth at all; it’s a statistical fact.

After Ebola Comes Hunger


We Are Not Darren Wilson

But the view from Africa kind of makes it look like we are.

Guy in the Sky


Cracking the Code of James Hampton’s Private Language

For years, scholars have been searching for meaning in the artist’s preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Perhaps the real purpose of the shrine lies not in his cryptic notes, but in our own sense of astonishment.

We Read It


The Neuroscience of Altruism

In The Altruistic Brain, neurobiologist Donald Pfaff makes the case that humans are hard-wired for good. But, Noah Berlatsky argues, that good is frequently defined and distorted by culture.

We Read It


The Rise of the Literary Espionage Novel

In the surveillance-ridden contemporary world, the traditional domestic plot has become a bit less exciting. So espionage has crept in.

Guy in the Sky


Prodigal King of the Serpents

The cautionary parable of a snake-handling preacher.

After Ebola Comes Hunger


White Saviors and Voluntourists in the Ebola Era

In the fight against Ebola, foreign intervention comes with some cultural baggage. Is there a way to work within the system while avoiding clichés?

Sociological Images


Theories of the First Topsy-Turvy Doll

The general consensus seems to be that these dolls were primarily for enslaved children, but the purpose of the dolls isn’t clearly understood.

The Slightly Smaller Screen


‘Mad Men’ and the Scheduled DVR Binge

Cable channels are capitalizing on the benefits of scheduling good TV when nobody’s watching.

In the Classroom


The Criminalization of Students

In her new book, Marsha Weissman gets insights on the school-to-prison pipeline from the students themselves.

Over the Speakers


The Fault in Our Rock Stars

Rock stardom isn’t compatible with satisfaction; it is, in essence, satisfaction’s very antithesis. To be a rock star is to revel in need, because it is the ongoing and relentless need of the audience that calls them into being.



War Can Both Inspire and Inhibit Artistic Creativity

New research suggests its impact on artists depends in large part on the type of war it is.

Sociological Images


U.S. Schools Are Teaching Our Children That Native Americans Are History

Professor Sarah Shear examined the academic standards for elementary and secondary school education in all 50 states.

The World Wide Web


The Rise of the Viral Subway Fight Video

Subway cars happen to be an ideal setting for capturing footage of fights, but all of the popular clips don’t mean below-ground violence is actually rising.

Over the Speakers


Remaking the Beatles

An interview with Wayne Coyne about the Flaming Lips’ With a Little Help From My Fwends—and his band’s obsession with Miley Cyrus.



The Answer to Implicit Racism Might Be in Children’s Literature

Could diverse protagonists reduce racial anxiety?

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Apparently You Can Bring Your Religion to Work

New research says offices that encourage talk of religion actually make for happier workplaces.

Canadian Kids Have a Serious Smoking Problem

Bootleg cigarette sales could be leading Canadian teens to more serious drugs, a recent study finds.

The Hidden Psychology of the Home Ref

That old myth of home field bias isn’t a myth at all; it’s a statistical fact.

A Word of Caution to the Holiday Deal-Makers

Repeat customers—with higher return rates and real bargain-hunting prowess—can have negative effects on a company’s net earnings.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

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