The Sociological Imagination

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How We Message With Text

What we text about when we text about text.

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The Elusive Definition of a 'Dive Bar'

Norms change, laws are repealed or added, and patron demographics shift, but somewhere, the true dive remains.

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The Strange Effects of Free Stuff

How the allure of free tricks your mind into accepting irrational options.

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When Does a Medium Die?

Despite what hipsters might have you believe, vinyl records and cassette tapes aren't making a comeback. The market has changed media too irrevocably for that.

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Will California Ever Fall Into the Ocean?

Probably not, but the history behind that rumor is fascinating.

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The History of Plaid

Tracing the origins and evolution of every hipster's favorite fashion item.

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The Cognitive Dissonance of Casting Changes

Why do we care so much about who plays our favorite fictional characters?

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The Perks of Being a Virtual Social Butterfly

Facebook makes us sad and Twitter is bad for our relationships, we’ve been told, but are these apps actually changing how humans communicate?

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The Psychological Impact of Driving Among Police Cars

Examining that jumpy feeling you get when a cop car pulls up behind you—and you've done nothing wrong.

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How to Get a Drink at a Crowded Bar

The bartender has nearly unlimited power, and the patron has seemingly none. Is there any effective way to lobby for a drink?

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When a Highway Goes Bad

Why is there still traffic in 2015, and what can be done to fix it?

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Will Google Kill 'The Fat Man'?

What runaway trolleys tell us about driverless cars.

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What It Feels Like to Go Viral

BuzzFeed, YouTube, and (former) Gawker stars all describe a similar psychological rush, but riding the viral wave comes with dangers too.

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The Filter Bubble; or, the Problem With Google's Apparent Omniscience

It’s called the “filter bubble,” and it’s helping Google play to our prejudices.

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Mental Maps and the Neuroscience of Neighborhood Blight

Getting a better sense of how people visualize their neighborhoods could be the first step toward improving them.

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The Mystery of $2 Bills

Many people think $2 bills are more valuable than their labels advertise. Are they?

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Why You Should Care About Game Theory

It can provide the best choices in everyday decision making.

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The Game Slowed Down

Athletes often claim that their breakthroughs come when a game starts unfolding at a slower pace. Can psychology explain the phenomenon they're describing?

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YouTube Videos That Make You Tingle

The autonomous sensory meridian response videos are garnering a massive audience, but an explanation for their intense effects has eluded scientific inquiry.

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How Your Historical Plaque Sausage Gets Made

The process is not nearly as official or meticulous as you might expect.

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The Digital Land Mines of Modern Break-Ups

Selective disposal of digital artifacts is the best way to deal with the aftermath, but you might need your friends and an algorithm to help get you there.

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The Difference Between Jewish and Catholic Guilt

Which is scarier: an all-powerful deity or your mom?