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Does a Cold Courtroom Result in Murder Convictions?

The ambient temperature of a courtroom could change the way people perceive crimes—which, in turn, could affect sentencing.

The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30


The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The Big Digital Data Guy Who Wants to Learn From Our Online Behavior

For the month of April we’re profiling the individuals who made our inaugural list of the 30 top thinkers under 30, the young men and women we predict will have a serious impact on the social, political, and economic issues we cover every day here at Pacific Standard.

Our Best Friends


Can Animal-Assisted Therapy Be Used to Help At-Risk Boys?

If existing behavioral programs aren’t working, can therapeutic sessions with a dog help kids who have problems at school?

Quick Studies


Playing Make-Believe While Black

Are preschool teachers influenced in their evaluations of young children by race?

Culture Essays


Electric Schlock: Did Stanley Milgram’s Famous Obedience Experiments Prove Anything?

Stanley Milgram’s test subjects were not the only ones misled by his famous experiments on obedience.



What Are the Teens Up to Nowadays?

Do you have a “teen” study? It’s probably stupid.



Your Child’s Brain on Math

Why do some children benefit more from tutoring than others? And does one small education study have the ability to drastically change our behavior as parents?



We Aren’t the World

Joe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.


Numerology Doesn’t Know the Score

Various ways of assigning numbers to events, people, and actions is an ancient parlor game, but let’s not take it beyond that.



Women Eye Dance Moves to Find Thrill Seekers

How to spot thrill-seeking men on the dance floor, “sweet” personalities in public, and bidding fever on eBay.


Full Moon Myths Leave Skeptics Howling

Full moons appeal to our imaginations and contribute to our mythologies, but ascribing too much power to them appears to be a continuing form of lunacy.


How to Keep the Devil From Getting More Than His Due

Historians discover that the devil in the ancient texts is not nearly as frightening as the one who gives us the shakes in movies.


‘Do Not Litter’ Signs Can Be Counterproductive

When signs prohibiting certain behaviors are blatantly ignored, it inspires others to act in antisocial ways.


Reading Fiction Impacts Aggressive Behavior

Researchers report that reading literature depicting aggression can impact how those readers respond to provocation.


Boredom Can Fuel Hostility Toward Outsiders

New research explains how feelings of boredom can both strengthen solidarity within your in-group and heighten hostility toward outsiders.


Can Watching ‘Jackass’ Turn You Into One?

Did you see that movie about the moron? If so, it may have negatively impacted your own intelligence, according to new research from Austria.


Why Whites Avoid Movies With Black Actors

New research suggests white audiences tend to stay away from movies featuring minorities due to the assumption that they are not the films’ intended audience.


College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior

New research links the cost of community college tuition rates with drinking and drug use by teenagers.


Teddy Bears Soften Pain of Social Exclusion

New research from Singapore suggests touching a stuffed animal can counteract the tendency of ostracized people to engage in antisocial behavior.


Judges’ Decisions More Lenient After Lunch

Ordering in the court may be the new cry as a look at judges’ decisions made before and after lunch shows a wide difference in outcome.


American Idolatry: So Bad You Just Gotta Be Good

Those tone-deaf belters humiliating themselves for our amusement help explain why we think we’re better than the experts.


Staunching Aggression From the Womb

Government investment in prenatal and postnatal health care could help prevent violent behavior later in life, researcher says.


Standing in Alcohol Won’t Get You Drunk

Newsflash: Submerging your feet in alcohol doesn’t get you intoxicated. It only helps you dodge the “Less Filling/Tastes Great” debate. Sorry, Denmark.


I Gave It a Nudge But It Won’t Budge

New research suggests the superficial appeal of governing by light touch founders in the health arena where so many “unhealthy nudges” are already in place.


The Practical Effect of Cultivating Selflessness

A UCLA researcher argues that rather than assuming people are basically selfish, government could more profitably encourage pro-social behavior.

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Don’t Text and Drive—Especially If You’re Old

A new study shows that texting while driving becomes even more dangerous with age.

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.

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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