Empowering People through Behavioral Science

The NPP BLOG

In this blog we will provide commentary on the latest research topics and insights from the NPP Project. Check back often to see and comment on new posts!

From time to time we may also invite outside commentators to post here about the research being done by NPP researchers – if you think you might have a good idea for a blog post on this site, please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Nov 11 2015
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose & Well-Being
Purpose Across the Lifespan

Can You Mend a Broken Heart with A Sad Love Song?

It might come as a surprise to you that as a scientist, I frequently engage in a whole slew of activities that does zilch to the advancement of sciences. One thing I am particularly fond of doing is to wallow in my make-believe misery with Sinead O’Connor’s "Nothing Compares 2 U" playing at Level 11. Of course, this does not mean that I am twerking gaily to Jagger-Bowie’s "Dancing in the Street" when I truly feel miserable.  When the heart aches, I console myself with Def Leppard’s "Bringing on the Heartache." And I’m pretty sure you do it too. You might play "Love Bites" rather than "Bringing on the Heartache" to nurse your bleeding heart but that doesn’t alter the fundamental fact that you and I both resort to sad music to deal with our melancholy. Surely, great minds think alike but thinking alike rarely breeds great wisdoms. The self-pitying "Nothing Compares 2 U" and its ilk might just not be the way out of the heartbreak hotel.

By Haotian Zhou
Oct 29 2015
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

The Secret to Building Rapport: What Extroverts Do That Introverts Don’t

Making friends is not always easy, but it seems to be more difficult for introverts than extroverts. Previous research has identified that the more extroverted you are, the happier you are and the more likely you are to be able to establish social rapport with others. But exactly what do extroverts have (or do) that introverts don’t to ease their social interactions? Recent research suggests that subconscious non-verbal behaviors may be the secret to the extroverts’ heightened ability to build rapport. 

By Brittany Christian
Oct 21 2015
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

Only humble wishes: How humility fosters self-control

We all love celebrities who still do their own laundry and go grocery shopping despite their multi-million dollar assets. We also admire the stars of sports who give all the credit for their successes to their teams. Humility seems especially endearing in times like these where unshakable confidence seems to be the key to get ahead. Humility undoubtedly makes people nicer and more pleasant to be around, but maybe being humble also benefits people in entirely unexpected ways. Read here what humility has to do with eating chocolate! 

By Janina Steinmetz
Oct 05 2015
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Purpose & Well-Being
Purpose Across the Lifespan

Be aware! You might lose your mind when trying to lose weight

I completely forgot that it was my turn to bring you the latest discoveries from the frontiers of behavioral science until someone kindly sent me a reminder. In fact, I have been experiencing these memory lapses rather frequently as of recent. And naturally, I, as any well-trained psychologists would do in similar circumstances, began to suspect that I might be suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s (I know, it is so darn unfair!). I plopped down in front of my computer and started brooding over the meaninglessness of life and the frailty of human nature while aimlessly Googling random stuff. Suddenly, I stumbled upon a new paper from Duke University which completely knocked me out of my self-imposed stupor. It turns out that my forgetfulness probably has more to do with the new hot body of yours truly rather than my brain’s failure to clean up those harmful chemicals I introduced in a previous post.

By Haotian Zhou
Sep 19 2015
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose & Well-Being

You are the greatest gift: The science of giving

One of the most beautiful things in life is the glow we see in someone’s eyes when we give them a gift they are truly happy about. However, we must admit that these gifts are hard to find, and ever too often do we select something that seems just okay to not show up empty-handed. Can science help us to become better gift-givers? Here is what recent research has to say about what makes a good gift that can help us connect with the person we’re giving to.

By Janina Steinmetz

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