Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘science’

17 JANUARY, 2013

Can Money Buy Us Happiness? The Psychology of Materialism, Animated

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Experiences vs. things, or why the emotional rewards of pro-social spending outshine those of self-interest.

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants,” Ben Franklin is often (perhaps mis-)quoted as having proclaimed. In asking what you would do if money were no object, Alan Watts echoed Franklin as he advocated for liberating creative purpose from money-work. But what does science say? Count on AsapSCIENCE to illustrate the answer:

Humans are very sensitive to change: When we get a raise or commission, we really enjoy it — but we adapt at incredible speeds to our new wealth. Some studies have shown that in North America additional income beyond $75,000 a year ceases to impact day-to-day happiness.

AsapSCIENCE have previously covered the science of productivity, what alcohol does to your brain, why we blush, the science of lucid dreaming, how music enchants the brain, the neurobiology of orgasms, and why we are all female.

Complement with this delightful vintage illustrated primer on how people earn and use money, an amusing and somewhat unsettling memento from the golden age of consumer culture.

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11 JANUARY, 2013

The Science of Why We Are All Female, Animated

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Why males have nipples, or what a zipper has to do with the distinction between male and female genitalia.

On the heels of this week’s launch of my yearlong project celebrating history’s trailblazing women and this recent meditation on how to be a woman comes this illustrated scientific explanation of why we all begin our lives as females, biologically speaking.

AsapSCIENCE have previously covered the science of productivity, what alcohol does to your brain, why we blush, the science of lucid dreaming, how music enchants the brain, and the neurobiology of orgasms.

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Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

09 JANUARY, 2013

The Science of Productivity, Animated

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“Studies have found that the most elite violinists in the world generally follow a 90-minute work regime, with a 15- to 20-minute break afterwards.”

After their illustrated primer on the science of procrastination, the fine folks of AsapSCIENCE are back with a look at the science of productivity — including studies confirming that willpower is an exhaustible source and habit is the key to everything, and specific, actionable strategies for boosting your own efficiency, like crafting a good daily routine and keeping a notebook.

Shockingly, when we look at some of the most elite musicians in the world, we find that they aren’t necessarily practicing more but, instead, more deliberately. This is because they spend more time focused on the hardest task and focus their energy in packets — instead of diluting their energy over the entire day, they have periods of intense work, followed by breaks. Not relying on willpower, they rely on habit and discipline scheduling. Studies have found that the most elite violinists in the world generally follow a 90-minute work regime, with a 15- to 20-minute break afterwards.

Previous episodes have covered such scientific curiosities as what alcohol does to your brain, the science of lucid dreaming, how music enchants the brain, and the neurobiology of orgasms.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.