How do people judge fashion design? Fashion experts are notorious for using vague criteria, saying things like “I know it when I see it.” This kind of response implies that good design can’t be analyzed objectively. In a recent interview, Project Runway’s Tim Gunn even claims that people should avoid consciously analyzing fashion:
Smithsonian Magazine: How do you recognize good design?
Tim Gunn: It’s largely visceral, to be perfectly honest. If my brain tells me that a new design should resonate with me, but I’m unmoved, then I always go with my gut. I was talking to faculty members at the Parsons School for Design, where I taught for 24 years. They were telling me about how they initially evaluate a new object. They come upon it not really looking at it. They see it in the periphery of their vision and then they look at it for a split second and close their eyes. It’s that moment of reckoning that tells them the value of the object.
Tim’s response suggests that categorizing a look as “good fashion” results from snap judgments about its visual elements. But what drives this gut feeling about good design? On Project Runway, the judges often critique the perceptual elements of a look, saying things like, “it’s too busy,” “it’s not cohesive,” or ,”I HATE that color!” So are there objective, perceptual rules that good fashion adheres to? Or do you have to be a fashion expert to “know it when you see it?” Continue reading →
Think about a time when you did something that you really regretted…
Now try to stop.
When we think about something that happened to us in the past, the emotions that were originally elicited by that event come rushing back. Thinking about a past event repeatedly, or ruminating (a term which also means to “chew the cud”… perhaps you can see the link here) can cause emotional distress, and people who ruminate a lot are at risk for experiencing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. But why do some people ruminate so much? Some argue that these people may be less mentally “flexible”, even when the content they are dealing with is not personal or emotional in nature, and this leads them to have difficulty letting go of things that happened in the past. But if the consequences of rumination are negative, why is it a common problem? Perhaps rumination has an upside…. Continue reading →
Does your best friend put on makeup and eat barbecue (weird right) while driving? Do you shake your head, disbelieving and worried, when she tells you, “But I’m great at multitasking! I’ll be fine!” Could she be right?
For rats, the most alluring substance isn’t alcohol, heroin, or cocaine: it’s not a drug at all, in fact, it’s an artificial sweetener called saccharin. What’s saccharin? Saccharin is a non-caloric sugar substitute that has been used in many low-calorie foods and diet drinks (remember TaB?) for over 100 years. And rodents find it irresistible. Continue reading →
How often do you think about your early experiences with your parents? Perhaps you’re thinking: not all that often. Although you might not think about those formative years, they continue to influence you even in adulthood. Continue reading →
We all have personality quirks. But occasionally, a person may behave so eccentrically and erratically that they cannot function in regular life situations. It might seem easy to identify a person who behaves oddly. They might be chronically suspicious of everyone and everything. Or they may be so much of a perfectionist that they are unable to complete even simple tasks. However, to truly say someone’s personality is not ‘normal,’ we must have some assumptions about what a ‘normal’ personality looks like.
If you or a loved one had schizophrenia, where do you think you would have a better long term outcome: in the USA, or in a developing country? The answer is probably not what you think. The World Health organization commissioned a series of studies looking at the long-term effects of mental illness worldwide. They examined rates of recovery and relapse, and compared them between countries. In their final report, they stated that individuals with schizophrenia living in developing countries had the lowest rates of relapse, and had better long-term health than those living in developed nations. Continue reading →
Jason Goldman visited our graduate seminar on speaking and writing for a general audience last week to answer questions from students about the role of blogging in science communication. He decided to write about our discussion on his own blog because it might hold interest for other scientists thinking about starting to blog. You can read the first and second of these Q&A installments on his fantastic blog, The Thoughtful Animal.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to take a quick look at one of the most fundamental human emotions — hate.
Wait, that doesn’t seem right. Hate? On Valentine’s Day? Isn’t V-Day supposed to be about love, Hallmark, and all of those positive, mushy feelings?
Well, sure. Of course Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love. But are love and hate really all that different?
They both make us act irrationally. They both cloud our thinking and judgment. They’ve both sparked wars, poetry, and some of the greatest epics of all time. They both make our hearts race, our pupils dilate, and our palms sweat. Continue reading →