Psychology Today

Articles from Vol. 49, No. 4, July/August

Best Foes Forever
The risk of being outdone by a rival can push you further. Gavin Kilduff, who researches competition at New York University, found hard evidence in the results of long-distance runners. When sharing the course with a similar competitor lof the same gender...
Branded for Success
FOR ASPIRING athletes and novice performers, prepping for success may include hunting foratopshelf golf club, electric guitar, or pair of shoes. But it's not just superior design that gives performance tools their power: Just thinking that a particular...
Breaking the Code of the Streets
THE ALTGELD GARDENS PUBLIC housing project is on Chicago's Far South Side, 18 miles from the city's elegant downtown. It sits between a sewage treatment plant, a freeway, and the sludgecolored Little Calumet River. Built on top of a landfill in 1945,...
Cities and Years
WHILE GROWING UP I moved to a different country every two or three years, and because such increments are essentially geological time before age 20, each place was a life unto itself: Russia, though it was only preschool, might as well have been the...
Daughters of an American Revolution
DONALD TRUMP AND Hillary Clinton may be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they have one thing in common: media-savvy daughters who are instrumental to their campaigns.Indeed, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump have arguably been as integral...
Don't Look Now
THE HISTORY OF innovation is filled with stories of people spurred on by the prospect that someone else might beat them to a goal: Alexander Graham Bell's patent appllcetion for the telephone preceded Elisha Gray's by a matter of hours. In ordinary life,...
Dream Works
WE TEND TO think-correctly-tnatour experiences on any given day can become incorporated into our dreams that night. In the late 19th centuiy, Freud coined the term "day residue" to refer to this phenomenon, and as generations of researchers have affirmed,...
Feedback
Narrative Power"REWRITE YOUR LIFE" (June) is a compelling idea. Sometimes our life narratives have been overly colored by the wrong opinions of others. I think it is very helpful to give that inner voice a hard listen. Edit what is false, embrace what...
From Daring to Dispossessed
IGREW UP in Aleppo, the most populous city in rthern Syria. My parents, who are both physins, own a private hospital there. I'm the youngest __four-my two brothers are also physicians and H i sister is an architect. After graduating from high scfnool,...
Funny Girl: Phoebe Robinson
NOJOKE"Back in 2014,1 thought I should just quit comedy. Nothing was going anywhere-it was like, why am I doing unpaid shows in front of an audience of, like, eight people? I called my parents, and they said, "No, you're not quitting.'They're super supportive.""WOKEBAE"Her...
Going with the Gut
IT'S BEEN WITH us for the eons that humans have walked the earth. But only in the past decade have scientists recognized that a vast array of bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome, inhabits our gut and serves as an important organ of the body.Billions...
Head Games
GUESS AGAIN (AND AGAIN)Athletes must constantly make judgments and render quick decisions. Batters, for example, have just a fraction of a second to distinguish a curveball from a changeup. Rehearsing these rapid calls and receiving instant feedback...
How Smart Is That Doggy in the Window?
I ONCE I RESCUED a 9-month old mutt f rom the shelter. I could tell Jethro was street-smart. He was clever at snatching food- anyone's food. He must have spent a lo r of time on the streets honing h s sneakiness. When I brou ght htmhome, he met Sasha,...
Learned Leader
EVERY MORNING, MORE than 5,400 people wake up and open an email containing a link to six challenging trivia questions as well as statistics about the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent for the day. They are the members of LearnedLeague. The questions...
Love Interruptus
YOU'RE WITH YOUR OTHER HUSBAND, AGAIN," Marilyn Suttle's only husband would say every time she turned to her cellphone while the two were driving to dinner. She thought he was just being his witty self. Then his words began getting under her skin.Suttle,...
Playing Dirty
DOPING IS AMONG the gravest sport-related sins. It can mar the achievements of an entire country's athletes-as when, last November, the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed evidence of systematic cheating in Russia's track and field program. But athletes...
Right Where Your Belong
THE EXCEL SPREADSHEET THAT 40-YEAR-OLD Ben Bristoll made as he was deciding where to move after living in upstate New York for 18 years was exhaustive. It catalogued 38 communities, cross-checked against the qualities Bristoll considered most vital:...
The Golden Age of Autodidacts
WHO CAN RESIST THE romanticism of the self-taught achiever? They didn't need school. They didn't need "the system." They needed only their passion and their talent to propel themselves to grandeur. Bill Gates, college dropout turned billionaire techie...
The Perils of Sowing Your Wild Oats
WANT TO BE great in your closer field? Having experience is essential. Want to knock a mean backhand on the tennis court? There's no substitute for practice. Yet this majy not be the case for romance and marriage. After surveying a large sample of young...
Unconventional Wisdom
LETTING GO OF A NARCISSISTI am married to a narcissist. He didn't even acknowledge our recent five-year anniversary, but on that day I discovered that he secretly opened a bank account several months before and socked some money in it. He is emotionally,...
What Drives Us
1 PHILIP STIEG, 63Chairman of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and neurosurgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalPhilip Stieg s religious family expected him to become a Lutheran clergyman. But in medicine, he found his own...
What Hope Looks Like
SARAH HOSKINS didn't know about the Becoming a Man program before Psychology Today asked her to document it, but the at-risk kids that "Breaking the Code of the Streets" focuses on, adolescent boys living in the vast Altgeld Gardens housing project on...
What Makes a Pro?
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, right? Well, yes and no. "It is definitely an important piece of the puzzle," says Zach Hambrick, a cognitive psychologist at Michigan State University, "but it's not the only piece, and not necessarily the largest."In the journal...
When Glory Comes Late
How did it féal to finally receive the gold?Initially, it was bittersweet. The moment has passed, but you appreciate getting recognition for the hard work you put in and for the right result. Afterward, when you start thinking about the opportunities...
Why We'll Watch
MILLIONS WILL TUNE in to the Olympics this summer hoping to see a performance that ranks as the fastest, farthest, or highest in history. We asked social psychologist SAM SOMMERS (co-author of This Is Your Brain on Sports) about the impact of witnessing...
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