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The Sociological Imagination


How We Message With Text

What we text about when we text about text.


The Elusive Definition of a 'Dive Bar'

Norms change, laws are repealed or added, and patron demographics shift, but somewhere, the true dive remains.


The Strange Effects of Free Stuff

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


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.


Will California Ever Fall Into the Ocean?

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


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?


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?


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.


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?


When a Highway Goes Bad

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


Will Google Kill 'The Fat Man'?

What runaway trolleys tell us about driverless cars.


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.


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.


The Mystery of $2 Bills

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


Why You Should Care About Game Theory

It can provide the best choices in everyday decision making.


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.


How Your Historical Plaque Sausage Gets Made

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


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?