The Virtues of Free Will—If We Have Any, That Is

Apparently, free will is a hot topic for scientists this year. In just the last few months The Atlantic, New York magazine, The Independent, and several other publications have run stories about it. Judging by some of their titles—“There’s No Such Thing As Free Will,” “Scientific Evidence That You Probably Don’t Have Free Will,” etc.—it … Continued


What It’s Like to Live With Attention Deficit Disorder

During a recent adventure down an alluring click-bait Internet rabbit hole, I landed on a WebMD page that claimed to contain a list of “Celebrities with ADD/HD.” The top two names—Justin Timberlake and Michael Phelps—jumped out at me and so not only did I read on, but I also ended up visiting multiple websites that … Continued


Marco Rubio and the Masculinity Police

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently mocked a Washington Post story that recounted a brief encounter with law enforcement that Rubio had when he was eighteen. Rubio was caught hanging out in a park after hours, a misdemeanor. Rubio hit back with a fake ad revealing his other crimes—coloring outside the lines, double-dipping potato chips. The … Continued


Tennyson and the Art of Motivation

The science of education produces more reports, studies, and expert opinions than any civilization can handle. A new report from the Carnegie Foundation looks at the science of motivation in schoolrooms today. For the unknowing, this is the interdisciplinary study of psychology, neurobiology, cognitive science, management science, and organizational science to understand students; what makes … Continued


Prudence: Long Live the Queen

From The Seven Deadly Virtues, Andrew Ferguson’s take on the lack of prudence in New Science, which he defines as “the application of the methodologies of the physical sciences to realms of human behavior— our motives, habits, morality, emotions, instincts, likes, and dislikes.” — [Ed.] A pile of studies in the New Science has been rising … Continued

Books, The Seven Deadly Virtues

The Sad Burden of Depression

Robin Williams’ apparent suicide stunned the world this week. And for good reason: It’s safe to say no clown had more class. He will be missed. The shocking news was all the more devastating with the revelation that the likely cause was depression. Here was a man whose personality was so beloved that hardly a … Continued


“Enclothed Cognition”: You Feel What Your Wear

What you wear affects your mood and your life. This is the observation of British professor and psychologist Karen J. Pine, who has just written an interesting Kindle single: Mind What You Wear: the Psychology of Fashion. Even as a Kindle single—which is really just an extended essay—Mind What You Wear feels just a tad … Continued


‘Heaven Is For Real’ is a Disappointment

With all due respect, I disagree with my colleague, R.J. Moeller, who recently encouraged the Acculturated readership to go see the movie, Heaven is For Real, if at all possible. The film fell woefully short in value of the time and money my mother and I spent to see it in the theater last weekend. … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

A Scientific Guide to Happily Ever After

A very popular topic on blogs is relationships, and Acculturated is no outlier. They are fun to talk about, everyone has opinions, and everyone has stories. What makes love work? Who should people marry? How do relationships stay happy? Like many of the other writers on Acculturated, I have written extensively on this topic, but … Continued

Books, Culture

On Valentine’s Day, Be Delusional

Imagine for a moment that I brought you and your partner into my psychology lab and asked you to do a short exercise. I separate the two of you and give each of you a survey that lists 50 positive traits – things like kindness, warmth, sense of humor, and intelligence. Then I ask you … Continued