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Everyday Life

Music and the brain: a biased symphony

Music is a fundamental part of our every-day life. We either listen to it actively while walking, studying, relaxing, attending concerts and operas, or passively, being exposed to background music in bars, restaurants, waiting rooms and many other places. There exists a large amount of literature investigating music and its effects on our emotions and […]

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Everyday Life

Unwillingly dishonest: cheating and self-deception

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him…”  Fëdor Dostoevskij, The Brothers Karamazov We are constantly exposed to examples of dishonest behavior. We read about it in the news or […]

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Philosophy and Literature

A behavioral lesson from the Iliad and the Odyssey

In 1951 Eric Dodds, an Irish philologist and anthropologist, published “The Greeks and the Irrational”, a famous book in which he presented two antithetical concepts applied to the study of the Ancient Greece: the “shame culture” and the “guilt culture”.  Dodds focused his inquiry on the earliest stages of the Greek culture, analyzing the Homeric world, […]

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Meet the Experts

Interview to Paulius Yamin: the power of social norms

For the second interview of the initiative “Meet the Experts” we talked with Paulius Yamin, a behavioural scientist with a background in cultural and anthropological studies who researches the possibility of achieving behavioural change by intervening on social norms. He is currently the Managing Director of the Center for Social Norms and Behavioural Dynamics at the […]

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Everyday Life

Balance may be the key to success

Since Daniel Goleman published his best-selling book “Emotional intelligence” in 1995 and brought this concept to the attention of the public, it has been widely appreciated but also debated and criticized. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify, express and manage one’s own as well as others’ emotions. Its four main components are self-awareness, […]

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Philosophy and Literature

What if free will was the only choice?

Evidence from the fields of behavioral economics and neuroeconomics shows that many cognitive biases influence people’s minds when they have to make choices. These unconscious but universally spread processes shape our brains and make us “Predictably Irrational” (as behavioral scientist Dan Ariely wrote). For this reason, “nudging” can act on our decision-making system and be positively […]